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Posts Tagged ‘Amatuer photography’

In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from www-josephinewall-co.uk

The drive to the Ben Gurion airport was straight forward. For the rest of the tour group it was with mixed feelings that they were leaving. We had seen so many delightful things, the history and the way of life in Israel. For me, it was just a hiatus.  After the tour was concluded I was coming back to Tel Aviv for a further two weeks, I wasn’t finished with Israel yet.

What a difference having a tour guide made at the airport. The speed with which we were ushered through the checking in process was awesome, until it ground to an unseemly halt. Both Mel and I were selected to have our bags thoroughly checked out. Why were we chosen? I have no idea. Well, one, we were the only “single young females” in the group. Perhaps rifling through our underwear was part of the thrill of travelling overseas? Finally through we had our tickets, instructions that we would be met at Cairo airport and we were off on the next stage of our adventure.

#In Search of..Airports and Cairo

image from http://www.timesofisrael.com      Searching for the smallest thing

We traveled on Egypt Air this time and the plane gave the impression it might shake itself to pieces before we arrived in Cairo. No-one was inclined to walk around the plane this trip! However, it didn’t take long before we were landing and lining up to go through customs. The tour official who met us was a strange man indeed. He had a high pitched giggle which seemed to pop out far too often. Definitely not a laugh to make you feel comfortable, and then it all began again.

Mel and I were pointed to as we lined up with our luggage. No, they didn’t want to go through our clothes, this time they wished to search us! Much pointing ensued as we were hustled over to two semi partitioned cubicles where the ladies were searched by female airport security staff.  I’m sorry to say I was attacked by the humour of the situation and had an attack of the giggles. I don’t think the very stern looking, short and fat female security ladies found me amusing. At all!  Prodded and patted and twirled around, the prodding and patting down continued and then out came the wand to be whirled up and down our body. I nearly choked in the effort to stop laughing. If it hadn’t been for the tour official running around, his high pitched voice clearly audible where we were, I think we may have been retained a while longer.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from www-demotix-com. Egyptair

Finally released, we collected our bags and made our way through the airport, at speed, towards the bus awaiting us at the kerb. The bags seemed to be dispatched at greater speed into the bowels of the bus, as we were hurriedly ushered inside. Then came the most amazing lesson of all. Transport in Cairo.

I should explain that the main entrance into Cairo, from the airport, had six lanes, three each way. We are all fairly familiar with the road system, whether we drive on the right or left hand side of the road. Nothing however, could prepare anyone for this. The three inbound lanes became six! Two vehicles per lane, and it made no difference whatsoever how large either vehicle was. Pedestrians scuttled madly across this hurtling, screeching, nightmare of metal to reach either the centre of side of the road.

#In Search of..Airports and Cairo

Egypt, Cairo traffic

Stunned silence enveloped the bus as we watched these kamikaze pedestrians risking life and limb to cross the road. Sensing the quiet the tour official popped up out of his seat and said, in his high pitched giggle, “Not to worry, they’re made of rubber, just bounce if they hit the cars.” I’m not quite sure what was more astounding, that people ran across the road as they did or that this person seriously thought we would believe people bounced off them if  hit. Well, they do bounce but it’s not very good for them when they land. The honking of horns filled the air as we made our way to the hotel.

#In Search of..Airports and Cairo

Tourist entrance Cairo Marriott Hotel

What an incredible transformation. We were staying at the Marriott. I know I felt awkwardly under dressed for the reception. Opulence greeted us everywhere we turned. I simply wanted to find my room, bathe and change into something more respectable. Somehow jeans and joggers didn’t seem quite right amidst the gilt and grandeur.  For the first time the group was spread all over the hotel. I was in the far wing, far enough away to need a map to get back to reception, and of course, I got lost in the labyrinth of the hotel. Thank heavens for bell boys.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

Cairo Marriott Hotel and Casino

Mel and I had decided to buy water for our trip and so had arranged to meet in reception after we had time to get our luggage into our rooms and felt a little more respectable. Perhaps it was due to the fact that my room was in the far wing, but it took an age to get my luggage up to my room. In fact I was waiting so long I had time for a coffee and Mel called to find out if I had a problem – Um mm yes, my luggage hasn’t arrived.

