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Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #2017254
My random thoughts and reactions to my everyday life. The voices like a forum.
I do not know quite what happened or when , but my hubby and I now qualify for seniors' discounts at some venues. This creates a quandary; in order to save money, but not face, we have to admit to our age. HMMMM..... We definitely do not consider ourselves to be old. In this day and age ,when people as a whole are living longer and healthier lives why are 'young seniors', those in their fifties, like moi, considered 'old'?? It's so true that age is just a perception! "Maturity" is very objective/subjective, and I object! Whew, a few years have skittered by since I composed this biography block. Those "fifties" are in the rear view mirror and they are distant, fond memories. Oh, I do not plan to stop writing any time soon.
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May 23, 2024 at 3:41pm
May 23, 2024 at 3:41pm
         Another hot air balloon cruise? Yes, please!
         I was up for another early morning flight, not necessarily bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ( whatever that means), but I was awake. I may not have been coherent and I most likely mumbled. Why do sunrises have to blossom at such ungodly hours?
         That glowing ball of yellows and oranges displayed its brilliant answer. Those vibrant hues rippled through the floss of clouds and framed the High Atlas Mountains. Nothing equals its ta-da moment. Sunrises are a glorious testament to time.
          Once again I reveled in the soaring, the floating as the billowing balloon crossed the immense sky. It was if the various sky ships played tag above the desert.
         I must admit dining within a Moroccan tent was a first. Usually if I'm ensconced in a tent breakie must be cooked over an open fire. My fellow diners were in high spirits and raved about our experience. As early birds we were relieved not to be offered any worms. Flying and barely blinking as we strained our necks to gape at every incredible sight inspires a healthy appetite.
         The lurking calories never stood a chance to cause their usual mischief. I banished them as I strolled through the souks, or outdoor markets in the afternoon. Now this was a feast for the senses. Animation was apparent everywhere. The crowds of shoppers thronged every stall.
         Noisy would sum up my experience. Constant chatter swirled as vendors greeted and then chided us to notice them. No one need comprehend the language to understand the universal look-at-this motion and the beaming smiles. Hands waved and voices rose in the exchanges known as bartering. A few of the sellers seemed aggressive ,perhaps even intimidating. They did not hesitate to chase potential buyers in their pursuit of a sale, a deal. I admired their tenacity, their persistence.
         The souks are best described as a teeming maze. Each stall seemed to support the next. Words fail to convey the rainbow of material/cloth/fabric bewitching to my eyes. Kaleidoscope?
         The enticing aromas tickled my nose. According to the guide, Morocco has always been a vital segment of the spice trade route. Many I recognized such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, paprika, garlic. Heavenly! I cook and bake with these all the time. Locals apparently consider black pepper to be a necessity and I agree with them.
         I couldn't resist haggling for and purchasing harissa, a native spice blend created in a paste form. My taste buds were salivating at the gourmet list of ingredients: roasted red chilis, Baklouti peppers, garlic, caraway seeds, cumin, coriander seeds and olive oil. I anticipate a scrumptious feast! I'm certain this will prove to be my favourite sensory souvenir.
May 22, 2024 at 5:25pm
May 22, 2024 at 5:25pm
         What a day of stark contrasts. First, I saunter into a beautiful, serene hotel, The Residence Boutique Hotel. The rooms are created for sumptuous relaxation and feature private balconies. Everywhere I wander I respond in kind to smiling staff members and cheery hellos. I make a note of the soaker tubs and Jacuzzis, two inviting amenities. Then I embark upon a visit to a nearby museum, and, wham, I am thrust into the visual representation of apartheid.
         I have never experienced segregation, but it is represented by the entry ticket I received at The Apartheid Museum. In neutral language meant to lessen the chance of taking offence, I was randomly selected to the label of NIE BLANKES, or Non WHITES and directed to enter the building via the door marked for such persons. This demonstrates the reality of life that many experienced in southern Africa. To go about their everyday existence they were forced to abide by race classifications. Doors for the Whites, and doors for the non Whites. Did this really prevent mingling? Would that have been so terrible?
          The idea of apartheid is mind-boggling. I do not comprehend what drove this policy. Fear? Of what ? Ignorance? I'd say yes, but I'm an outsider. A sense of superiority? Perhaps? Arrogance?
         To see a display of ropes tied as nooses hanging from the ceiling is sobering. It is heart-wrenching that some people remember a not so distant time when these seemingly innocuous items were threats. I do not imagine all of the suffering can be contained in this one building.
         I suppose the existence of this memorial represents a new era of acceptance. History is not always pretty.
