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When It All Begins To Feel Normal!!

In the Beginning

Back in school I was the epitome of nerd, I loved school, was president of the Wildlife club, in choir, participated in the speech and drama festival and if that wasn’t enough was Head Library Prefect/Monitor. In fact, I actually won a trophy for service to the school in my final year. As a result I was bullied and suffered low self esteem. Thinking back most of my fellow classmates, and the teachers too in fact, would most likely have expected me to be married and settled fairly soon after graduating or completing college. After being accepted into the Horticulture program at Natal Technical College it seemed like that was a likely path. However, Fate had other ideas by giving us the opportunity to immigrate to the USA.

Alter Egos

Four years at Oregon State University ended with a 2 month trip to the UK. I believe this was around the time my alter ego began to emerge. For years I had had a plan, to find a good job in the environmental field and… well… save the world… But suddenly I was starting to explore the world… and so my organized responsible side now had a sister, the world wide traveler…. 3 years teaching English in South Korea fed that alter ego with numerous trips around Asia.

My alter ego allowed me to feel free and more confident while abroad and seemed to thrive among different cultures and fascinating history.

On the contrary, my responsible side followed society expectations and parents always feel more comfortable when their kids have a good job and are settled.

However, social situations still made me uncomfortable and my inability to come to terms with my dual personalities constantly made me feel guilty about traveling and yet stressed over not taking the opportunity to explore more.

Sanity

Lucky for me I have a great friend, mentor and fellow traveler. He always seems to be online in my darkest hours, when I feel like a stranger in my “responsible” job, and… when I decide to buy a ticket to somewhere new. (I can help anyone else buy a ticket but when it’s my turn I am completely indecisive). If I owed him a beer for every time he has calmed my fears over letting down my responsible side I would most likely owe him an entire brewery. It is his advice that has kept me sane year after year, and as others have got used to the idea that I don’t necessarily fit any mold and they can live vicariously through me, they too have begun to keep me sane.

When It All Begins To Feel Normal!!

This past year has really been a turning point for me. For years people looked at me as this confident world traveler but inside I remained that bullied library prefect, and my two egos were constantly at odds. But, at the encouragement of amazing friends and my parents, I completed my PADI Dive Instructor course in Thailand last July. The moment I was told I had passed I cried, became weak at the knees, and said “does this finally make me cool??”. I don’t think I had ever realized just how much I had been affected by those long ago bullies, how I still considered myself as always that “nerd who won a trophy for service to the school”… my confidence began to grow…

Then, while at a hostel in Bangkok, fellow travelers, many abroad for the first time, seemed to be drawn to me asking my advice of where to go and what to see, and surprised when they mentioned a destination I had not yet been to… and my confidence grew…

Returning home, I decided to return to the cruise ships for another contract, and instead of feeling embarrassed about working on a cruise ship, a job many would think a joke, I found myself confidently stating the fact, “I am a social hostess on a cruise ship in Europe”. Never once was I faced with a sneer, but rather genuine interest and envy… and my confidence grew…

I am not exactly certain when I came to terms with the fact that travel is who I am, at least for now, when it all just became normal for me and everyone around me… But for now it has… I feel at peace and most importantly confident… that is until I need to pack for this upcoming contract….. 😉

Dedicated to my amazingly patient parents, my phenomenal travel guru mentor and fantastic friends who have believed in me all this time …. I think I may finally have begun believing in myself!!!

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Goodbye, Farewell MSC Fantasia

Another Chapter Closed

After 7 months working as an English Social Hostess on MSC Fantasia I am finally heading home and on to the next adventure, after some well deserved RnR, especially after another bought of bronchitis and what turned out to be a fractured ankle that I continued to work on for the last 2 months.

Misconceptions…

When people ask what I do and I reply “I work on a cruise ship”, they always assume this means that I sit around the pool with a cocktail, especially when I was working in the Caribbean. However, it is nothing like that, sure my job as a Social Hostess or Language Ambassador as I prefer to be called, is a lot less strenuous compared to the bar staff or the housekeepers or the laundry, but it is still on duty 7 days a week for 7 months or more. It always surprises guests when they ask me, “what are your off days?” and I say, “the day after I get home.”