Buying water at the hotel was exorbitant, plus they only sold small bottles. We wanted to stockpile sufficient to take us through our Egyptian sojourn. The instructions to reach a shop, outside he precincts of the hotel, were simple. We needed to go down through the rear of the hotel to the “tradesman’s entrance”, then cross the road and turn left, and the shop is on the corner. Simple! Yes?….. No!

Uniformed bellboys, ushers and waiters were delightfully helpful. We found the rear entrance, or should it be exit, with no problems. Then we took a good look at the road. Three marked lanes and six, seven lines of hurtling metal, all heading past us. We noticed, just one of those strange things which happen at these times, that there was not a single vehicle which had even one panel without a multitude of dints in it. I have never seen a more motley collection of vehicles which looked as if they should be heading for the wreckers, and ‘they’ apparently thought pedestrian were made of rubber!

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from http://www.theguardian.com                  Running the Gauntlet

Taking our courage in both hands and a large serving of insanity, we charged across the street during a slight lull (a one car space) and reached the far side. The shopkeepers and their customers came out and looked, some clapped and the car drivers all honked their horns, and waived at the two crazy western women. Laughing we looked round for the shop. No, it’s not here. Wait a minute, right across from where we were standing, back where we had just come from, was a little shop with a sign out front indicating water was sold there. It seems our guardian angels were looking out for us.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from http://www.non-competes.comWater! The ice would have been nice.

It appeared the road we needed to cross was the driveway to the hotel, on the same side of the street. They really didn’t want us buying water outside the hotel. We looked at each other and then at the once more speeding traffic.  Suddenly, one of the other pedestrians strode out into the maelstrom of speeding madness and held his hand in the air. The universal signal to STOP! We cringed, waiting to see the inevitable happen, or if he would ‘bounce’. With a screech of many brakes the traffic stopped, every single car stopped without hitting anything. We hurriedly crossed to road to the sound of good natured calls and waves. Waving back we reached safety back where we started five minutes earlier.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from caieg_phototour149 Promenade, Cairo Marriott Hotel

Buying our water supplies we headed back to the hotel. We decided a cup of coffee and a short respite was in order before we explored a little. We were served coffee in beautiful gold embossed china cups and a Turkish delight that melted in your mouth. Life was wonderful and a short while later, refreshed and glad to be alive we set out to explore the hotel.

Blessings, Susan x

Next Week  – Sandstorms, Light Shows, Poverty and Riches.

© Susan Jamieson 2014

In Search of….Part 14

In Search of…Part 13

In Search of…Part 12

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Revelations

image from www-josephinewall-co.uk

“…When a choice will make a real difference in our lives—obvious or not—and when we are living in tune with the Spirit and seeking his guidance, we can be sure we will receive the guidance we need to attain our goal.”
― Dallin H. Oaks

My trip through history really begins……

From Acre we took a leisurely drive overlooking the Galilee and Jezreel valleys, but were unable to go up to the Golan Heights was it still considered a ‘delicate’ area. We stopped for the night at the Kibbutz Ginnosar where the Sea of Galilee Boat or Jesus Boat was discovered in 1986.  Due to its preservation in the mud it is still able to be seen how and what the boat was made from, but the effects of exposure to the open air is now causing problems.  The next morning we were able to ride on a similar boat on the Sea of Galilee.  The cool air as we sailed along was really pleasant as the day began to heat up.

From there we drove to the Church of the Beatitudes.  Amazing frescoes in the church and sights from the mountain across the Sea of Galilee to Jordan on the far side gave one a feeling of what life must be like on a daily basis. On one side the peaceful sounds of the church service and the smell of incense and on the other, so near to an ancient enemy. It was almost too much for the mind to take in. Leaving there we drove to Nazareth where Jesus spent his childhood and after a couple of hours walking round with our guide, we left.

Traveling back towards the ‘border’ we drove down to the Dead Sea. It was surreal seeing the Palestinian villages on one side of the road and the Jewish settlements on the other. There were even occasions where there was a Jewish and Palestinian village side by side.  It was impossible to miss the high wire fences around the Jewish settlements.  It seemed sad that they could work side by side and yet need to be barricaded inside an enclosure at night to be safe. By day, they were almost neighbours, but by night enemies once more. The electric fences were the only thing keeping the Israeli farmers safe.  The voices of the past echoed around me.

