alilou's Adventures in Wonderland - Rarotonga, Oz, Vietnam

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by alilou, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Simone411

    Simone411 aka IceSkate98

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    7,131
    alilou, thank you so much for sharing all the beautiful photos from your travels. I love what you've accomplished with photoshop. Truly amazing!
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  2. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    Thank you all. Photoshop has truly been a discovery for me. So much fun. And it's just the beginning. I did 3 yesterday that I think are better than most of those I put on the blog. I think my favorite on the blog is the one of the flower bud.
    Today is cleaning day as our friend, whose house we are staying in, arrives back tomorrow. So busy busy all day.
    Then only 4 days til we leave :biggrinbo

    (Simone I've been following your story. Bowled over by your courage! :rockstar: )
  3. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    I have a new blog post ready - the last one from Vancouver. More musings on our nomadic life, "housekeeping", visiting with family, and more (better!) digital art.

    We left Vancouver at 3pm on Wednesday Sept 12. Thirteen and a half hours to Hong Kong, 2 hour layover, 9 hours to Sydney, 4 1/2 hour layover, one hour to Canberra. We arrived at about 3pm on Sept 14th. It didn't actually take 48 hours, but it felt like it.

    It's good to be on the road again. I will watch the FS season online, and will be back in Vancouver for exactly the dates of Worlds! :cheer2:
  4. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    16,756
    WOW!!! Thanks for the update Alilou! :cheer2:
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  5. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,698
    Thanks for sharing your continuing adventure - and the photos/art that bring it vividly to life.
    The serendipity in your daily life seems an example of "All Things Work Together For Good"...
    You are blessed to be aware of that.
    Enjoy!
  6. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    Thanks Buzz and skatesindreams. BTW do you really? Skate in your dreams? I never have though I did dream about Andrew Poje once :lol:

    Ah yes, the serendipity. It's amazing. There seems to be a kind of domino effect. The more we feel blessed, the more we feel blessed, the more we are blessed. Practicing gratitude is a powerful thing. It took me years, most of my life in fact, to really get it. When I was younger I didn't feel blessed, even though I was. I couldn't get it. I was a bit of a victim in life, and would complain a lot. The biggest blessing for me is that somehow I learned to feel gratitude for all I have, and to give thanks for it. And so it goes. The more you feel blessed, the more you feel blessed, the more you are blessed - because you see life that way, and serendipity seems to arise as a by-product of that. And yes I agree with you - here in my Mary Poppins/Pollyanna world - that "All Things Work For Good".

    (I bet there's a few FSUers who want to get our the gag smilie at this point. Oh well. :shrug: )
    victorskid and (deleted member) like this.
  7. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    A new blog post is ready :cheer:

    If you've ever wondered what we carry in our luggage this is the post for you :yikes:

    Also some pictures of Canberra, Australia
    and some more digital art (can't seem to stop :))
  8. pingu

    pingu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,364
    Wow, nature is SO different in Australia!!! I am always amazed at how landscapes change as you change country :)
    halffull and (deleted member) like this.
  9. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    12,791
    You make me miss Canberra!
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  10. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    17,485
    Love the picture of the bearded dragon! We had one come in at the animal shelter about six months ago....it was wandering around in someone's back yard - I guess it escaped from its home or was left behind from a move. The people who caught it brought it to the shelter in their toddler's toy stroller :lol: It was nice to see a picture of one in its natural habitat.
  11. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,698
    Thanks for the introduction to wattle blossoms!
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  12. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    I love love love the Australian landscape. I suppose because I grew up here. It's in my bones. But certainly there is beauty its equal wherever you go in the world. One of my favourite memories of absolutely breathtaking landscape is the Swiss Alps (Grindelwald) :inavoid: and Tuscany of course :swoon:

    (((Angelskates))) I know. It's such a unique, and beautiful city. Did you ever get to Floriade? Next blog post will be about that.

    You had a bearded dragon in a shelter in BC?! :eek: A long way from home.
    Oh aren't they spectacular! I haven't been in Canberra for wattle blossom season for 14 years! I'd forgotten about them. I was thrilled to rediscover them.
    Buzz and (deleted member) like this.
  13. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    There's a new blog post ready.

    Kangaroos and kookaburras :cheer:

    Floriade :inavoid:

    An a bit about what a strange and wonderful city Canberra is.
  14. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    16,756
    Thanks again. The photos are as always gorgeous! :respec:
  15. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    Thanks Buzz :)
  16. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    Hello again all your lurkers :)

    A new blog post is ready. A little about Don's whining :lol: and some more photos of beautiful Canberra in the spring time.

