Where in the world am I now?
I don't stop...
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This past week I spent at a medical conference in Hobart, Tasmania. Needless to say, we didn't get much time to play but what little I was able to take in of Hobart, I loved! It is a seaside town, which are always my favorite. There is also a river running through it, a big one. The story of Hobart is an interesting one and I was lucky enough to visit the local museum and a few antique shops in town. Unluckily, I didn't make it to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) which is said to be spectacular. Next time... next time. I do hope to return to see more of this oversized island. Hobart itself is charming, full of art, amazing fresh food-including great coffee, music, and local characters. I must say that a local Hobart accent is almost as tough to decipher as a Northern Queenslander and I'm quite fluent now in Australian, even Kiwi.
I was able to spend a couple of hours wandering through the Salamanca Saturday Market. I only wished I was heading home so I could purchase more gifts and fresh honey. Instead I'm on my way to Singapore so only limited shopping was in the cards. The food, people watching, and chance to listen to local buskers made it well worthwhile.
One night we went to dinner at Maldini's in Salamanca. Yum! If you are in Hobart and hankering for some good Italian, give it a go. In fact, that evening as we were headed to eat, we ran into a free concert being played. The setting was the back wall of Salamanca Courtyard, actually the stone of the cliff behind the square and spirits were high! It was the end of a sunny summer day and everyone was enjoying the evening. See the pictures below. Click on images to see them in full detail.
Did you know that Hobart's ports are one of the main "jump off" points to Antartica? It is really, really far south. I have a strong feeling that I wouldn't like Hobart or Tasmania as much in the winter. However, the few days we were there, the sun was out and the smiles were big. People were lazing about in city parks and eating fish and chips along the docks. Since Tasmania is well within the "roaring 40's" the wind never stopped blowing. For the non-sailor types out there, the 40's refer to the latitude and the roaring refers to the wind. The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is legendary for good reason! The winds alone would make it quite exciting, not to mention the size of waves that are built by consistent strong winds.
The history of Tasmania is a seafaring one and it is evident every where. The air smells of the sea and the brisk wind makes one dream of the hardy souls that populated such places. While still in Portland, OR we were lucky enough to attend an amazing night at the Portland Storytellers Theatre. The reason I bring it up is that the story told that night by Howard himself was of Mawson and the ill fated Antarctic journey that he made. The expedition was ravaged by bad luck and Mawson was lucky to live through the ordeal. There is a monument to this man and the others brave enough to venture towards the land of penguins and ice.
On one of my short outings to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air I traveled up the "Kelly Stairs." The little neighborhood at the top was absolutely delightful! The pictures above are some of the sweet cottages and in particular their welcoming entries. I felt like I had stumbled back in time, possibly across to the UK somewhere...
My last dinner in Hobart was amazing! Fresh shucked oysters and mussels in white wine, garlic, and butter sauce. All topped off with a nice glass of local Sauvignon Blanc and a view of the docks. The seafood in Hobart was spectacular and the wines are excellent. The overall quality of food in Tasmania is stunning. In fact, I will miss the freshness and quality of Australian produce and meats when we head off to the next adventure.
Leaving Tasmania at dawn... off to Singapore for another medical conference! More adventure in store. Stay tuned!
Well, I finally resigned from my current position after spending almost 10 years with Alaris products. I had hoped to be transferred in some manner to SE Asia but it just hasn't happened. I will remain in Aussie for 2 months fulfilling my contract obligations as to the resignation notice. While finishing up I will be lucky enough to visit Hobart, Tasmania and Queenstown, NZ as well as spend a week in Singapore. No moss grows on my tail!
We will see what happens from here but I do plan on being with Corey for the holidays. That will be awesome!
I had mentioned that Corey is currently in India and has been sending me snippets of his experience by email. Sorry I don't have any pictures but will add when Corey posts some. Here are bit of what he has shared. Enjoy!
Email 1) "I got to Delhi without drama. My host picked me up about an hour late, thank Buddha my Thai phone worked on roaming for incoming calls........ then we went to a food court for supper. All kinds of foods I have never seen...mostly bread and vegie pasty stuff and some salty minty flavored broth to drink like clear soup... surprisingly good.
I am staying at the family mansion..... in the guest room. there is a mum and dad, a couple of brothers and my host.
Tomorrow it is road trip to our destination.
Email 2) "I just had lassi made from fresh milk they bring a cow to the door every other day they boil the milk make butter make oil and drinking milk lassi is made from the curd add water and sugar-- very tasty!"
Email 3) "It is now daytime and the world of India has changed from congested world city to countryside farms. Colorful brick and cinder block structures all mounted with rollup metal garage doors.
