Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hi guys!

Sending from my iPhone- so exciting. Still on his painfully long journey from bolivia and on layover in Miami. Miami airport is shaped like one big u and I was forced to walk the whole thing about three times because my round the world ticket does not like to make things easy for me, nor do partner airlines communicate with each other, despite my best attempts at proactiveness since I went to three seperate airline offices in la Paz trying to figure out why thing have been hard everytime I have recently checked in.

All well. Well despite my fears, I still had enough time to buy an English written book, and an iced coffee- though for some reason un benounced to me all the good coffee places were outside security. Still though. I got what I wanted out of my American layover.

It surprises me how bitchy everyone in this aiport is. Travellers, not workers. Like- aren't you going on vacation? About four women in front of me bitched about their coffee. Is this just the miami airport- or have I forgotten something about Americans ? Hopefully just Miami. And I guess the stress of family holidays.

Ok. Pretty soon I have to turn off the email on my phone for another two weeks. Boo. But will see mom and Paula in a few hours!

Miss you all!


Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Layover in Lima

So I might have been ready to say Goodbye to Bolvia, but it was not ready to say goodbye to me.

As you all know, I am on the round the world ticket, and I flew into Santa Cruz, which means that I must fly out of santa cruz as well. So, I had decieded that I would pay for a flight from La Paz to Santa Cruz this morning, because otherwise I wouldn´t have been able to see La Paz at all, and Santa Cruz seemed a little boring at Christmas.... blah blah blah. So yeah I fly there at at 11:30 today, leaving for the airport at 10:30, and sit there for a few hours until my 16:30 flight to Lima.

However on the flight to Lima, we start heading towards landing way earlier than I expected.... and the mountains are suspiciously familar, and sure enough the plane makes a stop to pick up people from La Paz, around 5:30 pm.... waiting about 45 painful minutes for people to load.

If only I had known, it might have saved me a full day at the airport!! ahhh!!!

Not that I should be worried about time, since I have a 6 hour layover to kill in the Lima airport. I treated myself to the VIP lounge, and now I am trying to get my money´s worth by hogging the internet and snack cafe.

Its funny, people in South American airports never seem to be in a rush. In London, or any of it´s neighboring airports, people are bolting down the 2 kilometer walk to customs, myself included, like some sort of airport marathon. But here, everyone just moseys along like they have no place to be. And there I am with a six hour layover, and no place to go, huffing and puffing behind them because I can´t stand walking so slow.... what s wrong with me?
Even though I have no possible resaon for needing to walk fast, the moseying family taking up and blocking the full hallway so no one can pass simply infuriates me.And the thing is, it really should´t because I honestly don´t think it crosses their minds that anyone wants to pass. And,when I look back in the window at the reflection of the parade of people that is piling up behind this family, I am the only one who seems to care. I guess I need to chill out.

While I am on the topic of cultural differences, there is also something lost in translation on the ettiquite of waiting in line in South America as far as I can observe. More than once, I have been waiting in line for something, or next for food at a stand or someting, or next in line for my ticket or the bathroom, and someone will walk up right in front of me like they had no idea I was waiting. Or they will push in front of me into the 1 foot space I have courtesously left between me and the guest being served and form their own line. Like..... what? hello?

I thought it was just me that was missing something, but it happened to a german woman ahead of me in the bathroom in Lima today... the woman and I were clearly standing there waiting when a woman walked right into the restroom and started to snag the door swinging open. Of course she seemed all surprised to discover that we were waiting. of those mysteries I might never solve. Perhaps next time I should stand right next to the person in front of me, infringing on their personal space. Or maybe I should just get over it and let someone cut in front of me once and a while. I have no clue.

ok well, I guess I am gonna go for now! enough of that.

Miss you all!


Taking off!

About to take off for 4 flights and about 24 hours almost of travel fun, jut to get to Costa Rica.
Went to the bank this morning to get another cash advance off my credit card (which always seems to be a nightmare) , since I am still sin bankcard, and I had a ferw more Bailey´s at the hostel bar than anticipated, and then I went to a salteña stand and had two last salteñas. I guess I may not have mentioned these before, but they are like mini empanadas and they are meant to be served as a snack between breakfast and lunch,so you cant really find them easily after 12 or 1 o clock. Infact, there are whole restaurants that only serve salteñas and they are only open for like 3 hours in the morning. Anyways they are delicous and sort of soupy and have chicken, or beef inside, or both, and always an egg piece, and sometimes olives or raisins. Really good. And then also a lot of people will eat them right next to the stand and help themselves to the 10 buckets of different salsas, putting a little on for each bite. So yeah, I ate two, just as a little goodbye to Bolivia.

Anyways, I guess that is all for now. A food entry.

Talk to you from Costa Rica!


Friday, December 25, 2009

2nd Post of the day... and 2017 clicks.. thanks guys!!

Hey Guys,

Still no pics from me but I am able to load a few onto here from facebook finally, thanks to Nick who I met on my jeep tour and his uncanny ability to load photos on right away.

Here we are!

2nd Post of the day... and 2017 clicks

1999 clicks and Merry Christmas

Hi all! Merry Chirstmas to all those who celebrate.

I am at 1999 clicks to my blog, and maybe it will be a holiday miracle if by the end of the day I reach 2000. It would just make me feel cool.

Christmas here is different because it is pretty warm, by east coast standards, thouh it is by no means tropical. Last night this irish hostel threw a big party in the hostel bar, and I tried to be social, but only lasted until about 11:30, and then went to bed. haha. Why did I book the party hostel again?

Today I was going to give myself a day off from cultural excursions, and watch television all day for the first time in a long while. However, ofcourse, the one time that I want to watch television is the one day that for some reason the television has been moved from the television room with no explanation. Merry Christmas. So now, I have little idea what I am going to do today because most everything is closed in La Paz, obviously. Ofcourse the bar is open all day... which may or may not sound fun.. and I signed up for the chirstmas dinner here, which should be a feast for the 20 dollars that they charge for it--- a small fortune in South America.

Yesterday I also took a little tour to some ruins near La Paz called Tiwankanu, whcih were cool and dated back pre inca times. I , again, was most into the part of the tour, where they couldn´t explain the use or the method of maing certain stones, and introduced alien theories.

I can´t believe that I move on tomorrow and I am going to Costa Rica- and meeting Mom and Paula. Weird. Also weird that I have to fly through Miami, so i will briefly touch down again upon american soil for the first time since August. Mostly this is exciting because I will be able to use my iphone free of charge for a few minutes. haha.

I hope you all are having a nice Christmas Day!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time for a post!

So much to write about since I last wrote! It always seems like the places that I most want to write are the places that it is the hardest to get to a computer!

Anyways, last time right before I was going to make an entry, I was still in Sucre, and having a blast and was in a cheery cheery mood, when suddenly I had a flashback of memory and realized that I had left my ATM card.... in the ATM. Dont you love that, when you remember, but too little too late. I blame the fact that the atms spit your card back after you get your money, rather than before like in the states, but the reality is actually that I am just a bit of an airhead.

So that was stressful, and I would have been royally screwed if I didn´t have my credit card (which I have left in my host family´s house, thanks to some sort of foresight on my part) and I was able to get a large cash advance on it the next day.Way to go rebecca. Ofcourse, I am always locking my stuff up, thinking it will get stolen, and I am the one to mess things up.

Anyways, aside from the night spent calling the bank and whatnot, Sucre was amazing. I loved the market place there. I think that you can tell so much about a place from it´s market. Theyhad fruit juice stands and you could get whatever kind of fruit you wanted blended with water or milk, for like 40 cents. And then, I put my glass down after drinking my very delicious mix, and before I knew it, the woman at the stand had refilled my glass. I though for sure I would be charged for it, but no... the left overs are all included. So good. And worth the risk of getting sick with fruit.

