Tuesday, 20 October 2009


I really am unsure as to why a giant clam purse represents Melbourne, but here are the kids outside the Melbourne post office in Bourke Street Mall.

Posted by PicasaWe spent a lovely afternoon in Melbourne - bookshop mainly (where it is warm and next door to Starbucks (there are only a handful of starbucks in Aus - they shut most of them down in August 2008 because too much competition).

After a dinner of pancake kitchen (we walked past a crepe place earlier in the day - thinking too expensive - we will find another place - only to find no other place and the crepe shop shut when we got back).

Then it was off to the AFL that night. C girl was less than impressed -wanted to go back to the hotel as she was BORED. This is about 20 minutes before the game started - the empty seats are the pre booked seats - most people are at the bar drinking (it is that sort of game). It's an indoor stadium that seats 80,000. Temp inside was only 16 degrees celcius (whereas it would have been 5 outside), so not too bad at all.

Italy here we come

We are so excited. We will be flying out to Italy in less than 2 months.

On the agenda - the first 8 nights will be spent at a ski resort that is on the Italian/France border. We will stay in Italy then have lunch in France - as an Australian that sounds unbelievable. Only occasional ski school for the kids as they are getting to the point where it's more fun to ski with them than without them....but we may need a break for a few hours every few days.

C girls birthday and christmas will be spent skiing or doing other winter fun stuff. Best way to spend christmas, open your present - then get on out their for skiing.

(Please note - we have room for 1 more person on the skiing leg of our journey - visitors most welcome - you know who you are!!!! We can meet / drop off at Milan airport).

Then off to Florence for 2 nights. During the middle day, we will hop on a train and see the leaning tower of Pisa, then get back to Florence for a walk around.

Then off to Rome for 7 nights (including new years eve). Fingers crossed a day trip to Pompeii while we are there (it doesn't look too far in the book, a few 100 kms). Think that will be very cool. Bear is learning all about archeologists at the moment - so that is appropriate.

Then off to Bologna for 2 nights -with the day inbetween going to Venice. Don't want to kill the Venice experience with the kids - but I want to go on a gondola ride and see the piazza etc. We will go back there without kids one day and see all the sights.

Can't wait for the food in Bologna (we are going there because of a book by John Grisham - yes we are easily influenced). Plus I want to see the towers that were built for the rich families and see a little university city.......such a romantic.

Then off to Parma or Emilia Reggie or Milan for the last night - that is dependent on the football match we can get tickets to - whether it's a local game or a bigger game. But it's part of our tradition - to see the local obsession sport (see Melbourne AFL and Vancouver Giants) - okay it's a new tradition - but they have to start somewhere. Plus - I have to see the last supper in Milan.

Not expecting to see any of the artwork or buildings for very long - but would like to see them. I can go through a museum or aquarium in under an hour - as opposed to going to the war museam in Canberra with J - it took 2 days.......but I definitely think the kids should go, see. WE tend to take a photo of the captions that are really interesting and then read them when we get home (J in Germany with Bear in 2006 - but he was 4 and he was there to see the world cup not the berlin wall) - but I don't believe in torturing them - or they will torture me.....later, or the next time I want to see something.

Yes - push over parent, but it works for us. C girl has been to the Louvre (8 hours), british museum, london natural history museum, every museum in Canberra and Sydney, Vancouver planeterium, Dachau (plus munich beer hall to finish), Salzburg underground salt mines, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, London Eye, Madam Touseu, Tower of London, Singapore Science centre..... plus seen Circus de soleil (twice), every disney on ice when we lived in Aus (front row seats), lion king, mama mia, swan lake, we will rock you, billy elliot, kelly clarkson, hilary duff (front row), last but not least - THE WIGGLES....... plus a few more musicals that I can't remember (she has always been my date because they were 3 hours from home and I hate taking someone who doesn't love it (picture J at this point).....oh and Disneyland for 6 days.

C girl will either come back eating a lot of different food - or she will be very skinny. I bought her a phrase book and cd for italian language today - she is studying it (has even put on her ipod so she can learn on the way to school) - she is going to be responsible for ordering her own food (we will eat whatever they want to serve us). But she will be eating everything she is given.

We are planning a lot of day trips I guess - but we aren't ones to sit around and twiddle our thumbs - so hopefully we will come back exhausted - but having seen lots of wonderful things.