Following the Dead Sea, we drove to Masada. It was an incredible landscape of dry and desolate land. Masada was an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel, situated on top of an isolated rock plateau (akin to a mesa) on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. The Siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire ended in the deaths of the 960 Jewish men and their families hiding there. (This is my understanding: “Since suicide is a sin a secret lottery was taken by the men. Everyone was killed the night before the Romans intended to overrun the settlement. The unlucky lottery ‘winner’ killed everyone before committing  suicide. In this way only one person would have broken the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, and committed the sin of suicide.”)

There were a couple of buildings under excavation too. Walking around the mesa was an eerie feeling. History spoke from every corner. As I walked around there was the sound of ancient footsteps and quiet voices. Spirit was crossing the ages for me.

The ‘strange’ part of the story begins here. After the Romans entered the settlement late in the day and found the dead bodies, the Commander ordered that the bodies be thrown off the plateau the following morning. However, the next morning not a single body could be found, neither in the settlement nor around the base of the plateau. They had simply – disappeared.

After a leisurely ride down in the cable car, we drove to our hotel at the Dead Sea. As we gathered to collect our suitcases prior to check in, I found my case had met with an accident. The wheels had been ripped out of the bottom of the case. How? I have no idea, but the idea of struggling with my case for the rest of my holiday made me shudder. A nice letter from the hotel manager, which later proved to be useless, was filed away with my paperwork.

Booked in, we all changed into our swimmers (old ones) and a shirt, to troop down to the Dead Sea. Suitably lathered in sunscreen with the warnings that:- we could spend no more than 5 – 10 minutes in the water and MUST shower at the beach before returning to the hotel.  Oh, and of course, there is the oft repeated statement, ”Everyone can float in the Dead Sea” or “No-one can drown in the Dead Sea”.

Down we go, in two’s and three’s we wander along the walkway into the Dead Sea. Like the petals of a flower slowly opening, people float off around the end of the walkway, a colourful explosion of laughing people. Of course being a chicken considerate person I held the cameras so Mel could go in first.  She thought it was great, just floating along without effort was a dream.  Then it was my turn.  All I have to do is walk out and let my feet float up in front of me as I lean back slightly. No trouble at all, just so easy, nothing could go wrong. Wrong! Oh damn! I leaned back a little and my feet started to come off the bottom. A surge of adrenalin hit me and I tried to stand back up.

Oh No – No Way was that going to happen. My feet kept rising, my arms were windmilling and very unladylike squeaks were coming from my mouth. As my arms windmilled and I squeaked, the obvious happened.  The one thing they really, strongly advised us against. DO NOT GET WATER IN YOUR EYES OR MOUTH.  They could have also added nose, but I presume they thought everyone would have got the message. Well, I did get the message, but, try flailing madly with your arms and stopping water from getting in your eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Someone finally realised I wasn’t playing around and grabbed my arm and I found my footing. Of course once found, I made an immediate exit from the Dead Sea.

My eyes, nose and throat burned like the dickens. A bottle of water later and all I could taste was salt. By this time Mel arrived so we both made a dash for the beach showers.  After ten minutes we gave in and made our way quickly to our rooms. Showered, shampooed and a bottle of moisturiser later I called her room and went over. I had run out of eye drops and was still feeling salty. We agreed; we felt as if we had been pickled in brine. We spent a small fortune on soaps and lotions and still our skin peeled off. I dread to think what it did to my stomach.

Cases packed, and in my case, manhandled by the porter, we climbed back on board the bus for Jerusalem. We had one stop to make…. to Bethlehem in the West Bank.

