Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bali, Bruises, New Jobs, the Middle Ages, Sprite, Rumpelstiltskin, and Oh, By the Way, Lydia is Awesome.

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Let's start in order—Bali.

Bali's pretty cool. Everyone's nice and friendly and proposes marriage to you. They ask for your name and give you theirs, shake your hand and ask where you're from, tell you you're pretty and that they hope to see you again soon. Occasionally, someone will try to sell you something. But they don't compliment you, usually. They just try to sell it to you.


Bruises.

We went surfing and I got bruises on my knees, my hips, my head, my arms, my elbows, my everywheres. Not that you can see them. But they're there. Hiding. Invisible. This is because we went surfing

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A day in Ubud

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One of the most interesting destinations in Bali is a place called Ubud. It was a small village in the mountains some eighty years ago, but now is counts around 80,000 people and nobody knows where it starts and when it finishes. In the 1920s it became a destination for Western artists and it continues to attract a lot of them. It was hard for me to imagine how we'd have any fun in a place so removed from the beach, but I loved it, it was great. We got here twice, spent more than a week altogether, and we did have a good time. It is a major touristic destination, some would argue that it lacks authenticity, but on the other hand, it is good to see some tourists every now and then.


If you only have a day, here is a suggestion for filling it up. Don't rent a bike, unless

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Parts of Bali

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Selamat Pagi! (sell-ah-matt pah-ghee) Good morning!
We were supposed to have a vacation here. 
What, vacation from a vacation? 
We are traveling, this is hard work. When we started seven months ago (that long?) we were full of energy, eager to see, to experience, to accumulate sights and smells and sounds, to be free of past habits, only to make new ones. As time passed, we adapted to our new, simple ways, wearing the same clothes day in and out, taking care of them, and ourselves in the same time (you can’t go out in your pajama while your clothes are drying), eating whatever is available, sterilizing our water and learning about what is yet to come. And when we made the plans, we decided to have a vacation here in Bali. After Goa, where 10 days were not enough to gather some energy, we thought to have more time in Bali, two weeks vacation and two for visiting. If only! We hopped around like we couldn’t settle, the beach was nicer on the other side! But in this way we’ve seen more of Bali! And also some other places, that are not on this island, but for the sake of the blog, I’ll put them in Bali too.
How is Bali? Depends on where you stand: in the street it is touristic, in the rice terraces it is in a stopped time, in the dwellings it is traditional.

The gas station on the narrow streets of Kuta.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Nothing Beats Cold Fried Fish For Breakfast

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We left Australia a couple of weeks ago, but I still refer quite often to that book, "We of the Never Never". It doesn't help that Ileana is now reading it and she often finds something interesting to share. So it comes easy for me to say this morning "nothing beats cold fried fish for breakfast!" Actually is not bad at all, we get interrupted a moment later, a waiter delivers five plates of dessert, banana fritters with grated cheese and some cookie with nuts and chocolate. We are confused but later learn that we have two breakfasts this morning. The first is an "all you can eat buffet" with eggs, cereals, bread and croissants, plus fried fish, sausages and a couple of sorts of rice and the second "light breakfast" with the above mentioned cookies. I enjoy every moment of it, hoping that they wouldn't kick me out at 10 am. I have no idea what time it is and I don't want to find out. It is 8.10 am (thank you, Maria) and our day is almost over! I would linger in the garden for another hour and then go back to bed.

The Temple of Borobudur, May 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'll Happy Everyday Because You Make Me Fun

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I cannot make up these things and I am pretty sure you cannot either. But some smart and educated people who already speak one language well would try to translate their feelings in English and come up with things like this: "I'll happy everyday because you make me fun".

