Month: March 2014

MandB’s african adventure – Tanzania 10

Hello lovely everyone.Here is our last installment from Keeeenya!

Had a day at the Ewaso River with Jethwa boys and girl and Tom.Lots of catfish were caught!




The next day we headed back to Lake Naivasha for some camping and a lovely day walking round Crater Lake Nature Reserve.




That evening was Colm D’Olier’s24th bday party.Sundowners and singing by the lake, followed by yummy bbq and lots and lots of gin.




We drove to Lake Baringo for a couple of hot hot hot nights and days. Didn’t manage much more than doing our washing and lazing by the next door pool.Cooking on open fire was perhaps not our best idea (mega hot evenings)!Staggy tried a bit of fishing, but not a sausage.


Eventually got round to visiting Matt’s old school; The Banda.He was in his element, and spent all our daily budget on second hand sports kit (very retro)…

Had a great night out in Gilgil, with long lost buddies Katie Davis and Mike Aung (teachers at Banda’s rival school). The next day their school Pembrokeplayed hockey against Banda, and despite Katie’s dodgy ref-ing, Banda wiped the floor with them….spot Matt’s retro tracksuit top!…

The next night, had a big farewell evening in Nairobi… so hungover the next morning that we had to delay our departure til the next day!(Also, had to stick around to watch Jonny the God Wilkinson.)

On way to Dar we stopped off for a couple of nights at Kari and Tim’s house in Mtwapa (on the coast).Had chilled day by their pool (with Ross, Kari’s bro and Chilli their three legged dog) and lovely pizza and icecream dinner out…

The next day we crossed the border into Tanzania, and are now in Dar Es Salaam, waiting for Bonnie’s Ma and AuntyMindyto arrive… only 2 hrs 40 mins to go!!V V excited.

New tel no. if anyone is bored at work and wants to text (still lovin the international texting) is +255 786 877 411.

Lots and lots of love


Posted from Tanzania:

posted Saturday February 2007

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Ken#s Orient Express Ride – Hungary 10

Hello Everyone

We have reached Budapest, essentially one half way through the ride in terms of both riding days (22 of 42) and distance (1,200 of 2500 miles).  In one month we have polished off France, Germany, Austria and Slovakia!!! 

Riding after Vienna has not been as interesting or beautiful as it was through France, Germany and Austria.  We did a short one day (40 mile) ride from Vienna to Bratislava, Slovakia.  The town was much nicer than I expected.  Great old down town area with many pubs, restaurants, etc.  Lots of people on the streets and in the pedestrian areas.  We had great Italian food, and then a surprisingly good meal at the restaurant in our little hotel.  The restaurant opened only for our riders, and only 6 of us took advantage of it.  Everything was cooked to order, and delicious.

From Bratislava we rode to Gyor, Hungary.  A nice small town.  Then two more days of riding to Budapest.  Have not seen much of the town yet, had to take care of more mundane things like laundry (I can now ask for a laundromat in French, German, Slovakian and Hungarian), a hair cut and internet.  I am posting this blog entry while waiting for my clothes to dry. 

If I can find a usb cable for my camera I will post some pictures next time I do an entry.

We have two days in Budapest, so plenty of time for more sight seeing.

I feel younger and healthier than I have for many years. 


Posted from Hungary:

posted Wednesday July 2007

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Juliet Ju’s Latin American Adventure – Colombia 10


Well, I just wrote this entire blog and then my computer decided to shut itself down unexpectedly and I lost the whole thing! Raah! Not my day!

So I am back in Colombia after having spent a week in Ibague with the family of Diana and Cristianas Dad. Ibague is located 4 hours west from Bogota and as you descend from the Andes the climate is significantly warmer however we were not so lucky and ended up with quite a few rainy days. We tried to kid ourselves one day and go to the pool. While we managed to catch some rays the water was freezing!!