It’s Been a Great 7 months

Once again I loved working in the Mediterranean, so many different cultures, so much history and the most amazing food! I had the option to work in the French Caribbean, which I would have loved if there was a guarantee to get some scuba diving in… since that was highly unlikely, I opted for history and food instead.
Our ports of Call included:

ITALY
Venice – I have now been there over 15 times and only ever seen the cruise port, I hear it is quite beautiful!

Bari – Not much to see in Bari itself except a cool fort and shopping.

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Fort of Bari


However, just outside there is a beautiful cave system that is definitely worth a visit.
Caves of Castellana

Caves of Castellana

Civitevecchia (Port of Rome) – my favorite part of this port was my pizza place, Baffoni’s!! Cafe Latte, wifi, followed by a pizza and cola.

My favorite Vesuvio pizza, spice salami and zucchini

My favorite Vesuvio pizza, spice salami and zucchini


My second favorite Buffalo mozzarella and small tomatoes

My second favorite Buffalo mozzarella and small tomatoes

Genoa – Turn around port always crazy busy, but just sometimes I got to slip away to a tiny local place down a narrow alley with the best ravioli bolognese ever!

CROATIA
Dubrovnik – One of my all time favorite cities, absolutely beautiful. I hope to return and explore all of the Dalmation coast someday.

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View from the city Walls

GREECE
Piraeus (Port of Athens) – the port is really far from town, but on most visits, at least before I injured my foot, we would walk 20 minutes to a little street cafe for the best gyro in town.

Katakolon – A teeny tiny community that is the gateway to the ancient ruins of Olympia. I loved this tiny 2 street town, with amazing food and fantastically friendly people from my guy at the restaurant where I ordered chicken souvlaki, to the coffee guy with the amazing desserts to the shop guy who insisted on always throwing a bag of chips or a drink into all the crew members shopping bags.

mmm Greek Food!

mmm Greek Food!


Dessert and coffee

Dessert and coffee

Heraklion (Island of Crete) – Home of the myth of the Minotaur and another favorite stop, unfortunately the town was a fair distance from the port. My favorite memory was eating an amazing strawberry spinach salad with a good friend!

Mmmm Spinach Strawberry salad!!!

Mmmm Spinach Strawberry salad!!!


Great Friends!!!

Great Friends!!!

Rhodes – In my top 3! History, friendly folks and great food, also lots and lots of cats!!!

my favorite Tomcat

my favorite Tomcat


Street of Knights

Street of Knights

Corfu – Another stop where the town was a fair distance from port, but beautiful all the same.
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Santorini – Built on the edges of a volcanic caldera in the middle of the med, this is the picture postcard stop of Greece!

Santorini is famous for it's white buildings and blue domes

Santorini is famous for it’s white buildings and blue domes

MALTA
Valletta – Top 3!! Original home of the Knights Hospitaller and Templar and a port I could wander around in endlessly, just be sure to take the 1€ elevator vs walking up crucifix hill.

THE ELEVATOR!!!

THE ELEVATOR!!!


Inside St. John's Church

Inside St. John’s Church


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TURKEY
Marmaris – Part of my top 5! Loved this port from my first contract and only got one stop this time! However, my favorite food place was still there along with my favorite jewelry store.

Mixed plate

Mixed plate

Izmir – The area near the port was mainly shopping, although I did find amazing coconut macaroons at a hole in the wall bakery. An hour away you will find the house of the Virgin Mary in a stunningly peaceful valley and the Ruins of Ephesus, some of the most incredible ruins I have ever seen… did I mention there are lots of cats!

Mary's House

Mary’s House


Leave a prayer for the Virgin Mary

Leave a prayer for the Virgin Mary


Kitty of Ephesus

Kitty of Ephesus


Library of Ephesus

Library of Ephesus

SPAIN
Malaga – Churro and Chocolate is all I have to say…

No Words!!!!

