Thursday, June 27, 2013

Things Dubai's malls have that Marion Shopping Centre doesn't

Ski Slope

Fountain Show

Giant Aquarium (and Jane & Miriam)

Seriously?

Ice Rink (currently converted to giant pillow fight arena)

Massive Water Feature

Dubai

On our way to Spain we decided to stop off in Dubai to catch up with my cousin, Jane, who works for Emirates Airline. After spending 2 months in India and Nepal, Dubai was a real shock to the system, further enhanced by the fact that Jane took us to some of the fanciest places and we indulged in decadence for 2 entire days. Drinks by the beach and 50 floors up, amazing Middle Eastern food, swimming pools and shopping malls (which are not normally our thing but Dubai’s are pretty spectacular...)
It was great to see Jane again and was our last chance to see her in Dubai as she is heading back to the land of Oz next month to begin university. After travelling around the world in style it will certainly be a significant readjustment for her to play the role of student again. I can’t imagine what her 17-18 year old uni friends will say to her dropping the occasional “I just wish the cafeteria would get their croissants from that little patisserie on the Champs-√Člys√©es” or “this exam was harder than a 12 hour flight to Nigeria”. 


Friday, June 21, 2013

Nepal

Excuse the wordiness of this blog but we’re a bit behind on our travels – we’re in Barcelona and we still haven’t blogged about our time in Nepal or Dubai yet!

The orphanage in India is conveniently located at a border crossing in Nepal’s south west. For almost a year of our lives (2010 and now) we have looked out at the Nepalese hills but have never once been there. Our main reason to go was to visit 2 of our friends from Australia, Leigh & Tamara Filmer and their 2 girls Mikaela (maybe misspelt) and Jasmine (probably isn’t). These guys (Leigh, nurse & Tamara, pharmacist) have worked in regional Nepal at the local government hospital and a leprosy rehabilitation clinic for the past 3 years.
We were shown around their workplaces and they explained the intricacies of their work, the difficulties they face and their plans for the future here in Nepal and beyond. Whilst they live pretty comfortable lives for Nepali standards it’s definitely a step down from their lives in Australia where they both left well paying jobs and friends and family to help the development work here in Nepal.
Leigh also introduced us to young American woman who started a children’s home here in Nepal, and we spent an hour with her discussing the situation and comparing the Indian orphanage to her Kopila Valley Children's Home and Primary school in Nepal.

Overall the greatest thing about visiting Leigh and Tamara was just spending time with them, sharing meals and playing (incessantly I might add) with their 2 bundles of energy. The family is moving back to Australia for 6 months before going back to Nepal for another 3 year stint. We’re very much looking forward to catching up with them in a few months back in Adelaide.
The rest of our time in Nepal was divided up between Pokhara (17 hour bus trip) and Kathmandu (8 hour bus trip). We didn’t do a lot in that time – just enjoyed spending some time alone after 2 months of being around others.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Goodbye India

Our time in India has come to a close. We’ve had a great time catching up with everyone at the orphanage, both kids and staff alike. In our time here we taught swimming lessons and computer training, installed the school security system, assisted with the school plumbing, updated records, along with day to day tasks such as cleaning, cooking and child-taming. This trip was quite different to our longer previous visit with less regular work to fill our days. Next time we visit, we’ll be more prepared and bring activities and materials so that we can more effective.
Our best wishes to the staff in the mad rush to complete the new school building by end of June and with the arrival of the monsoon. We have already heard reports of large downpours that are a mixed blessing – with cooler weather but making everything more difficult. We’re in Nepal now but you’ll hear more about that in the next few posts.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weighty Matters

Before we left, Miriam and I have been going through a particularly lethargic period. Too many restaurant meals and our sedentary lifestyles had caught up with us and we were both a bit on the hefty side. Well, it’s amazing what a change in diet, a bit of exercise and extended periods of sweltering heat will do. Between us we’ve managed to lose 15kg in 6 weeks! Brad has lost a whopping 10kg and Miriam, 5kg. That is the weight of this small child that we have photographed for the purposes of this blog. 
P.S. I'm now wearing glasses