Ciao,  Susan x

Next week –  Jerusalem

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Sunrise Sunset

Sunrise, Molten Gold

Sunrise

It’s beaten me to it once more

Sunrise

Golden  bright

It’s light so strong it makes your eyes water

 Sunrise

Over the placid blue waters

Neither wave nor a ripple to mar the blue

Sunrise

Casting glimmering flights of molten gold

Between the ripples over the water

As though the light itself was alive

Sunrise

The start of another day

Yet the Sunset heralded the end of yesterday

And I wonder where the night went

Why did it flee so quickly

Like velvet across bare skin

Soft and smooth as it slides free

Darkness

Brings no release from this waking prison

Yes I am still here for the pain I ride

Gives me have no measure of illusion to hide my face

As I hide it from the accusing light of the sun

Boring deep inside this pulsing mass I call a brain

Tentacles of pain surviving any prodding

Like a living thing it takes its nourishment

From the agony inflicted in its wake

Surcease

From this pallid existence

Between moments of peaceful calm

Hard fought with acceptance and calm

Each moment a drop of relief

So small it could be overlooked

Yet there it is

Comfort

From knowing I have the secret

The Secret

Peace, calm, acceptance, mindfulness

The tools

I now have to overcome this

Nemesis

Called Pain

Sunrise Sunset

Moon over water at Byron

Have a great weekend

Ciao, Susan x

Sunrise  Sunset

Peace lily – the right flower for the right time

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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A Step Back in Time

image from www-josephinewall-co.uk   Spirit Elements

“If you learn to really sit with loneliness and embrace it for the gift that it is…an opportunity to get to know YOU, to learn how strong you really are, to depend on no one but YOU for your happiness…you will realize that a little loneliness goes a LONG way in creating a richer, deeper, more vibrant and colorful YOU.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

I had really enjoyed my wandering around Tel Aviv. After 12 days I was still awed by the flow of life which seemed a constant all day long. The Boulevard seemed like a true social gathering place. The coffee shops, restaurants and ice cream parlors were fabulous and the beach side bars had an ambiance all their own. I found myself relaxing and as I continued my walks along the Boulevard I also noticed I was breathing easier, the tension was finally leaving my body. It was so strange but so good at the same time. I couldn’t remember when I had last felt this lessening of tension. How long had I been carrying that around?

However, I wasn’t going to wander around for my entire stay in Israel. I had decided to go on a three week tour, 9 days in Israel, 7 in Egypt and 5 days in Jordan. It was a historical tour, but not a religious tour, which was exciting.  On day 13 of my stay the people who were going on the tour with me arrived in the hotel, and I was pleasantly surprised to find another Australian amongst the group. M was a vivacious young girl, the same age as my daughter, and we hit it off from the outset. The rest of the group comprised mainly Americans with a couple of Canadians, two people from Brazil and an English couple just married. It promised to be a great trip.

Early the next morning we set off and the first ‘adventure’ a walk around the old port city of JAFFA! It was so different from my solitary wanderings as we heard the history of the site. We had been blessed with a tour guide who had studied archaeology and so the history became a living breathing excursion. If I went over all the history of each place I’d need a novel, so I scribbled when I could and took pictures instead. Standing at the top of the hill and looking out   over the ocean or looking towards Tel Aviv there was a feeling of freedom. I was fulfilling a dream, a dream both Mum and I had shared for years, and I was learning more about myself each day.

As we walked around Jaffa, it was astonishing to see the additions of rooms to the outside of buildings as they ran out of room to expand, and the giant hanging orange tree. My notes said,” The Hovering Orange Tree, in the centre of Old Jaffa is supposed to be a symbol of Israel’s prosperity, and some see in it a metaphor for the Jewish people, hanging between heaven and earth with their sufferings.”  Hundreds of years old it made me feel as though the people of yesteryear were walking past me to water the tree.

Irrespective of what the travel brochure said, it’s an incredible sight to see. We saw the miniature city of Tel Aviv and walked along Ben Gurion Boulevard, through the Hacarmel markets and got to soak up the atmosphere of Tel Aviv. The markets were an incredible experience. Crowded like nothing I’ve seen before there were stalls offering so many different things it was difficult to take it all in. There were the traditional type of craft stalls, beautiful clothes, so much colour it hurt the eyes, and food, so many smells to tempt the hungry, but we had a special dinner arranged so we had to get back to the hotel. It felt as though we had wandered into another world and when we left we walked out into this world.

