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!