No Words!!!!

Barcelona – Gaudi and the inside of the Sagrada Familia!! Absolutely incredible.

Beauty!

Beauty!

Tenerife – Loro Parque, the worlds largest parrot park with numerous other animals and even an Orca show! (I am not a fan of keeping these creatures in captivity, the only, slightly, saving grace is that the park focuses on research and education and some of the orcas were not wild born).

Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet


Orca Show

Orca Show

MOROCCO
Casablanca – The whole reason I opted for this route vs the French Caribbean and, even though I had no idea what to expect, it was unfortunately the biggest disappointment. The port was at least a 20 minute walk from the city through a disgusting agricultural and industrial port, with only… fairly intense taxi drivers as a transport option. Luckily, the city itself, although dirty, had friendly people, great coffee and amazing food. However, other than the mosque and the old market there wasn’t much to see and safety was a concern.

Coffee opposite the old market

Coffee opposite the old market


Carpets and Paintings in the Old Market

Carpets and Paintings in the Old Market


The Mosque from the Cornish Road

The Mosque from the Cornish Road


Tajines cooking

Tajines cooking


Delicious!

Delicious!

If you go to Morocco and the port of Casablanca I recommend the tour to Marrakesh, this is the Morocco we all imagine.

PORTUGAL
Funchal – Top 3!!! Absolutely loved this port, despite the long walk from the port, and would love to visit it again, from the vegetation to the climate to the food everything was great… except maybe that they speak Portuguese (a language that confuses me endlessly as it sounds similar to Spanish and yet I understand nothing).

Eira Do Serrado  reminded me of the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa

Eira Do Serrado reminded me of the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa


Always had coffee and a pastel de nata at my fav coffee shop... love the lady in the background - she is obviously on diet!

Always had coffee and a pastel de nata at my fav coffee shop… love the lady in the background – she is obviously on diet!


Great artwork on the Sea wall as you walk to town

Great artwork on the Sea wall as you walk to town

Not bad for 7 months if you ask me!

Friendships!!

Of course the true reward from these last 7 months were the friends I made from all over the globe!!

Olessia from the Ukraine - my favorite bartender and confident

Olessia from the Ukraine – my favorite bartender


Chiara from Italy, Tour escort and awesome gelato buddy

Chiara from Italy, Tour escort and awesome gelato buddy


Saneliswe and Sandile, my "paisano" bar staff from South Africa

Saneliswe and Sandile, my “paisano” bar staff from South Africa


Angela from Germany, German Hostess and international cuisine tasting buddy

Angela from Germany, German Hostess and international cuisine tasting buddy


Tamsin and Hayley from UK, Dancer and singer, my video and pizza buds!

Tamsin and Hayley from UK, Dancer and singer, my video and pizza buds!


Ivana from Macedonia, Photographer and my crazy happy friend

Ivana from Macedonia, Photographer and my crazy happy friend


Dayan from Spain and Jessica from Italy, GRM and Concierge, we made a great  team

Dayan from Spain and Jessica from Italy, GRM and Concierge, we made a great team


Gleison from Brazil and Martina from Italy, Portuguese Host and Events coordinator, we were the Funchal Ship Visit trio

Gleison from Brazil and Martina from Italy, Portuguese Host and Events coordinator, we were the Funchal Ship Visit trio


Carmen from South Africa, Tour Escort and another amazing Paisano

Carmen from South Africa, Tour Escort and another amazing Paisano


Celine and Loes from the Netherlands, tour escorts and my favorite Dutchies

Celine and Loes from the Netherlands, tour escorts and my favorite Dutchies


And so many more I would be here forever uploading pics. Thanks to all my amazing friends and I hope to see you again soon on new adventures!!!

New Adventures

Now I am off to do something completely different and, logically thinking, completely off the wall. I am moving to Koh Phangan, Thailand to pursue my passion of scuba diving!!! Yup at 37.75 years of age, I am doing something most people would think is completely insane… but I am sure going to have fun doing it!!!