The next day we left by bus and traveled up the coast up to Haifa and then on to Caesarea.  Walking through the ruins and listening to the multifaceted history of life from the Byzantine era through the Roman era to present day was mind blowing. I should add I adore history and this was history made live before my eyes. Yes, I was excited.  It was believed built on the ruins of “Straton’s Tower’, captured by Jannaeus in 90BCE until taken over by the Romans in 63BCE. Herod the Great renames it Caesarea in honour of the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. He built a deep sea harbour, markets, and held gladiator games in the theatre. Caesarea also flourished during the Byzantine pe

The area became a serious farming area until the Crusader conquest in the 11th century. The farms were buried under the sands shifting along the shores of the Mediterranean. The Mosque on the site was converted into the church of St. Peter in the Crusader times. From then it had a chequered past, seeing the area inhabited by various people until the Israelis took control during the 1948 conflict.  I felt as though I was travelling away from all the problems I had back in Australia and I was being whisked away back in time. Despite the throngs of people there were occasions I was alone and then there were chills at times, as I felt someone from a bygone age brush past me.

From here we went to Acre or Akko as the Israeli now call it, at the northern end of Haifa Bay. It has a historical lineage like Caesarea. It has been inhabited by the Greeks, Jews and Romans. We traveled in our explorations from the Byzantine era, Persian¸ 1st Crusades, to Saladin then the 3rd Crusades (Richard 1st of England), to the Mamluks, Ottomans and eventually the British. It was during the British Mandate that Acre’s fort was converted into a jail where the early Jewish underground fighters were imprisoned and shot. In May 1947 the Irgun broke into the jail, freeing the other activists and around 200 Arab prisoners. In May 1948 the Israeli’s captured Acre and it has remained in Israeli hands ever since.  Parts of the jail are still in use although it is possible to see those areas which are no longer used.

As we walked around, seeing the layers of history as we went through the ruins and up to the level the jail was at the top was a strange experience. It felt, at times, as though there were crowds of people whispering behind you, all in different languages. There was a real sense of impending doom and death in certain places.  My skin would suddenly ripple with gooseflesh, I would almost hear the sound of screams, and once I felt the definite pressure of a hand on my shoulder.

It seemed that as my cares back in Australia fell away and my mind was freed from thinking about them, I was open to hear and feel more of the spiritual experiences I had begun to feel I’d lost, when Mum had passed away. In a strange way, it also felt as though the years were dropping away too, and I became more carefree and light hearted. This was what I needed. I was finally beginning to find myself.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
― Rumi

Blessings, Susan x

Next week – More Revelations

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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A Blend of New Worlds

image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall-co.uk

Apart from my trip from England to Australia, which I admit is quite a trip, I hadn’t traveled overseas much. I had been to Tasmania, which is considered part of Australia, just not attached to it, and to Fiji, which was my one overseas trip.  This however, was my one REAL overseas trip since I was doing it alone. So, everything I saw and experienced was with the eyes of a novice. It was fresh and unknown.

As my driver pulled up to the Sheraton (Yes, I really went all out on my first big trip), one doorman rushed over to get my door and another went around to get my bags. Luxury was the name of the game. I didn’t want to stand and gawk but I tried to look everywhere at once, I wanted to savour the idyllic splendour of this incredible place….. until a loud voice in my head yelled “Get it together girl! You don’t want to look like a country yokel, wet behind the ears, a little more aplomb please!”

A New World

image from http://www.colourbox.com“Never been anywhere before”.

Alright, I was back on track and my image not too tarnished. I signed in and was taken up to my luxurious room. I had traveled in Australia and seen my fair share of hotels and motels, but this was something else. A huge king sized suite – just for me. For the first time ever, I had this huge bedroom for my own personal use. No-one coming to me for anything, no-one to share it with, it was just for me. It was totally surreal.

A New World

Room to move and then some

I started to unpack but the lure of the sunshine through the window, and wondering what was there drew me, so I threw on a pair of joggers and decided to go for a quick walk. I was never one to ask for directions, I always managed to get lost anyway, so deciding to throw caution to the winds I took my rough bearings, crossed the driveway and away I went. The traffic! I couldn’t believe how much traffic came flying down the road. Everyone jaywalks in Australia- at least we used to.  Taking a long look and gauging the traffic, how fast it was flowing, I dashed across the road.