Can't wait for the skiing, eating, drinking and the constant walking that we will do in the beautiful cities of Italy. Can't wait to be cold as well......brrrrr.....yippee.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Borneo - 2009 - again.

Well I survived another trip.....actually it wasn't all that bad.

We flew from Banjarmarsin to Maura Tewah, which saved us 10 hours in a car. So - leaving home at 4:30 we were at the minesite at 1pm. Not bad going, since it usually takes us to 10am on the following day.

From a previous trip - but you get the idea of the trip down the river.

The food on site was terrible. Our normal cook was away and so we had what everyone else eats (yes, I stay in VIP with cable television (and now hot water), so I have come to expect different food (like when I was sick I got steak, chips and normal veggies- no kidding (not sure what sort of steak it was though). We had deep fried mashed potato balls, white rice (which I refuse to eat), chicken pieces (which are yum the first 3 times) and green beans with tofu. Same meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 6 meals straight.

(This is a floating home, note the dishes being washed)

(this is the boat we went on - it seats 8 comfortably)

Yesterday we had a novel trip, a 7 hour boat ride from the minesite to a secondary area. Previously we have done 2 hours boat, 5 hours car, 1 1/2 hour boat. But this time we went for a change. We had a mini meeting at the secondary area, had a massive lunch (that was also dinner) of super sized prawns and home made coconut cream ice cream (and I was either starving or this may have been the best ice cream I have ever had in my entire life.

Another example of fine plumbing on the river (at least there is no drop into water - trust me, a toilet where it drops a meter before hitting the water is a lot more embarrasing).

(one of the better toilets (I refuse to use one without a roof). This is on floating platform on river)

You may wonder what the obsession is with toilets - well I have never been camping. But I don't think I need to in order to experience the great outdoors - I can do it while I am at work.

NOTE : I forgot to mention the most exciting - I love living in Indonesia moment. During the 6 hour drive (after the 8 hours in the boat) our car kept breaking down. It eventually got to every 5 minutes we were stopping for 5 minutes to clean out the fuel injectors. Our driver was on the phone for a bit (which he normally never does during the normal 10 hour drives).

After not long at all, we were told to grab all our stuff. We were changing cars. Our driver had a friend (in the middle of nowhere) who lent us his car. The friend drove our car back (he hadn't made it when we left at 5am this morning) while our driver and us took his car. It had no seatbelts or back seat windows. We got back without incident.

Where else would someone give you their car while they took yours (yes - cash was exchanged - but still). Where I ask?

Today, in the official Pushing in line to get on the plane, the people in the proper line were all smiles at us......we were pushing in (with about 20 other people), but they didn't care - that's how it works.

I love this place (think I must be deliriously tired). No really - even tomorrow, I'm going to still love it.
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Sunday, 11 October 2009

Ocean Queen

Sorry - but if they didn't look so gorgeous wearing this colour I wouldn't buy it for them (not to mention they were obscenely cheap at the Rip curl factory outlet - gold coast).

This is where the kids played when they weren't swimming in the ocean. With tonnes of kids from AIS at the place, the kids made some new friends and were kept busy.
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Ocean Queen

Can you see the man up in the tree cutting the dead coconuts out? See a harness? No? Welcome to health and safety at work - Indonesian style.

Full kudos to the resort - they had at least 5 full time employees cleaning the beach/grass resort the entire time.

Didn't see anyone clean the pool though - could be why my ear hurts 2 weeks after leaving??????
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Palm Oil

Palm oil plantation on the way home. Mountain in the background. This was rainforest many years ago.
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Being Green

It's not easy being green. Just ask the kids.

C girl refused to drink hot sweet tea when we stopped. The other two drank it all. It was foul, but we needed to stop or we would have been wearing breakfast.
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Coming Home

We had a really quick trip home (compared to jenjenqld who left 3 minutes after us and got home over an hour after us). 4 hours of travelling with a 1/2 hour stop at a local, middle of the hills resturant.

As you can see from this photo, everyone had stopped being green. This was on the way toll coming from Bogor - a good hour after the hills.

As you can see - J sacrificed himself and sat in the back. It is pretty wide, just not big on foot room.

Note - I always sit in the front because I get very car sick otherwise.
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