There are a lot of people running around asking for money in the market, or trying to clean your shoes. One boy spent about half an hour trying to convince me that my leather strappy sandals needed to be cleaned by him, when I couldn´t really imagine what would be on them to clean. Here in La Paz, people are ashamed to work as shoe shiners, so they wear ski masks over their heads, and it looks like there are a bunch of bank robbers all walking around. Very strange and a little sad. Anyways, one boy came back asking for money about three times while having my juice, and finally when he brought his little brother by, I bought them a juice. However, the rest of the day it was like a had a stamp on my head ´¨the juice giver¨´ because little boys everywhere seemed to think I would give them something.

Anyways, I left Sucre with some people from the school, and we went by bus to Potosi, which is the highest city in the world. Literally. The bus was threee hours, so not too bad and it was interesting watching them load the bus by lowering my bag off a hook off a balcony. It is damn cold in Postosi too. Also.... I guess this is a good time to introduce the coca leaf, which is grown legally both in Peru and Bolivia. So, yes, the coca leaf can be used to make cocaine. But using coco leaves is not like using cocaine, it´s more comprable to caffine. Many people will chew the leaves and let them sit in their cheek for a few hours, and when you first get here you think that everyone has some sort of cheek tumor. Anways, it is available, if not reccomended when you are at high altitudes, because it is supposed to ease alititude sickness, which I do think that I suffered a bit from. Mostly when carrying my bag around, I would be pretty aware of the burning in my chest, my bosy searching for the other 15% of oxygen that I was used to.

Between altitude sickess and food issues, I have been sick pretty much everyother day. But it´s ok because Bolivia is so so cool. Potosi was once the richest city in south america because of the mines there. Now all the silver is pretty much gone, and they are only mining the cheap supplies of tin and zinc, however there are still 10,000 people working in the mines. I had a chance to go on a tour of the mines, where people were working, and it was one of the more intense experiences I have had. The mines are not a touroist attraction, people actually work there, wo it was sort of haszardous to go, which is why I thought I would write about it after I made it out haha. Basically, we went in for about two hours and were able to see the conditions that these workers were exposed to. We got dressed head to toe in work clothes and boots and went in. There are no lights, only our head lamps, and we literally had to crawl through tiny spaces on our hands and knees sometimes to get through. The air quality is horrible, and the life expectacy of a miner is only about 45 years old because of all the crap that gets into the lungs, most hazardous is the dust actually, but also mold and asbesdous ( how do you spell that-?). We met many miners and handed out gifts of coca leaves and gloves and juice and stuff, which is pretty much expected for traipsing on their territory. We met a boy who was 14 years old working there. The miners all work for themselves, so they supply their own materials, and if they don´t find anything, they don´t make any money. A few times toward the end, I could feel a panic attack approaching because I wanted to get out so bad and I felt like I was going to suffocate- which my body probably thought that I was between the air quality, exercise, and altitude´- and I had to close my eyes and think calm thoughts. I can´t wait to post pictures of this. And a video. really intense for me. Something everyone should do if they are ever here, but I would never do it again. What was so amazing though was how friendly and jovial the miners were- it was inspiring to me.

Anyways. so that was big for me. The same day I took a night bus to Uyuni, which was fricking cold as well, and thankfully I had made friends with the chilean guy next to me, and he shared his al paca blanket so that I didn´t freeze. There is no heat obviously on the bus. And this bus waws seven hours, and they had oversold it, and people were sleeping on the floor of the aisle, and one guy even stood the whole time. It was nice because I knew people from the school on that bus too. Oh man, and at the rest stop, which was literally one little building in the middle of nowhere, a bunch of people had to push the bus along the road to get it started, and I didn´t even realize it was leaving, so I had to hop on it while it was moving away... ahh!!! Oh yeah, and only about an hour of that ride was paved.

The other big experience was a 3 day jeep tour that I just took of the most amazing scenery I have evern seen. It included endless beautiful mountains, the largest salt flat in the world- where it looks like cactuces are growing next to ice, but really it is salt, a red lagoon, a green lagoon, acres and acres of ancient coral as we drove through what was once the sea bottom, llamas, flamingos by the thousand, an old train graveyard, volcanic rock, and active volcano, and a volcanic hotspring. The trip was so amazing that I think that I just have to post pictures because I can´t dscribe it. But it was super fun, and the tour was with five other people in a jeep so I made some friends. I have a few pics on facebook, but I am not able to get them on my blog right now...... ahhh-.

Anyways, now I am in La Paz for Chirstmas, and I kind of coped out and I am staying at an irish hostel that has a big christmas celebration. Not very Bolivian.
Ok, there is no heat at this internet cafe and I am freezing, so I am going to go! Miss you all!!

Monday, December 14, 2009


and ps.
the charger for my phone DOES work!!!... in case anyone urgently needs to text me! I am back inh touch with the world

Sucre, Bolivia

Hello all,

So I arrived in Sucre finally. The plane ride was even shorter than I thought.. it literally had to be 25 minutes, so I was pretty glad that I took it rather than the ridiculously long bus ride. They still managed to squeeze in a drink and a snack on the flight, which I thought was pretty generous.

Unfortunately I am a little sick again, which sort of started on the plane. I never got in touch with my host family yesterday, but I was actually a little bit glad because all i wanted to do was stay in bed, which I did after ¨splurging" on a private hotel room for myself, the the cost of about 13 american dollars. Feeling a little better, but still a little sick today, and I dug out my antibiotics from the travel clinic at home for the first time.

Sucre is really beautiful- very colonial and all whitewashed. Still haven´t seen a super large amount of it, because I pretty much just went to class today, met my family, had lunch with them, and slept a little more since I am still feeling crappy. However, walking though the center of it near the school- it is jsut beautiful, and actually looks more like Spain than my usual idea of South America. Very different looking from Santa Cruz.

The host family seems great. There are three daughters, all pretty young, and a woman who I understand to be the live in help, and her daughter, and a mother and a father. And a dog. The father wasn´t there for lunch, so it was just a whole bunch of girls, which was kind of nice. I alternate between being impressed with my level of spanish for how long I have studied it, and thinking that I literally can´t communicate anything I want to.

The house is pretty far from the school it seems, though they say that it is only about a 15 minute walk. It seemed like a 15 mintue taxi to me though-- and I took a taxi back into town. I think the driver thought it was weird that I took one, but I didn´t know my way, and at about 60 cents, I couldn´t complain.

The class I was placed in is reviewing basics again, but I am not really upset about it, because though I know it, I don´t always know it super fast, so I guess it is good that that is what I am doing. Also, it seems that there are other people travelling alone, so maybe I will be able to find someone to go to the salt flats with, which would be good.

Anyways, I want to take another look around before it gets too dark.
Miss you all!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One Night in Santa Cruz

So here I am back at the airport for my flight to Sucre. I am here really early because for some reason the man who sold me my ticket wrote 12:00 in big numbers at the top of my ticket, even though apparently it leaves at 1:45.... not really helpful of him actually.

The night here was fine, though I slept through a lot of the afternoon. I checked into the hostel that was recommended my Lonely Planet, and it was really nice actually. It was about 6 dollars, inlcuding breakfast, and had this beautiful plant filled courtyard. There were even two tucans living in the courtyard. And yes, I took a picture of them. haha.

Everything is a bargain for me on the US dollar, which is a nice change because the dollar pretty much sucks everywhere else right now. I had a buffet vegetarian lunch yesterday and it cost around $2.50.

Bolivia, like Ghana, is place where I constantly want to take photos, because so much that is see is so entirely different from home. But, it is also the kind of place that not only do I not like to flash around my tourisy and expensive camera, I also feel a sort of shame in taking photos because they seem like such an exploitation here.