Animals everywhere…. Cows delivering fresh milk… yes … warm and fresh.. some offer diy option. Camels instead of donkeys pulling carts loaded with colorful textiles and metal building materials. Goats on the tether waiting to be purchased for Sunday dinner…. Pigs over 200 lbs snorting as they scour the discarded garbage for a bite to eat.
None seem undernourished….
A Hindu tradition is to offer a small bit of food to stray animals before eating a meal. In the city the devout will put a bite on an altar for birds or a small plate outside for the larger creatures. Even a drop of scotch is splashed before enjoying a drink.
Drove through Jaipur--the pink city… buildings made from local stone are all natural pink. Then suddenly the landscape is wide and open… white and maroon temples are perched on the peaks of low barren mountains which ring the valley… a lake with reeds, not a tree over 5 meters, rocky boulder hillsides remind me of Simi Valley California.
Handmade fences or walls separate the horizon into irregular plots showing the human need for boundaries…
I see in-progress construction/destruction everywhere…. The two lane highway winds over the hills, now only a hundred miles south of Pakistan.
9 am—uniformed children marching in groups, some crowded onto tuk-tuks… some waiting expectantly for the Monday ride to school…..
Getting gasoline again…. The first gas stop involved a complex merging into lanes for cars for filling, then an exit queue back to the road that included air filling for the tires payment and payment for the petrol.. during the wait we noticed the debit card was not to be found… this minor problem was solved when a brother brought a spare card from the home.. just as we reached the front of the line…
Next stop did not accept any credit or debit cards… the atm machine was closed ( roll up garage door) onwards to another village…needle on E.
How many blind curves is one allotted in life??? Passing every vehicle the driver swerves along the highway…. he owns the on-coming lane and relies on the quality of Toyota engineered suspension systems... Speed increases….the kilometers start to click away……
Suddenly, traffic stops.. brakes squeal… steering wheels spin… a young camel looks left moves right…. IMPACT… metal bends…. The unfortunate humpback flips away. The old man in white robe and turban, his face aghast with surprise. The driver hesitates, then drives on. The old mans face changes to rage….his walking cane aiming for glass finds a rear view mirror. The driver is relieved to not have a view of the fading carnage.
We drive on awhile…. I am in shock at the hit and run. I say nothing. It is time to wear Buddha Luang Poo and my closing pin for better luck .
Finally, at the destination… Deesa….. try Google maps… not far from the southern border of Pakistan.
This town and my assigned room is exactly what I expected from India…. 1 star…….loud ( I brought earplugs and meds)…. Good thing I brought my own TP. Now to buy some water before brushing teeth…. More later…. It has been a long day and I need forgiveness for a young camel……"
Email 4) "Today I will begin to open my mind to new things..... When I asked where to buy some TP... I was told that people in India do not use TP.
And there is no bidet hose......... No shit !!!!! Only can hold out so long....... I am not shaking anyone by the hand again..."
Email 5) "Everything you have heard about India's lack of sanitary facilities is under reported. Even the very weathly (like millioniare old money rich) used the bushes today.... enough said
It has been a good experience, and interesting nightlife as this a dry state and a vegetarian only state. What would you expect from Ghandi's home area.... I am still a strange sight to most people, it is my 15 min to be a rock star.. I will take what I get... but not someplace I want to live much longer.
I have had garbonzo beans and tomatoes every way you can imagine. Tasty but still garbonzo beans ... and the side dishes are made from potatos and lentils. Everything is served with a think bread like a tortilla with grease..... I have learned to like buttermilk and milk curd yogurt... very cooling. Today I had a treat-- bananas!!!!!! I got two.... yeah! the first fresh fruit since I got here.
The people are really nice and my hosts are generous ..... I have been to some Hindu temples, a couple of festival dances and tomorrow is a major holiday (breaking a 9 day fasting for the whole country and particularly this region) so you see I am finding the spectacular things in the fog ..."
Stay tuned for more from Skybaduba and Sailgirl... aka Corey and Peggy
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When I wake up in the morning and start moving my creaky joints, I am reminded that I have truly entered the segment of life known as middle age. We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t teach old dog new tricks.” Well, if we are wise humans, an old dog can teach us a trick or two. Here is what time at our beach home in Oregon with my white faced retriever mix Vela has taught me this year…
Enjoy a nap when you can.
You never know when you may have the opportunity to close your eyes. Napping in a beautiful location such as under the arms of a lovely tree, on the sand sheltered by a beach umbrella, or even atop a fluffy growth of green grass (with or without a blanket beneath you) is always preferred. Never pass up the chance to recharge your batteries with a well-deserved rest.
Vela is a professional napper at her advanced age. I’d like to become a much more proficient napper, it’s my new goal. If not a nap for me, then a bit of quiet time and frequent thankful thoughts are on the schedule for this coming year.