If anyone has read Gabriel Garcia Marquezs One Hundred Years of Solitude the you will understand the situation of the house I stayed in Ibague.  This family literally stepped straight out of that novel! There are three generations living in one house. The adorable abuelos, abuelo and abuela, the parents and grandparents of the house. Abuelito is recovering from an operation and still has a catheter but he is such a sweet heart and is always running up and down the stairs to fin where the action is even though the doctors have told him to stay in bed. Abuelita runs the house. She is the true matriarchal figure but has a fabulous quirky sense of humour. One day she came into where I was reading and gave me a gorgeous wooden beaded bracelet so as not to forget her but I certainly wouldnt forget he soon even without the bracelet. The two of them are so sweet that I found it hard to put sugar in their coffee!

Four of the abuelos seven children still live in the house. The youngest is there because even after achieving his degree in industrial engineering he cant fin a job. It is a serious problem in Colombia. There are just no jobs for young professionals the result being that many are looking for opportunities overseas and hence Colombia is loosing its young minds. Two other tios Javier and Carlos also live in the house. Javier has lived their since his divorce. He is learning Portuguese and was so interested in my trip around South America. Every time I spoke to him would speak to me in Portuguese which was a little difficult because it always took me a while to figure out whether he was speaking in a weird Spanish accent or speaking a language I dont speak. Also considering I dont speak a word of Portuguese the conversation always seemed very amusing to him and not so amusing to me! However when I left Ibague he presented me with such a lovely gift of a full copy of his Portuguese workbook complete with a copy of the audio CD so that I can begin learning Portuguese  before I go to Brazil. Such a beautiful gift!! And then there is tio Carlos who is suffering from some kind of mental illness bus every so often he gets a moment of lucidity and begins to totally freak out that he is losing his life and that he will lose his job and his wife (who comes to visit him every day but cant support him in their house anymore).

Tia Margarita is a single mother who shares one of the rambling upstairs bedrooms with her seven year old daughter Maria Jose very cheeky and a little spoilt but still super cute! Tia and Abuelita run the house from the kitchen where they spend all day churning out meals to feel the immense number of people in the house. Finally there is Carolina, the 15 year old black skinned live in maid, from the coast of Colombia. She spent the whole week marvelling at my eyes (she has never seen blue eyes before).  

So many intertwined relationships! This is the kind of place where you can find a seat in a quite corner, not say anything all day and still be thoroughly entertained. I was treated like an absolute princess. I was unable to do a thing! My clothes were removed from my room and washed (by hand! No washing machines here!). There is no hot water in the house but every morning I had a baby bath filled with hot water boiled on the stove. I had three meals a day served to me hot from the kitchen. I felt completely ridiculous! Of course I was just living the life of the any of the men in this Colombian household but watching the women scrub the shirts of the men who carelessly dropped them on the floor it felt very unjust to be treated as a princess when these women clearly already had plenty of work to do! One day I managed to convince abuelita to let me cook lunch. The enormous task of cooking lunch for 15 people took me 2 hours of preparation. And as a took the dish out of the oven a put it on the side board next to the sink where is promptly exploded into a thousand pieces! Now mum has warned me that you shouldnt put hot things out of the oven on cold surfaces, but as it has never actually happened to me I didnt actually believe her!! Well mum consider yourself believed! Bugger! Of course we couldnt eat any of the food and I now had 15 hungry people waiting to be served lunch.  Abuelita came to the rescue, shushed me out of the kitchen and whipped up some rice and plantane chip thingos in a matter of minutes. I was completely defeated! Still quite red faced about the whole thing!

While in general Colombia is pretty safe. I was alarmed one day when we were told to stay indoors because they were helicopters circling and that meant that there was guerrilla activity in the area!! What?! Needless to say I stayed well within doors and nothing ended up transpiring that day anyway. Safety issues do suck!!! I would really like to go to Cali in the south of Colombia known as one of the salsa capitals of the world, also the home of Claudias family, but the Australian government says not to travel there. I also had the plan to cross the boarder to Venezuela by bus from the coastal town of Santa Marta but the government has said that the boarder is too dangerous. Even if I take the risk I wont have any travelling insurance. So that means I have to take a 26 hour bus back to Bogota to fly over the boarder to Venezuela when I would be right there!! And it is going to cost a pretty penny as well. But then if something were to happen at the boarder there is no way I would be thinking well this is worth it for the money I saved!!  