May 21, 2024 at 2:15pm
May 21, 2024 at 2:15pm
         Today I am busying myself exploring Cape Town's Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, or Kirsten's Forest. I'm not jealous, but I am saying I've never had a forest named after me.
         Wow, just wow! This piece of paradise is beyond words. It's gorgeous, fantastic, very green and lush, an oasis. Every bit of foliage and flora is lovingly nurtured.
         Although my feet never stopped moving I never felt as if I was hiking. In The Dell I marveled at the cool shade and sense of serenity from the towering trees. To refer to the leaves as a canopy is fitting. I noticed the camphor trees in particular with their immense stature and gnarled trunks. Locals brag this species is as tough as nails because it is fire, drought and insect repellent. It seems to flourish in any soil conditions.
         Its wood is perfect for building with since it is termite proof. The essential oil from the leaves is soothing for sensitive skin and the leaves are brewed as a tea to treat coughs and headaches. Quite the versatile tree.
         I enjoyed roaming the Tree Canopy Walkway. The locals have named this The Boomslang, or tree snake. To my delight, I did not ever encounter an actual slithering snake. I strolled into and through the numerous trees. To stand still and gaze at the lush greenery is awe-inspiring.
         It felt a bit as if I was bouncing on a suspended trampoline.
         The most striking, eye-catching bloom is the crane flower or bird of paradise. It really does resemble a sharp-beaked bird's head. The vibrant oranges and yellows evoke happiness.
         I'd be more than content with a backyard like this beautiful garden.
May 21, 2024 at 12:06pm
May 21, 2024 at 12:06pm
" All right you louts. Look lively. The tourists are approaching in that rumbling, ocean-skimming device. Show them your good sides. Somebody nudge Earl. Why is he splayed out like a dead seal?"
"Um, sir? You seem to have a bit of fish dangling from your teeth. Nope, the other side. You've almost got it. Give it another swipe? Aha, you've got it!"
"Great, I didn't have time to clean my whiskers. Do you think they'll notice?"
         "Mommy, Billy just slapped me."
"Well, she stuck her tongue out at me."
"Twins don't make me give you a reason to cry. Billy! Keep your flippers to yourself. Cindy! Put your tongue back in your face young lady. You're being watched."
"How much is too much? Can they see all of my teeth? My jaw is killing me. Can I relax yet?"
"Hey, watch it! There's plenty of room on this rock. Stop crowding me."
"Ow! Who poked me in the eye? Must you wave at them? Where's your dignity?"
"Is Earl sleeping again? Just how many fish did he scarf?"
"Listen up. Are we ready? It's time for the daily dive and swim show. Let's show those gawkers how it's done. What about Earl? Maybe a splash will rouse him. Here comes a big wave. In we go!" *Seal* *Seal* *Seal**Seal**Seal*
"Awww, just look at them. They're so cute! They all huddle, or is that cuddle together on that rock."
"They must be sunbathing."
"I just saw a seal slap another one. Wait, I think that one is the mother and she doesn't look too pleased."
"Is anyone else noticing that fat one over there? Is he dead?"
"They sure are noisy animals. What have they got to talk about? All I hear is a lot of barking.
"Wow! Look at 'em hit the water. They're so fast! I wish I could swim like that."
"Ooo, that one is spraying cold water at me. That can't be right. I swear the other one is sassing me sticking its tongue out."
"You don't suppose this is all an act for our benefit?"
May 16, 2024 at 5:48pm
May 16, 2024 at 5:48pm
It is not my habit to greet the dawn. I've always been more of a night owl. For this dawn balloon cruise I made an exception and it was well worth it.
Imagine rubbing your eyes and yawning repeatedly in an effort to awaken. Your brain is insisting it's still dark and therefore it cannot possibly be the beginning of a new day. Someone hands you a steaming fresh cup of coffee and the caffeine slowly meanders through your blood stream urging you to greet the coming day. Fires flare up around you and giant silk canopies expand and bulge with hot air. They billow and strain against their anchors raring to go. Singsong voices coax you into a basket and you reflexively grip the edge as your rainbow hued balloon gently rises towards the horizon.
The sudden and brilliant sunrise takes your breath away. Only moments ago you noticed a yellow glow that exploded into a burst of gold. The shadows retreat as the light advances to reveal a world of lush, vibrant green. Morning has taken charge and banished the darkness. Soon, you are chasing your balloon's shadow across the landscape.
You hear yourself gasp, but that sound is muted. The roar of the flame envelops you. The balloon's structure ripples and dances. You float weightless above throngs of teeming wildlife. Your view is a panorama, unobstructed. Stunning, statuesque giraffe strut, or gallop. Hippos cavort and spray each other with water. Lion cubs roll and wrestle. Zebra kick up their feet.
