Showing posts from April, 2009

What goes around comes around - a visit from Japan

I cannot begin to describe the joy I felt when our very dear friends Yuji (aka Nashville) and Yuko Mizushima told us last year that they would come and visit us in Australia. I mean one has to make the effort to actually come here! Australia is a big and isolated continent, and unlike many other places on earth, you don't just happen to pass by or through. Yuko and Yuji were actually flying over especially to see Alex and I and we were thrilled.

Our discussions began via the internet and on the phone, but by late February this year, it was all becoming very concrete, as Yuji and Yuko began to plan their trip. By early April, we had fixed dates, so that Alex and I could help them organise their time here. Firstly, let me explain who Nashville (Yuji) San and Yuko San are and why they hold a very special place in my heart, and now in Alex's too. I met Nashville San (San is Mr or Mrs in Japanese) and Yuko San more than 10 years ago when I was working in an English school called Nov…

Latin Camping Down Under

This Easter was spent on Freddy and Ada’s property, near the township of Glenrowan. So, who are Freddy and Ada, and where is Glenrowan? Freddy, who is originally from Bolivia, along with his Peruvian wife, Ada, were the hosts of “Latin American Camping”, which has now been running for 29 years. They have a little girl called Chaska, and Ada is close to giving birth to her second child. Glenrowan is approximately 220 kilometres north east of Melbourne, and is most famously, or infamously, known as the site of the final siege and capture of bush ranger Ned Kelly and his gang in 1880 (I'm actually quite proud to be able to bring you a bit of Aussie history after so much international one).
Many members of the Latin community have been attending this function for years, as it's a great way for the community and their friends to mix, chat, dance and generally have some good old Latin American fun! Alex and I had never been before. We had been invited by our dear friend Linda, who I…

Alex does America.

Everything happens for a reason, or so they say! One good thing to come out of the stuffing up of the dates on our Samoa trip was that we would come back one day earlier, actually giving Alex some time to organise himself to fly out to the States (originally, we would be arriving back in Melbourne on the Saturday and he would be flying to the States the next day; the "updated" version saw us arriving on the Friday, which at least gave him a day to pack). In hindsight (which is truly a marvellous thing, most would agree), he would have been pushing to get himself ready and packed, based on the original schedule. Part of the getting ready phase was as much psychological as anything else, as Alex mentally prepared himself for the transition from laying on a beach in Samoa to the snow and minus temperatures he'd read about in New York!

What was Alex going to the States for, and why wasn't Ombi going? Well, no we're not velcroed together, but for all reasons pertaining…

A walk on the "wild" side - Savai'i

The average tourist on a two week sojourn through Samoa usually only gets to Upolu.....well, we aren't "average" and we like to think of ourselves as much more than tourists. This, I feel, is glaringly obvious to most of you by now! Being the culture fanatics that we are, we were going to try and see as much as we could (without cramming) in the short amount of time we had, so clearly, Savai'i, was on the agenda!

Getting there proved to be easy enough. It was a half an hour or so bus ride to Mulifanua Wharf, on the west side of the airport, and before we knew it, we were on a ferry going across. It's only 20 kilometres to Savai'i, and the trip was supposed to take a little less than an hour and a half. The sea was crystal clear, and I was looking forward to kicking back and relaxing on the boat! I....don't!!!!! I was about five minutes into reading my book, when my guts started up with the same kind of fire dance we had seen only nights …