So now I am back in Bogota and the thing at the forefront of mind is that I seem to have misplaced my camera. I forgot to take it with me to Ibague, or so I thought but maybe I lost it on the way. I cant find it anywhere and the question now seems to be whether I buy another one. Cameras are a lot more expensive here so if I buy a new one the whole replacement cost wont be covered by insurance and what if the other one (which is perfect) shows up after I have bought another one? But at the same time I love taking photos of my trip especially for all of you guys. The plan for now is to wait a couple of days and nothing shows up to start shopping! Damn!!

On a more cheery note yesterday I had my first rock climbing class! It was so great! I love the gym where I am doing it. It has a cafe where everyone hangs out after climbing and everyone is really nice.  My teacher is great and I have already learnt two methods of guardar. Sorry I have no idea how you say that in English. Actually quite weird, because I never climbed in Australia I never learnt any of the climbing vocabulary in English so I only know it in Spanish! Ha ha! Anyway was super awesome! My arms are a bit painful today but not too bad. My next class is on Wednesday I am totally pumped.

Sorry I have no photos to accompany this post but I lost my camera (in case you didnt already get that from my paragraph of complaining about it!! Ha ha!).


Posted from Colombia:

posted Saturday November 2008

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MandB’s african adventure – Lithuania 3

Hello all, we’ve just had a fab 2 weeks in Zambia – here are some of our piccies…

We started with 3 days at South Luangua National Park (wedding present from the Trenberth Clan – thanks so much guys).  The campsite was amazing – tent in the trees (to keep us safe from the animals) hippos and crocs in the river, elephants and hyenas strolling through … lush.


Matt decided that his head was looking unnaturally big for his body, so removed his David Bellamy beard…stage two (handlebar moustache and lamb chop sideys) freaked Bonnie out too much so had to go…


Had the most amazing freebie – Matt made friends with a fellow Kenyan; Glenton Coombes who just happened to be flying his chopper around the park for a few days… guess what we did the next afternoon… 3 hours over the park, to northern plateau and back while the sun set… amazing… (see if you can spot the elephants crossing the river)…


Next morning we were up early and in the park for sunrise, saw lots and lots – elephants, puku, crocs, hippo, giraffe, impala, and many more. Also had a few hairy 4×4 moments…


That evening we did a fab night drive (first time), it was great fun not driving ourselves and we saw lots of stuff – lions, hyenas, gennet cats, mongoose…


…and very excitingly, a leopard… (yes it IS a leopard).  We have a great night vision video of it for anyone who wants to dispute our poor photographic evidence…


Matt even squeezed in a spot of fishing before we left – perfect three days, thank you so much to the lovely Trenberths for the wedding pressie…


Headed off towards Lusaka, with a stop off at Luangua Bridge… where Matt found a puff adder that was hanging out by our tent… it didn’t last long when the guard found out…


No photos of Lusaka cos we were busy eating out, going to cinema and shopping… ahh civilisation…

Next stop was Siavonga on shores of Lake Kariba for a couple of days – lovely beach, nice for chilling out.  Visited Kariba Dam while we were there, bloomin huge wall… pretty spectacular… for a wall…


Drove to Livingstone where we had another great wedding pressie; White Water Rafting on the Zambezi thanks to Sam and Stuart.  Amazing, crazy, very fun day, Bonnie fell in and we both got very wet.

Us all geared up and clambering into the gorge…


One of the first rapids…


Some more great shots…


Another rapid sequence…


Matt finished off the day by having a go on the rescue kayaks… had to be saved while trying a roll… he eventually got the hang of it…  Massive, huge thank you to Sam and Stuart for a really great day, we loved it!


After a day of recovery, we headed to Vic Falls… totally stunning… and wet as you can see…


After a quick change in the car park we spruced up and waltzed into The Royal Livingstone for a super posh lunch on the banks of the Zambezi… a real splash out, lush…


Only two weeks in Zambia, but really fab.  Off to Botswana this afternoon, will have new number there – we’ll let you know it asap.