Before life gets you down, do what best clears you head.
What works for you? Calling a good friend for a chat? A walk or run? A yoga class? A long hot bath with a glass of wine? How about a good book? Whatever works for you, do it often; don’t wait until you are ready to pull your hair out. Dancing is one of my favourite ways to empty my head and put a big smile on my face.
I wrote a blog about this a couple of years ago that discussed nursing and how some of us relieve stress or "clear our heads."
Here is a link: http://ajnoffthecharts.com/2009/08/07/trauma-nurse-finds-stress-relief-as-dj-what-do-you-do/
Feel free to comment here about your strategies or goals. What works for you? I am sure we'd all be happy to learn from each other.
Enjoy time with your friends and family when ever you can.
Throughout life, people become a part of our story whether they play an ongoing role, or star in a short segment. Relationships must be nurtured to remain healthy and continue to grow.
Currently I spend most of my time a long way from many of my favourite people, including my husband! Technology has certainly made long distance relationships easier to manage but nothing beats a nice face to face and a big hug from a great friend or beloved family member.
Now in her older years, Vela has learned to let a younger person lead the way, at least some of the time. This is something we are working on as our children have a lot to teach us; our grandchildren as well. Vela is happiest when she is near people she loves. I’ve found that the older I get, this is ever more important to me as well.
While visiting this USA this year on annual leave, we had the opportunity to spend precious time with family and friends. We've experienced some recent losses in our family. Being an expat has some amazing advantages but being so far during times of birth, death, and other life events is one of real challenges. We truly appreciate our loved ones that took time to visit us while we were in Oregon as well as those who hosted us at their homes. We are always open to visitors where ever we may land!
Tasty treats are a pleasure that should not be missed- but are best if they are earned.
Lately I have been very focused on becoming as healthy as possible. This has included eating quality fresh food, minimising alcohol, and exercising regularly. I have not made anything off limits to myself but have basically taken the stance that all things are good in moderation.
Vela always enjoys her treats just as we all should!
Pause to enjoy any spectacular sunset.
Living in the moment allows you to see and experience things that others may miss. Slow down and watch the sun set or rise once in a while. You can also “stop and smell the flowers” –literally, if that is something you enjoy. Savor life, it passes quickly and there are so many lovely things we miss by speeding through.
Just like Vela, when I look out over the ocean in all its glory and might, no matter what beach I may be standing on, in whatever part of the world, it reminds me to be thankful for everything I have... my family (pets land in this box), friends, and especially my health.
Never stop exploring.
When hiking in the woods near our home at the Oregon Coast, Vela always finds something to sniff and actively interacts with what is around her. She isn’t as speedy as she used to be, but then neither are we!
Vela’s spirit of adventure is inspiring. Both Corey and I relish adventure. Corey is currently in India helping to set up a skydiving dropzone while we wait out the monsoons in Thailand. I should be joining him before Christmas. We aren't quite sure what's in store for us but if you watch this space you will be as up to date as we are.
Last but not least-- Smile.
Everyone is more attractive when they are smiling. Never pass up a chance to smile at a child, they usually smile back and they have years to discover that life sometimes makes smiling difficult.
Here is a haiku I wrote that you may like:
The smile of a child
reminds us of all things sweet.
Pause, smile back, give thanks.
As I was reviewing our pictures from this fabulous trip to the USA I noticed that Vela is always smiling!
Going through life with a grin makes everything a lot more fun!
Vela smiles more than she barks and that is the balance I try to maintain.
Stay tuned for more adventures from Papa Mac and Spicy Grandma Mac!
I was getting ready to write a new blog and update you all on what's been happening and realised that I never answered the big question in the previous post titled, "Once in a Lifetime." Those of you who haven't read it- you may want to drop down and read it first-- spoiler alert! It's a pretty good story and true at that! Or as they say in Aussie-STRUTH!
I may be a bit of a piratess but I am a truthful one so for those inquiring minds--- the map below of Captain Cook's world voyages was REAL! Yep, sure enough, my pal Louise was completely correct. It was likely drawn up in approximately 1785 as I've had it professionally assessed. Some of you realise I have been an avid fan of TV shows like Antique Roadshow and this is something I have dreamed about for years. Finding a treasure... and yes, I did draw a ship on my best ever antique find.
The story wraps up with a bit of a twist. Once I discovered the map was an original (and possibly worth a few thousand dollars) I decided to find out who donated it to the Deuba School Yard Sale as most of the donations came from fellow yogis. Turns out, it was donated by a friend of mine! Long story short, I've had the map restored and my friend and rightful owner of the map is looking to sell it. She will reimburse my costs of restoration and I'll definitely ask for my investment of $1 back as well. (Just kidding)
Anyone interested? Cheers!