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Welcome to Planet Jazz.

This is my diary. It will take whatever form it takes, my only promise being that I will make it as honest as possible.

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Diary Entries

Wednesday, 03 October 2007

Location: Sihwa, Korea (South)


Well.... not really - just the end of this blog.

Went home for a while, nearly went crazy waiting for my sister to have her baby. She finally popped it out and I came back to Korea for a second try. That's where I will be for at least the next year, maybe longer.

I am focusing on getting fit and healthy in body, mind and soul. This one is a private journey so no more blog.

You will however find me on Facebook so anyone wanting to stay in touch do that.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Location: Colac, Australia

My sister finally had her baby - a healthy boy, about 4kg, named Eammon Fionvhar, arrived a couple of days ago. I haven't had the pleasure of visiting yet but am heading up tomorrow.

I have been busy finalising a job in Korea and getting all my paperwork together - doctors visits and all those fun things. tomorrow I send of my papers with a courier and it is out of my hands for a week or two.

I have applied to a couple of universities for the course I want but don't know how I will go since its quite a change of direction. I might have to get up some work experience first (which was originally my plan in going to central america) but I'll see how it goes. If I don't get in this time I will keep applying till I do. Or until I get a better idea!

Otherwise I am just tidying up small details here and doing a good old detox for a couple of weeks (only 4 days in and while it is making me feel great the cravings are killing me!! Guess thats the trouble with doing a detox when you aren't working and can think about it all day!!)

Friday, 04 May 2007

Location: Melbourne, Australia

This week has flown by but not much really exciting to tell. Been fielding calls from job agencies in Korea and reading through the fine print trying to find myself a job that I can relax and enjoy this time around. Getting offers is certainly not a problem. Trouble is most of them want you there right now. Maybe I shouldn't apply until two days before I am ready to leave!

I have also been trying to sort out all the things I know I need to do while I am here but my head is a bit fuzzy - not so much jet lag as culture shock and lack of my own space. Trying to fit in a million important tasks without interfering with anyone while relying on other people for bed etc. I wish I could afford to just spend my entire time here in a hotel and to have rental car! At least I think my bike is accessible so I am hoping to get that out tomorrow and check just how unfit I am ... then I will at least have some real freedom of movement and will feel better able to catch up with people.

I do now have my laptop which is a joy - at least I can look for jobs and write applications etc without getting in other peoples' ways. Sadly I don't have a phone though so I do have to constantly take calls on my sisters phone which is uncomfortable. And I have to give the agencies different phone numbers each time I am staying with someone different. I love my new macbook laptop though. Getting used to finding my way around a mac after only having used pc's for the last decade or so. Very fun.

I have also put in my application for my Masters - everyone keep your fingers crossed for me that I get a place. I finally decided on doing my Masters in International Development rathr than Tesol. Mainly because TESOL would only be useful if I really intended to make a permanent career of teaching English whereas I suspect that I only want to do another 3 - 5 years for now. International Development I will love studying and learning even if things change and I don't end up using it directly. I am really hoping I get accepted as I would really love to be studying again - it feels like exactly the right time to do that.

As usual when I am home I have a lot of shopping to do - there are just always things that are worn out and need to be replaced or that cant be bought where I am going but it seems like I come home and just spend money hand over fist. Hopefully I don't run out before I go to work!

Anyway, nothing exciting to write... job hunting is not worth the detail.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Location: Colac, Australia

Well I am home. And what a journey... Bus collected me from my hotel at 4 am on Thursday morning. Air conditioning was on full and I froze the whole way to the airport. Get to the airport and they too are in high air con mode. As the bus is sent to meet all the early morning flights I had a bit of a wait for mine and was just dying to get on and go to sleep. Instead got on and froze, only managing tiny naps along the way.

Got to Miami and sure enough - air con on full. I was so glad I'd packed a hoodie and worn a few layers but it wasn't actually enough to make me comfortable. After 4 months of stinking hot without relief here I am suddenly freezing. Unbelievable.