Lots of love and big thanks us xxx

Posted from Lithuania:

posted Thursday May 2007

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Gringos in Goofy Hats South America Tour 2008 16 October 2008 – Chile 3

We made it to Santiago…and this was no small feat eventhough it wason our itinerary and we paid for the tickets…it seems the LAN gods ofPeru had one more trick up their sleeve before letting us go…So, after 2 painful encounters with the Peruvian travel industry, we prepared for our 3rd and final round with the full confidence that this would go smoothly.  Afterall, we had our reservations, we paid for our seats and had made NO CHANGES…

Posted from Chile:

posted Tuesday October 2008

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Shoestringing Sea To Sea – Canada 9

Sunday, Sugust 10:

Another gorgeous day in Ottawa as the four of us set off on bikes to explore further sites in this lovely city.  Even Massey has been comparing Ottawa to Victoria as an accessible people-friendly city – high praise indeed.  Ottawa has a wonderful series of biking paths, and we made our way in leisurely fashion along the Ottawa River toward the downtown core.  Along the way, we were amazed to see a section of riverbank that contained a huge number of rock sculptures in and around the water.  We learned that this “rock balance art” was initiated by the artist in 1986 and later gained support from the National Capital Commission as a unique and natural way to beautify the landscape and provide a place of peace and reflection for the people of Ottawa.  These are all natural sculptures, with no mortar used to hold them in place; thus they are generally washed away in November and rebuilt again in the spring with a different presentation, theme and story.  As luck would have it, we were fortunate to meet the artist, John Felice Ceprano while we were there, and he spent some time talking to us about his philosophy regarding balance, in his art and in life. 

Continuing on our way, we biked along the foot of Parliament Hill until we reached the Rideau Canal, another of Canada’s wonders.  Here again our timing was right, as we were able to watch the process of moving some pleasurecraft through the locks into the river.  I had never seen this before, so it was fascinating to see them gradually lower the water level in each lock allowing the boats to move in steps until they reached the open water.  As onlookers gathered to watch the process, there was a lazy laidback atmosphere – what better way to while away a summer  Sunday afternoon!  There were all kinds of  boats in the water, including the cleverly named “Lady Dive”, Ottawa’s answer to the Halifax “Harbour Hopper”.  Certainly the Ottawa waterfront was hopping with activity! 

After a short but very steep climb, we arrived at the doors of the National Gallery where we parted company for awhile.  I was keen to see the Renoir exhibit (the side benefit of which would be air conditioning.  The day had become increasingly hot and humid and I was positively melting by the time we made it up the hill), while Massey, Grace and Paul decided to look for an outdoor cafe and something cool to drink.  So I spent the next hour in the gallery, thoroughly enjoying the work of this great French Impressionist master.  The theme of this exhibit was Renoir’s landscape phase, and I rented the audioguide to accompany the exhibit so as to gain maximum benefit from my brief visit.  And so I had a bit of an art lesson, learning about the “impression in the moment” developed by this school of artists, as they worked quickly and boldly to capture the light and its effects on their subjects.  It was a marvelous exhibit of 60 paintings featuring beautiful landscapes in bright happy colours and interesting subject matter from the period 1865-1883.  Massey and I had seen Monet’s garden at Giverny a few years ago when were in France, and it was interesting to see some of Renoir’s paintings done in the same locale.  In some cases, references were made to scenes painted independently by both Monet and Renoir, and the audioguide also pointed out a few paintings where Monet is thought to be one of the subjects.  The exhibit also contained works that Renoir had done in his travels to Italy and North Africa, so it was a very comprehensive overview of his work in landscapes.  This was the only Canadian venue for this exhibition, so I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to see it.    

I rejoined the group for and ice-cold beer and snacks, after which we made our way through the Bytown Market area and back home, following the Rideau Canal for quite a distance.  On previous visits to Ottawa in the winter, I had skated on the canal, so it was interesting to gain a summertime perspective of this significant waterway.  It was a picturesque ride, taking us past the University of Ottawa, Carlton University, and through acres of experimental farmland right within the city limits.

We topped off the day with gourmet hamburgers at The Works, a popular spot where you build your burger with any imaginable topping, including peanut butter and cream cheese.  While we opted for something a little more conventional (The Big Ben with smoked meat and sauerkraut), the burgers were delicious and a great end to a great day.

Posted from Canada:

posted Tuesday August 2007

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Ecuador – 9

Welcome to
Posted from :

posted Monday May 2006

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