 

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Seoul, Korea – Final Days

Calling Number 2

It was Friday already only 2 days left before I was due to leave Korea. I decided to try call number 2, my second taekwondo master. He was so dubbed by me, because it was easier to tell my mom, number 1 or number 2 and she would know who I was talking about.

When I called he got super nervous and just said:
“Oh Kathy, uh oh uh oh….”

I think I got it across to him that I was leaving on Sunday, but no guarantees.

Meeting the Parks for Lunch

I was meeting Jinsoo, finally, for lunch at his sister’s house. Esther had gone all out with Sam Geup Sal, my favorite version of Korean BBQ. Christine had insisted they go buy all the supplies the day before to have everything perfect for when Jinsoo and I arrived.

Christine with our lunch spread

It was a fantastic lunch and I was so happy to have finally got to see Jinsoo. Afterwards, Esther, Christine and I walked around her neighborhood, running some final errands for me and looking for a glucometer for the animal shelter in Thailand as they suspected they had a diabetic dog.

Unfortunately, all good times come to an end and it was time to say goodbye, I hope to see my wonderful friend again soon!

However, we left on the note of potential work, as Esther is thinking of starting a small hogwan and would need an English teacher… so who knows maybe I will be back sooner than expected.

Picking Up Strangers

When Esther and I had been at the Cat Cafe with her daughter, I got to chatting with a British couple on holiday from Singapore where they lived. We hit it off immediately and chatted about all sorts of things. They asked a lot of questions about my traveling and plans and I was very interested in the project that Kathleen (yup same name) worked with in Cambodia (one of my favorite countries).

We all decided to meet up for a beer Friday night and just managed to connect as they were running late and I decided to wait for just one more subway train. Low and Behold it was the train that they were on.

We had a great evening that started off with being yelled at by a Korean ajuma, older lady. We had gone for a beer in this comfy looking place, but when the lady insisted we order food we decided not to stay, of course the beer had already been poured. So we ended up staying and ordering a couple of very large pitchers and no one bothered us to order food. All rather amusing, but those Ajuma’s are scary!!!

Last Day

My last day in Seoul… kind of bitter sweet. I have been happy to be here, loved all the food (even when it didn’t love me), seeing all the sites and friends and reliving all my memories. But at the same time, as much as I would love to come back, it almost feels like I would be going backwards if I returned.

I spent the morning with Jamie exploring Godeok Dong, my old school’s subway stop, wanted to show her some pillows she had been interested in. We had some kimbap for lunch in the little park.

I was thrilled when I discovered they had my favorite and something I had been dreaming of for years. Mot Nan Ni Kimbap also known as Ugly Kimbap. Instead of the typical California roll style, this one is rather lumped together with rice and meat and flaked salty seaweed and made into balls then rolled in the flaky seaweed. Sooooo yummy, found it hard to concentrate on the serious conversation Jamie and I were having.

Final Friend Meeting

I had got a text message from another friend from OOPS inline skating group. I remembered her but couldn’t quite place her face, until I saw her. It was so good to meet up and we went and sat at my usual coffee place and had a very yummy coffee and vanilla choux pastry.

Photos of Seoul

More Western Style Toilets, for all sizes, With Toilet Paper. No More Hover Loo


Subway Stops Are Now Very Impressive With New Safety Doors


Ko-nglish


Yup, It Is Advertising “Shit Bread”, the exact translation. I am fairly certain it is just in the shape…. some things never change

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Korea, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Roman Reunion

Train Back To Rome

Got the train back to Rome and nearly died of heat. There was no airflow in the car what so ever and it felt like it was over 100F. I had this little old Italian Lady next to me, and when she first sat down I greeted her in Italian, which then launched her into a discussion of life, all in Italian. I nodded and smiled and strangely enough we understood each other in a lot of parts. Just all very bemusing.

Finally making it back to my stop, I took the subway home to Kate’s and napped. Then had dinner with Kate and her friends who had come from the Ukraine (I think). Her crazy roommate, who liked to wear an afro wig to pick up girls, tried to join the party. I was all rather amusing for us to watch.

