5 days in Darwin

Lucky I am. Don’t I know it, cherish it, appreciate it.

I know some of you, in fact a lot of you have lost your mums.

My heart literally aches for you every time I read a post about your loss and sadness. I grieve for you, I grieve with you. Even though your grief is still incomprehensible to me

If you are a lucky ones like myself, do something special with your mums regularly. It may be something that may seem little to you, don’t underestimate that small stuff, it is huge to them.

My mum and I go to the Frankston food court for lunch, yes true! Why? Because she loves it. Fish and chips and a cup of tea. Then a little bit of shopping. We go to movies together, she falls asleep, I wake her up, she gets grumpy with me, we laugh, we have a ball. No matter what we do, where we go, when I take her home we have another cuppa together, if I’m not working, we will watch one of the quiz shows, we compete, we win and when I’m leaving, she cuddles me so hard. “Thank you, I’ve had a beautiful day” she will say with the biggest smile.

Those are the little things, the moments that are special to her and that I will always cherish.

I am thankful every single day that I still have my mum with me.

We aim to have a little holiday together every year. It has been a cruise for the last two years which works really well. They suit her mobility issues. She loves the food, the activities and the ease of the travel.

Boarding flights, going to tourist activities, boarding buses, boats. Then there is the places we just cannot go, bugger that we say, let’s go somewhere better! There are times when it can be really hard and tiring for her and me. But would either of us change a thing. No way!

So Darwin it was this year and we took Darwin on and we slayed it. We left no stone unturned, especially when I nearly toppled poor mum out her wheelchair. Yes seriously. We got stuck, my gaffe, she tipped, I held on tight, I saved the day. We laughed! Phew! Lucky I work out!

My mum is a trooper. I admire everything about her. The strongest, bravest women I know or have ever met.

We enjoyed a movie at the deck chair cinema, a lovely evening and yes I’m still scratching. Bugs just love me. I could be cheesy and say it’s because I’m sweet 😂

Enjoying dinners, ice creams, walks and enjoyed a beer or two.

The markets were fabulous. We hit more than one, of course, tell me a woman who doesn’t like to shop, just a little. Skinny aisles and wheelchairs make for a lot of work, the reward sitting at the end of one aisle within a smoothie and my arm around my mum. Just people watching. Isn’t watching and taking in the world, just the best!

Everywhere we park our bums my mum makes a friend. She is totally deaf in one ear and 80% deaf in the other, she has no voice, she can’t walk very far anymore and needs mobility aids, but people are drawn to her, want to be her friend and love her! With all her disabilities, I dare you to take her on… I just laugh to myself at the very thought. She is switched on, funny, doesn’t take herself or life seriously. A good role model, don’t you agree?

The markets, yes, yes, our firm favorite was Mindil sunset Market.

I was actually wondering where all the people and cars were. It was so quiet in Mitchell street (town centre) It was like a big old ghost town. Night two Mindil market was our night time entertainment. Darwin has a population of 120,000, well I found 90 % of them at Mindil Market. Luck was with us, we got a car park fairly close by.

It was colorful, food vans, every cuisine you can imagine, assorted delectable aromas wafting through the air, stalls selling their handicrafts and goods. I come from a land downunder bellowed through speakers. On the stage right at the markets edge, the band was playing, surrounded by people were sitting on the grass, fold up chairs, on benches, walls, anywhere they could, eating, drinking and socializing.

A balmy brilliant evening, where we watched the sunset over the water, made friends and chatted to locals.

Now where did we leave the car?

I am, I am, I am a museum girl, I could spend hours reading, taking in every detail, reliving the moments. Both, the War Museum and Cyclone Tracey museum affected me, bringing me to tears. There is a sound simulation room in the gallery, that is pitch black, the deafening roar that gives only a minute understanding of the experience that the people endured whilst cyclone Tracey flattened their homes. Darwin has survived some tragic hardships, they survive, they stand up again and rebuild. You have to admire the hard working Aussie. Mum enjoyed many moments, exhibits and endured some, just for me. Bless her patience.

If you love a museum, they are a must.