    We are in Delhi and have no words (yet) for the wonder that it is. We are absolutely loving it and have not enough hours in the day for all there is to do and see. So exciting - so several posts on India to come.

    In the mean time - the final post on beautiful Canberra is available.

    So much skating, so little time :( I've hardly had time to keep up with the board and feel I'm missing lots of good discussion, but manage to read a little each day. Love V&M's FD and thrilled with the generally good reception. That's all I have time to say about skating :cheer:
  17. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    16,756
    Thanks again and look forward to your new India posts! :cheer2: Oh BTW I keep forgetting to mention that I love the new look of your blog. :respec:
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  18. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,772
    Interesting thoughts from Don about the mind complaining and tendencies to unhappiness. In my experience, travel has its own kind of pressure because we believe that we should be up, and positive, and excited all the time because we are in this beautiful place or having this exciting adventure. However, people can have down days and bad moments and feel generally whiny nonetheless. We're not programmed to behave certain ways in certain situations. And the nomadic traveling life has its own lacks and challenges, just as the routine settled life has.

    One of my favourite maxims, spoken to me during the time when I was wandering the world and found myself feeling like a prisoner in Tokyo, was: Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. ;)

    I found loads of wisdom in reflecting on that - still do.
  19. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    Thanks again Buzz. India is AAAAAAmazing! We have fallen in love with Delhi - every day something new and interesting and soul nourishing.

    Yes yes Japanfan I know exactly what you mean about taking your baggage with you. Wherever you go, there you are - all of you. We thought a lot about this when we were selling our apartment and all our stuff and getting ready to set out on this journey. We were so aware that however we are that's how we will experience wherever we go, and we did a lot of letting go - of old ways of being, of expectations, of desires, and certainly dramatically redefined our "needs" before we set out. Still, it doesn't mean we never have down days, though they have all certainly disappeared since we've arrived in Delhi. Each day we set out with open-hearted excitement and are rewarded with a feast for the senses and the heart.
  20. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    And the first post about the madness that is Delhi is ready. This city is almost beyond description - it's huge and dirty and dusty and industrious and crowded and pushy and noisy and friendly. People are approachable and helpful and gracious, and pushy and persistent and will tell you whatever they think you want to hear, and love to have their photo taken and laugh and smile and ask where we're from.

    And crowded. Did I say crowded? We got the metro at rush hour and I experienced a whole new level of intimacy with strangers than I ever have before :lol: - literally squished in like sardines.
  21. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,698
    I'm catching up!
    As always, your "adventures"; and the photos/photoshopping that accompany them. are "mind-blowing"

    May you continue; safe and happy on the journey.

    The irises of Canberra were glorious!
    We don't see those in FL.
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  22. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    Thanks skatesindreams. Yes, those irises, just glorious. And now we're in grotty Delhi :)
    It's so fascinating here, so much to see and do, but alas we head off today - by train to Ramthambore, a national wildlife park. We may see tigers - if we're very lucky :cheer:
  23. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    2,684
    alilou, Don looks great in his Indian costume. Did you get yourself a sari?
  24. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    No I didn't get a sari (way too much cloth to carry around, and I've always imagined they'd be very hot), but I was loaned, at the entrance to the main Delhi mosque, a long robe to wear. There will be very funny photos of Julie and myself in our robes in a future post.

    Meanwhile the next post has been published - about an exploration through the rabbit warren of narrow streets and lane ways of Old Delhi, and a magical Sufi evening at the tomb of the great Sufi saint Nizamuddin. So much fun, except for the smog. Smog beyond belief - apparently the worst Delhi has ever had and the longer we stayed the worse it got. Certainly the worst smog I've ever experienced. But worth it. Delhi is an extraordinary city.

    COR - haven't seen any of it - internet speed not fast enough to watch videos, but have read most PBP. Patrick :cheer2: V&M :cheer2:
  25. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    16,756
    "Rabbit warren?!" :COP:

    I guess India has some quite well off street vendors. :wideeyes:
  26. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,698
    Thanks for providing a perspective about the "teeming masses" that's very different from what "Westerners" commonly have/receive.
    That visit to the mosque/celebration sounded fascinating.
  27. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,772
    Fascinating stuff, alilou. Great pictures!!