The esplanade was amazing. It was so wide and the paving in geometric designs as far as I could see. It seemed as though there were seats arranged in nooks and booths everywhere and people were sitting, talking, reading or walking, jogging, running, cycling along, on roller blades or skate boards. It was a hive of activity and at the same time an oasis of calm. The sand was a refined golden carpet and the ocean, the Mediterranean, was the most amazing blue imaginable.

A New World

Tel Aviv Boulevard       This open air exercise area was used nearly the entire day and night.

Mesmerised I didn’t get too far that afternoon. The beach seemed to stretch for ever and the different architecture, from the ultra-modern to ancient almost next to each other. It was a glimpse of the Old world and new side by side. In the distance I could see the old town of Jaffa. It was to be my destination the following morning.  Retracing my steps I once again took my life in my hands as I charged across the street to get back to the hotel. I decided if I was to stay in Israel for any length of time I had to work out how to cross the roads, or at least where to cross them.

For someone who was not a great breakfast eater, the temptation to go into the dining room and simply watch the world go by was too enticing. Once in there I had to have a look around and with freshly squeezed orange juice in hand I could hardly leave without trying a few dishes, could I? I cannot remember the names of the dishes I decided to try, but, a tasty tomato, cucumber and parsley salad with a tuna, mayo and onion dish and I felt my batteries charged. So, fortified with some traditional Israeli breakfast I set out.

A New World

Breakfast salad, a new idea

I rounded the corner from the hotel and, not dashing across the road walked along the footpath towards where I could see a crossing. Five minutes later I found myself surrounded by six giant, well-armed American soldiers. The funny side of the situation hit me and I started to smile, then giggle and I was not making the soldiers any happier. After all, I was a mere 5’7″ and these fellows were all giants, at least 7’ tall, or so they appeared to me.

Demanding to know what I was doing did not help. I really tried to explain I was just walking up to the crossing, but it appeared I was committing some serious crime, and I couldn’t work out what it was. The tension mounted and I simply could not stop the chuckles. Eventually someone asked me where I was from. Once I said Australia I heard a grumbled “Bloody Aussies” and there was an immediate release of tension. Apparently I had transgressed onto the US Embassy grounds. Apart from three foot high bollards there was nothing to say I had moved onto a prohibited area. One of the giants pointed a finger skyward so I craned my neck and saw a US flag on the top of the building. With a stern warning to “watch where I was going” I was allowed to leave, still holding in the chuckles until I made my escape.

That morning was the first time I walked from my hotel into the old town of Jaffa. There was a great view from the top of the area around the marina and along the boulevard to the high rise buildings along the foreshore. After breakfast and around midnight each day I would make this walk to Jaffa, listening to my iPod and watching the whirlpool of people passing by. There was a constant flow of people, walking, running, on roller skates, skate boards or little scooters. People walked their dogs and groups of people would be sitting and chatting until the early hours of the morning.

I’m not certain what the hotel staff made of my nocturnal jaunts but I received a smile each time I returned. I still wasn’t sleeping very well or for very long but these nightly walks were soothing. During the day I explored the city. Being geographically challenged (I got lost easily) I saw a few areas more than once, but it was fun, almost as much as my first excursion to a shopping centre.

My map was great, my sense of direction not so good and my Hebrew non-existent, so the fact that I found the shopping centre was amazing. As I walked towards the doors I was surprised when a man, not much taller than I, suddenly popped out of the corner of the entrance,  dressed all in black and carrying – a machine gun. (I’m no expert so I’m not guessing and he didn’t tell me exactly what it was). At that time all people not recognised by the guard were stopped and had their bags checked. Okay, it wasn’t that long since the Gaza problems so I could understand it, but it did make me stop and think. Since my natural reaction would have been to resist someone grabbing at me it could have been a different outcome. It appears I had my guardian angel sitting on my shoulder each time I ran into an armed and dangerous person. It was good to know.

A  New World

image from http://www.reuters.com     Israeli soldiers, a fact of life.

This strange new world still felt like home and I was excited about exploring more of it.

Next week…….. History comes alive and a new friend.