Being the ridiculous dog lover that I am, even though I had a brief liaison with Brutus, (not quite as cuddly as my four legged furry friends) where are all the dogs?

Brutus? Dominator? Open your mouths! Day 4 before we saw our first dog. Day 5 we headed to the botanical gardens for “ a walk-in the park” though it wasn’t it “ a walk-in the park” as there was bloody big hills and I was pushing 65kg in a wheelchair up steep hills. Exercise for the day ✅, resulting in 2 hill climbs when I say to mum “ do you think we should go for a cold drink somewhere”

The point of this conversation was to tell you I witnessed my next 4 dogs whilst puffing and sweating my guts out! 5 days,5 dogs.

I do miss my babies.

The waterfront and beach suburbs of Darwin are home to some of the most beautiful real estate I’ve seen around.

We drove around, daydreamed, talked about a fantasy life where we moved from brrrr freezing Melbourne to the tropical warmth Darwin. It really is a lovely city. Small, easy to get around. Lovely restaurants. Oh and cocktails. I made friends with Brutus the croc.. he did smile at me, he did! I’m sure of it.

We made another beautiful memory. My mum and I. We are lucky and we know it. Next trip, a cruise. ❤️

Thank you Darwin for your hospitality, I will definitely recommend a trip to Darwin. I’ll be back Brutus I promise. So much more to see and do!

So as we dropped her off at 1:30 in the morning, she cuddled me tight and said geez I love you & I love you back Mum. She thanked me for the most beautiful time. I responded, no thank you for sharing it with me!

Love you to the moon and back ❤️

#SoSC

Advertisements

Challenge – All time favorite experiences. Photographed

Vrindavan the holy city

A group of 12 women, not all friends, but fastly becoming so, from Australia travelled to India to experience yoga, spirituality and culture. We loved it, were all deeply moved by it and affected by it, for ever.

These photos depict only a small part of our journey, but one still so clear in my mind. A little village called Vrindavan, it is said to be where Krishna spent his childhood, a holy town.

We were blessed as we sat at the river. We couldn’t understand a word he said as he anointed us all with mud and a red smudge on our foreheads, but it was special. Then it was somewhat funny at the end when he asked for a donation for the ceremony he just provided for us. Money well donated.

This little holy village is also known as the shelter city for widows. In Hindu tradition, widows may not remarry. We were to walk the streets to meet these magnificent, but forgotten women. We went armed with small gifts and small denominations of Indian rupee to give. This was soul crushing for me. Actually a lot of India was soul crushing, yet I still found a lot of beauty there.

The walk around this little village was hard, also scary at times. We started at a quieter side, my heart opened as the widows started walking towards us. I was not prepared for what was to come. They are mostly older, but they can be young, very young, not yet teenagers sadly.

We were all giving, hugging, taking photos and talking, not Hindu, not English, but that universal language of no words needed, the eyes and actions speak a thousand words.

Then the crowd grew, and it grew, they descended upon us like bees to honey. Grabbing at us, taking all we had, till there was nothing left to give. Some got angry when we had nothing left, some were thankful for what they received, some were grateful even though they received nothing, grateful that strangers had come to offer help anyway. I walked away eyes downcast this day. How could I help? What can we do? We 12 women. Not a lot more than what we did. They are fed by the town, given a few coins, but hope for the kindness and donations of visitors.

Vrindavan also home to FFLV (Food for Life Vrindavan) For every 100 girls in rural India only a one finishes school. A lot are lost to Child Marriage. FFLV aims to keep the girls in school until she is 18 to prevent early marriage. A wonderful organization dependent on donations and sponsorships.

We were most fortunate to visit this school that educates these poor girls who live in or around Vrindavan. What a day, what an experience. What divine young girls they were. We watched them in the classes, we watched them dance and they invited us to participate in this dance with them, we presented them with awards and the best part, we all sponsored a child.

India was an experience and journey I will never forget. After leaving Vrindavan, our next stop was the Taj Mahal. Once I set my eyes upon this magnificence, I cried, it was surreal. It was grand, opulent and beautiful. It was an unforgettable moment.