Had a decent wait for my next plane so I got some lunch and read my book for a while. Of course the next plane also had high air con and after heading across one or two time lines to the east, now I was heading back across two or three to the west. Just what my body needed. Arrived in LA feeling stiff, cold and ready to never get on a plane again. Got some very horrid chinese food for dinner and went to the lounge area to try to sleep a little before the big flight.

Thankfully Qantas were a little more generous with the heating and I could actually sit normally without huddling up against the cold. Sadly, now with movies on demand at my finger tips after a very boring day, I was too tired to enjoy and kept falling asleep without figuring out the ending. Oh well, did get to see a couple of good flicks. Was very pleased to arrive in Melbourne and find my mum waiting (she really hadn't had much warning about arrival times etc and I didn't know if she'd be there or not).

Went to visit my sister and hang out with her for the day -absolutely in awe of her huge baby bump, such an incredible thing. So was my jet lag - most horrid things happening in my brain... kept feeling like it was dissipating into thin air in tiny pieces, very sensitive to noise too which became very obvious when we hit the shopping centre. Got my vitamins and spirulina stockpiled though and starting on that straight away so that I can get back on track soon.

Now I am at my parents place out in the country and it is cold! They have actually had just a few drops of rain too - not enough to break the drought but enough to give a little hope that there may be more to come! Managed somehow to stay awake until about 8pm and then slept most of the night so the jet lag nowhere near as bad as last time. Will be heading to Melbourne in a few days so that I will really feel like I am home.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Location: Granada, Nicaragua

Today is Anzac Day although there is nothing here to make me think of it - no two up being played, or flags hung out, or dawn services or marches. In fact everything to do with Anzac Day seems so unreal from where I sit right now, but its still there isn´t it? Just that feeling of gratitude for growing up with the freedom and peace that we did, for not having had to make the big sacrifices, for not having had our country invaded. We are very lucky people. I pray everyone in the world can one day feel so lucky.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Location: Granada, Nicaragua

Monday afternoon I decided to book my flights. Got my LA to Oz one sorted first as I didn´t want to end up in LA without an onward flight and have to find somewhere to stay etc. I had checked the flights of course from here to LA first. Its just that the American Airlines website doesn´t tell you that they can only complete the purchase online if are from one of 15 countries... Australia not included! So I have completed the whole online form only to find that in the drop down menu of countries in the credit card billing address section, Australia is not listed.

So I decided to go to a travel agent in town. It will cost me more of course but better than not being able to connect with my flight home.

No luck. There are no agencies in Granada that an complete your purchase. You have to go to Managua! Apparently you´"used to be able to" but not any more. The other option on the website was to book but pay at a Western Union. Trouble is when you read the fine print it says to go to any Western Union in the US! Great international sales service.

Yesterday I made the trip to Managua - I figured I may as well just go to the airport and buy the ticket straight from the airline instead of trying to find some obscure travel agent (I was able to make the booking on line, just not pay for it). Generally I find most taxi drivers can find the international airport in any given city but business addresses can be a different matter.

So I got the bus up to Managua and got a taxi out to the airport. I had heard there were buses that went past the airport but I didn´t know what was meant by "past" - what was the walk from the bus to the airport? I figured I could easily get the bus back and save some money but I was probably best off getting a taxi there.

No problems at the airport - ticket paid for and credit card accepted. Out to catch the bus and checked if it was going to Managua... apparently yes, but which part of Managua? Ended up in some obscure corner where I didn´t recognise anything - and i have been past most of the key landmarks and central areas. Decided to walk a bit but after a couple of hours still didn´t really recognise anything. Stopped to ask for directions and got the most obscure answers ever - no idea what these people thought they were telling me but between the words I understood and the mad hand signals I think they were trying to tell me that the main market was situated somewhere between the moon and Saturn.

Gave up and got a taxi. Still way cheaper than getting one all the way back from the airport but I had somehow ended up right near where I started when I got in the cab. I couldn´t believe it -Id walked a huge circle and ended up sun burned and dehydrated with blisters on my feet for nothing.

