travel

Just What Is It About Trees?

20130211-221416.jpg I just have this thing about trees. I don’t know what it is? I just find them fascinating, intriguing and inspirational.

20130211-221614.jpg Maybe it is their ever changing shapes? The twists and often impossible curves of their branches and trunks?

20130211-221752.jpg And from country to country.. Wow.. How do those shapes just keep getting wilder and more crazy? I love how nature can play with a concept such as a tree and create just so many.. So much.. So fabulous!

20130211-222036.jpg From short and stumpy to tall and gracious.. Green and lush to dry and burnt. They all have that ‘tree thing’.

20130211-222423.jpg If ever feeling a bit uninspired a good tree will always spark something, maybe a drawing? A photo? Or just a ponder? I often ponder about what might be living in the tree.. Birds? Insects? People in tree houses? Or in some moods I can imagine elves and pixies and fairies and other such creatures.. I think this comes from my love of Arthur Rackham’s illustrations (which also inspired many of my tattoos).

20130211-222910.jpg I chuckled the other day as I cycled beneath some trees stuffed full of white squabbling parrots/ gallahs settling down to roost for the night! The whole tree just came alive! Reminded me of some of Quentin Blake’s parrot drawings.. They make me smile too!

20130211-223250.jpg Anyway.. This little lot are a few of the weird and wonderful trees that I have encountered over the last few days, whilst exploring Australia.. I wonder what they will inspire?

20130211-223724.jpg Maybe some more drawings like this one, which has gone on to become the cover of a book..

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It’s Early And This Girl Can’t Sleep. So…

I decided to take off on my bike for an early morning cycle round the river.

20130210-113426.jpg The sun had already been up a while but hadn’t had the chance to crank the heat up yet.. Perfect timing for a wee cycle! It’s due to be about 40 degrees today (into the 100s) and delightfully scorchio!

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20130210-113829.jpg I headed to the shore first with some fruit and water I had packed and sat at the tumble down pier to have a bite to eat before my cycle run. Such an awesome way to start the day.

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20130210-114253.jpg I seriously love this place! So beautiful. I love that all the sunshine makes you want to leap out of bed, be outside and get involved.

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20130210-114534.jpg I am gonna be gutted when I have to go home again (not that I don’t love home, I do.. but right now it is just so terribly cold and February) So I plan to enjoy every second I am here!

What Is It About Cockroaches?

I have travelled through many countries, past many creatures, critters and bugs but nothing EVER prepares me for a roach! I was less phased by a Red Back Spider last year! We even went bull ant and snake hunting in the bush cos I was disappointed to have encountered none! But nothing touches these greasy looking.. Durty little.. Beefed up.. thunderbird-Esque.. I’ll just stride out in front of you from under the bed in which you were hoping to rest peacefully in.. Horrid big/little bugs!

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This dude.. Skilfully captured and off outside thank you very much!! *big shudder… Euch*!

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Hey there Mr and Mrs Cockroach… The door to our house is officially closed! *little extra involuntary shudder at the thought of any more invaders.. I swear they watch me when I sleep!*

Exploring New Lands: Let’s See What You Got Dubai

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So yeah, the view from the hotel totally gets the thumbs up for impressive buildings.. But enough of that just now..

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We decided to use Dubai’s new metro system to get us around. Initially a bit daunted (well it is a bit scary navigating public transport in a foreign country sometimes isn’t it.. And a cracking challenge!) but it was super easy! There are only two lines right now.. The red one and a green. For now, there are plans to keep expanding it. But what they have already is fab… And so clean! In fact the whole city was crazy clean! Everything is sparkling and puts my flat to utter shame!

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We only had one day to explore so we headed straight to the old part of town and the harbour. Passing mosques and amazing buildings along the way..

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The river was clean, turquoise blue and a busy thoroughfare, highly utilised by the water taxis. They were lovely simple wooden boats ferrying people from one side of the river to the other. Just taking their time and picking their way through the other boats.

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We continued round the water’s edge and found some of THE most stunning old boats! People clearly lived on them as well as them being cargo boats. I desperately wanted to take some close up shots but their owners and folks around didn’t seem like they liked that idea as much as me. I respected this.. But did get a few shots from further back. Here they are…

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Many of the boats were carrying spices, clearly headed for the nearby spice souk. We followed our noses.. And found sacks of spices and the most amazing colours and aromas!

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We thoroughly enjoyed the sights and smells of the spice souk. I had to stop myself so many times from sticking my hands in the sacks of spices just to experience the textures too. I didn’t. I behaved.

Neighbouring the spice souk was the well known gold souk. Neither of us are fans of gold.. I never wear it but the thought of all that bling in one place was too intriguing!

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And bling we found! LOTS of it! And lots of people leaping out from every angle trying to sell you said bling, as well as bags and shoes and every designer they could remember in one breath, he he! We kept moving!

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There were bundles of coconuts everywhere and little stands where the coconuts had their tops chopped off all ready to drink the milk inside. I seem to remember trying fresh coconut milk before and it was too sweet, so we didn’t have one. Maybe I should have tried again? Maybe next time I have me a coconut encounter I shall!

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Soon it was time to head back to the big fancy new buildings again and find some food. New and old Dubai.. Such a yin and yan! So black and white in its polar opposites. Rather appealing.

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A quick beer before bed in the longest bar in the middle east (apparently) a bar made to look like an old bar, where all the walls were clad in wood panels and the staff wore shirts, braces and bowler hats. I really loved that little quirky touch!

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Morning time.. And all too quickly it’s time to get back on the plane…

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Exploring New Lands: Let’s Go

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How exciting.. Luggage packed in overhead compartment and we are ready to rock! The taking off is my favourite part.. I am such a child (but maybe it’s best never to grow up too much and stop noticing all the exciting little things in life).

We’re off to Dubai. I’ve only ever transferred flights in Dubai.. Never explored the place. Seems such a shame, not to at least have a peek. But I bet most folks do the same.. Just roll on through the airport, half asleep and groggy from travelling.. not even giving it a second thought that they are in a different country, with different customs and some amazing things to see and do!

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However.. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let us just spare a minute to consider this aeroplane ‘milk’ hmmmm…

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And welcome to Dubai!

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Now what to do.. Bit of research and planning me thinks..

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But first things first check out the view!!! Oh my word! That’s a view!! WoW! These buildings are incredible! They are either an architect’s dream.. Or nightmare (or maybe it’s the builder’s nightmare, he he) so many shapes and sizes and structures that look so very very picarious (if that’s how you spell it?). Just fantastic!!