Monday, May 26, 2008

Sibling rivalry and snakey visits

So I have finally been shamed into writing something. Or maybe it is the sibling rivalry kicking in a little. The rather pointed comment from Jenn regarding my lack of update, while she has been blogging furiously, has pushed to finally write something. Maybe it is also the fact that the IT dept has finally blocked facebook at work, so now if I want to waste any time on Facebook I have to do it at home.

I am halfway through my time now. It is still passing pretty fast which is good. Summer has pretty much arrived and it is rather pleasant to be outside… I have spent a few days playing with hydrology in the sun and I saw my first snake of the summer last week.

The locals think I am nuts wandering through the dodgy areas (you know, nice sunny rocky areas or the grassy places) calling out ‘go away snakes, I am coming…’ The fact that there is (apparently) no antivenom in the country has made me rather, lets say, cautious about an unexpected snakey visit while bashing around the countryside. I am wearing my gumboots so they will get a mouthful of rubber too (that’s how much of a wus I am!). I am getting better, when i met the snake the other day i was by my self, but i wouldn't have embarassed myself anyway. I just stood rooted to the spot as it saw me and ran (slithered) away. Phew.

I have added a couple of pics from Yerevan – I had a couple of extra days in the city before coming to site. The first is a cathedral built into a rocky hill which i visited with a friend and the other is a couple of us finishing some drinks before entering a fine drinking establishment. The proximity of a big pile of smelly rubbish somehow seems, well, just so Armenian that we decided to record the occasion. Just another holiday pic!

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Quick update

I have been trying to get some pictures and a bit of commentary on my life for the last wee while posted here but haven't had much success with technology recently. i have lost my cable to download my camera and so i went to a photo shop and had the card burned to DVD, then i blew up my computer.... with the CD of photos still stuck in the CD drive.

Apparently as i plugged my computer in last night (with the intention of backing up the hard drive onto my new portable hard drive) the power surged and it now smells like melted plastic on the inside... My files haven't been destroyed but i am now using a borrowed computer and have no access to my usual programmes and files or the CD with some nice holiday pictures on it.

So, there are some amazing photos coming.

Other than that, life is good, it is nice to be back in Armenia. There is lots of work to get done and i am looking forward to some consultants arriving on Saturday armed with nachos, baked beans, bacon and brown rice...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I'm Home (if Armenia is home that is)

I have got technologically able again... So here goes the last email - it was a great holiday and I had heaps of fun with everybody in Istanbul, Gallipoli, then adventuring into the Unknown with Rachel and Lauren. We had a couple of days in Istanbul and managed to see many of the tourist sites... Topkapi palace, St Sofia, blue mosque, a turkish bath...

Rachel, Matthew and Lauren at one of the many Mosques in Istanbul. I think Istanbul is the most beautiful city I have been too thus far in my travels. It is a fabulous mixture of styles, materials, age and heights.

Anzac was an amazing experience but it was also cold and windy. We set up on our piece of turf at about 9pm and sat there til the service started at 5.30. I basically didn't get much sleep until right on the start of the service when I couldn't keep my eyes open!! Judy Bailey and Winston Peters did NZ proud..

Ephesus is a must see as part of any tour of turkey and there were plenty of people around to see it with... We were lucky to be there right at 5pm and were shown a small amount of the covered mosaics display for free... we even had the air conditioning units pointed out (small pipes in the ceilings).

Rach and Lauren who I travelled with after were very cool! I am normally a little hesitant about travelling with people as I am rather selfish when it comes to wanting to spend time paragliding. Usually this involves me wandering off by myself (well with some other pilots anyway) and ignoring them. I can’t tell anyone any certain information either – how long will I be? Where will I land? How will I get back? I cant even guarantee that I will be paragliding, the weather might be good, it might be bad… who knows!

Oludeniz was a beautiful locations with plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy... Especially paragliding! This was the real break, four days of relaxing and hanging out was needed after such a busy time the rest of my break.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Guest appearance by Rach and Lauren!!

Lucy hasn’t written for ages but she is still alive. She has been travelling around Turkey with some cool friends for the last week and a half.

The plan began in Istanbul with a couple of day’s spent carpet hunting and spice gathering before heading to Anzac day celebrations in Gallipoli. We headed to Anzac celebrations with about 10000 other people and a group of 10 friends on our bus.
The actual ceremony was a cold sleepless night spent in a cramp grandstand while we watched old movies and documentaries about Anzac day through the night. The dawn ceremony was nice but Lucy kept falling asleep and then we all walked up a big hill to Chunk Bair where the NZ ceremony was held. Judy Bailey and Winston Peters made NZ proud!

We were picked up by a hot chauffer at Canakkale and driven to Izmir – thanks to Lucy’s Turkish contacts and we got a free rental car for the rest of the trip!!

The next couple of days were an archaeologists dream with lots of old stuff while travelling east. We finally arrived in Oludeniz for a couple of days of sun, sea and swimming (and paragliding). It is with some sadness that we now find ourselves in Antalya with planes and buses to catch…
We felt that we could impart some good knowledge that may help future travellers out when in Turkey:

Lessons learnt in Turkey with Lucy, Rachel, Lauren and Gertie.

1. One can never have too many figs.
2. There are many ways in which onion can be cooked, maybe not quite 1001 though.
3. Leftover seafood pasta shouldn’t be eaten after having sat in a warm car all day, however this does reduce the food bill for the budget traveller.
4. One can never have too many pistachios, any form will do – nuts, ice cream, turkish delight.
5. On the subject of accommodation, sleeping mats in a tent make it insulated, while the presence of a Turkish carpet creates luxury.
6. Good coffee can be hard to find.
7. More than two CDs should accompany a road trip
8. The probability of your tour bus being last to pick you up when there are 500 of them is 1:500, but it did happen.
9. Leave the tour, before the suspension in the bus breaks
10 Lucy loves this paragliding thing.

It was with sadness we had to leave Gutless Gert, our nice (free) rental car and carrier of figs, paragliding kit and other sundry items in Antayla, especially after such auspicious beginnings (delivery by a hot guy).

Ps. Rach was whisked away to the airport and now Lauren and Lucy are deeply depressed as we prepare for our departure..
P.s.s photos are coming soon, as soon as I find a cable to download them with!

P.s.s.s And lastly a comment by Lucy - I have been dissappointed by the lack of marriage proposals, and to be honest we haven't been hassled or harrassed by any nice or not nice Turk men... maybe they are a bit intimidated by us...