We went to a little place that was famous for it’s seafood. It looked amazing but I was so exhausted that even the pasta I ordered I just couldn’t finish.

It was a great evening but I fell asleep fairly quickly when we got back to the apartment.

Roman Reunion

I had made contact with Kristin, who I had met in Naples, and turned out she was in Rome, so we planned to meet up. It was a great day and we just walked around and explored a section of Rome I hadn’t seen.

View from up on the hill


Hieroglyphs on Egyptian Obelisk in Roman Square


Kristin and I


Back Streets With Art Markets


Even the Dogs Love the Fountains

We went to go meet Kate and her friends near a huge piazzo with 2 fountains (this got us confused) and flea markets everywhere.


Another Pup taking advantage of the fountain

We finally figured out which fountain we were at and explored the area a bit. The markets were fantastic and I was very tempted to buy a few things, but with no space i opted for just a tshirt.

Guy making insane figures out of carrots!


Music was everywhere


Me taking advantage of the water fountains that are everywhere

Unfortunately Kristin had to head back to the hostel to pack as she was leaving early in the morning as well. I hung out with Kate and her friends a little longer and explored the Panthenon with them. Roman architecture back then was truly spectacular.



Finally it was time to go home and “sleep”. I had to get up at 3am, but with a full house, all staying in the same room, I couldn’t ask them to keep it down. So maybe got a few hours sleep, if I was lucky. But all too soon it was over. I was flying home to the states to see where the future would take me.


I Sure Will Miss The Fountains Of Italy

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Italy, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Germany Bound!

1st December 2011

Security Checks Continue

So my route plan from Kathmandu to Hamburg was extensive: 8am flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi, 4hours layover, New Delhi to Milan, 4hours there, finally, Milan to Hamburg…

After leaving Nepal far behind, we disembarked in New Delhi, India. Quite a fancy airport and it even has sleeping “cocoons” that you can rent if you have a long layover.

Once again we were given bag tags to add to our ever growing collection, I think I will look like a traveling Christmas Tree by the time I am through all of these.

Bag Tag Decorations

Waiting in line I met Hannah, returning to the UK after volunteering in Nepal for a few months. Going through security check number 2 or 3 since arriving at the airport, we had to scan our bags. Her’s was pulled to the side and the good humored guards asked where the little pair of scissors were. She argued stating there were none, but when she unpacked it she found it in a little side pocket. There was much laughter. As mine went through I took out my little pair before they even had a chance to ask, dang it totally forgot about them till Hannah was arguing. We joked that they should open a used scissor shop after work. It was refreshing to find airport security with a sense of humor.

Money Exchanges… Or Not

I had ended up with 2500 Nepali Rupees, totally forgetting to change my money before I left (blaming lack of sleep and emotions). But was certain I could change it into Euros in New Delhi airport or at the very least change it into a currency that would be more workable once I got to Germany. As it turns out there were TWO major issues:

1) Past immigration and security no FOREIGNER could exchange money (only Indian Passport holders). Since transit meant I was already past security meant I had no hope of being able to do this.

It did occur to me to ask an Indian Passport holder to change it for me… until

2) They don’t take Nepali Rupees.

GO FIGURE!!! It was suggested that one of the Duty Free stores might take them, but after about 15 shops both Hannah and I realised there wasn’t much hope. Mmmmm guess it means I just have to go back to Nepal.

People Watching

People watching in airports is one of my favorite pastimes and this was no different. This brought a bemused giggle to my lips:

Reebok Monks

I can barely afford Reeboks and here are 2 monks buying a pair of stylish running shoes in the Duty Free Shop (which is usually twice as expensive).

Jet Airways continued

So far Jet Airways had been pretty decent and I hoped this would continue with the 11hour flight to Milan looming in my near future. After an hour delay it was time to board, then a further 30minute delay we were finally in the air. I was in the middle section on the aisle with an Indian mom and 2 boys. For the most part they were reasonably well behaved, but there was the occasional elbow in the ribs when they weren’t concentrating. Luckily Jet outdid themselves with individual entertainment units, great service and decent food. I think I even managed a bit of shut eye, which is rare for me unless I have a row to myself.

