Thursday, December 26, 2013

Australian white cockatoos

I'm in Perth again for the holidays. I went for a lovely morning walk around the Canning River and found these Cockatoos playing in a puddle.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Diwali in Auckland

I was lucky today, I stumbled across the Diwali festival in Auckland. The aromas of food, the sound of thumping music, the cheering dancing crowds, all made for an atmosphere of pure delight. As you can see from the fellow below, the crowds really got involved.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Paris in colour - Yellow

While I was away I decided to capture colours.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I am always amazed by talent. I am drawn to it. Today's post is a medley of images I was drawn to on my travels of people capturing the moment, interpreting the moment, reliving the moment.

We don't need to be anchored in the mundane, there is always interpretation.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bangkok - What ever day

 I have been in Bangkok attending the ICET conference where we partnered with ICET to produce some EDtalks videos of international education research, and I also had the opportunity to present my Masters research paper. The conference was held at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University and we asked if they had a space we could use to film the EDtalks. Well they gave us a huge studio complete with a studio crew! Once they set up the lights for us, they realised we were fine to keep working on our own for the rest of the time.

Our "small" studio

I was staying outside of Bangkok at the Novotel Hotel in the Impact arena complex at Muang Thong Thani which was about a 45 minute cab ride into the city of Bangkok (which only cost about $20). It was a very strange place. There was a car show on and young girls dressed up like manga cartoon characters draping themselves over the cars. On another day there was a dog show on and all of these dogs were running around dressed up in much the same costumes as the manga cartoon girls. On the day I left there was a racing car show, soccer game, and Bosch tool convention starting, so the range of people and sights were astounding.

All around the complex there were high rise apartment buildings which were numbered. The area we were in wasn't heavily populated so I wondered where all the people were who were in these apartments.

There is a real mix between the high tech and traditional.

On the last day I went into Bangkok to Pratunam market. The market is across the road from some huge high end shopping malls which are at the intersection of what seems like three levels of major roads, the skytrain and pedestrian crossings. It is chaos. On the very corner is a busy place of worship where people were lighting incense, chanting, praying, laying flowers. It was hot, steamy, noisy, smokey ... I stood there in wonder of it all.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 1 - Bangkok

Today we had a day of sight seeing in Bangkok before the week of work at the conference starts. It was a rather mixed bag of the day. To start with we went to see the number 1 item suggested in the guide book - The Grand Palace. It seemed like all the other tourists were working from the same book. It was quite grand and palatial. The colours were amazing, jewelled buildings, golden statues and animal gods and gold leafed wall murals. The most precious part of the monastery is the Emerald Buddha which sits proudly at the top of an alter in a prayer room where pilgrims were taking the time to spend a moment in contemplation.

One of the more sedate buildings in the grand palace compound

A small element from one of the massive wall murals that lined the building walls

An unusual statue that stood out because of its lack of adornment

Gold leafed idols
The next phase in our day was to go to the MBK which is a large shopping centre. It was a bustling crowded affair and we walked into a shop that resembled a department store until we realised that once again bartering was expected. This was a bit much for me, I longed for the days of well thought out solid prices that you could complain about because you knew you were being ripped off.

We came out of the shopping centre (which was number 10 in the guide book) straight into the middle of an anti corruption protest. We could hear all this singing and chanting and wondered what on earth was going on. The square below us filled up with people wearing white masks, and they slowly filled the space around us as well. The police were on one side of the road keeping a close eye.

Luckily the police watched and the protest was 'peaceful'

That was an exciting first day - temple worship - shopping - political protest!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hong Kong - Day 3

Today I went to see the Tian Tan Buddha statue which is 34 m tall and faces North to China. you reach the statue by Gondola

It was amazing to see the statue as we came over the hills, it truly is huge. 

You walk through an historic fishing village (which has been turned into a tourist hotspot complete with a Starbucks) and then reach the Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery. There are 268 steps to the top where you get 360 degree views.

statues sit at the base of the Buddha, this is where I show my lack of knowledge of the religion. They are obviously offering him things of worth. 

After exploring the Buddha I went for a walk along the 'Wisdom Trail'. It was such a refreshing change to walk through the quiet forest listening to the bird song. There were huge butterflies all the way along, some with vibrant blue backs. At the end of the Wisdom Trail there is a maze of posts to walk through, which obviously have some significance.

It was such an enjoyable day to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and to see a lot more of the Hong Kong countryside. It was so warm, I even succumbed and bought an umbrella to keep myself shaded.