You stare mesmerized unwilling to blink. The word breathtaking is not enough. You are struck speechless in reverence. This more than warranted my rising before the crack of dawn.
May 15, 2024 at 5:39pm
May 15, 2024 at 5:39pm
Dress comfortably. That's all the Egyptian guide said. Not that I had packed camel-riding gear because what is that exactly? Thank goodness I have never been fond of dresses, frocks whatever anyone wishes to call them. I'd also been warned Egypt is a conservative country dress-code wise. They believe in modesty and as far as that goes I agree with them. Modesty and decorum go hand in hand while mounting and sitting astride a camel. No one would wish me to flash them unless it was a beaming smile.
         I chose to garb myself in my usual summertime attire, shorts and a t-shirt. As soon as I return home I plan to have a likeness of Claude the Camel's face plastered to a new t-shirt as a memento of this excursion. He wasn't very talkative. In fact I'd describe him as a bit standoffish. When I attempted to engage him in conversation, he'd stare at me with those large, somber eyes and bat those impossibly long, curling eyelashes. I did manage to snap a quick pick of his brief toothy grin. He dazzled me with it when I hopped off the saddle at the Pyramids of Giza site. I say he didn't speak. In reality he grunted, a great deal. it might be my overactive imagination, but I swear Claude also sighed several times. I suppose ferrying tourists around has become a bit blase. He's seen one gawker, he's seen them all.
I saddled my camel with the moniker Claude because it rhymed with plod and of course it began with the letter 'c'. That's what he did. He did not sail through the sea of endless sand as I anticipated the mighty ship of the desert would do. He seemed to have one unhurried, measured pace. Again, how many times has he witnessed the formidable scope and grandeur of the pyramids? I can understand his lack of excitement. They're not going anywhere and they've survived for centuries. They were present when he last saw them and they'd be awaiting his imminent return. No need to get his cud in a tangle. No need to break a sweat. I learned from the guide that camels rarely if ever perspired. Lucky animal. So, Claude plodded.
While Claude trudged, I swayed. Okay, that particular motion reminded me of being aboard a ship. It was constant. I rode the swell, the surge of each powerful stride. His immense feet barely disturbed the sand. Those knobby-kneed legs of his ferried us forward.
         I patted Claude's neck a few times probably to remind him that I still clung to his topside. His hair felt coarse, but I suppose anyone's mane would be rough and dry if they made a point of exposing themselves to the strong sun rays. My tresses were contained within a long, colourful scarf I purchased at a bazaar. Hats and I have never been sympatico.
I enjoyed my day tripping as a novice camel jockey. The only comparison I know is that of horseback riding. In that situation I must fling one leg up and over the equine's spine while simultaneously pulling myself up. It has never been anywhere near a graceful maneuver and it depends greatly upon the horse not deciding to sidestep my efforts. Mounting and subsequently dismounting Claude was similar to employing an assistive device, an automatic lift. He did the heavy work by first kneeling and waiting for my overtures. All the effort required from me was to hold onto the pommel. Not wishing to plummet to the sand was also a practical motivator.
Thanks Claude for acting as my unique mode of transportation.
May 9, 2024 at 4:31pm
May 9, 2024 at 4:31pm
Who has time to sleep? There's so much to explore. These eyes of mine cannot so much as blink.
I ventured to Angkor Wat an immense temple complex before dawn. I wished to see a spectacular sunrise set against all that red sandstone and I was not disappointed. The climbing, blazing sun set everything aglow. Imagine all the sun rises and sunsets that have graced that site for hundreds of years. Time both stands still and marches on.
Seeing all of the stone formations, foundations, doorways, walkways ,columns, statuary and more I couldn't help but wonder how it was all moved here. Was there an immense sandstone quarry within the building area? How was it lifted into place to form walls and rooves? How was it transported? Was it shipped in along the river? What great vessels carried it? Did oxen pull the sandstone blocks in reinforced wagons? Had dynamite been discovered and utilized to blow great pieces from the earth? Were the builders granted super-human strength? If the formations could only speak of the blood, sweat and tears they witnessed. Were they ingenious and used rope and pulleys? It is an impressive sight and the logistics of its being are mind-boggling.
Did the stone carvers devote their entire lives to creating the intricate designs in the stone? Did they chip away miniscule bits, piece by piece, to carve faces that would stand the test of time and endure the elements? I appreciate the determination and patience they must have possessed. I am in awe that people had a vision and could transform rock into one humongous testimonial to ingenuity and beauty.