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The Best laid plans.....

image from www-arts-wallpapers.jpg

There are so many things I had planned to do this week, from the ordinary mundane of going shopping to the obligatory visit to my Lyme doctor. Yet the best laid plans often go awry.  I wanted to inject a little light-hearted anticipation into the week instead of following the same routine as always. Then only feeling tired at the end of getting all the ‘to do’ list done, but nothing that really made me crack that “I’ve had a wonderful experience smile,” which has been missing for too long. It didn’t need to be anything astronomical, or expensive, just something my husband and I could do, out of our normal routine and lighten the everyday routine. Remember, best laid plans and all that jazz.

Okay, this was going to be a little easier than I thought, when I realised my doctor’s appointment was at 7pm. It’s a three-hour drive up to see him, which meant that it would be a long day for me if we made a round trip when we couldn’t leave until after 8.30pm. Checking out the local Bed and Breakfast places in Maleny or close by wasn’t very hopeful at first. It’s a beautiful place to visit and at this time of year, coming into summer, even more so. So when we found a lovely place at Wootha, available for us, it was an immediate winner. At the top of the range and overlooking the valley towards the Glasshouse mountains, I could feel the tension draining away just thinking about it. But I forgot about Murphy’s Law and the best laid plans warning. I sent up my request to my angels for a nice break and off we went.

Even in the air conditioning of the car it was hot. I don’t travel well in the heat and the medication has my blood and body super heated at the ‘best’ of times just now. The blazing sun beat mercilessly through the windscreen like a well stoked furnace. I have a magnificent  case of hives so the heat was adding a new dimension to the itchy torture. (Best laid plans again).  But distracted by the scenery, we arrived and breathed a sigh of relief. It’s amazing what a heartfelt plea for relief can do to ease sorely troubled minds and bodies. Unpacked, a quick refresher and off to the local ice cream shop for one of the most magnificent ice cream cones imaginable. All locally sourced produce and heavenly taste. For one of the very rare times, brain freeze was – worthwhile.

Apart from a long discussion of what’s next, needing to return early the next morning for bloods to be taken, there were no real surprises from the doctor. We had been looking forward to a sleep in and leisurely breakfast, but we could get around that too. Our hosts were only too gracious in offering to let us have breakfast after the test. I was woken through the night by the sound of an unusual barking noise. Not a dog but a fox barking to her young. After a look outside under the full moon, where of course I could see nothing, I returned to my comfortable bed to listen to the possums running across the roof and into the trees, noisily talking to one another.

We awoke to the sounds of the Rainbow Lorikeets making a raucous noise around the bend in the verandah where the owners fed them each day. It really was a colourful display.

Off to the doctor and a small procedure later I was waiting for the nurse to take blood.  That’s when things went ‘off plan’. My ‘best laid plan’ went up in smoke, but not up the needle. Once, twice, three times and still no blood. Again – once, twice, three times and as she removed the needle the blood flowed freely – too late!  I was feeling hot and more than a little bothered. I heard someone say “adrenal surge’ after the procedure and I would have to see the collection office in town. Oh well, it could have been worse I suppose. That was an errant thought which came back to haunt me later. In the interim the nurse suggested breakfast and a drink and get the tests done later.  No arguments here, nor from my husband, the gentleman in the peanut gallery offering hilarious solutions to the lack of blood. It’s always funny watching from the sidelines, I know I’ve been there too, but silently!

Welcomed back into the cool sanctuary of the home we quickly went to freshen up. Then it was back into the dining area where we were greeted with a freshly squeezed orange juice and a huge selection of fresh fruit, rhubarb and peach compotes and local yoghurt with the hostess’ own muesli blend.  The entertainment from the birds continued as we were served with a delightful cheese souffle, accompanied by fresh asparagus spears and bacon. I have never yet managed to get a souffle to rise as beautifully as this, and it almost melted in your mouth.  Refreshed and hunger assuaged we settled back with a cup of tea.

