A Very Down Day with One Momentous Event

Mr. Gooey left us all alone in Arequipa.

Well, he’s currently in the process of saying good-bye. He’s going home to California, but we still have three-and-a-half months before we can think about home. Anyway, we didn’t really do anything today. Mom, Mr. Gooey, and Ethan went shopping a few times, but I stayed home to do schoolwork while Dad deleted pictures. Eventually, we all left to get ice cream at the local mall, but that didn’t take much time.

An hour later, we left for supper. Mr. Gooey, Ethan, and I had sandwiches (mine was chicken, pineapple, and mayo and very good) and Mom and Dad had salads. Then we came home at 8 pm so Mr. Gooey can catch his flight in an hour or so.


Unhappy at The Haven

Ethan was very sad to have to say good-bye to Sophia and Josi this morning… not. Josi didn’t even show up, and we only saw Sophia after breakfast when she showed off her aerials on the trampoline. Ethan probably was sad to say good-bye to Rocky, Socks, Teddy, Strider, Alto, the horses’ handler, Dayne, and the dog, Rambo.

We weren’t sad to leave the hubbub of the Christmas-party-holding company of forty who ate a lot of meat, bread, and croissants at breakfast. Our favorite village health researcher, Steena, had breakfast after we left. Last night she ate with Dayne. Matthew, the cook, walked by after taking our drinks orders (two still waters, one Appletizer, and one Red Grapetizer) and said, “Aren’t you part of the staff?” Dayne nodded and said, “Yeah, you can arrest me later.”

The staff table was mainly empty last night. Only Sharmane, the girls’ teacher, and Brandon ate while we were there. Sophia and Josi must have been kicked out because of the party.

We also said good-bye to Ashley, the other cook who made the lettuce-and-apple soup, at breakfast. He seemed surprised that we were already leaving for Knysna. We’re not already in Knysna, though. It’s six o’clock and we’ve been on the road since nine. Our GPS (aka the voice of the Australian Karen) predicts our arrival to be in three hours. That’s twelve hours of driving for only 470 miles (750 kilometers). That’s because we spent two hours (only forty kilometers, or twenty-five miles) on bad Transkei roads this morning.


Out from Oom Dennis’s (and Tannie Mariejtie’s)

Canimambo is a Portuguese-Mozambican restaurant. The three of us had chicken, while Dad ordered a Greek salad.

This came after hours of driving from Oom Dennis’s house to the Wild Forest Inn here near Graskop. We finally left Koster after getting the tire changed, saying good-bye to Tannie Marietjie’s parents, Tannie Marietjie herself, Griet, Dinky, Bessie, and the other dogs, and Oom Dennis, and buying groceries at Choppies. We drove through Pretoria to see the jacaranda trees, which had just passed their prime but were still pretty, and the Union Buildings (government offices).

The weather- thunderstorms and in the 60s- came as a bit of a shock after warm Upington and Koster. It seems like Oregon…


Camel Ride: Not as Smooth as a [Flying] Carpet Ride

In case you’re wondering why there wasn’t a post yesterday, we were abducted. By camels. In the Thar Desert. And left to die.

All that is true except for the abduction and the dying parts. We did ride camels yesterday and today. We left at around 2:30 yesterday and went to a cemetery, a temple, the empty village, and the camel village. The empty village used to have people until the 1700s or 1800s when everyone packed up and left overnight. Now it is “of archaeological, historical, and architectural importance.” Next to it is the Jurassic [Cactus] Park. We didn’t go there.

The camel village is in the middle of nowhere. We got there after a long, long ride in the Jeep driven by Amin. We had chai tea in someone’s house and then got on our camels and rode off. Goonpat and a man rode on the first camel, then Dad, then me, and then Mom. Ethan didn’t ride in our line.

Before we crossed the road, we saw the goats of the village heading home. We also saw skeletons of goats and cows. After we crossed the road, we followed a dirt track for about an hour until we arrived at the dunes. Ethan was disappointed because there were other groups of people there and because we were so close to the main road. We could hear the cars drive by we were so close.

Ethan and I jumped off the dunes (sometimes Ethan jumped with Goonpat, the eleven-year-old boy who came with us) until we had some chai tea and supper. After supper we looked at the stars, heard a song by Amin, the man on the camel, and two who came in the Jeep, and went to bed. Our beds had actual sheets and blankets, which I didn’t think I would need. Well, it got cold (in the lower 80s).

We woke up to watch the sunrise, which wasn’t very impressive, and had breakfast which was fruit, toast, and cookies. Then we got on our camels and rode for two hours because Ethan had wanted to. Because my camel kept slamming my leg against Mom’s camel, I got to ride seperately. Ethan was mad because he couldn’t kick his camel hard enough so he had to be roped to Mom. On this ride, one of the two dogs chased foxes and antelope to his heart’s content.

We finally piled back in the Jeep, said good-bye to the camel man, Goonpat, and the others, and rode back to Jaisalmer. I don’t think a shower has ever felt so good. Ciao!


We’ve arrived at J number 2: Jodhpur, India. We’ve just left Jaipur, and Jaisalmer is next on our list. After a late (7:30) wake-up call, we had breakfast, watched some Olympic highlights, and moved out of Devi Niketan. The Admiral took our picture in front of the building and said he’d send it to us. After saying good-bye and thank-you and have-a-nice-trip, four people, four suitcases, four backpacks, and one hat piled into the taxi and rode to the train station.