Quite a long taxi ride to the bus station - probably a bit further than I´d walked and in the opposite direction so I am glad I quit looking. All of the urban buses in Managua just have route numbers on them, no destinations. And of course there are no bus maps at the bus stops or anything like that.

Anyway, bus back was no problem and I have my ticket so all is good. Can´t believe that you can´t buy tickets in Granada though. Or that American Air won´t let Australians buy online. Ridiculous.

So my flight arrives in Melbourne on Saturday morning at about 8. I have to get the shuttle bus from my hotel at 4 am tomorrow morning. I will be so jet lagged and tired when I get home... lucky I´ve been resting a lot here!

This morning I went out for an amazing breakfast at a great little cafe near the San Fransisco convent. So much food it impossible to finish it and one of the most amazing mushroom omelettes Ive ever had. then i went and looked around the convent which has some nice displays of central and south american art and some acient statues from one of the islands here. Found it a bit underwhelming after what I´d heard but it was nice.

Another hot one here today and I have to pack so I won´t be doing much for the rest of the day.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Location: Granada, Nicaragua

Lazy afternoon yesterday. The markets do eventually open on Sundays but thats about it so I went back to my hotel and read and watched tv. Did manage to catch the reruns of last weeks Greys Anatomy and Men in Trees so really have only missed one episode of each... good timing!

This morning is stinking hot. Everyone always says Granada is beautiful but too hot to enjoy... well, Ive had very mild weather the few days Ive spent here and couldnt see what everyone was complaining about but today is just like the sort of heat I had most of my time in CR. Even leaving the hotel this morning it was already stinking hot.

Granada is a really beautiful city though. It has a really gentle feel to it and it is very cosmopolitan. I was looking through a brochure yesterday and the ads for the cafes was incredible in how diverse they were. You can various asian food, lots of Italian, local of course and north American and general European. And places actually have atmosphere. I mean it is hard not have some ambience in these beautiful big old colonial buildings - the ceilings are so high, the shortness of the rooms is barely noticable and of course the courtyards are divine.

And the streets are so colourful. Remind me again why we think buildings have to be serious muted colours? Here the shops are pink and red and green and blue and yellow and have contrasting but equally bright trims and it is beautiful!

Anyway, I am off to see the San Fransisco convent I think, having just sat and had a big plate of scrambled eggs washed down with a banana smoothie (yes, full appetite restored on this, my first pain free day in two weeks) while sitting out on the footpath in a pleasant little square with palms shading me and patterned tile work at my feet.

