Tuesday, 29 July 2008

UZBEKISTAN - My Return

The Countdown is On... 2 weeks to go until I fly out again and leave my friends and family in New Zealand!

Oh gosh, I'm getting a little anxious about my impending return to Uzbekistan. I came away in June with a huge shopping list of essential items (yeah right... just stuff that will make living there a little nicer :-)that I wanted to take back with me. I'm almost through my list...
  • lots of skin moisturiser (the climate there is harsh on my skin)
  • a cheese grater
  • chapstick
  • hair product (yes they have this but I can't read what it is that I'm putting on my hair)
  • a new hairstyle :-)
  • gumboots (they'll be fab in the winter with all that melting snow outside my apartment)
  • 2 x warm hats and gloves
  • itouch loaded with songs and tv programs (this will help with entertainment rather than BBC World News)
  • clothes, clothes, clothes
  • Maggi sachets of pretty much everything
  • 4 ingredient cookbook (every recipe has just 4 ingredients! how cool is this. Should make shopping at the bazaar much easier)
All that's left now is to find a plug that will fit my sink (universal plugs are not universal) and to pick up some alcohol duty free on my way to India... oh and enjoy a few more seafood dishes before I return to Uzbekistan - one of only 2 countries in the world that are doubly landlocked.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

AUSTRALIA - Noosa, Queensland

Up to Noosa, Queensland, Australia

I've spent 2 and half weeks traveling around the southern east coast of Australia, visiting with friends and seeing the sights. My previous post tells of my adventures in Sydney with my stepbrother and his family. Next, I caught the train to Goulburn, NSW and spent 3 nights with a friend who I had met on a tour of Ireland and Scotland in 2002. We had a fabulous time visiting her family farm. The sky was so huge out here and dark clouds loomed. Some of my favourite photos come from watching the landscape our here - beautiful rolling hills and trees with white trunks. We traveled down to Canberra and visited the many government sites. Canberra is an unusual city. It has many beautiful parks but is so spread out that it seems to be lacking soul. I think a cyclist would be in their element here as it was fairly flat and had great avenues to ride down. I flew to Melbourne and met with 2 friends, Chris and Walt. I taught with Chris in North Carolina and kept in touch when we both moved to Colorado. I was spoilt rotten and given a grand tour of the Great Ocean Road and marvelled at the 12 Apostles and the golden sand beaches. We also went east to Phillip Island and watched the Fairy Penguins come ashore after sunset. I am now 'home' at my parents house in Noosa, Queensland and am looking forward to 3 more weeks of adventure :-)

Thursday, 3 July 2008

AUSTRALIA - Sydney

GIDDAY FROM SYDNEY!

After a wonderful yet eventful 2 weeks in Auckland, I flew out to Sydney, Australia on the 1st July. My wee niece and her Mum met me at the airport with a flower and a colourful sign. I got lots of hugs and we spent the afternoon chatting away. I hadn't met them before but immediately felt like I was part of something - a family!
Yesterday my step-brother took the day off work and the 3 of us caught the ferry from Manly into Sydney. It was about a 30 minute journey up the harbour and it was so amazing to see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The wind blew so strong that the waves had white caps and the salty spray covered my glasses. I have missed the ocean so much living in Uzbekistan. I felt so alive with the wind blowing in my hair :-)
We walked around The Rocks to the Opera House steps and then up through the Botanical Gardens. Here there were thousands of Flying Foxes hanging from the trees. They looked rather spooky and was a little worried about poop falling on me! We went through the NSW Art Gallery and looked at the aboriginal art. We had a lovely lunch there on the balcony overlooking the harbour. Next we walked down Elizabeth Street and cut through the city to go down to China Town and Darling Harbour. I was so surprised with so many people around and how vibrant the downtown area was.