I know half the time I look like my eyeballs are going to drop out of my head, and I am trying not to. I am just so fascinated in particular by the many women in traditional dress. They wear pleated skirts of many layers and a sort of oddshaped top hap and usually have a baby tied onto their backs with somecolorful textile. I walked through one of the markets, which was somewhat like some in ghana, although a little more refrigerated ( only slightly though) and more sleepy. Many of the women at their stands were actually asleep. The whole thing had a smell to it that I had sort of forgotten about when it comes to this type of food market, and I passed on the goods there that time around.

Last night there was sort of a chocolate festival ( not to be confused with chocolate, ie cho-co-la-teh, which is apparently slang for marijuana in spain and south america. Or hash maybe... I´m not sure- lost in translation I guess. ) in the downtown square- which had more of a town hall event feel to it even though Santa Cruz is the largest city in Bolivia. There was music blaring out one window and on the other side of the park was a band who was competing for airspace, and the whole thing was pretty festive. I stuck to a non chocolate dessert that I wanted to try called tres leches.

anyways, I need to make a call because I still have not heard from my home stay. Miss you all!

More to come!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Chanukah from the land of Cristo

Hello All. And Happy Chunukah.

Today I am celebrating by.... comparing airport holiday displays all over South America. Both Santiago and Santa Cruz airports have a very nice tree and baby Jesus scene, but I am astonished that there is no Chanukah merriment to be found. Who would have guessed it?
Anyways. I had one hell of a trip from Easter Island- spending my first airport overnight in Sanitago last night while waiting for my flight to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Just arrived. Still at the airport. I was tempted to pay the hundred dollars for the airport hotel for the 10 hours or whatever that I was there, however I compromised and told myself I would pay for a 50 dollar flight instead tomorrow from Santa Cruz to Sucre, Bolivia, and save myself the 14 hour bus ride. You know that there is something seriously wrong with the roads when the same trip takes 45 minutes on a plane, but 14 by bus. Hell, me thinks. So I slept on the airport couches after buying myself another pisco sour from the 24 hour airport restaurant ( also part of the compromise-- who am I kidding?) and woke up every hour or so fearing that I have overslept and misssed my flight. Because I still canät charge my phone, so I still never know what time it is.

You may wonder why I havenät sorted that out. Well.... I forgot the first time through the Santiago airport to try to buy a charger, after the apple fiasco, and easter island has no such store, but last night, I DID buy another charger that specifically is for iphones ( the last one I bought was for only ipods... ugh), though based on my trial charge in the airport bathroom, I am not sure that one works either. Another 24 dollars down the drain.

So now I am here, although, no one has bothered to let me know who or how to contact my host family in Sucre tomorrow, so I have no idea really where I am headed to. But hopefully that will sort out this afternoon. I am about to book a hostel now, because I wasnät sure whether the plane ticket I bought from here to Sucre would be for today or tomorrow, so I have no reservation. Thanks to Lonely Planet, I should be ok :)

So- I simultaneously have my shit together, and dont at the same time. I did where it counted today, as I miracously had everything I needed for to get my Bolivian visa this morning, which included my passport, a 4x4 photo of me, a letter in spanish from the school inviting me to come, my yellow fever vaccination certificate, a credit card, and 135 american dollars in cash ( it had been such a long time since I had that good old currency in my hand). So all in all- Bolivia is pretty high maitnance. I ran all over hell getting that stuff, particularly the photo, but here I am and I have a visa to show for it.

ok, I am going to go!
Ill probably write next from sucre!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Isla Pascua

Hi all,

Just fiddled with this computer for an hour trying upload pictures, and then at the last minute again it didn´t work. At least I was able to change the title picture on the blog. Those are only a few of the massive moai that are here on easter island. They are pretty cool and impressive.

I am sort of in a hurry again, since I have spent so long online already. However easter island has been great. I met up with two other travelers here and we rented a car to see the island the other day, and we have done a good job meeting local people and having great chat and adventure. Everyone has been really generous, taking us out to beer after beet, buying us my first round of ceviche ( raw tuna in lime juice), and my first pisco sours. One of the people we met here is sort of the town artist, and he even dropped by the other day and left us gifts- a copy of a comic book of the history of Easter Island that he had drawn and a poster. Pretty cool.

The only uncool part was that perhaps we let the ceviche sit a little too long before we ate our second helpings, because the next day when the three travellers rented a car, we all were sort of taking turns to the bathroom-- we all were a little sick. haha eww. However, it was nothing serious and passed soon enough, and in all it was still worth the experience of tasting the local food. And it was nice to share my misery with company.

The statues here, for those who don´t know, are so large that no one really know how they were moved, and there are only theories as to why they stopped making them, why really they were made, and why there are many half made statues still waiting in the quarry. There are hundreds of them in the quarry, and others all over the island. Pretty awesome.
My personal favorite is the alien theory--- however I think I am alone in that.

Anyways, I have lots more to say, but I am going to go. I leave tomorrow! Then a sort of day in travel hell, before I arrive in Bolivia, which should be great!

Ok miss you all!

more soon!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Easter Island!

Easster island is super amazing! Not much time to write but wanted to check in,say hello and tell you I am having fun! More to come soon!


ps. the stars are amazing here too!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Valpariso- how I love thee

This place is cool!

So- I left Santiago because it seemed to be less exciting than it´s neighboring city Valpariso, and boy was I right! I came in on bus- and it had to be the nicest bus I have ever been on- seriously. I paid 5 dollars for it, and it had big cushy seats and then the man who came around and collected money came around again and handed out pillows. I thought that for sure he would come around a third time and collect money for the pillows, but he never did.

I had one little trip up trying to find my hostel here, and took the wrong bus into the hills of Valpariso- and had to take a shared taxi back- but thanks to the generous help from the locals here- despite my near inability to communicate- I was fine.

I have to say- one way in which the whole foot thing has been a mixed blessing is that I don´t know what I would have done here if I ´hadn´t spent those two weeks in Spain learnign a little spanish- I don´t know what I was thinking when I planned on having any time at all in south America before my spanish immersion. It has been incredibly useful to know... all 4 words of spanish that I know.. haha.

Anyways, yesterday I came into town and it was sort of rainy and foggy and I explorted the sort of commercial area of town accidentally- and I sort of didn´t get why it was so special. So, I went back to the hostel, feeling a little out of place, and like I didn´t know how to appriciate south america, and feeling a little generally stupid about being here. I went to bed at about seven because that was as long as I could stay awake, and then woke up for a few odd hours in the middle of the night, and then slept till twelve. I am like a psycho.

But today, it was sunny, and I actually explored the right areas- and discovered that this is one of the coolest places ever. It is maybe my favorit city that I visited. As soon as I got out of the commercial area, all the buildings were brightly covered on ther rollign hills of the city. There are murals and street art EVERYWHERE- and we all know how I love that. It is kind of like San Francisco (high praise in my opinion)- except it is sort of like the mission took over all of San Francisco-- in all ecconomic spectrums. I LOVE IT! And there are views down the colorful streets out to the ocean, and beach and palm trees, and a huge harbor with all kinds of ships. I would love to come back here and stay for a while.

Also- there are these little ¨funiculars¨ which are thse little rides built into the back of many of the hills here- no cars pass that way- its just like a little pully system for passengers to get up a hill without having to go up the mess of streets on the other side. You pay like 20 cents to go up or down one- and there are lots of them.
It is really cool.

I also feel really safe here, though many old women have warned me against pick pocketers when they find out that I am a turista. So I guess that is a serious issue.

Anyways. I have to catch the bus back to Santiago-- little pillows here I come!
And tomorrow I go to Rapa Nui-- Easter Island!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

sorry that post is even more riddled with typos than usual but I am just too tired to care!

Here I am Santiago- Here I am

Getting to Santiago has been somewhat copmprable to a small kick in the ass.