Arrival Milan Airport

Finally landing in Milan and feeling decidedly travel worn already, I wandered through the airport towards my gate, which was on the far end. On the way I thought it wise to draw some Euros, but at that precise moment could not remember if Italy used them or not. I asked at one of the duty free shops and after a bit of confusion with translation I got my question across and the fact that I was brain dead at that moment. We all laughed and they pointed me in the direction of an ATM. Of course it was all in Italian without the option of English (if there was one it was probably asking in Italian if you wanted English). Oh well, it was a good thought.

Went through another security check and finally found my gate, I literally think it was at the end of the airport. Another hour long delay so I decided to buy some internet time just to let all those who needed to know that I had made it this far.

The plane was almost empty and I just hung back to board up hoping to get a front row to sleep. Thank karma I did, the attendant too one look at me and didn’t argue, pointing me to the second row. I think I was out for the count before the plane even left the ground. I woke up just before we landed and before my eyes were even in focus the attendant was offering me the snack and juice I had missed at the beginning. I love good service and was very appreciative of this.

REUNION!

Germany was not just a country of random choosing like most of the others. At the very beginning of my trip, in my first country, I had met an awesome girl by the name of Cathleen in Aguas Calientes. You can read about that in my entry “Aguas Calientes Day 13”. We had always joked about me visiting her on my way home but never really thought I would get the chance to. Once I realised I was going to Nepal and would head home over Europe it just seemed like it was meant to be. Cathleen lived in Leipzig in the former Eastern side of Germany but had traveled to Hamburg to meet me. As I got off the plane and wandered through the non existent immigration check (still very strange to enter a new country without all that rigamarole and slightly annoying as I now don’t have a German stamp in my passport), I felt exhausted but was very excited to see my friend.

She was there with her friend Hendrik who lived in Hamburg. He had driven her to the airport which meant no dealing with public transport, he also gave up his bed for us. I was exhausted but still had many things going through my mind and still trying to fathom that my year of travel was only 2 weeks from an end. This would prove to be a difficult idea to wrap my head around in the weeks to come.

But for now, there was a new country to explore and a great friend to catch up with.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Last Day….

30th November 2011

The Dilemma of Laundry

Yesterday we didn’t do much as we were both quite exhausted from the trip. But since I was leaving soon I needed to get some laundry done. Also, since Buddha had been crashing at the hotel and not been home to his mother’s for over a week, we did his laundry too. I put in a rush order for his and paid the extra, due to the fact that he was stuck in his room with just the sheet… His would be done by 10am. However, the Nepali power company had other ideas and promptly switched off the power for 4hrs.. We had no idea when he would be able to make an appearance and he did threaten at one point to come down toga style.

In the meant time I ran some errands and had the cook, Robin, taught me how to make the amazing potato hashbrowns I had become addicted to every morning. I would order the expensive, $3, breakfast just to get the potatoes. Turned out it was tumeric that was the secret. I took some up to Buddha so he could at least eat something while secluded in his prison.

Around 2pm the laundry appeared much to our relief. Yogi, the hotel owner, took us across the road to a clothing factory where he knew the owner. I picked up a jacket, skirt and some funky harem pants. That afternoon we went back to visit Buddha’s friend and owner of the Facebook restaurant and had momo’s and tea. Then Buddha met up with Yogi to go to a Tourism Conference and I returned to packing and sorting… I think I will need to buy another bag!

My Last Day…

It feels like I have been here for so long and now it is my last day. For those of you who hadn’t guessed by now, Buddha and I had become very close in these 3weeks and our friendship had grown into something a bit more… It will be very hard to leave!

But until the moment actually comes, there are errands to run, bags to pack and one more trip to monkey temple.