The grand scale took my breath away, or it might have been the non-stop hiking with my mouth agape. I stumbled along, huffing and puffing, craning my neck to take in everything.
The banyan and fig trees were not dwarfed by the temple. They seemed to stand as sentinels.
After all my trudging, I treated myself to a tuk tuk ride. I bit my tongue and kept a death grip on my seat as the driver steered around the teeming crowds. Sometimes, I waved my arms and shouted warnings fearing a collision and mass casualties.
At sunset I indulged in a hot air balloon excursion. Nothing compares to floating above it all, yet seeing it so clearly. Sound is muted. The greens of the trees shone like emeralds. I liked the feeling of weightless suspension.
I saved my late evening for the night market Psah Chas. Now this is nightlife at its finest. The smells of fish, fruits and spices perfumed the humid air. Sound echoed. Voices carried on a continuous wave . Vendors shouted to attract attention. People waved. People smiled and nodded heads in hello. Many groups formed to view the haggling, the bartering first hand. The repartee, the give and take is animated, quick.
My knees twinged and I grimaced to see most of the sellers, women, crouched on the tables amongst their wares. They were not seated, nor did many of them stand. Ouch! Most of the feet I noticed were happy to be in flip flops, or thongs as some refer to them.
This market seemed to be constructed of numerous stalls butting up against each other. Words like teeming and bustling came to mind. It was more than a crowd, it was throngs. Everywhere I looked I viewed a kaleidoscope of colour. Jewel tones blended in the form of fruits, vegetables and fabrics. Vibrant.
I noticed numerous tanks of fish swimming in clear water and I gasped when I saw tourists willingly submerging their bare feet and then giggling. Apparently, the fish nibble at toes and it is described as ticklish. No thanks. I felt sorry for those fish. Did they ask smelly, dirty feet to invade their space?
Thanks Siem Reap. I enjoyed my whirlwind day.
May 8, 2024 at 7:45pm
May 8, 2024 at 7:45pm
I must admit I was a wee bit leery about today's virtual tour. Even pretending to balance atop a bicycle never mind pedal it seems daunting. I have difficulty staying seated upon my computer chair and my poor battered toes bear the bruises of my faltering efforts. In real life I have avoided wheeling about a la cycle since at sixteen a car ended my forays. One vehicle crashed into me and I then began driving another. My son tells everyone he has never witnessed me riding a bicycle and therefore, he believes I cannot. What is that expression? It's like riding a bike. What is? Wobbling? Weaving? Balancing?
I am relatively well-balanced. I clutch a cookie in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. What could go wrong? I'll be pretending.
The first thing I noticed was that the bike tour seemed to have the name of a travelling stage show: The Beauty of Perth by Bike: Private Tour. As long as there will not be a world tour, I'm in. I also chose to skip the head armour. When I could call myself a cyclist I never wore a helmet preferring to feel the wind in my hair. This is Perth on a glorious, sunny day. I did wish I had a t-shirt emblazoned with Pedal Power, or Petal Power since I oohed and ahhed over so many gorgeous blooms at Kings Park.
The second oddity that struck my curiosity was that this tour was touted for 1 to 99 year-olds. So, do many infants and advanced seniors opt to pedal around Perth? Is this an Aussie thing ? If so, colour me impressed.
The third thing I remarked upon was the billing of this being a carbon neutral activity. I cannot speak to the other easy riders, but I was emitting/expelling something, probably not carbon, but some gases. Carbon dioxide for one streamed from my efforts.
Kings Park is humongous, but I was relieved that I did not find it necessary to shout Look Out! constantly. The pedestrians gave me a wide berth. I did find it exhausting to swivel my head in order to take in the lovely scenery.
Everything is so lush and green. The flowers were vibrant with every hue possible. So much of the flora is unique to Australia . One bloom had the name kangaroo paw. Huh. Here in Canada I doubt we have a polar bear paw, or moose hoof flower.
I stared mouth agape at the gigantic Boab tree. To me it resembled a bulbous root vegetable on steroids with large limbs. I could see it as a turnip turned tree.
This bike tour lived up to its hype. Perth is beautiful.

May 7, 2024 at 5:07pm
May 7, 2024 at 5:07pm
May 6th's walkabout/bush walk is all a blur. I recall stumbling along a creek bed and scattering stones as I disturbed sand. I suppose I was in awe of the Katherine area scenery and I remember gaping at those orange banded beehive formations. Nature is a marvel. I did find the name Bungle Bungle to be amusing. From the moment I went in search of a billabong I lost all track of time. No matter, I am refreshed and ready to tackle a Darwin excursion.