That was over 3 years ago. This was a small part of the experience I had in India. I could write so much more about that wonderful, colorful, heart breaking country, what I learned, what I took away with me on a soul level and most of all, the people I met. Those people are forever etched into my heart.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/place/”>Place in the World

Place in the World

Key West and the journey continues

Key west

It seems I fall in love with every new city I go to. This place, Florida Keys, Key West, down south, is something special. The lifestyle, the weather, the people. Everything, I want to stay, can I stay please?

5.30am flight from Nu-or-Lins to Fort Lauderdale. One Mustang hired. Follow us as we take you for a drive from Here to Eternity, or Key West. The journey begins driving around a 6 storey carpark looking for an exit. Surely the exit was on the ground floor? No, it was on level 4.

Stress levels rising for Craig.

A slow coastal drive to Miami for a planned breakfast, then straight to Key West (in an estimated one hour) for the next few days. This was the plan.

Breakfast in Miami, hmmm we went hungry. Parking was impossible and in the end with rumbling tummys we drove on. I shed a little tear but stayed brave. It was worth the wait, let me tell you. So what we thought was about 100km (approx 1 hour drive) was in actual fact, approximately 6 hours with speed limits, one lane roads and realisation 100km was on actually 155 miles.

Exit mainland

Do you know the song Key Largo? Remember ? Bertie Higgins? it was an 80s hit.

We had it all

Just like Bogie and Bacall

Starring in our old late, late show

Sailing away to Key Largo

Come on don’t tell me that you weren’t born then…

I had a romantic notion about this place due to that song. When you cross the bridge from the mainland you can turn left which would have taken us to a national park or you can turn right. We took right due to the fact we were heading to Key West, sticking to the highway, we saw nothing. So if you’re heading in this direction, perhaps you can check it out and then let us know too.

We were feeling really hangry now, (so hungry you are angry) these 2 starving Aussie’s were on the lookout for food preferably healthy. Desperation was setting in, that was UNTIL we both saw MRS MACS. At the time we did not know that trip advisor highly recommends this place. For that fact, so do we now.

Simultaneously we said THERE, that is the place we are stopping. This is a must visit Diner. The menu is vast and they will do anything for you. We had the most scrumptious well worth waiting for meal. You must GO GO GO!

Roof off the Mustang we drove on. Arrival to the charming Chelsea House Hotel. So gorgeous, clean and welcoming. As usual, drop bags and out the door we go.

The conch houses ( Bahama style) are beautiful. Predominantly white weatherboard, a few are pastel colored, 2 storey with big verandas and shutters on the windows. They were all built in the 1800s and many appear to be heritage listed.

We stayed on Truman Street. Which brings me to the Truman Annex, which is a small neighborhood filled with big beautiful houses and a naval base. It is picture perfect where nothing is out of place. It certainly pays to be part of the naval forces here. Harry S Truman had his mini holiday Whitehouse is within the Truman Annex. The small Whitehouse was also a holiday home to Dwight Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton.

Do you remember the movie The Truman show? Personally that movie seems loosely based on the Truman Annex. Possibly correct, probably incorrect, but my opinion. “Good morning, in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, good night”

We walked the beautiful streets. Chickens and roosters crow loudly, clucking around these perfect streets taking precedence at all times. You see, this is my kind of town. I even witnessed 5 gorgeous chooks crossing the road at their clucky leisure as the cars sat patiently waiting.

The main drag, Duval Street, is the energetic happening street of the Keys. Bars, music, restaurants and shops, the western end of Duval is the street is most happening and perhaps more for the younger generation. Younger than us that is. We visited a bar called Willie Ts. The roof and the walls were coated in one dollars bills, signed by the donors. There would have been thousands of dollars on those walls. Music starts at 11am and finishes around 11pm.

The food quality is right up there with home. I always say Australia, namely Melbourne has the best and freshest food in the world, but I have to say we were served fabulous meals. Off the hook, situated in a little side street serves up the most mouth watering dishes. Definitely worth a visit.

Walking past the VIP Gentlemen’s club, I got an invite in. Come and play. You can bring him, referring to Craig. We do couples. Let me shout you a drink. For a small town, there sure is a lot of gentlemen’s clubs, a more polite name for strip club, three, well, that we know of and an erotic dessert restaurant.