So 4 flights later I have arrived in Santiago. The flights went reletively well- despite come confusion with my ticket in New Zealand, whcih stressed me out ( I had to re check in and stuff). However after at least 36 hours of transit, and only about 4 hours of restlessness at the airport hotel I was pretty tired and ready to get into Chile.
So I get there, and it turns out that though there is no need to a visa here, we do have to pay a ¨"reciprocity" fee here, as U.S. citizens I guess such the two countries are such reciprically generous friends to each other. This I had failed to plan on . A mere 131 usd. Ok. a deep sigh and a reach for the credit card made that turn out ok.

Then, exhausted, I go through customs, confident with ¨nothign to declare¨status.
But--- hold on. In attempt at saving money on a snack, about 4 years ago (it seems) at the airport hotel, I took one of their free apples at their desk. It was at the bottom of my purse.
Well Chile freaked out about my solo manzana and whisked my into the room talkign about fees and such- which I assumed I would be waived of, since clearly I had just made a little misatake, and am not trying to start an illegal fruit market in Chile by bringing one apple at a time into Chile. But, no. I got the minumum fine. A mere 250 USD was what I had to take out of the ATM (I was escorted there- sort of weepy and mostly dazed)-- one fantastic mistake.

Anyways, the heat of Chile mixed with it´s views of snowy mountain tops made me still glad to be here. This place is not really any hotter than australia, but people don´t really use AC in the same liberal way, ---- so..... it is HOT. I have quite a bit of calor.

ok I am going to go explore a little before it gets to be too dark for a solo woman who speaks toddler level spanish to be out on her own.

Hasta Luego!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

in between

So.. I always seem to migrate back to the computer before I assume I will, and I am now in the Brisbane airport waiting for a connecting flight to Melbourne. When I get to Melbourne, I will have about 7 hours before my next flight- and I have booked an airport hotel, and then I will be back on a plane to Sydney, then Auckland, and then finally to Santiago-- so needless to say I have a few flights coming my way.

Once again, VirginBlue Airlines did not seem to need any sort of ID from me before boarding, checking in, or even going through security, which sort of blows my mind. And the flight was pretty non- exciting.

I am craving an iced coffee- which apparently the whole world except for america does nto understand as a concept. The UK might offer you an iced latte or two-- and for sure you can find a frappacino.Ghana has no coffee to be found at all.
But here iced coffee always has some sort of sweet thick substance in it, most often coffee icecream. And actually very little coffee I suspect. And no matter how clearly I question or request for plain coffee, milk, and ice- I see to get something exceedingly more fattening, and altogether less satisfying.

I make up for this by eating Tim Tam's- these little australian chocolate cookie things-- by the kilo- not a good habit. Good thing they don't have those at home.

One thing that has lost weight though, despite it all, is my luggage. I shipped home another little box today ( which was actually cheaper than sending something from London- go figure ..... though it will take three months) and my luggage has slimmed down to only my backpack-- though it is pretty heavy. I officially have less than I started with with me. Maybe I am a true backpacker at last? Sadly, I couldn't fit in the knock off african teva sandals that I bought in a desperate foot diseased moment-- a true loss. I left them at the hostel, just in case someone else is desperate enough to need them.

Australia has been great. And the only thing I won't really miss is the sort of strange macho attitude that is subtle, yet present here-- from the store clerks croaking "sweetie", to the flight attending winking, or over and over again being called a girl. Oh well.

Ok my flight is boarding.. so I must go!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Since I am having total confusion with my camera card and I am unable still to post more photos, I am left to use someone elses, which I have borrowed from facebook. These are Chelsea's photos, who I met on my first reef trip on Cape Tribulation ( see the two of us in the first photo), and then she came to visit me when I told her about the baby bats at the bat house- so here is one of her photo's too of one of the baby flying foxes. Pretty adorable.

Just came back from my second reef trip, which was an overnight from Cairns. It was fun to stay in the boat, though I still feel an imaginary rocking even as I type (and I didn't actually sleep all that well)... and today, I saw two sea turtles on my snorkel, as well as a reef shark! So cool. And then off the side of the boat we saw three dolphins just swimming away.

I am so amazed by these underwater animals, that eventually while watching them I get sort of sad- like some sort of cup that overflows. It is just so amazing to see what is here, but also equally amazing to me how we destroy it. Hugh at the research center said some reef fish have already moved south as far as Brisbane in search for cooler waters- and just in the last few years--- and that is a great many kilometers away. Prety fast rate of change.

It is funny, because "scuba divers" are such a specific little pocket of people- for they must have some sort of fascination with marine life, or just life in general perhaps, yet also there is something daring and adventurous to them at the same time. However, to my amazement, this fascination that I suppose them to have does not always translate into respect for the reef. I have to say that few things piss me off more than to see a diver handling our precious, fragile, and dwindling coral after they have explicitly been told not to.

Anyways, on a more positive note, I just found out that my friend Kate is attending the Environmental Conference in Copenhagen that is coming up---- which is.... amazingly exciting. I am following her blog about it on blogspot, so if you want to check it out, you should.

Otherwise I have little to say I guess. I am reading "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolover, at a velocity I haven't read at for years( to be fair I have had quite a hard time finishing a book at all in the last few years- I'd fall asleep as soon as the book hits my hand). Its about the Belgian Congo- and though thankfully few of my experiences in Ghana were similar to theirs- it does have a vague similarity which makes me appreciate Ghana all over again. Ghana-- despite the foot catastrophe, remains one of the best places I have ever been, and my mind has to be inches more open because of it. I think about it frequently, whether it is something small-- like experiencing a tiny shot of fear when using my left hand to pay ( and then I remember that no one cares about that here)- or when I think about how the money I spent on a coffee here could be used to eat out for days in Ghana.

Another thing I should inform everyone of- just incase anyone has been trying to contact me- is that my phone is dead, and has been for about two weeks now. haha. I stupidly left the charger as well as my australian convertor in a hostel, and at this point I think I shall just wait until I hit south america before I buy anything new. Because I usually use my phone both as watch and alarm as well, my last two weeks have forced me to either guess at the time, or not care about it- something that is sort of terrifying after living in New York and attending a studio that will not let you into class if you are more than five or ten minutes late. And waking up on my own also has been a new experience- since I am quite the fan of my snooze button. On Cape Tribulation, I had to get up, and walk out of my cabin and all the way to the wall clock in the kitchen before I could tell if I was awake at an appropriate time. And because I am anxious about it, I only have been getting up earlier and earlier and for the first time in my life I am basically getting up of my own volition around 5:45- for pretty much no reason.

Anyways. I leave tomorrow for Melbourne- where I will stay over night at the airport before I have another three flights to Santiago. So- I may or may not have a chance to write before I hit the next continent!

Can't wait for the next adventure!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Troubled Ear

So yes--
My body is really good with humid climates I have found- and I now realize that I have an ear infection-- one quick doctors visit and 160 Australian dollars later. It was probably prompted by my little scuba dive adventure- but never fear - I have more antibiotics and I should be good to go in a few days. I even shoudl still be able to go on the little dive that is scheduled on my next adventure- a liveaboard overnight reef/ snorkel trip from Cairns tomorrow.

I am now in Port Douglas and it is pretty nice, and very upscale and touristy- so rather expensive. I actually was social las night and went out for drinks with a few people who I met in my hostel room- and a few people they had met on the tour they went on earlier that day. It was fun despite the incredibly poor vocalist we were forced to listen to at the bar- however I left early because my ear was throbbing. Whether it was my infection or the vocalist, I'll never know :)

Anyways- just finished off some paperwork crap with my travel insurance, which is why I popped into the internet cafe- however, I am about to go out and try to enjoy the sun without contracting skin cancer rather than write more for now :)

Talk to you all soon!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Daintree Days Are Coming to an End

So recently I have realized that I have been having a (more or less) recurring dream. I remembered the dream for the first tim the other day and I realized that I think that I have had the dream more than once this trip. I always hate when people recount their dreams to me- and I read once that "dreams" were the #1 most boring conversation topic ( thank you yahoo! news)- so I will try keep it to a sentence or two.

