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, August 30, 2012

Summer Camp

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So it's about time I confront the keyboard and my rapidly deteriorating ability to type and write a blog post. I figure summer camp is as good a thing to write about as any. Except for the fact that it will be heavily censored, as this took place at a church camp, and further censored as this is a family blog and swearing is not included, and censored even further because the participants will probably end up reading it. Maybe.

Friday, Aug 17: Fly to UAE, bid parents adieu, fly to JFK, reach Saturday somewhere over the ocean.

Saturday, Aug 18: Keep flying, fly to Pittsburg, wait around to be picked up by someone, we do not know who.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Colors

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On the last day of the contest Capture the Color we found out that we were nominalized so we didn't lose any second. Here they are:

Blue

Lesotho is the third poorest country in the world. This bar was on top of a hill and had a few customers. I liked that I could interpret the written signs as "Be prepared, you are going to be disarmed by two sisters!"




Green

Tsiribihina River, Madagascar. Planting rice.



Red

Kyoto, Japan Preparedness, Japanese style


White

Taj Mahal, India 

We went to visit first thing in the morning and a heavy fog was all around us.  This man was sweeping the leaves that fell in the night time.



Yellow

Antsirabe, Madagascar

Water is scarce in Madagascar and is usually brought from the river or the water pump in yellow jugs. The boy was collecting them and caught a ride on his wheeled platform.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

F'ailte gu Alba!

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Ciamar a tha thu! (keh-mer a ha-oo) It means how are you in Gaelic. And the title translates as “Welcome to Scotland” but I don’t know how to pronounce it.


Thistle, the national flower.

We’re not six anymore, we’re just four, because the girls are in USA. Dubai-London, London-Edinburgh, a bus, a train and a car ride later we’re in Valerie’s bed-n-breakfast where we drink tea and chat. Apparently 18 C is a tropical weather for Scotland, too hot.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Scotland

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We are in Europe now. It's almost like home, which means there is much less incentive to write and much less to write about. No more exotic destinations, this is all about places that everybody knows, or has been there, or wants to go there or knows people who've been there and so on. With the girls gone to camp for one week we could choose any place to go. Competing for having us were Scotland, Ireland, Wales, even Norway. We didn't really weigh our options, we picked the first. Edinburgh, the historical Scottish capital and the place of the biggest August festival in Europe. One month of hundreds of shows in one old beautiful city. Checked. Two days to visit the city - crowded, exhausting, wet. It is all under construction, hey will put a tram throughout the center so every street is either dug out or blocked by traffic.
Edinburgh, Scotland

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Richest City in World

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We flew from Cape Town to Dubai on Emirates. It was quick and comfortable. Then, too fast for me, the girls took a right and disappeared behind some door toward the transit area. They would take a plane to America, by themselves for the first time in our lives. The three of us took a left and got on a long line to immigration. We had all the time to study the young men working there. They were all in long white dresses, spending inordinate amounts of time arranging their scarfs on their heads, walking around, taking a sip of water, occasionally checking a passport or two. It was 2 am and they were in no hurry!
Apparently this is too small and they'll built another one

Dubai

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Emirate Airlines is the best by many standards (by mine it is second, after Air Madagascar). We watch movies continuously just because we missed them and we don’t want to think what’s coming after we get in Dubai. Our girls travel by themselves back to the States for 10 days. As a homeschooling mother I have them under my sight most of the time, and as a traveling parent 24 hours a day with little exceptions. It is time to cut my umbilical cord and learn to live without supervising them.

We say our good-byes and hug and kiss. They go their way, to catch a transfer, we go ours, to customs. We wait in line and I observe: only men work, dressed in their white robes and spend most of the time rearranging their head-scarves. Some military marches from time to time, but everything is smooth and efficient, we get stamps in our passports: Salaam Dubai! (Sahl-aah-m) Hello!

We wake up around noon after 6 hours of sleep and at 4 we take the free shuttle to some mall from where we can take the subway to get to the tallest building in the world Burj Khalifa. As we enter the mall I notice a sign:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Journal of a Nomad through Vasteland (4)

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August 11  

We packed our bags and went to an Ostrich Farm to have a tour. We had to wait for 11 o’clock, and perused the shop. They had simple eggs, decorated, painted, sculpted, transformed in lamp shades. Beside this, feathered dusters, feathered snakes and all sorts of things made from the ostrich skin (it looks geometrically bumpy). Needless to say everything was so expensive. On the grounds there was an old round school that housed the names of people who donated for the new school. We found three Romanians and one guy who was from the country Texas (sic!).