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Recent Messages

From Shingo
It's so nice idea to visit Korea and me again! Let's have Sushi again.
Response: Definitely! But this time I have to come to see Yokohama, not just Tokyo!!
From Shingo
Hi Jazz.
What is you next plan?
Response: Back to Korea, earn some money, hopefully study (waiting to be accepted for a distance study program) and visit you again hopefully!!
From Merrill
Granada sounds divine. Looking forward to lots of photos and stories when you get home
Response: Granada is beautiful... just realised that Granada was also one of my favourite cities in Spain!
From pete
I Want a Rematch!!!
Response: For what? Scrabble, anagrams, cards., Monopoly...and what else did we play??
Just remember you totally whipped my **** at deep diving for mangos!
From Alison Faruk
Hey Jazz, have been reading up on your diary - you go girl! I feel like Im living a life through here! :) Drop me a line on my email - would love to chat...take care Ali
Response: Cool - been slack on email... will get onto it though! More changes to come soon me thinks...perhaps something noone expects!
From Matthew
Wow! Great reading as usual Jazz. I continue to be inspired on my own (somewhat different) journey.
Response: You didn´t send your illness with this message did you?? Ive been crook as a dog all day!!
From Merrill
Love the photos of Rivas - think I want to go there.......
Response: Hmmm...there wasnt a lot there really!! But I know your love of markets... actually it always inspires me to take a couple of photos -just for you
From merrill
Its Australia Day today, so Happy Australia Day to you - hope you have time to celebrate. Looking forward to your next entry on this site.......
love mum
Response: Totally forgot! not very patriotic of me is it! Not that that would be a surprise to anyone...
From TJ
Hey, Jazz. I see you are finally in south(central) america. Costa rica sounds great . I have never been south of texas, so i dont know what its like. I envy the nice weather. check out my site for updates.
Response: It is hot and sunny every day and there are 5 or 6 top beaches all a short walk from my home or work... yes it is better than Korean winter!
From Merrill
Good luck with the job! Have looked up Flamingo and I can see why you would want to be there...
Response: Got the job! Got offered enough hours to easy survive on... if I can find a home. And it is looking like I found one of those too! Its like I am meant to be here... everything just keeps falling into place!
From Merrill
Happy New Year. We had a quiet one too Love mum
Response: Happy new year! mine did get a bit better, met some people to talk to...
From Hannah
Wow v pleased we got you to the airport early. I imagined you would be having a long leisurely brekkie and shopping but at least you made it all the way there which is great. Happy New Year! Looking forward to your next entry....
Response: Happy new year!! yep, expecteda nice leisurely breckie too.. didnt get any in the end though! all good though...
From Merrill
Hi again,
I have just worked out the time difference - it is minus 16 hours, which means it is just after 7 pm here on New Year's Eve, and if my calculations are correct, it is just after 3am there on the same day - hopefully you are getting some good sleep while I am writing this
love mum
Response: No - jet lag prevails...keep waking at midnight, can't sleep until about 4 or 5 then can't wake up until about 11. Not good!!
From Merrill
So glad that you arrived safely and without too many hassles. Take care - will talk to you soon
love mum
Response: So am i!!! Now I just have to figure out how to make the rest happen... more positive thinking I suspect!!
From Shingo
Merry Christmas Jazz!!
It's so cold Christmas here.
Response: My Christmas was also cold and wet but then went north again and spent the last two days on the beach!!! (even got a little sunburned...) Hope it warms up soon. Merry Christmas and happy New Year!!
From merrill
Great reading & photos. Can't wait to see you in December to hear more.
love mum
Response: Thanks... good to have the photos up, now I just have to worry about keeping the journal up to date - head not really in it at the moment!
From Dad
Hi Jack, I've been waiting for your Laos photos. Very good!
Response: I don't do justice to the place at all... but its a hint of the beauty that is there.
From Gayle
Found it at last! I have been searching for your diary but could only find sites about a rock group - planet jazz.
Thanks to Renee I am here and enjoying reading your life adventures.
Response: Not that I've been writing much lately... hopefully I'll get it caught up before I head home in December!
From Shingo
Hey Jazz. It's so nice weather here in Japan. Comeback and go fishing on the lake with me!!
Response: Plenty of rain here but I think I'd better stay and do some work.... so responsible of me!!!
From Dad
Hi Jacqueline...Just caught up with all your news. Sounds very interesting...LOve Dad
Response: Last few days seem more like a real job than an interesting transition into the world of volunteering... hopefully the weekend will be refreshing!!
From Matthew
Outstanding reading as usual Jazz. What an adventure!
Response: Sadly I've only had the chance to skim your page recently but it sounds like you're living large still... will try to catch up my reading now that Im settled for a while.
From Errol
hello Jazz. Aren't you having a ball. I'm off to Germany for a boat cruise down the Rhine soon. Hope to find some friendly German girls... When are you popping into South Africa?
Response: Not any time soon... (sorry!) ... aiming for south america next year ...looking for friendly latinos!
From merrill
You knew you would get a response! - motor bike riders - just two words you might remember from a person who worked in the emergency department at a hospital - "temporary Australians"

Stay safe and keep enjoying your trip - are you going back to Thailand?
love mum
Response: Yep - still planning on doing the volunteering, just trying to fit in Laos first.
From merrill
just caught up with all of your entries in Thailand and Cambodia. wow. So much to see..........
Response: And smell..ha ha!!
From Shingo
Perfect bright blue sky. I can't see the sky in Japan. It is grey everyday, but most of people says this is blue sky. I don't think so!!
Response: Japan's sky was MUCH bluer than Korea's when I was there. I don't think its too bad!