We made a run to the mall to pick up a few more DVD’s for Buddha and he noticed a guy doing henna tattoos. He remembered that I had had one when I arrived from Malaysia and that I had mentioned I wanted to get another done before I left (sometimes it amazes me that he remembers these things). So encouraged me to get one done and haggled with the guy till he gave me a decent price.

Henna

Choices

Errand 1

I had bought a tapestry the day before and had bargained the guy to a decent price, but upon return to the room I realised there was a flaw.

The FLAW…

I didn’t feel like dealing with the guy on my own so had asked Buddha to come with me. While we waited for him I noticed a bag I might need to pack all my stuff, it was a backpack with wheels and cost around $35, not too shabby. We decided to first have me pack and see if I really needed it.

Finally the guy showed up and after some haggling realised that there was nothing much he could do as there wasn’t another of that size and the one that was there had a bigger flaw. I decided I could fix it as it was awfully perrty.

Errand 2

Spice shopping with Robin, the cook at Hotel Silver Home. I particularly wanted the spice he used for his hashbrown like fried potatoes. It took a bit of a search but we eventually found it and also some different kinds of masala for curry.

Spices!

Errand 3

After the spices the plan was to go meet a friend of Buddha’s from the ship whose sister owned a pashmina store. Now, after weeks of him prank calling me (one of his favorite past times), he had been trying to reach me for real as his friend was waiting and I was off exploring the land of spices… cooking that is. When I got back he had got a little exasperated (which is not a lot in most people’s books as he is so laid back). But we weren’t too late and we were soon our way off to meet up with him. The factory was on the same property as a very imperssive house. However, it cracks me up how houses are built, as often you end up blocking light and views of your neighbors.

Their house is the white one on the right

I was fairly certain I could pick up some pashmina cheap cheap having an inside contact, I was thinking maybe $10, $15 max… Ummmm yeah not so much.

They owned a factory who had a deal with Rolex, every time someone bought a watch they got a pashmina, so you can imagine the quality. It was fabulous, felt like cloth water and the cheapest price was $35 for a small one. I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much on something I would never wear (most likely out of fear of ruining it). Please note they did offer me a fantastic discount, but being at the end of my budget I just couldn’t. The joys of a backpacker budget…

Errand 4

Finally it was time to say farewell to the monkeys and temple who had brought Buddha and I together. It was bitter sweet walking through the temple knowing I may never be back to feed them again. I even recognized a few and I swear there was some recognition back, at least that is what I am going with, it might have had something to do with the cookies. I will really miss the dogs there, I definitely knew a lot of them and was on the verge of naming a few.

Buddha’s friends joined us and so we were able to get some pictures, I think putting them up is the best way to show you all:

Troop 1

Pack 1

My Favorite in Pack 1

This Day Buddha got on Film

Mobbed by his fans, Buddha stays Cool and Collected

This Little Guy Figured Out the Source

He Was Quite Content to Stay as Long as the Cookie Supply Lasted

Moments Before He had a Cookie in Each Hand and THREE in His Mouth

A Moment to Treasure

Soon the Monkey on my Shoulder Discovered the Cookie Source

The Monkey Whisperer???

No Words…

Here is a short video of Buddha feeding his minions and the temple. I will miss these outings more than I can say!

Finally we had to leave and return to the hotel as we had dinner plans. First I popped over and bought a yak wool blanket and some of the cheaper (not pure) pashminas and the extra bag. Then we headed to the tongba place for dinner and one last round. On the way we stopped at one of the street side snack vendors. they have tubs of popcorn, peanuts, corn nut like things etc and dish them into a little paper cone for you to enjoy. I had never had any as you fear for your stomach, but Buddha has a way of showing me new things, and I wish I had got this yummies from the first day and trusted my African constitution to stand by me.

Snack Vendor

Namiko from Japan joined us along with Yogi and Raj. It was a great night, and I am going to miss the boys all terribly.

Buddha, Yogi and Raj

The Crew

And so back to the hotel, up the four flights of stairs for the last night. It is bitter sweet and I can’t believe this section is over, that I will be leaving some amazing people and that my journey is just one country from its end…

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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