Basically, in my dream I am back in high school ( a senior) and I have been missing a lot of school, as I did after my dad passed, but suddenly I realize that I have sort have miscalculated or something and I have missed almost all my math classes for the whole term- and I may have even missed a test or two---and ofcourse I think that the next class has a test but I have no idea what it is on- and I am afraid I am going to fail my class.

I also have other dreams, where I have forgotten and I have an essay due tomorrow which I haven't started or something.

Its so funny- because I think that a portion of me is very confused as to why I have not been in school for so long- something that has basically never happened since the age of 4. I don't know if this is specifically american or just western, but it is almost like my brain doesn't know how to shut off the almost constant stress of school deadlines and grades. i guess certain professions only continue this pattern as well. It is interesting that this is a part of life that is so integral to our existance- although I always did find high school more stressful than college, with higher standards, so it makes sense that my dreams take me back there. I sort of wake up and have to remind myself, that the feeling of guilt that is starting so flow over me is entirely unnecessary- something that is just so relieving.

Similarly, I am still experiencing "traveller's stress" to some extent. Not quite in the same way as before- like I ma not doing enough of something, but I worry that I picked the right tour to most enjoy myself, or worry that I have been stupid to leave myself such little time here- although obviously that is not something that could have helped. As I look ahead to Bolivia though, Bolivia looks so amazing, and part of me is like " is it even worth goign for so short a time when there is so much I wont be able to see?" More and more, I am convinced that travel is 100 times better if you have atleast a month at each stop- and I am increasingly sure that that is the way in which I will try to travel from now on. It is the difference between sightseeing and experiencing.

Anyways. I am leaving the bathouse. research center today. I am sad in some ways but excited for the next part of the journey. I am actually going back out on the reef again on an overnight trip, which should be cool, and I am going to make an overnight stop at Port Douglas. Being here has been one huge dose of environmentalism, as hugh has lots of opninions, and has done lots of study. It is interesting to hear what motivates him to keep working for the environment, as I personally find the whole environmental situation so depressing that I am close to giving up and losing hope. Its been good.

And yesterday I went for a last walk on the beach. I did not see any crocs- which I am actually sad that I will be leaving here without seeing one- but I am also glad that I have not been eaten by one. And also I have not seen a cassowary, which is this huge , about 5 foot native bird. But maybe on the ride home. It will also be nice to be in Port Douglas because they have a stinger net in the water, which they don't here ( we haven't been able to swim off the beach because it is the season for deadly jellyfish). Yesterday though, I visited the most beautiful swimming hole, sort of in a forested area, and freshwater and just amazing plant life. I have pictures of that to post.

The wildlife has been great- from butterflies to turkeys. I have gotten much better with the bugs- to a point that I am amazed.

The other night, I had walked out to go get dinner out, and I had to walk back to the center, down the unlit mainroad, and then down the forested private road to the center. It is funny what scares me on this trip. Potentially cancerous foot? I did ok. But give me a walk in the dark--- and I am freaked out. haha. My flashlight was starting to die as well, and so eventually just turned the flashlight off, and walked by moonlight the rest of the way back. Eventually decided that there was no one following trying to kill me and I calmed down and just walked. For some reason this felt like a big deal and I felt " well if I can do this, I can do anything". Not quite the accomplishment I thought it was in the moment, but it was impowering.

Anyway- I have a bus in two hours, so I have to go pack up my stuff.

More to come very soon,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Its hot

Hey Guys!

So the last two days I have just been working in the bat house here- and educating the p8ublic about fruitbats haha.

Here are a few things I know-

These fruit bats are called "Spectacle Flying Foxes" because they have rings around their eyes that look like spectacles

They eat fruit, but the babies only eat milk for the first two minths or so. When they do eat fruit they chew all the fruit up and suck the juice out of them, and then spit out all the fiber onto the ground. Or at you.. Just kidding.

The babies don't fly until around 2 months as well- and would spend most of those two months clinging to mom's back.

These bats are Mega bats, as opposed to microbats like we have at home. So first off they are bigger. They are thought to have evolved seperately from the micro bats, which I think is prety interesting. The mega and micro bats are therfore not closely related, and these fruitbats are most closely related to leemurs. The megabats do not use sonar- they actually have very well developed eyesight. And a well developed sense of smell.

Anyways I said all that info at least 100 times. haha

having a good time. it is hot. trying to sort out my future plans in south america as well.

And-- Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow to everyone! I might be going out to dinner- sort of a celebration?

Monday, November 23, 2009

another quickie!

hey guys- internet time is running low-

but I went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef today! So great!
AND- I went on an into scuba dive- which was way less intimidating than I had assumed- and was pretty cool. It made me want to go get certified and go on more dives in the future.

I saw a sea turtle- came swimming under me and saw him unexpectedly- so cool!

Got a little burned despite my best efforts with copious amounts of sunscreen- oh well. It was worth it. Then went for another little walk down to a nice resort and hopped in their pool.

A good day!

More later!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another day on Cape Trib

Hey- found a place here that should have been able to post my photos, but sadly it is not seeming to work either!

I have pictures of bats and mangrove trees and stuff.

Didn't do that much today- helped work int he tourist/information center/ bathouse, and then went to go collect mangoes from the forest to feed the bats. Later, walked to the beach to help the french student here with her project on coconuts on the beach. She was opening up different species of coconuts. My job was to take pictures, and ofcourse to sample all the varieties haha. However, I wimped out a little part of the way through because there were green ants crawling all over my feet and I was wearing sandals ( and they sting)- so I let her finish off by herself.

Tomorrow I am going snorkeling on the reef, as it is our day off tomorrow.

pretty exctied!
more later!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cape Tribulation-posted a day later than I wrote it because our power died!

Quick entry- limiting myself to three minutes!

Things are great. Rained a lot today though- of course, I make it to paradise and it rains. My assignment for the morning was to walk around ( in the rain) to the beach and stuff and see the area and some of the rainforest- which was pretty amazing still.

Someone brought in another hurt baby bat, so I walked around with it clipped into a towel to my shirt- to sort of act as "mommy" for part of the day. Pretty cool.

To tell you the truth though- I am a little out of my element. I can deal with a lot.. but outhouses do sort of push my buttons- and there was a spider in my room last night bigger than my hand- and beatles everywhere the size of my thumb. I removed the spider all on my own though- even though I have to admit I was sort of scared to death. I am not in Kansas anymore.

Anyways- three minutes goes fast- so I am going to head back to my cabin- and dream of animals creeping into my room haha ( just watched "grissly man"- too, so that will aid my imagination- except i'll have to replace grisslies with killer kangaroos or something).

Friday, November 20, 2009

A computer shines it light into the Rainforest

Hello again, 
 So it seems that there is a computer for me to use here- however the internet service is somewhat tempermental- and energy is better saved than used here- so entries will have to be quick, but hopefully more frequent than I thought. 

 I am here- though we had an adventure getting here.  I was picked up by Hugh- the man who sort of runs this joint, and one other volunteer Sarah who leaves tomorrow, and Nina- and intern here from the states/ costa rica.  ( This is the place I am staying by the way if you are interested ) They pick me up and stuff  all my crap into the back, and we are off to my first nature adventure here in Queensland ( to help nurse some baby bats at another wildlife center)-- or so we thought.

A few hills later our car , which we had turned off in traffic refuses to start- and eventually we realize that there is smoke coming out from under the hood, and eventually determine that some sort of hose has ruptured in the engine causing the radiator to overheat ( I don't know cars sorry!)-- so long story short- we spent pretty much the rest of the day being towed, waiting, andwaiting some more-- and never made it to go see the baby bats. 

During this process however-- a major coincident occured. Nina and I stared talking about Costa Rica, since I am headed there, and I told her I was meeting Mom at a resort there over New Years. 
"Which one?" she asks  "Oh no some are bad"
"Flamingo Beach Resort"  I said hopefully.
" No way--- my family OWNS that resort--- and I'll be there over New Years"

 Ummmm.... crazy. So that is pretty cool and we were pretty excited. I'm sure there will be more news to come on that front. 

