Sunday, 30 October 2016
Just back from Hin Heup, about 2 hours from Vientiane, where I have spent the past three days with 9 amazing students who were translating for local villagers attending a medical clinic. Doctors and dentists and opticians and associates from Malaysia and Singapore were running the voluntary clinic. It was amazing, the logistics, the systems, the practice, the crowd and the VIS students
Saturday, 29 October 2016
Friday, 28 October 2016
Thursday, 27 October 2016
Accommodation on the Gibbon Experience was in tree houses. Constructed near the canopy, 50 m + above the ground, they could only be accessed by zip lines. Here is our guide Khert, zipping out. Yes, I had done the same thing 5 minutes prior to taking this photo.
Food and hot water were zipped in as well - totally amazing.
Wednesday, 26 October 2016
Inside the tree house. The group I was with were lovely- three backpackers, Omri from Israeel, Bram (call me Sandy - or Bob Marley which the guide called him and Blair from Arizona) - and a family from Tel Aviv. Eran and his two daughters, Maya, 10 and Nette 14, and his father. Our guides were great too. Here is La helping prepare fruit for dinner.
Not the best photo, but between the huge branches you can see the loo with a view - or the toilet on the edge as Sandy called it.
Monday, 24 October 2016
Back in Vientiane today after a week's holiday for the "boat racing". I spent the time in the north of Laos, especially in the far north -west corner, what was once part of the Golden Triangle, near the border with Thailand and Myanmar.
A highlight was "The Gibbon Experience". I spent three days in the jungle, zip lining into tree houses in the jungle and trekking through the forest. It was amazing. No Gibbons were spotted, but the views from the treehouses were magnificent.
Saturday, 22 October 2016
The Date Sellers. As with most market sellers, they were loud and enthusiastic that I visit their stall rather than others. They were proud of their dates and happy to share. They both come from Kerala in India, as do many of the workers in Abu Dhabi.
Friday, 21 October 2016
Thursday, 20 October 2016
Workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines and other poverty stricken countries in South Asia keep the Abu Dhabi economy going. The streets were clean and most sky-scrappers had teams of window cleaners keeping the sand at bay - all thanks to these workers (probably low paid).
As I was leaving for the airport in the evening there were mini buses and coaches full of workers being transported out of town to their accommodation far away on the edge of the city. (Some stopped randomly on the side of the highway so the men could complete sunset prayers).
Abu Dhabi is an affluent global city, but it is a place of inequality too.
Wednesday, 19 October 2016
The contrasts of Abu Dhabi were often extreme. The heat outside compared to the air conditioning. The wealth of the emiratis compared to the conditions of the workers. The sand and the concrete. The sky- scrapers and the mosque. The minaret and the phone tower.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Oil is the raison d'etre for Abu Dhabi. Men in bedouin style dish-dash or tawb (white robes) with white keffiyeh were obvious on the streets and stepping out of their Mercedes or BMW 4WD drive at the Sofitel, where I was lapping up the luxury.
Women were in the black abbaya's with red soled Christian Louboutin stilletos peeking from below the hem.
These two men conducting a serious business tête a tête in front of an energy sky-scrapper epitomised an aspect of emirati life.
Monday, 17 October 2016
Sunday, 16 October 2016
Saturday, 15 October 2016
Thursday, 13 October 2016
Wednesday, 12 October 2016
Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Behind the fruit and vegetable market at Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi I found the date market. There were about a dozen stall all displaying a wide range of dates outside with more inside along with date products - eg chocolate covered dates. Guess which I bought?
Tasting prior to purchase is all part of the process. I tried soft dried Madjool dates "King of the Dates" from Palestine (Israel) and Ajwa dates from Medina which are meant to be holy and cure a myriad of ills. There were also afresh dates like those in the photo. Dates dates and dates - All yummmo
Monday, 10 October 2016
Sunday, 9 October 2016
Saturday, 8 October 2016
The Kaeng Nyui waterfall at Vang Vieng was in full flow as it was rainy season. We all enjoyed swimming in the refreshing pools below the falls. These two girls didn't go swimming, but enjoyed sitting by the lower cascades and being models!
Friday, 7 October 2016
After the sun set the sky and water and mountains of Nam Ngum were monochomatic. Atmospheric and reflective of the history of the place. Many villages and villagers were displaced as the dam was constructed. At least one of the resulting islands was used a prison and place of torture during the civil war and two prisons (male and female) still exist on islands.
Thursday, 6 October 2016
Wednesday, 5 October 2016
This relic was parked in a village we visited on SALSA. Flowers decorated the doors, but the cabin was dusty and decorated with spider webs. The steering wheel and gear stick were most unusual. The owner said it was a Russian truck - probably from the 70s and is still used in rice season as it carries a huge rice husking machine.
Tuesday, 4 October 2016
Last week was SALSA week (Secondary Action Learning Service Activities). I was with Grade 10s investigating disparities and systems in the area around Vang Vieng. First stop was a drum making village to visit a artisan who started a business making huge drums for temples. They also make small bongos, which each student took home.