This particular one is the cover of a drawing book this little young man brought to Gili Meno. He came with his family, I came with mine, we are all together here, a party of twelve. People get scared when they see us. Women, fear in their eyes, asked me on the boat if they are all mine. Eight children? No, just some of them.
I could have tried for ever to get all the children to look at me at once


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Osutoraria

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I have no idea at what age normal people start dreaming about a trip to Australia. My daughter had an a emotional breakdown (Starting It All) at 12 when faced with the possibility of waiting until 15 to see Australia. For us, the parents, it was always somewhere in the back of our minds, someday we would come here. Twenty years ago, Ileana was studying Japanese, we thought it was hilarious how they say the names of different countries, and since then Osutoraria has been part of our family language.
Kakadu Wetlands

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Way Out

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We’re looking for a place to spend the night. “If you want to sleep in town you have to go to a gated camping. The blackies drink too much and cause problems” says a well intended white. We press on a little further, at Three Ways, where one of the campers is not happy, we should have backed in our lot. It is something that we are going to see in all the camps, we’re supposed to follow the rules, but we’re not very good at it. Water here has a yellow tint, a metallic taste, but it is clear and safe to drink. It is brought with cisterns and kept in huge drums. It is free! Or you could buy a plastic bottle and have it on your conscience, because there is no recycling outside big cities. 
The straight road isn’t fun. We have 700 km to drive until we stop for the night. There is nothing that catches our eye: grass, shrubs, an occasional tree. But at the end of the day we realize we have some clouds, there are more trees (and they’re not eucalyptus), flocks of birds that fly in the sun, and many hawks eating roadkill. Driving after sunset is not recommended, not because there are no lights to see the road, but for the animals, who, after the heat of the day, become active and start foraging. You don’t want to have a collision with a euro (a big kangaroo), or to flatten a possum or a wallaby. And beside this, if you have an accident, there’s no one who can help you until morning.
As we’re driving, we pass through small communities, the petrol station (gas is for cooking), the grocery store, some disheveled looking houses. The few people sit where the action iswaiting on a bench, looking at you as you get down from the car, as you fuel, scrutinizing the way you walk, talk, your gestures, looking for something to remember, to have something to talk about long after you’re gone.


The Top End and The Land of Never Never

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As we drive North from Alice Springs toward Darwin there is a sign, about 20 km into our trip. It is the Tropic of Capricorn. As important as that might be, the girls choose not to get out of the car. I learned in school a hundred years ago about the imaginary lines on the map, the Equator, the latitudes and longitudes. The tropics. Yeah.


The Tropic of Capricorn

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A New Campervan

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Near Darwin: We pick out a powered campsite, probably somewhere near Litchfield, and relax a bit before a dinner of pasta.

The mosquitos are lethal here. Ileana went out to wash the dishes and came back after only five minutes, looking desperately throughout the camper for the repellent. Her back was bright red. I've got more bites on my legs than I know what to do with. It's so hot that our clothes are sticking to us and I don't even mind the oppressive heat and humidity any more… I just try to avoid heat rash— the sweat heats up and then you get a burn in the worst of places— knees, thighs, armpits… mostly thighs, since we walk all the time. It's annoying. 

And it gets hot in the day. We are almost liquid if we ever don't have the AC on.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An Australian Mozzie's Guide to Gorging

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AN AUSTRALIAN MOZZIE'S GUIDE TO GORGING
Section B, Camper Vans
Locate any and all entrances into vehicle. Check the edges of flyscreens, as these often come undone during the many bumps these crazy humans encounter along the road. Hide within the curtains which they draw at night for 'privacy' to escape their extraordinary hand-eye coordination.
When they are asleep (also known as temporary death— recognized by slowed breathing, absolute quiet, and odd mumbling sounds that sound like 'talking'), slip out of the curtains. Bite most fleshy parts— calves of legs, thighs (unfortunately often covered), underarms, neck, and cheeks. Hide in curtains again until day, when they open the Door. Slip out as unnoticed as possible. Make sure you are not discovered when they pull the curtains!
REMEMBER: All humans are highly territorial creatures. They WILL KILL if they discover a mozzie, often relentlessly. HUMANS DO NOT FORGET YOU ARE THERE!