 Anyways, Hugh eventually fixed the car, and we went back to the research center, without going to see the baby bats.  

 However, sure enough, when we had arrived here, we found that someone had dropped off a baby bat today to be nursed back to health and released into the wild at THIS center. So our dreams were fufilled and it is actually sitting next to me in the lab right now.  Just me and the bat.  In a lab.  In a rainforest

Yeah- things are pretty cool here- but also pretty creepy crawly- I have had more than a few things crawl onto my head already- good thing I have already experienced africa! Although- to be honest- this place is alive with nature in a way that where I  was staying in Ghana just doesn't compare.  And there are outhouses here.  My favorite. 

 No but it is all good.  And I am excited for tomorrow, though I have no idea what it has in store.  I tried to ask Hugh what was up- but he seemed to have no clue- so... I guess this is just one more lesson on going with the flow.  I am sure it will be great though. 

Anyways... soon we are going to celebrate/mourn Sarah(the other volunteer)'s departure at a local bar- so I will have to write more later!

 More to come!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Few From Australia

Hey I am having trouble loading the rest on to here right now for some reason.
I can try again tomorrow. Here are a few from the Melbourne Area. There are more on the facebook link but I want to put them on here too so I can write blurbs with them!

I have arrived in Cairns- beautiful and hot! Went for my first swim since Africa-- which means- the foot is finally healed enough that that is not a stupid idea! Yay!

Sort of lally gagged around here doing pretty much what you are supposed to in a beachtown.

Heading up to Cape Tribulation tomorrow to the research center- where there is apparently no phone service and limited computer access- so the writings might be sparse for the next 10 days or so- and certainly the photos. I'll try to load on the rest tomorrow to the blog though before I ma picked up!

Still having a great time. I am amazed at how much I still enjoy being alone- and still feel the need to get away from people sometimes even though I can sometimes go a whole day on this trip speaking less than five sentences aloud if I want to. I do miss you all- but I am also content at the moment to just be.
Sad thing is though, that I have started to think in "blog" and I rehearse passages that I am going to write in my head during the day sometimes, or I take pictures for the sake of the blog. Sort of weird. But I guess I'll be glad that I have documented as much as I have when I am 95 and looking back . haha

ok thats all for now!

At the botanical gardens in Melbourne

Hong Kong Photos!

Hey-- here are some photos from Hong Kong!
If you want even more glimpses into my secret life.... click here for more!

Jet lagged and right off the plane- eating a chicken finger!
Im in Hong Kong!... with a boba tea ofcourse

eating our hot-pot soup meal

Bonnie- of of Mo's fellow troupe members doing a street performance outside their store

In Mo's store!

Palm reader alley!

Outdoor eating!

Mo in her other studio that she painted

Hong Kong!

Me, Mo, Mo's other self from her one woman show- and mo on my shirt from her one woman show!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Aussieland Files

Hey hey!
Autralia is great!
It is so wonderful to be in Melbourne. I can totally say that it is somewhere I could live for a while-it really is a fantastic city.

My chosen experiences here have been sort of random because I have done sort of a mix of the touristy and the memorable. The first day I was here I walked down the street out of my hostel and over to a park- and I realized that it was a very familiar park! I knew that I was staying near by to my old neighborhood, but I had no idea that I was staying next to the park that my old primary school was 0n. So- I walked though the park, found a few old trees that I remembered ( but had forgotten) that I played by, walked over the spot that I broke my ankle for the first time, and snapped a few pictures of the school children who were still wearing the same blue uniforms and goofy hats- before I realized that I probably looked like some sort of child molester --so I put the camera down and scuttled away.

It is so funny how they still let the kids run free in the public park for recess. I peered into the gated area of the school- and remembered singing weird stuff like the ( revised version) of the Australian anthem and stuff. I walked around the school and thought it would be fun to see if I could make my way back to our old apartment without looking at the map- and sure enough I did! The walk was actually about five minutes long- though in my memory it took like half an hour, and then I sort of walked around our old neighborhood.

I knew South Yarra was nice, but I don't know if I was just clueless as a kid, or if things have reallt changed, because now it is sort of the so-ho- meets-berkeley district of town. It is really nice. And expensive! The pharmacy charged me $2.80 for a can of coke- and the Australian dollar is pretty close to the American right now. Seriously- Australia is almost as expensive as London right now- it is sort of blowing my mind.

Then I went to the huge mall sort of thing in the middle of Melbourne, where Mom had rememebered her favorite Thaifood and there is a huge clock that sings "Waltzing Matilda" every hour- and people crowd around to see. However the Thaifood place was gone- and the whole place was much more like a Mall in america than I had ever imagined.

I went aroundthe city after that on the free tram that goes around Melbourne. The whole city is connected by these cable car things- and unlike San Francisco- it is actually still the main public transport. Some of them still have their turn of the century charm and they are the trams that I rememeber, all painted green and yellow- but many of those have changed too- and look like these sort of furtuistic metal bullets. Sort of sad.

As I travel- I am increasingly glad I am am traveling now- and all I can say is that I continue to travel in the near future- because things really do change fast- and things build up fast- and Australia really seems to be much more connected to the rest of the world now than it was 10 years ago. Which makes sense- but as things become more globalized- it makes for less interesting travel--- I mean I can go to Tiffanies at home, you know? But there it is in Melbourne as well.

Yesterday I did something pretty cool that I remember doing with my parents when I was younger. I signed up for a small bus tour ( I made sure it was small after my oh too large american filled bus tour-- although there are very few americans here- so I guess I don't have to worry about that)- and did the obligatory koala, kangaroo, and emu viewing- which haven't lost their charm despite the fact that I have seen them quite a few times. Also saw some sheep shearing. Don't worry-- I have pictures to post-- I figured that ( all ten of) my readers would be disapointed without a few pictures of a kangaroo! :) We did see wallabies everywhere from the bus as well. pretty cool.

every continent seems to have their own little strange animal that is everywhere. We have squirrels. Ghana has the mini goats. Morrocco and Israel have cats. London.... has rats haha. And there there are wallabys everywhere.

But later- the reason I went on the trip- we went to this beach on Phillip Island to watch the penguins come in at dusk. Every night they come in from the water by the thousands and make their way up the beach- and probably half a mile up a little hill- to come find their babies. It is so so cool. And you can see them all the way back to the parking lot- they all have their own little home to return to. There are even signs saying to check for them under your car. It is so cool to see them all waddling-- picture me crying over the movie march of the penguins- except add real life to that. Haha- actually I was not crying-- although it sure as hell looked like I was because I am crazy allergic to something here and I forgot my allergy medicine- so my eyes were swelled up and watery all day. I made a lot of friends on that bus ride. hah

Anyways today I mostly just went to the Botanical gardens here in Melbourne- which are something of a treasure. They are huge- not many people in them like central park- and it is kind oflike going into this tropical greenspot in teh middle of the city. There are tongs of colorful tropical flowers. And there are TONS of cool birds. I swear I saw some sort of peloquin, and there werethese black swans with red beaks. And this is all right next to Melbourne. I realized that the Melbourne botanical gardens were perhaps the place I first went to the botanical gardens- which started a long history of loving them- I remember dragging my dad to them all over Europe- it would always be the place I picked to go. Also-- it just might be the place I fell in love with having tea- because you can get Scones and cream ands jam in the park-- which ofcourse I did do today. So lovely. It was a great place for solitude as well. I mean it would also be a great place to share. But I was so relaxed- I had a great time.