    And now that I've enjoyed India from my office chair, I'll :slinkaway to bed with my dog and new kitten and a very good book, and enjoy the peaceful end of a day that in comparison, seems awfully dull.
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  28. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    No kidding. Opened my eyes as well. Did you figure out rabbit warren? :)

    There's no doubt there's many people in poverty here, but those who you'd think are just scraping out a living are apparently doing very well thank you. Also in Jaipur yesterday we were driven through a very poor part of town and our driver told us it was where the so-called "untouchables" live, most of whom are also making a good living - because they get all the govt jobs that no-one else wants (cleaning, garbage collection etc) plus free medical, and some other thing free - can't remember what at the moment, maybe power, or education or both, or s'thing like that. They're not rolling in it, they just making a reasonable living like people with the same kinds of jobs in the west.

    It's a hard life but someone's gotta do it :lol: However since being in India (2 weeks now) Julie's had a cold and tummy troubles twice, Don once, I sprained the side of my foot yesterday on uneven sidewalk and have had a bad cold/conjestion for a week, and Robbie has also had a cold. But we soldier on - heads high, noses running (we blame the Delhi smog!), limping our way to greatness :respec: Today we go to the monkey temple in Jaipur. It's a 15 minute walk to get there. I don't care. I took a large dose of anti-inflamitories and will go anyway.
    New kitten :swoon: I would be a complete puddle. What have you called it?
  29. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    The next blog post is ready - Delhi - part three. Yes the stories of Delhi continue. It is such a huge, and amazing city with so much to see and do.

    The blog has been nominated for two blog awards! :cheer:
  30. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,772
    We've named him Leo because it is his sign. I was hoping to get a Virgo baby and have the option of naming him or her Virgo, but the universe conspired for me to choose the rather unoriginal name of Leo. However he is a Leo - fearless, gregarious and emotionally vocal. And he's going to be a monster cat so Leo the Lion fits. He is as big at three months as our last petite female cat was full grown.

    Sometimes I'm a puddle, providing that he isn't biting me, digging yet even more into my now very-scratched office chairs, pressing the answering machine buttons (could be a message for kitty, who knows?), trying to steal my dinner, or looking for something hanging low enough in the closet to climb up.

    But playing toss the cat is so much fun!!

    Enjoyed your last blog post as always. I don't think India is for me. Just reading your posts makes me long for peaceful and tranquil settings.
  31. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    Yeah India is a trip, that's for sure. It certainly takes a certain amount of tolerance - for crowds and for dirt. At the same time it's so vibrant, and exotic, and friendly.

    Leo sounds adorable :swoon: inspite of the answering machine and office chairs, etc
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  32. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    2,684
    Congrats on the awards. Tell us more. Love your pictures capturing the essence and culture of the various places.
    Hope you all are feeling better from the smog and discomfort. I heard we have to be careful of what we eat.
    I am going to India - Trivandrum, Poovar Island and Cochin in January. :cheer2:
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  33. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,698
    I'n so happy that your extraordinary blog is (and the two of you are) receiving the recognition you deserve.
    What's next...perhaps, a book?
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  34. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    .

    Thanks spikydurian. Next blog post will be about one of the awards. Feeling better from the smog - it was pretty brutal, but Delhi was really worth it.

    You're coming to India! That's great news. :cheer2: It's an amazing country. Here's some rules:
    Never never drink the water. Never. Not even for teeth cleaning. Bottled water is readily available.
    Really try to avoid eating meat. We've been eating chicken, and had mutton once and we've been OK, but it's really better not to eat any meat.
    Lassi (yogurt drink) is yummy but a total crapshoot as to whether it will be safe or not. Same applies to ice-cream and milk. Tea and coffee are usually served with hot milk so it's ok. Butter and cheese seem to be ok.
    Eat only cooked food. Raw fruits and vegetables are the worst for carrying the usual gastrointestinal bugs. Currently we're staying in a hotel where they guarantee all fruits and vegs are washed in "mineral water" (meaning safe bottled water) so for the first time since we got to India nearly 4 weeks ago we're eating salads and fruit. Heaven.
    Bring hand sanitizer (either antiseptic liquid, or wet wipes) and use it often. I think it's saved us many times.

    If you're staying in 4 or 5 star hotels you'll probably be fine.

    I've never been to any of the places you mention. It's a huge country, and the longer I'm here the more I find out about other places I'd like to see. I hope you have a fabulous trip :cheer2:

    Thanks skatesindreams. The awards are pay-it-forward awards for and by bloggers. I was surprised and excited to be chosen. Next blog post will be about one of the awards.

