Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mulberry vodka making time

I was walking through some gardens and came across this old lady and her distillery. The old lady let me take her picture and was even prepared to let me try the rough vodka (she was only on her first distill of the mulberries). I declined as i am sure it would have made me blind!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Final note on the smelly bag and the rest of the drama

My missing bag finally turned up (after 10 days), and i am a little disappointed to report that there were no whiffy cheesy smells emanating from it. Until i opened it. And then i got to clean smelly mouldy slime off the rest of the contents of the plastic bag the cheese was in. I considered throwing the whole plastic bag out but common sense and a desire to eat the packet of biscotti held out.
Apparently the walking poles that Luftahansa lost on the previous flight are now at the Yerevan airport and so i could be reunited with them early next week.
The only outstanding issues/items from my flight back to Armenia is the missing sandal and olive oil out of my other bag (this is perhaps the most disturbing - there was one sandal and 1L of olive oil missing out of my bag- the bag must have been opened during the time it was with the airline...)
Honestly, how often do you manage to lose walking poles from the outside of a pack on one flight, then lose the pack in the next leg of air travel and get to the end (minus walking poles and the pack they were attached too) and find out you are missing items out of the remaining bag (the one that wasn't lost for 10 days??)
I can't wait for my next flights.

Monday, July 14, 2008

update on the bag

Just in case anyone else gets a a kick out of smelly cheese, it is still missing (along with the bag) i expect it might be getting a little whiffy now, and i would predict that bag to be found in the next week.

The site record for longest amount of time to have a bag lost coming into Armenia is 2.5 weeks, the lucky holder of this record is Ward (who was a consultant and didn't actually have any clothes other than the ones he was standing it).

I am only at one week now... and i have clothes here so i am doing ok in the scheme of things!

The next adventure...

So, my next adventure is already booked and paid for (well, the permits are anyway) and now it all looks a little dubious.

I am supposed to be walking up Mt Ararat and flying my paraglider back is a significant hill clocking in at 5165m and since it is a stand alone kinda mountain it is pretty damn impressive (click here for a pic from my old blog).

A few days ago three German tourists were kidnapped by the PKK (Kurdish workers union) from the 1st base camp as they were climbing the mountain... The Turks have closed the mountain, so, maybe i wont be climbing it in 5 weeks time after all.

It seems that the PKK are protesting the German government shut down a pro-PKK TV station in Germany - i imagine if i were kidnapped, when they find out i am from NZ i would get the standard response i get from everyone

"oh, i love New Zealand i want to live/move/visit there one day - how do i get a visa?"

I would then spend the next ten minutes listening to how wonderful NZ is, how wonderful Lord of the Rings was, and how much they want to visit...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Smell that bag

I may have mentioned a while ago that Austrian Airlines rocked.... well, they are not quite making my christmas card list any more...

They lost my bag when i came back to Armenia. Its been three days and they still haven't tracked it. This happens to everyone i know... but i bet not everyones bags contains half their body weight in smelly italian cheese, do they?


I think austrian airlines might be able to locate my bag by smell soon...


Only in Kapan?

I am sure you can find this kind of picture all over the world right?
Check out the people patiently sitting in the van waiting to get to work!!!

Thanks for sending the photo Steve!
Ill get around to writing more on Italy soon...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Churches, Delays and the Austrian Question

Mum spent two weeks here in Armenia, she spent time in Kapan with me while I worked and we also travelled around a little. I sent her to Iran (well the border anyway – they wouldn’t let people like her in there!!) and to an amazing monestry a couple of hours drive away with the boy from work who I am mildly suspicious that he might have a crush on me (think 27 bloody roses a few months back!)

I saw more old churches than I really needed to, and I am sure that even mum was a little jaded by them too. They are very impressive but I think there should be a warning attached that there are only so many you can see before boredom kicks in… this warning may also be attached to similarly old cultural sites in Italy to – but more on that soon.

The rigmarole at the airport proved that you can put a first rate modern airport in a developing country and you can give them all the fancy equipment in the world but when it turns to crap then all passengers will stand in line for hours delaying all flights until the ‘system’ gets running again. This also means that passengers miss connecting flights – and Mum and I get to stay in Vienna for a day. So we wandered around Vienna for a day and saw some pretty stuff, ate some nice chocolate torte. Austrians are supposed to be very serious, and it is said that they lack imagination and/or sense of humor which could perhaps be illustrated a few hours later back at the airport as we are leaving for Rome

Security lady standing at the xray machine
“please take off your belt”
Me - ah, ha, actually this belt is made of plastic
Her - Yes that’s nice but you will have to take it off
Me - But my belt is made of plastic and fabric (me showing her the construction)
Her - Yes, I can see that, but it is policy that you must take it off and put it through the machine
Me - But my belt is made of PLASTIC!!
Her - Please take off your belt and put it though the machine (the que behind me is growing longer)

Basically, we went back and forward, me getting more animated trying to explain to a very nice, polite, STUPID woman a that my belt wasn’t belt – and eventually taking off the blinking belt and putting the blinking belt thorugh the machine, muttering and cursing not-so-quietly under my breath.
So, the Austrian Question - is this security woman an anomaly in Austria? Is litral interpretation of all regulations - despite obvious absurdity the usual??? I have heard some rumors about Austrians but some more investigations might be necessary!