Of course, I cannot ever admit to wandering in Australia without checking out at least a few crocodiles. I suppose the equivalent would be for an Aussie to visit Canada and set eyes on a moose, or a beaver, or a polar bear. That creature is iconic. The idea of a jumping crocodile seemed intriguing. I envisioned circus performer crocs jumping through flaming hoops as a ringmaster with that incredible Aussie accent snapped a whip.
What I did witness was a handful of crocs thrash their incredible tails and launch themselves skyward in the hopes of snagging a free snack. Their teeth were impressive. I will admit to gasping and oooing. Strange, but no one on the cruise boat was tempted to pet a crocodile. I don't recall that we needed to be warned to keep our hands to ourselves either. When that first massive jaw snapped shut, I thought of Captain Hook and flexed my safe fingers.
Lyn's a Witchy Woman quipped that she was considering a crocodile encounter/mishap as the basis for a murder/mystery. Would it be a great method of body disposal? I don't believe she'd consider to test this theory with the disappearance of one of the virtual trippin' bloggers...
This worry remote, unthinkable possibility fled my mind when we writers began to imbibe the generous wine proffered aboard the evening catamaran cruise. This exceptional grape elixir worked its magic. Dare I say we were giddy? Sumojo , 💙 Carly , Simply Me , 🌸 pwheeler - love joy peace , Lyn's a Witchy Woman and myself did admit we could see ourselves feeding some of our lesser scribblings to a croc. Eat our words. You know, food for thought and all that. Chew on this.
We were not drunk, but mellow. The poor staff just rolled their eyes and pasted those polite smiles on their faces when we mumbled what probably every tourist does at some point. "Can I throw a shrimp on the barbie?"
I snickered because all I could think of was a Barbie doll on the grill. Did I mention I was slurping the wine? I may even have requested a straw.
May 5, 2024 at 2:27pm
May 5, 2024 at 2:27pm
         I am hanging my head and muttering to myself. I missed the train yesterday. I'll admit I may have dawdled. After all of that adrenalin thrumming in my veins during my Sydney sojourn, I crashed. When I stumbled into the station, The Ghan was gone. I, of course, did pause to ponder my predicament.
         I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I could not actually catch a train. The only running I do now is sometimes running on empty. The ol' knees refuse to expel that type of undignified, unnecessary waste of energy. I opted to plead with a purveyor of rental vehicles and in the local parlance, I hired a Jeep. Yep, I opted to partake of a mad desert run across country to rejoin the train tour. My jostling, dusty journey afforded me to really feel the grittiness of the sand. No, the red sands of Coober Pedy are not particularly tasty. I'm not sure if my eyes appear to be reddened because of my lack of sleep, or that infernal, pervasive dust.
         I arrived to get down and dirty mining for opals. I just rushed the dirty part. What's another layer?
         May I stress the heat of this desolate place? Is this desert community really a sauna? I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the dugouts excavated into the sandstone hills. Residing underground is a novel approach to avoiding that extreme heat. Caves are indeed cool . Does this give new meaning to the Aussie term down under ?
         The warning signs topside gave me pause. Apparently, there are abandoned mine shafts everywhere and watch your step seems to be a local greeting. The signs advise me not to walk backwards, as if. I was also admonished not to run, but as I already explained my cranky knees watch my back. If I had been warned not to trip, I could not have complied. The knees believe that is acceptable and most likely probable.
         I can understand the allure of the opal. Many of us are attracted to the shiny, the pretty, the hidden. The local opal miners are no different than the gold prospectors. They live for the thrill of the hunt, the surprise pay dirt, the almighty mother lode. Just one more search. Just explore one more vein. Just dig a little more. That elusive big strike is here somewhere waiting to be discovered.
         I admire the tenacity of the Coobers. They epitomize resilience. They see far more than a barren landscape.
         By the end of the day, no one had succumbed to the dangers/temptations of an open hole. Imagine the rescue fuss if this calamity had befallen one of us clueless tourists? Would several someones shout, "One in the hole!" Is there appropriate slang such as "he/she is hole'd up", or is the correct vernacular "he/she's shafted"? I've heard of 'walkabout'. Is there a "fallabout"? Would there be rampant confusion if say a woman named Opal slipped into one of those former mine openings and it would need to be announced that "Opal's in the shaft"? Who would ken that to be a bad thing? Now I'm curious. How many of the local females are named Opal? I ask this of woman named June. "Were you born in that month?"
         I must be dehydrated. My mind is wandering without me again.

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