    And yes, a book is planned. We began writing it while we were house sitting in Canberra before we came to India. We probably won't get back to it until next April/May when we'll be staying put for 2 or 3 months in Mexico.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  35. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    The next blog post is ready, the final one about Delhi - Another walk around Old Delhi, the mosque, and the madness of Sarojini Market.

    Direct link to Delhi post
    http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/india-part-4-delhi/

    and a post about the Liebster Blog Award - link is same as in my sig line.

    We're in Pushkar at the camel fair - spectacular!

    Next blog post I will finally get past Delhi :lol:
  36. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,698
    I can see why you've been fascinated by Delhi.
    It seems a "world in itself"!
  37. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    Finally getting back to reply to this. We've been in the Rajasthan town of Pushkar for the past 9 days for a huge annual livestock fair. Never seen so many camels all in one place before. And a side show, and camel decorating contest, and camel and horse races, and a whole lot more - absolutely spectacular.
    Thanks as always for your interest and comments.
    Yes Delhi really is a "world in itself". I never thought I would go to a city like Delhi, but I'm so glad I did. :respec:
  38. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,772
    I'd find the dietary limitations a source of great misery and be complaining constantly. I remember being in The Philippines, where the only coffee that was usually available was Instant Nescafe and there was virtually no cheese. Velveeta cheese was available in the expensive supermarkets and that was about it, but it was divine after weeks without cheese. I was way more flexible back in those days I guess.

    I don't think I could travel anywhere again without access to good, dark roasted expresso coffee. Perhaps the Middle East, if they drink that thick Turkish coffee I came to love when I lived in Greece. Even in North America I bring along my coffee and a coffee maker of some sort or another when I travel. It was easier before the invention of automatic coffee makers with tea-bag type filter that contain pre-packed coffee.

    What are you doing for sweets (key lime pie and giant cookies and such). Are the sweetmeats okay?
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  39. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    16,756
    Alliou have you picked up much Hindi yet?
  40. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Messages:
    3,975
    Oh I do know what you mean about having your favourite things everyday, like being able to have your coffee the way you like it. You'd die in India - they haven't got a clue about coffee. Fortunately for me I love tea, meaning good English style black tea with milk and sugar. It is easy to get in India, everywhere. Also chai of course, which is a lightly spiced version of the same thing, so I'm extremely happy that way. I can always get a good hot cup of strong tea first thing in the morning. Keeps me human.

    I'm actually enjoying Indian food, even though I usually don't like spicy. There's such subtlety of flavour, and chicken tikka cooked in real clay ovens the way they have for hundreds of years is amazing. You'll never get really good Indian food anywhere else but in India I think. Surprisingly I'm enjoying it more than Italian food.

    Still, the 9 days in Pushkar where we ate western every day was a very welcome change back to the familiar for all of us.

    Sweets? Yes, I know you know I love my desserts :) well I pretty much just do without here, except we have been eating ice-cream which keeps me happy enough as far as dessert is concerned. There is absolutely no comparison with Italian ice-cream, but it is cold and creamy and good enough. If only I could finish my Indian meal with Italian Ice-cream. Now that would be really good.

    Don't come to India for the cheese. Enough said. :D

    I know 4 words in Hindi
    curiously I picked up the word for mosque just today - our driver didn't speak much English but we'd told him we wanted to see a mosque and after driving a little way he stopped in the parking area of a hotel and said parking for dargah. I remembered that the mosque in Delhi was called a dargah and put the two together.
    Namaste - a universal greeting of acknowledgement and respect towards another. It literally means "the God in me recognises the God in you" - almost always said with hands in prayer position.
    Ram ram (pronounced rum rum) - a general greeting, probably used a little more than namaste. Namaste seems to be a little more formal, and of course, more universally known. We always get more reaction, and it's almost always one of delight, when we say ram ram.
    Danyavad - I've spelled this phonetically, as best I can figure it out. It means thank you. A good word to have.

    That's the extent of my Hindi.

    In about 10 days we will be in Thailand. I will learn the words for please, thank you, hello, and good bye in Thai. These words are always useful.

    OMG I just went to part of an Indian wedding! I wrote all the above about 2 hours ago, and was about to post it when Julie suddenly knocked on my door and said Alison, Alison, you've got to come quick, there's a wedding procession. And we got to join in. It was amazing! Will blog about it eventually. It's midnight and we're getting up at 6am to go see the Taj Mahal. Need sleep, but too wired :cheer: