“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ngapali Beach

I just got back from 5 glorious days at the beach. I went by myself, which it seems is quite unusual, but when I can't find someone, I don't let that stop me going places!!

Because I was on my own at the beach, and it was for 5 days, I had to overpack (of course). There were the usual Ipod, notebook, etc, but this time I also took 1 book for each day, my sketchbook (which I must say has been untouched for 6 months!), my paints, my Burmese language notes, beading, and even snacks! All this varied entertainment, I must say I was thankful for because other than a very handsome young German guy I met on the first evening (taken, sadly), I spoke to no one save myself for the entire weekend. I used everything and even pined for the bikini I had left behind (what can I say--the 5 I did take weren't quite right for what I wanted).

For the second night I was sandwiched in the middle of a German family. On my right were 4 rambunctious teenage boys. On my left were their middle-aged parents who, how shall I say it, got very, ahem, busy that night. They were loudly sexually active in their moaning, so much so that I wondered if I had been put there as a buffer between them and the "innocents". Honestly, though, they were so loud for so long that there isn't any chance of no knowledge on the kids part. They are sure to be immune to it by now at this stage in their lives!

Other exciting elements to the trip: I had rustling mice and lizards on the rattaan roof above me, separate hot and cold water taps (boiling hot and cold, neither one particularly appealing--I honestly considered making tea with the hot one day, because the power was out so my electric boiler wouldn't work). I had to borrow a romance novel from the next hotel because the 5 ones I had also weren't what I was craving. Taking a side road on my rented bicycle and cursing the deep sand was another amusement. The bike would either veer sideways guaranteeing a spil or stock stock still in the depths. As a good antipodean of Ozone holes, I wore so much sun-block that I truly missed it when I left it in my room one day. 3 or 4 daily swims truly is wonderful, even if the wind was a bit chilly in the mornings and evenings. It was cold enough for a blanket and no fan, even, haha! I lazed a lot, slept till 9am (gasp!) one day and was miffed that they'd run out of papaya. Of course it was full moon and a holiday so the motorbike market trip was on the last morning. Almost a rush. Had some yummy fish tempura--yum--at Royal Beach Motel.

President Carter's book

Was interested to discover that President Carter has written a controversial book about the Middle East... seems there are many opinions about it. Can't decide if I want to read it or not. Most things on the M.E. are biased in some way!

New perspective on Myanmar

Here's a new book about Myanmar for those familiar with its politics. It's by U Thant's grandson (U Thant = Burmese former UN Sec-Gen), and it vastly criticizes The Lady and other pro-sanction perspectives. Am looking forward to reading it and adding it to my collection.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Itinerary for the next while

Today: Grades due, final concert, sigh of relief at last school task
Tomorrow: last full day of school, leg wax??
F 15th: Teacher vs. Girls Soccer team in The Dust Bowl, celebratory lunch, snack shopping, pack!
S 16th: to Ngapali beach (4 days)
F 22nd: parents arrive, glass factory, YIEC, Shwedagon Pagoda, dinner somewhere fancy?
S 23rd: Flight to Inle Lake
M 25th: Flight Inle to Mandalay
T 26th: Flight Mandalay to Bagan
Th 28th Bagan to Yangon
F 29th shopping, Bogjoke market, sunrise at Shwedagon? parents leave--onward Perth, Australia (Hello, Aunty Helen!!)
S 30th/Su 31st I fly to NZ
S 6th Hayley and Stu wedding
W 9th Back to work (2 days late... ooops)

Jan 30-Feb 2 Residential school in Australia. Brisbane, anyone?
Feb 7th My lectures for Uni start
Feb 29-Mar 2 Week Without Walls school trip
March 15ish Model UN trip to Singapore
April - our break--where shall I go, what shall I do??
Summer 07 --USA working for CTY JHU again? Visit Hayley Stu in Colombia? Lounge around and do nothing and make all the 9-5 people jealous?
This is insanely busy, but I love it. Life is short!

This makes news in NZ

Finding a human foot... what a lovely trip to the beach!! Had a house near here once.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December News

Have just updated my blog template--added a whole lot of name links, basically everyone who I have in my favorites (I also updated that today, but of course, lots are missing because most of the time I forget to add pages). Anyway, if your name's not on there, send it to me!!! Can't seem to figure out how to get the alignment right... silly curved corners.... ooops. I probably have to start from scratch.

I am officially enrolled at a local rate for my Uni course in Oz... I begin in February, and I'll be done in November, so next year if you don't hear from me that's why. Oh wait, you never hear from me anyway! Some people think I'm moving to Oz. I'm not (though the Uni paperwork people may believe otherwise-thanks Aunty Helen!!!). I'm doing it over the internet from here (I can hear you all laughing at my miserable mistake. What am I thinking to rely on INTERNET!!!???) Anyway, if you have good education books or links, please send them!

Did I mention I bought a bike? I biked to work today. It takes 35 minutes and is quite bumpy. We went canoeing in Dragon boats last week too--very nice at sunset. What's a dragon boat? Basically a narrow wooden boat that on special occasions they attach a little wooden dragon to the front and back.

To date, I have sold 156 calendars of the Myanmar Calendar I produced for charity... anyone want to buy? $5 or 7000 Kyat. It's exciting to be almost sold out (well, I have passed extras on to others!)

Am starting to think about the summer. What should I do? Should I work? Where? Should I visit friends? Should I visit family? Hmm.... Don't think I'll be doing the dig again, though that was heaps of fun. Central America is calling me, but don't know if that's a good idea considering this degree I'm doing.

Okay, it is now 11.35 and I still have TWO exams to write, so I'd better get on. I've had lots of fun procrastinating today though!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

2 weeks and counting...

... till I am curled up on a deck chair reading under the cool breeze of the Indian Ocean and the warm "winter" sun above Myanmar, looking out over undulating waves of crisp, clear blue water! Only one actual weekend, as this one's now over, but in that time, things will be incredibly busy. Exams to write, then later mark and get the grades in. Ugh. Christmas parties and other birthdays, events, etc! It'll be fun, no doubt about it!

Ngapali beach for 4 days, then the parents arrive, sadly without the bro in tow. We're whirlwinding around Myanmar then I'm hopefully off to NZ for Hayley and Stu's wedding. It'll be on me before I know it! Just discovered I'm also going to be in Brisbane for the end of Jan for a uni school (just a week). Would love to catch up... who's there these days?

Spent around $80 on fabric on Sunday. It seems I've celebrated my decision to stay in Myanmar for another year (our decisions were due on Friday) but jumping right into the tailoring madness. Fun fun fun! 4 dresses already on order. Yay!

Had a yucky night last night--was sick with some unidentifyable Myanmar disorder and was up all night in the loo. It's strange how routine something like that becomes. All in our stride... take my charcoal tablets that a friend got me clued into from Singapore, and my rehydration salts (which, ironically, no pharmacy in America had ever heard of!) and I'm back up and running today (though considerably weaker). Had to miss rugby :( but so it goes.

Well, must go do some work actually writing exams. I have the excuse that my body was healing all day so I didn't do any work, but somehow that won't fly with the kids tomorrow asking exactly what's on the exam when I had the whole weekend. Oooops.

Anyway, happy holidays to all!