What we learned about ostrich farms: they started in 1800’s because the fashion of that time required fluffy feathers. At some point they sold one ostrich feather for its weight in gold. The “feather barons” built themselves beautiful houses, including a pool for 15 people, but that was never used (it would require the water supply for a year). When the fashion changed there was a slum, but they changed too—now they are growing them for meat. Ostriches are not bright, they have only 40 grams of brain, so any enriching program failed. They go for their fellows’ backs, pecking their feathers off. 

The highlight of the visit was riding ostriches (same as Moco in "Two Years of Vacation" by Jules Verne). Mihai and myself got to mount one (we’re overweight by ostrich-riding rules). The bird had its chest in a V-stall, and a man was holding it in there from behind. The back was wide, and warm. I petted its neck, it had a warm snake feeling, it was awesome. The children had a blast! It was very close to rain, and there were other people with children, but for some reason the guide took a like to us and invited our children first, before rain started. They were supposed to climb on the bird’s back, hold onto the wings, cross their ankles at the front. A guy would take off the bag that covered the ostrich’s head and start yelling, and another one would hold my child from behind so s/he would not fall. The bird would start running around and all the others, slowing themselves down. Ileana was laughing, happy, no constraints. Ioan too. Maria was still waiting for the exciting part to start, she felt comfortable as on a horse.


South Africa again

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There are very few options of getting to Africa from Asia, and aiming for the southern part of the continent there is only one major hub: Johannesburg. Especially when considering our trip to Madagascar, this was our only choice. We wanted to go to Cape Town and I envisioned a loop through Botswana, Zambia and Namibia. It was only shortly before our arrival that Ileana Ruxandra asked: "what are we going to do for one month in Africa?" I explained my ideas and Ileana asked another logical question, "if we are in South Africa why don't we see the country?" I didn't know what to answer, after all what is to see in South Africa?
We belong.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Three Hundred Days

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When did three hundred days flow by? It is always today, this week. I have glimpses of tomorrow, what we will do or where we will go. Numbers, like 23, are harsh, dure reminders that something happens that day, and I have to remember it. Months are just names, there is no difference between January in South India and July in South Africa, as we move through a perpetual summer (day time temperatures).
You must have an idea what happened in those days, as you followed the blog. If you are new or need a refresher course, the blog paints the rosy picture of our days in Japan, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia to this point. Because of the artistic process of producing blog posts (that includes the time and disposition to write down into a readable form some of the things that we did, perusing pictures, picking some and reducing drastically, fighting myself to take out the ones that I like but have no relation to the blog) and a frustrating, expensive, unreliable and wire-grounded connection to the internet, these adventures (South Africa, Madagascar and again South Africa) are yet to come.
What is missing in those blogs is the daily grind, the things that you usually do in your house like sleeping, eating, laundry, even cleaning (when we stayed more than four days in a house).

Luxury bedroom in Macao

Friday, August 10, 2012

Journal of a nomad through Vasteland (3)

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August 6

The perfect birthday! The loved ones around me (at least part of them), everybody on their best behavior, no material gifts, just the ones for the heart and mind, and spring. Can you imagine? My birthday was never in the spring, always summer, with the sun, the heat, the warm water. But today it was spring, though the calendar says it is winter! With lovely forget-me-not flowers and other ones, yellow, and some white flowering bushes. 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Journal of a Nomad Through Vasteland (2)

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August 4th

Today we climbed on the Amphitheater in the Drakensen Mountains, to Tugela Falls.


View from our hotel of the Amphitheater from our hotel.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Big, Small, Little and the Dascalus

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Getting to Africa is a big step in our journey, it is the 9th month and a whole new continent. We are on our way to Madagascar but because we arrived Sunday and the only plane tickets to the island were on Saturday, leaving us with 6 nights and 5 days, we decided to go to Kruger national park. A brilliant choice.

Cheetah

In Kruger, having only three days to see all we can, we look around