Sunday, 25 May 2014

A home weekend

Much needed, although there were Saturday adventures. Wanders in the wind and rain and photo time at the Botanic Gardens. Gill and I wandered to see the African Day festivities then wandered off taking shelter in Te Papa. I got to revisit the curiosity shop, a revisit of my past. Things I remember, things that are the legends of this place. Our things, the acknowledgement of turangawaewae (my place to stand) my home. As always, it brought tears to my eyes. 

The plan was to take in a photography meet-up at the Begonia House at the gardens. That was a bit of a disappointment as far as the meet-up went. I got some great pics, a couple of which are below, once I worked out that my settings needed a bit of adjustment. Using what I learned with Di in Italy. Nice to feel like I know what I'm doing and my shots are not just happy accidents. That I can adjust my settings to mean little or no adjusting is needed.

Next on the list for the day was a trip to the rugby, live at the famous Wellington cake tin. the weather meant we left it late to choose, almost didn't go after whiling away some time at my local. The seats we got were okay, the ground quite empty, the wind whirling around. It was chilly and I'm not sure I'll go again for a while, more a warm fire and watch it on TV sport for me. My companions made it fun, the hot chocolate after very welcome. 

So today I've pottered around, read my book in the sun that was streaming into my living room, resting, sorting photos and finances, answering emails and organising my next trip. A road trip along the coast to New Plymouth. I'm feeling the need to drive, it's been a while. 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Taxi drivers

I have some fun with the lovely taxi drivers of Wellington. They are an interesting mix of cultures and being the accent queen, I notice theirs. Just like the taxi drivers overseas notice mine. The where are you from question comes before I can stop myself and conversations follow.

Conversations where I learn a lot about other parts of the world, the politics, the religion and the diversity of cultures. I am a social anthropologist at heart and would love to travel the globe sharing the stories of others. I do that now, debunking myths about the Arabic peoples who have welcomed me into their communities.

My trip to Melbourne came with taxi rides. The one there was a quick jump off the airport bus and into a taxi so I wouldn't miss my plane. The driver was from Iraq. He was Shia and we had a conversation about the Shia and Suni conflicts. Interesting as I've not really explored the Shia side too much. He gave me a website to look at, I will get there some day soon.

On the way home, complete with some duty free for my drinks cupboard, I hitched a ride in a taxi with a man who jumped the queue. The taxi driver was accommodating, the other passenger not so. Bet he's telling his friends in Aus about this cheeky New Zealander who jumped in the back. The driver and I had a chuckle after we had dropped him off. He paid of course.

Seems the driver was Serbian, just like the driver I had had on a previous trip. They knew each other well of course. The previous driver shared the history of conflict in his country, very interesting. He was heading off home for the winter, home to his farm and vineyard to do the necessary summer work.

My favourite so far is the driver originally from Egypt. We sat outside chatting for a while after we had arrived at my place. Talking about the troubles in Egypt and the general destabilisation of the Middle East by other nations. Now there's news from Palestine, more news that should make us all feel outrage. Military sanctioned murder. News that made my heart hurt this morning.

So every ride is an adventure, an opportunity to learn some more about this wonderfully diverse world we live in. I've also met a new friend from Iran. He's Jewish, Persian, and very knowledgable about the history and struggles of his beautiful country and it's neighbours. It's so interesting to learn about Jewish history, about the places in the world where there are original populations of Jewish peoples.

So it's turned out that far  from being isolated and away from the world in New Zealand, this small  welcoming country just east of Australia, the diversity in this city means debate and conversation is not far away. I just need to call a taxi.

Sunrise at the edge of Rub Al Khali

Sunday, 18 May 2014


I love Melbourne, could totally enjoy living here. The caf├ęs are lovely, excellent coffee and food. The restaurants are too. Most important are the ones I love who live in Melbourne. Number 2 son, his lovely wife and their soon to be born daughter. My soon to be born granddaughter. I love being a grandma, that surprised me at first. I'm not quite old enough for that title, not exactly an LOL (little ol' lady). I don't exactly live the lifestyle of a traditional grandma.

So what is a traditional grandma? Many different types of people it seems. A small grey bun is not necessary. The new addition has two younger grandmas, one becoming so for the first time. A very, very excited new grandma to join the grandma fraternity. When grandmas gather the pics come out, iPhones and iPads and all sorts of portable devices. We speak our own speak, admiring each other's off springs offspring. A bit exclusive really.

We went out exploring the suburbs today, looking for a new home for the new family. Enjoying a lunch out in a trendy cafe. The best coffee I've had in a while with a yummy pide. A taste of Turkey that made me sigh with delight as I closed my eyes and went back in time. It's 10 years since I was last in Turkey, a revisit might just be on my list for next year.

This year it's baby central and wedding time, the family time I so value. So I will be back in Melbourne soon to meet the new one. To spend time bonding with number 4. That's my call, it's time to board. TTFN, Melbourne, I will be back.

Saturday, 10 May 2014


One of the downfalls of returning to a land of seasons is that one of those seasons is chilly and, recently, sunless. That does not really suit me, the change of seasons has been gorgeous with autumn colours and nights beginning early. Cosy inside through dreary days. Last evening and this morning it's just plain cold, no redeeming sun streaming through the foggy windows.

My solar batteries need recharging already and it's only May. Early May. The up side is I'm getting plenty of excercise, plenty of rugged up outside time wandering with friends. Exploring this lovely city. And then there's the days out on the harbour enjoying the lively breezes Wellington is so famous for.

It seems like ages since I wrote, blame my need to hibernate sometimes. Cold times. This past month has been busy with a trip to Brisbane to meet Aria, a trip to Christchurch to play pirates and one to Auckland for work. A nice day out in the big city visiting children's hospitals and putting faces to the names of those I write to.

A highlight of Auckland was catching up with Sandy. Sandy my traveling companion in Italy. Of course being the small world it is, one of those I was meeting was a friend of hers. I'm off to Melbourne next weekend for a family catch up and hope to see Sue and others as well. It might be a busy one.

Today Kate and Mike are in town so this evening promises to be a social one, like last evening was with a pub dinner, excellent company and the Chiefs winning. And here I sit after a lay in, enjoying summer tomatoes on yummy toast with a pot of tea. It's time I made a move really, procrastinating and enjoying the view of the harbour and city out my window, the leafless trees opening up the vista. The hill I climb each day made worthwhile.