It was hard to tear ourselves away but…. the pathology needed visiting before we could enjoy walking around town. Then we hit a larger snag to our ‘best laid plan’. After waiting quite a while in the surgery, since no-one told us we could just walk up and knock on the door, (usually I wait to be called in when it’s my turn), I went in and after she spent ten minutes deciphering all the requests she pronounced sentence, “You haven’t eaten, eggs, nuts, banana, etc, etc this morning have you?” she said. “It really should be a fasting test!” Well, that was that. Best laid plan up in smoke and not going out that day!
Not her fault but I was thoroughly put out. Finding her in town was one thing, waiting for her another, then to be told she  couldn’t do it anyway. UGH!  We walked around town, somewhat jaded, and I have to admit I was hot and itchy by now before finally settling for a visit to my favourite crystal shop to soak up those lovely vibes. Not a total waste then. We left feeling soothed by all that crystal energy and set off back to Byron.

I’m sorry to say the strain was too much, I really can’t take the heat and I fell asleep on the way home. I woke up in agony and had to be helped inside the house. Thankfully one plan I made had worked out magnificently. Knowing I would be away I had posts ready and scheduled for publishing, so I met my NaBloPoMo challenge and I’ve been tweaking photos and today’s blog.

It was to be an easy day. My tests are booked in and a mountain of messages have been attended to. Photos are all downloaded and labelled. Have you ever noticed how the names escape you if you don’t label them immediately? Brain fog, that’s my reason, that and the heat which fries my brain.

Here’s a lovely picture of the storm lilies which came out after the storm we had on the weekend. Delicate shade of pink on the edges, just beautiful.

Best laid plans

Storm lilies

I hope you enjoy the views as much as we do. Plans are meant to be broken and sometimes you get amazing surprises as a result. If we hadn’t had our plans altered we wouldn’t have been able to spend time watching the birds, seen the King and Pale Headed parrots, which don’t hang around with the noisy Lorikeets. The Fire Tailed Finch was a real treat. It felt like we were being fortified for the disappointment we had no idea was coming. I’m grateful for that blessing.

Blessings to all.

Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Picture Perfect

Black Cockatoo pair

 

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”   ― Henry David Thoreau,

It’s been a while since I looked through my photos and I realised there were, not just a few, but a lot that I had taken. The term “snap happy” came to mind, but with it came the realisation that I was storing lots of memories of the outings we’ve had. What made it more important was the knowledge that all the excursions didn’t revolve around doctors and tests. Certainly they were there, but interspersed with them were the moments when we could forget that we had been running around “just for that reason.” So I decided to compile a cross section of the things which took me away from the doctors and tests and back into the light hearted day, or night, and revel in the beauty of nature and life.

Yesterday it seemed like a strange way to start the day by grabbing the camera, but Black Cockatoos are not usually seen here, yet there they were sitting at the top of the tree watching us get ready to leave for the day. Since it’s the first time I’ve seen them here it was a great start to the day.

The Top Knot pigeon singing his song on the rooftop was so quirky I couldn’t let it pass. The beautiful Kangaroo Paws have been  providing such a beautiful display for months I thought they deserved to be included, and who can go past the beautiful scent of the gardenias.

The yellow on this Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is so brilliant, like a splash of sunshine on his ‘fascinator’. Our friendly Coucal keeps visiting which is unusual and so he gets two photos. They make the most unusual noise so are very difficult to miss. The honey eater is even weirder, at times he sounds like a dog barking and for a small bird, so loud!  I love the one of the two whales, flippers in the air. I couldn’t decide if they were playing together (probably were) but it looked as if they were waving to us.You know I love orchids and this one has been flowering for months. The yellow is so bright – another reminder of the sunny days.

I mentioned how funny it was watching the magpie attacking the cake at the Crystal Castle Cafe.  He managed to get most of the icing off his beak but he really didn’t want to leave that cake behind. Despite their reputations he didn’t get upset when I moved the plates away from him either. A mixture of photos of flowers from the area and at Crystal castle. With so many nectar producing plants it’s not surprising we see so many honey eaters. I couldn’t finish off without one of our regulars, the Galah. Here he is just waiting to pounce on the feeder. When there is some room it’s everyone for himself, or herself.

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”   ― Leo Tolstoy

This then is my little corner of the world. I hope you enjoy a little peek into it. I am grateful that with a little reminder I have been mindful of my gifts from a bountiful world. Sometimes it’s difficult to realise I am Being present with my world and these pictures show me how much I have changed.

Blessings.  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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