The only thing that sort of spoiled the gardens was the humidity- which I shouldn't even talk about because I go up to Cairns tomorrow and I am sort of terrified of the tropical heat- and also the flies. Ok--- I know that these flies are nothing compared to most of Australia- but flies of any sort are pretty disgusting. You just can't get away from them-- I remember when we were in the outback when I was little- if you even took off you stupid looking netting hat for three seconds there would be a fly in your ear, in your eye, and probably up your nose too. So it wasn't that bad haha. But they are gross.

Other thing that I have made sure to do- which I feel I shoudl fill you in on is eat a few meatpies. If there is one generalization that I can feel confident making- it is that Australians love their meatpies- and they are in every little store or 7/11 (which they also love) with lots of weirdly shaped squeeze packs of sweet tomato sauce for sale next to them. I probably ate 8000 of them the year Iwas here. So have had a few now as well- and though I don't get quite the same thrill that my eight year old self did- I did quite enjoy them once I stopped thinking about what was in that ground beef. haha.

Ok well I have to go to bed- I am off to Cairns at 4:30 AM tomorrow! so excited! I am going up the day after tomorrow to join a research center in the Daintree Rainforest on Cape Tribulation- which should be wild!

More to come!!

But-- the thing I went on the trip for

Monday, November 16, 2009

Leapin' 'cross cont'nents

Helllllooooooo from down unda!

Finally I am on the other side of the world-where toilets flush the other way and people ride kangaroos to work.

All very excting stuff-- but first there is more to tell about my Hong Kong Adventure, because I had such a wonderful time!

First off, though I am thrilled to be reunited with the Canon G10 super camera- the downside is that it is much more complicated to upload photos with this camera than the crap one-- so it will take me a little longer to post them. I got some great photos though.

In the mean time- here are two photos that are not my own:

In case you didn't get to check out Mo's website- this is one of the posters for M0's upcoming show-- and that it Mo. Believe it or not- red is not her natural hair color though.

And this is Mo and I from "The Peak" which is this really touristy, but wonderful little viewing platform that you can view all of Hong Kong from- and you get there via a very steep tram ride. Sadly I don't look so great here- but I thought I'd include it since I don't have my photos to post yet. Also- the T-shirt that I am wearing here is from Mo's one woman show- and that is actually a cartoon of her on the front. I bought it at the Troupe's T- Shirt Shop!
Anyways-- where did I leave off?
Well I woke up around 2:00 pm because I am doing a crappy job of coping with Jetlag, and I braved the Hong Kong streets and Train by myself to go meet Mo. Actually the public transportation is amazingly efficient and incredbly clear- however the sheer amounts of people that go through are ridiculous. I said that you could confuse Hongkong with parts of China town in NYC- which is sort of true, but let me add this- many parts of HongKong are more like a mix of Times Square and Chinatown- it is so bright that it is like daytime all night, and there are people EVERYWHERE. Definitely the highest density of people I have seen in one place consistently.
Anyways- also on the train I met someone from Ghana who was playing on the soccer team for Hong Kong. I swear since I left Ghana I have some sort of magnet for meeting people from Ghana- many people have randomly started talking to me-- one woman I met in London even invited me to her home for dinner, but I never got to go. Anyways, so the magnet is equally strong, even in China.
After that, Mo and I went to a Cantonese Opera that her friend Bonnie had reccomended ( her friend is studying Chinese Opera)- which was pretty cool- though obviously I didn't understand a lot of it. However there was a sort of martial arts element to it, which could translate for any viewer, and the whole experience was pretty cool. Mo and I talked about how Brecht modeled his theater after Chinese Opera in a lot of ways and it was interesting to observe such a presentational artform. Way better than watching clips of Chinese opera in Into to Theater Studies my freshman year.
The next day, work up similarly late- but it was fine because Mo and her company either seem to not sleep at all, or only sleep during the day ( The morning I left the group had an all night meeting- and the day I got there, Mo had literally not slept for two days-- i don't know how they do it)- so my hours were actually fine.

Mo and I went to her other personal studio space- where she edits documentaries and stuff ( she has done one about homelessness and one about prostitution)-- something I had no idea that she did. She had painted the walls herself and the space was so interesting. Mo is truly an artist- let me tell you- and I was so inspired by her all over again. She seems to do exactly what I always say I'd like to do, but haven't really done yet, which is use many mediums to convey an idea- and to really create a space in which to showcase her ideas. I respect her so much.
Anyways, we then went up to that peak, and then bargained for some jade in the local markets- and then went out to dinner with her troupe. That is the other thing- Mo and Banky and the rest of the troupe are just the kindest most generous and welcoming people. They all bent over backwards making plans for me to enjoy the city, and thinking of the best restaurants to take me to. In addition to housing me and acting as the best tour guides ever, they also tried over and over again to pay for my meals-- I had a really hard time giving them anything in return.
It really is wonderful to have someone to show you around though- it makes such a difference. I felt like I really tasted Hong Kong ( figuratively and literally) because I was able to go where local people go. It is definitely the best way to see a place- because you not only get to see your friend, but get to see a place through their eyes.
Anyways, I left the next morning after trying to sleep for a few hours ( to no avail). The trip to the airport was smooth sailing- pretty amazing actually. There are three train stations to the airport in the city, and you can actually check your luggage and yourself in there- and they will take your luggage to the airport, and you don't have to see it again until you get off the plane. Brilliant. Also, the airport is huge in Hong Kong, and expertly designed. Mo said she thinks that it is the biggest in the world- and I totally believe it. I stood looking around at one point, and I actually could not see the edge of the building no matter which direction I looked. So different from the last Hong Kong airport, which I still remember flying into over ten years ago-- it was in the middle of the city, and the city had grown up around it so you had to fly between skyscrapers to get there - I remember looking out the window at people in their apartments- and then there was a sudden right angle and you landed. Crazy crazy.
Anyways, I am only going to write a little bit about Australia now because I am running low on computer credit, and I need to save some so I can get up again at 4:45am my time to register for classes next semester---- yay...not..
But anyways- I spent today mostly walking around. It feels incredible to be in Melbourne again. I am staying in South Yarra which is the area that we lived in 12 years ago or whatever. I was writing an email to someone today about how strange it feels to be here again. The passage of time freaks me out in general sometimes, but it is so weird to be in a place with certain memeories attached to it. The first time I landed here- it was before many of the things that had shaped my life occured- first off it was before I lived here- before I had traveled at all. It was before my parents divorced. That is another. It was before my mother had another spouse who is a woman-- another pivitol experience of mine. And ofcourse, most crucially, it was before my Dad passed, and actually before his illness affected my life in a huge way- he was still pretty physically able and healthy then. I guess it is part of being an adult, to be alive long enough that you can remember a moment in your life when you were completley different- when almost nothing about you resembles the person you are now. It was before I gave a crap about theater. Before I sang. Before I even needed glasses or got braces. Haha. And it really hit me in a strange way- it was an experience that I had never had before- to be in a place where memories are so strong and you are so different.
And it is crazy the memories you do remember!
Anyways-- I am going to stop there for now, but there is much more to come you can be sure!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hong Kong

 Hi all. 

 So I have spent one day in Hong Kong- one long day since I got in at about 6:30 in the morning here, which felt like 11:30 pm London time, and then I did not get to bed until about 3 am Hong Kong time ( I did take a little nap though). 

Mo met me at the  airport, which was wonderful. We went into the city straight away and went to her place- which is also the studio/blackbox space in which  her theater troupe rehearses. It is a pretty cool space- sort of  in a factory district- and it is made up of three large rooms and an office. It is sort of like a very organized version of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, where people lived, socialized, and worked all in the same space as well.   I really love it. 

We went out for Dim Sum straight away with Banky (another troupe member and Mo's boyfriend), where I had a challenge trying to use my chopsticks, and Mo continued my chopstick private lessons she had started in San Francisco two years ago.  It was pretty hilarious, but I did not give up and use silverware- so that was a success.  Also, I had my first experience sampling local cuisine, which included stomache ( which apparently the whole world except for america loves) and chicken fingers ( and I don't mean battered chicken).  I did my best- and Mo knew that certain dishes were... a challenge for me. And we all had a good laugh. 