Well that is the end of my Hong Kong adventure. Next stop ... Bangkok.

  whwhich is 34 mic

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hong Kong - Day 2

I wandered from my hotel down to the famous "Ladies Market" which is about 5 min walk away. Things really don't start opening here until after lunch time. The hustle and bustle is incredible, flashing neon signs, noises, cars, people, bartering, and cheap knock off goods. It is an unreal situation which made me a little sad.

In the midst of it all I spotted a primary school. Along the side of the school were listed the values they hold and strive to develop:

In the midst of an environment that seemed so different, it was refreshing to see something so similar.

Hong Kong - Day 1

All the luggage from Elephant and Castle to Heathrow
Jane and I had a hilarious time struggling with our luggage from our station to the airport. There weren't too many steps to drag the cases down, but at one point Jane was sitting on my suitcase in the train when the doors behind her opened and we thought she was going to roll right on out of the train.

Looking to Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon side
The flight from UK to Hong Kong took 11 hours. I watched Hansel and Gretel, Jack Reacher, Identify Theft, and This is 40 on the flight. I won't have to get videos out for the entire year the rate I'm going. So I left UK at lunchtime and arrived in HK at 7:30am, so I lost an evening. When I got to the hotel I couldn't check in until 2pm so I had to walk around for about 6 hours and I had already been awake 24 hours. I wanted to find a nice park to lie under a tree, but that's not really what Kowloon is about. I found the main street and saw that there was water at one end of it - so of course I went in the totally wrong direction. Once adjusting and turning around I wandered for hours until I got down to the avenue of the stars at the end of Nathan Street. It was quite lovely. A stretch of water across which you could see the huge buildings of Hong Kong Island. People were walking along the avenue taking pictures. Everyone had an umbrella to protect themselves from the sun. Not a bad idea since I am now a little pink. 

The walk down to the water took me past soooooo many shops! It is a shopaholics dream and would most probably be my husband's nightmare. The sheer range of items made it so hard to really choose and I am still getting used to the dollar exchange so my wallet stayed relatively shut.
Tourists, umbrellas, and the avenue of the stars
I checked into my room at 2pm and found that my idea of doing nothing but laying by a swimming pool is not what I am going to do for the next few days. The hotel has an indoor pool and it will be serviced during the time of my stay - of course.

But the room is nice and clean and the bed is comfy so I settled down for a nap. I woke up about 8pm and went out to find the Temple Street night markets. There are so many people wandering around that it is perfectly safe to walk the streets at night. 
Temple Street night markets
I didn't have my good camera with me so these are all iphone snaps. The night market is like a huge $2 shop. You are supposed to haggle and I just can't do it. I paid exactly what they asked for when I wanted to purchase something. It seemed so cheap anyway. 

I am finding the language barrier difficult. I have a pass to ride the trains but I am finding it difficult deciphering the signs and maps and so on. I also had a moment where I had one of the hotel staff standing at my door trying to tell me something but she had no English and I had no idea what she was trying to say, even with gestures. It ended with a smile and she left. I wonder what it was all about. This has really brought it back just how much French we pick up in our western lives because the language barrier was not as difficult there, it was much easier to pick out lots of the words. 

Anyway, day one down. I am completely out of sorts but feel very safe and confident. Tomorrow I will try and find the large buddha statue or something like that.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Last day in London

Well the day has come. Our final day to see all that we wanted to see while we were here.

We started with Westminster Abbey. It has amazing history and so many talented and important people buried there, but it is also the place of the last wedding, so of course I imagined that as I walked down the long aisle.

Then Jane and I went separate ways as I went to Tate Modern to indulge myself with Pollock, Mondrian, Picasso and their mates. I then went to the Portrait gallery to see for myself what all the fuss was about the Kate Middleton portrait. It has a rather plain frame and is not hung anywhere very special, it actually looks like an after thought on a wall near the toilets. I didn't realise there were so many Warhols in the portrait gallery though.

Jane and I caught up and went into the National Gallery together and listened to the audio guide about some Reuben paintings which was fascinating, some fabulous works by my favourite, Van Gogh, and some Constable.

We then had a huge dinner at the Sherlock Holmes pub before heading back to our abode.

I thought I would add photos today of things that I particularly noticed and enjoyed while here. One is the very helpful letters on the road telling you which way to look for traffic.

Look Left

The other is the second life we lived while in London, the life that is lived underground.
Life underground
Next stop ... Hong Kong

Monday, June 17, 2013

London - Day 7

Today was a rather quiet day. I went into town at about 10am and went to visit the Royal Mews. I thought there would be horses! But alas, no, there were carriages. It was interesting to see all the carriages that the royalty had been using throughout the years though.

Gold State Coach
The Gold State Coach was built in 1762 and is used for grand state occasions such as coronations.

