Monday, 31 October 2016

Patient patients

Over 2000 patients were seen by the clinicians at the Hin Heup clinic over three days.  Waiting patiently was required.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Medical clinic

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

How did it get there?


Each morning we asked ourselves "How did they make these tree houses"  AMAZING, in the middle of the jungle in the middle of nowhere and up a VERY high tree.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Misty Jungle Morning

The mornings were cool and misty and magical in the treehouse.  Unbelievably I was awake at 6.30am.  Some in the group were out on the lines, but I thought it was safer to wait for the guide.  Zip lining before breakfast - WOW.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Zipping out of the Tree house

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

Life in a Tree House

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 From the Jungle

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

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

Desert Sunset

Sunset over the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi.  These dunes are actually man made, built to protect the Corniche in Abu Dhabi from the sea as it was being built and protect the city coast line from extreme weather.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The other side of Abu Dhabi

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

Mosque in the City

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

The Oil Business

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

Monday Monks in Myanmar at a Funeral

October 2014 on our way to Inle Lake in central Myanmar we stopped for a break in Kalaw.  Traffic in the town came to  a standstill as this funeral procession drove through town. 

Sunday, 16 October 2016


Traditional fishing boats - dhows - were in the harbour in Abu Dhabi.  The nets were intriguing.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Crazy Scientists

Today was "Crazy Scientist Day" so my advisory put on their lab coats and goggles to earn house points.  I loved Am who came prepared with her white lace coat and syringe.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Pink Men

Today we wore pink and pink ribbons and are pink cupcakes to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Arno, Daniel and David got into the colour theme.

More Dates

The dates were lush and rich and yummy.

Besides the chocolate covered dates I did by a kilo to bring home to snack upon and maybe use in a tagine. Unlike home there is no problem bringing food into Laos.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Out of the Sand

Qasr Al Hosn an historic square fort built in the 1790s is a stark contrast to this modern sky-scrapper  in  Abu Dhabi.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Date Market

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

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque

 An amazing mosque -clad in Indian marble - it's design is 
supposedly inspired by the Taj Mahal.  I am in Abu Dhabi for the weekend, courtesy of NYU Abu Dhabi.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

By the Waterfall

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

Shades of Grey at Nam Ngum

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

Rainbow over Nam Ngum

A rainbow over the distant mountains greeted the Grade 10s when we arrived at Nam Ngum reservoir for SALSA last Monday evening.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

A Russian Rice Carrying Truck

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

Drummer boys

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.  

The boys, Dario, Marco and Domo, took to the road with their bongos. Xaynalong showed his style bashing the large temple drum.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Monday Monks in Mandalay Myanmar

Travelling as a group, these young monks in Mandalay, sitting on top of the truck and its load, had a view, not a safe view, but a view, over the passing traffic.