Mo is also doing her best to fill me in on  certain customs here- a sort of crash course in Chinese culture. One example- when someone pours you tea, you are supposed to tap the table with two fingers to say thank you. 

Took a little nap while Mo's troupe performed at a school, and then walked to the shopping district with Mo to her store. Yes- Mo's troupe is not only a troupe, it is a troupe with a store- right in the heart of one of Hong Kong's shopping districts. They sell mostly T- shirts with some sort of message on them- often that has something to do with one of the shows they are doing.  And everyday outside the store, one of the troupe members does a little solo- performance on the street.  Very cool. 

 If you want to check out her troupe's website, her group is called FM Theater Power at
Mo is the one in the red

 Anyways- Mo  had an interview with a magazine ( I am blown away by how successful it seems their troupe is)- so I walked around  the district for a bit.  Hong Kong- to the observer who cannot precieve the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin-  could be confused with New York's China town.  Except it is huge. And very very humid (scarily so since this is supposed to be nothing in comparison to where I am going in Australia).

Everyone I asked about things to do in HongKong all responded the same : shopping. It is true- Hong Kong has great deals- and though none of the stuff seems particularly chinese except for the jade and some teasets, the prices are ridiculously god much of the time. So again I struggled to remember my back before buying anything, and ended up only buying a few studs for my ears. Bought some milk tea- and a sort of bubble wrap- looking waffle which is apparently a specialty here. Also I went for a 2o minute massage, because there are millions of little parlors here- mostly advertising foot massage, but  went for the back and neck. For an incredible $10 USD or so, I got the most intense, but also probably the best massage I have ever had.  This woman was basically putting her whole body weight into me, and I swear at one point she was diggind into my back with some sort of wooden spoon or something.  The whole thing was sort of wonderfully painful since I do think that she got through to some muscles that have never  been discovered before.  For ten dollars,  I might go again before I leave. 

 Anways, after that Mo and I went on the public ferry to see stunning views of the city lights before having a very very ate dinner with her and her theater troupe.  Dinner was  basically a sort of make your own soup kind of thing- where there is one shared pot and lots of raw ingredients, and you all sit around this pot boiling on the table and dump in ingredients at various moments throughout the night, and pull out what you want to eat as it cooks. Really cool- though again challenging with the chopsticks. 

Anyways.. I am going to go and stop wasting away my day infront of the computer.  More to come!!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Trip begins tomorrow

My trip begins tomorrow.
Sort of.

Obviously I have had an amazing time so far, but tomorrow- I FINALLY leave London- and I cannot come back on my round the world ticket--and for all intents and purposes, after tomorrow I must complete the circle I have started around the world before I can come home again. Unless something else goes drastically wrong.

But it won't.

Will it?

I am actually a little nervous for some reason. I guess the safety net of London and my people here has become pretty comfortable. Also, I know that once I leave here, the rest of the trip is going to be so jam packed that it will just fly by. As of yesterday, I will be home in 2 months, and I have been away for just over three. 60% done- and only 14 flights to go ( plus one or two off the ticket-- yikeso!)

I leave tomorrow at 11:30 am - will travel for 11:30 hours in the plane- and will arrive in Hong Kong at 7:30 in the morning. So I am expecting some pretty great jet lag. But- visiting Mo is going to be wonderful and I am sure that will more than keep me energized. Mo is picking me up at the airport thank goodness- which means that I do not have to get lost in Hong Kong first thing when I arrive, which is great.

I finally gave up--- my beautiful new camera that broke in Ghana still was not fixed as of today, and I decided to just buy another, and pay the hundred or so dollars difference between getting it fixed and buying a new one. So I can finally take photos again that are not crap.

Took my iphone ( which also broke-- of course) to the store today. They would have given me a new phone, except they only had British phones- so I have to get a replacement in Australia.

And I went back to the clinic for tropical disease today- my favorite place in London- and they took a few tests to make sure my bout of sickness in Israel was not parasite related- and I will get those results in a few days.

Pretty fun day all around.

I am sure that I will have more to say when I reach Hong Kong! I will have a guide there ( Mo!)- but I am open to sightseeing suggestions, as I have not had a real chance to do my fair share of research on Hong Kong.

And lastly... a picture of myself to serve my vanity. I felt it incapsulated my very last few days here in london... sort of haphazard in my impulse bought glittery tights and hiking shoes-- on a late night run for some food because kyle and I got to the supermarket to late to make our own food ( supermarkets in London close at like 6:00 on Sunday--- what is WITH that?)

Anyways.... so long!

Monday, November 9, 2009


New Plan ( which I think actually might happen!):

-Leave London for HONGKONG Wednesday Morning- arrive there Thursday Morning their time

( no India :( )

-Spend three days in Hong Kong- leave the 15th to Melbourne

-Spend 4 days in Melbourne, and then continue on to Queensland

-continue on as planned to South America

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Photos

Hey all,

So.. kyle came back last night, and I moved right back in. :)
We decided to save some money and stay in for some food, but go out for a drink- on the search for a good dirty martini- which I have just not been able to find anywhere- most people here don't even know what that means. So sad. Sure enough we found a place online called "Dirty Martini"- and put on our best and went out. We were so inspired by our one (expensive) martini each, and the loud music- that we decided to make a night of it and go out dancing. We ended up going to a salsa club with a live band and a dj later- and we danced the night away. So much fun- and exactly what I needed. Neither of us can salsa- but we decided that my somewhat hispanic roots gave us carte blanche to do anything we wanted on the dance floor.

Today I am splurging and taking Kyle and I to high afternoon tea, which is something I love love love to do in general, and would love to do again in the ultimate tea city (well I guess the ultimate western tea city).

Otherwise, I have a few more pictures that I uploaded from my phone:

from the roof of my hostel in Jerusalem:

The Flying Jew! - some guy trying to hop over the river of rain water flowing through the city
Ancient cemetary in Tzfat

Me waiting in the rain for the bus from Tzfat to Tel Aviv
One of the open flea market shops in Jaffa-- so cool!

A blurry picture of Kyle and I at the Salsa club last night

Saturday, November 7, 2009

other things.

I have not done much today or yesterday in London, though I am thinking of going to Kew Gardens to catch the end of some fall foliage and stuff. And Kyle is coming back from his extravaganza in Italy today so I will be able to bother him some more in a mere couple of hours.

Hostel last night was fine. Realized after I bought a small carton ( haha) of cheap wine that the hostel had a bar in it- so you were not supposed to bring your own in- but I poured some in a mug and had it with the tortellini I made for dinner last night anyways. Very classy.

In process of re-arranging my tickets in a way that is both ecconomical and worth my time. Will keep you updated.

Thought I would write a bit about Israel airport security in the meantime to sort of add some detail to the last entry of my sick journey back to home base.

For some reason I don't remember this about last time- maybe it was because I was on birthright- but Israel airport security is really really intense.

I did not get the memo that you are supposed to get there three hours ahead in Israel instead of two- and apparently the 2 1/2 hours I got there ahead did not cut it.

I waited in line forever, until they realized what flight I was on and "rushed" me ahead. After examining ym passport, they asked me repeatedly why I had visited the primarily Muslim country of Morrocco- and then proceeded to lead me over to another station where they dumped out my entire purse, and opened up all of my bags and un packed most of them, as well as scanned my phone. They also took me into another room and had me go through a separate human scanner thing. The whole thing was pretty intense, especially when you feel like you are going to fall over from fever and fatigue. Good thing they were not on swine flu watch as well. because they probably would have detained me thinking that I had it.

In places like Morrocco and Libya they do take your temperature often- sometimes with a little laser gun thing that they shoot at your forehead, or with like an x-ray heat machine. I would have been screwed.

Anyways-- that is my story for now- for lack of nothing else to update you on. :)

More to come!