I then went to the Queen's Gallery where there was an exhibition of fashions through the ages as told through portraiture. It was fascinating. The paintings were a sort of fashion magazine of their time, it was how the fashions were circulated throughout the realm. There was even a Rembrandt. Fancy a Rembrandt painting being used as a way to demonstrate the latest in fashion!

Millennium Bridge
The day became very nice by the afternoon and I went for a walk along the Southbank. People were strolling and meeting, and sitting and drinking, and even sitting on the banks of the Thames (ewww I don't think I would sit in that sand, considering the colour of the Thames and the aromas that arise every so often!) But it was a lovely way to end the day. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Aldershot - Day 6

Today I went out to visit my brother's grave in Aldershot, the town where I lived until I was 3 years old.

The story goes like this. About 4 or 5 years ago, mum and I were talking about Colin, her first child who died of cot death, 16 days old. She was telling me about where he was buried and why she chose that location. We got out Google Maps and mum showed me on the map exactly where the cemetery was. It is located next to a railway line she said so that he could enjoy the sound of the trains.

Google map image of where Colin's grave is located
She told me how the children's graves were separated from the adult graves and were in a lovely quiet spot lined with trees.
From the entrance looking towards the grave (circled)
Looking from the grave towards the entrance
It truly is a beautiful spot.

So the opportunity came three years ago for me to visit the grave site. I jumped on a train from London to Aldershot and followed mum's directions as she had given them to me on Google. And just like that I had gone from her lounge room in Perth, Western Australia looking at the grave on the Internet, to standing in front of it.

I never thought I would get the opportunity to visit again, however, never say never. Last time I tried quite badly to clean the grave, this time I went prepared. I bought some cleaner and even managed to buy some flowers this time (Sorry mum, couldn't find any daffodils so I bought daffodil coloured roses).

I squirted cleaning liquid over and over, I scrubbed and scrubbed, and I wished for a tap and bucket to be able to wash off the grime that I was cleaning. And on cue, the heavens opened and a summer rain shower washed down the grave for me (and me in the process!).

Colin's grave as I found it

After a good scrub and God's rinsing
As I was working I had a little chat with my bro. It was strange I was thinking that for mum, he will always be that little baby that she held in her arms for too brief a time. However for me, as I chatted to him, he was a 46 year old man. A man who would have been, if life was different. I talked to him about how if he had lived, I would not be here and it made me think that I am living a life of privilege, I am living it for him too. Because he didn't get to live, I did.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

London - Day 5

We had a very slow start today. I couldn't get to sleep until about 1:30am and then someone rang at 3am. I don't know who because I was very tired and turned off the phone. Soooooo ... we left home about 10:30am heading for the iconic shops - Liberty, Harrods, Carnaby Lane. Following that we walked to the Royal Albert Hall where Jane went to have a look around and I had a lovely snooze under a tree in Hyde Park. The sun eventually came out which was wonderful and we went for a walk through hyde park to find Princess Diana's water slidey memorial water thingy (that's the official term).

So cute!
 We walked from Hyde Park to find Westminister Abbey but instead found that it was past 4pm and everything was closed! So we found a pub instead and tried a Pimms.

Big Ben near Westminster Abbey
 At the pub it occurred to me to try and find some Babycham, which is, apparently, a beverage that my name was derived from. And I found some! In Tescos!

The Babycham Bambi

Friday, June 14, 2013

London - Day 4

London Panorama with the Thames to the right and the gherkin to the left

London is grey and the Thames is brown. I suppose this is colourful summer weather? This is a panorama taken on the ipad and stitched in photoshop from the very top of St Paul's cathedral, about 365 feet high.

We then continued our day with a tour of the Globe Theatre and a tour of the Tower of London with the very entertaining @billybeefeater.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

London - Day 3

Today was a day of experiences. Our first outing of the day was for tea at the Ritz.

Tea at the Ritz
 As I said to Jane, this was the most expensive cheese sandwich I have ever had. It was quite an experience - sandwiches (including cucumber of course), scones, and little cakes. Huge pots of tea in very heavy silver pots and attentive waiters smiling and asking you constantly if you are okay. A pianist was playing away and at times I heard air supply! By the time we left I was bouncing on my seat from the sugar rush, I should not eat that much cake!

The Globe Theatre
We then walked around to the Globe Theatre and managed to get tickets to the sold out show - A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was fabulous. I felt like I was transported to another world. Here we were sitting on hard wooden benches while the space between us and the stage was full of people who stood for a 3 hour performance. The story was farcical, the actors were superb and the sky was grey and wintery (because of course it is summer). It was an incredible experience that so far has to be the highlight of my time in London.

We finished the day with dinner at the local - The Ship, where once again we had an Australian barkeep (our second).