Each time we ride, I feel a little less conspicuous. Apparently we look like seasoned travelers (or just English-speakers) so much that a young lady asked us if she was on the right platform (#3) for train number 14865. We told her she was. What we didn’t tell her was that we were on train 14865. I’m not sure if she saw us getting off, but I’m relieved to see her as the train changed from Platform Three to Platform Two. The side of the train read it and the announcer lady said it, but it didn’t seem like she spoke English very well.

After a six-hour train ride in second-class, we almost got off at the wrong station. We took our cue- and a clue- from everyone else, though, and returned to our seats. I wonder what the Indians in seats 1, 2, 3, and 4 thought since we passed them twice.

We had to wait for about ten, maybe twenty, minutes for our driver to come. Then four people, four suitcases, four backpacks, and one hat got into a taxi for the second time in one day. We went on a curvy, bumpy, but thankfully paved, road to get here, and on the way I saw a truck hit a tuk-tuk in the back. No one was hurt but the driver sure was mad.

Happy and Pepsi were the first to meet us; they’re the dogs of Mandore Guest House. Poor Happy has huge amounts of thick black fur. Pepsi is more suited to Indian desert with a short tan coat. Our luggage was carried to the doors of our rooms, which are in the same little cottage. We discovered that we aren’t the only guests here (a first in India); there is a family, a couple of couples, and a group of people that I know just about nothing about except that they’re staying at Mandore Guest House.

We read, walked around, and finally had supper. To finish it, Dad had ice cream that looked like panna cotta (pah-na-COAT-uh) from Boutique della Pasta in Chiang Mai but tasted like tonic-otta (ton-ick-OH-tah). Ciao!

Rain, Rain, go away, come again some other Day.

Preferably when we aren’t there looking areopen air temples up on the hills surrounding our faithful city of Chiang Mai. The rain is good in Thailand, so it bearable.

If I was the rain, I would probably do the same thing that the rain did today, though, but still, why did it have to be on the one day that we went up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Doi Kom.

With rain up on Doi Kom, there are a lot of dogs just sitting underneath cars, but it was still so hot that there were then two good reasons to sit under a car; shade and shelter from the rain. After that, we got on a plane and went off to Bangkok to spend the night at a hotel before getting up early tomorrow morning to catch our flight into New Delhi.

Certainly Saying “So Long” to the City

As the miles of rails pass by, we get to think about what we did in Bangkok, especially what we did today: we hit three malls in the time frame of less than six hours. Obviously we didn’t hit every stall and shop, but we went to the important things: Cream and Fudge Factory (for the best ice cream since Friday) and Madame Tussauds wax museum. My experiences?

I got to cuddle up to Justin Bieber, have a friendly conversation with George Clooney, be Oprah Winfrey’s guest, take charge of the Oval Office as President and First Lady Obama looked on, moonwalk with Michael Jackson, backup dance for Madonna, get a hole-in-one with a jealous Tiger Woods watching, play Wii tennis with Serena Williams looking on in total awe, win four Oscars– dream come true, play paparazzi to an Asian celebrity nicknamed “Pancake,” be Bruce Lee’s replacement figure, yearn for One Direction figures (and be duly disappointed), pose with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt on the red carpet, show Picasso how to make a perfect painting (an eyebrow with an eye!), be taught by Beethoven, and take pictures of many, many more, including Princess Di, Buddha, Gandhi, King Rama IX and his wife, Beyonce, Nicole Kidman, and Will Smith.

Once we had fully appreciated the wonders of waxmanship, we found our way to the sky trains station and headed to Chong Nonsi. There we switched to the BRT and rode for seven stops down to Wat Pariwat. After one last look at the Star Estates @ Rama III building that was our home for a week and the temple that was our view for a week, we grabbed our luggage and hopped in a red taxi. It’s funny- we’ve been in Bangkok for about eight days and had had only one taxi ride. The taxi was green and yellow. The most common color is pink. And, nooo, of course we couldn’t ride in a pink one! If we had gotten to the curb with all our luggage a mere minute earlier, the pink taxi would’ve been ours. Instead, it was pulling away with a single tourist in the back. Sigh.

On a brighter note, we made it safely to the train station, got our postage stamps (for the postcards) and Trident gum from the 7-Eleven across the street, read our social studies books (Beware, Princess Elizabeth and Horrible Histories: The USA), and boarded our train. An hour later, we’ll still technically in Bangkok. It’ll take us thirteen more hours by rail to get to Chiang Mai, when it would have taken a mere hour-and-a-half by air. Ciao!

Afternoon Fun

We chose to go bowling (since it was raining), and we played two games at the Hollywod Bowl from 2 to 4 pm. All that arm use made us hungry, so we drove for forty-five minutes to get to the Old Spaghetti Factory, which was 3.5 miles away. On the bright side, if we had taken only five minutes to drive to the restaurant, it would have still been closed. (It opens for supper at 4:30 pm.) After spaghetti (obviously), spumoni, and Oreo milk shakes, we said good-bye to my aunt, uncle, and Fergus and headed to Fred Meyer because we couldn’t find a Target. There we bought things such as pencil sharpeners, plain watches, and erasers.

We checked into our airport hotel and made sure it had a pool. Then Ethan and I went swimming while our father went to return the rental car and our mother watched us (because we’re not 14 yet). We played Marco Polo… you should try playing that with two people in a small pool. You can bet you’re going to get tagged!


So Long, Farewell #2

Okay, two hours later (1:45 pm) we were still at home, but a mere 34 minutes later we were at the bottom of our driveway. Everything fits (!!!), and Ethan and I have room to spare. We’re currently at our grandparents’ house saying goodbye and dropping off frozen and refrigerated goods, cherry tomatoes, a banana, and some potatoes. Also, it’s June 18. Shouldn’t it be sunny?!

(no) It is Oregon after all. Ciao!