The mode of transport around here is typically push bikes, mopeds, buggies, convertible cars, all ideal for this most beautiful climate.

We spent a perfect day riding around this little island on push bikes. From the Marina to Fort Zachary Taylor park (Fort Zach to the locals) where we swam in the warm Bahamian beach. To the southernmost point in USA, if you dared, you could swim to Cuba. It’s only 90 miles. It did have us wondering why there is no ferry from Key West to Cuba.

Onward to an absolute legends house. I was very excited about this little visit. Ernest Hemingway’s house and museum. What a man, we learnt so much more with our very knowledgeable guide Steve and his enchanting story telling and southern accent.

We were introduced to Betty Grable and Ingrid Bergman whilst there. What? I can hear you say, they are cats. Ernest who was also known affectionately as Papa, owned a cat called Snow White, the interesting thing about Snow White was it had six toes. Today there are 54 cats living in that house, all descendants of Snow White and many of them still courting a 6th toe.

Next on our peddling itinerary was Sloppy Joes, this was one of papas favourite bars and Joe was one of his best friends. A large pub with live music and all the walls wearing memorabilia of Papa. I have a, big but, this was not the original Sloppy Joes, but is very place was very dedicated to his memory. The original Sloppy Joes is now He was well loved and respected in these parts.

We have filled our time with fun and adventures in this quaint, very cool coastal island. So as I said why do I fall in love with every new place I visit. Ah this one is truly worthy. Picturesque, adorable houses, clean, good food, beaches, quiet but still,plenty happening and people who are friendly, and polite and have plenty of patience. Especially on the roads. The most courteous drivers you will ever meet. This was proven when they stopped, waited, never abused once, the crazy Australian lady on her push bike driving down a one way street the wrong way, on the wrong side of the road, stopping for no reason, pulling out at the wrong time. As I screamed out my apologies I was always met with a smile and a wave, or your alright darlin.

Funny thing happened when we returned our bikes. Craig parked hid bike a little to close to the row of about 10 other bikes. Yes, You guessed it. Bike domino. The workers weren’t laughing, but they were still polite, however, we 2 Aussie’s in paradise were cracking up.

What better way to end my affair with paradise? Yoga rhythm on the beach at Fort Zach Park ( have you noticed I referred to it as Fort Zach?) . Dan the yoga instructor and his wife have extended an invitation to us to join them in Portugal next year for yoga? Should we stay or should We go?

Here’s looking at you kid.

Around Morocco with love and a sore bum

Today is day 1 on bike tour Morocco

Marrakesh to Taroudant. About a 230km drive, 5 hours south of Marrakesh. I have to say day 1,  I did it tough. The clothes we had to wear, the heat, the sore bum, but mostly the apparent 2 way roads high in the mountains with sheer drops were enough to test anyone’s nerve.
We travelled a small pass called the Tizi-n-Test High in the Atlas mountains. This was one most spectacular drive. The scenery did make up for all of the above.

Dodging donkeys, goats & dogs in scorching heat

Having mint tea and berber food to eat. (My poetic moment)

Actually i had not seen a dog since we arrived in Morocco. Giving me some concerns. Many a cat roaming but no dogs. Until today at 2000m we fly around a bend to have a cute little dog chasing our ankles.  I tried to keep them in my eyesight, wondering where he lived  or who he belonged to. Where did you get his food? I was feeling sad but looking at him he didn’t look starving. Who was looking after him?

Arriving in taroudant, we entered the Medina. Surrounded with old walls, it is a stunning but small medina with a maze of narrow lanes lined with worn old buildings with brightly coloured doors. As in Marrakesh there were souks everywhere you turned, without the exotic feel, colors and delicious aromas that Marrakesh had. This is where we got lost a few times. There was always a friendly face to help. For 10 dirham of course (1 euro)

Sadly for the people of this little town, It is often overlooked as a destination among travellers, it was almost devoid of tourists. We saw 3. The little city shutting down completely at 5pm due to Ramadan, a kindly man served us dinner. I can’t say I was sad to say farewell to Taroudant,  but at the same time I felt there was probably more to this little place then we had seen.