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micheledunlop’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 24 Feb 2007

Location: Australia, New Zealand

MapWell I could also tell you about visiting Australia - that was first, before being on the learning curve in India..
What did I learn:
I loved being with people. I have lived by myself for a long time now and thought that I would not enjoy being with too many people for any length of time. Travel is the ideal way to be on your own. (well you do pay a bit more) but you go when and where you want and there are always others to meet up with and share experiences,wine/beer/coffee/water the nibbles and the ambiance.(or if in Australia - checking out the serenity) . I learned that there is a limit to temples, markets, sunrise's sunsets or the remnants of a Monsoon forest. I love being in these and all other places but for me synergy happens when you add other people to the mix.

In the Merry of Land of Oz I started by staying a couple of weeks with one of my precious sisters - she lives in a community 'Twelve Tribes' They have other communities in many places and tell me I am welcome to visit with them all. I loved being there and being part - especially when we cooked damper on a big outside (winter time) fir and then ladled cream and golden syrup down the middle of it.

Loved being in both Cober Pedy and Darwin. Different sort of people, different sorts of place. I would like to go back to Darwin and work for a winter up there. The red rock on the beach is amazing and the INDO PACIFIC MARINE artificial reef on the wharf by the pearl museum rates with Taj Mahal, riding on the wall of Xian, Wearable Arts (WOW) and Cirque de Solei. Also loved the outdoor cinema there.

I worked back in Perth at Fremantle Operating Suite. After 10 years away from the specialty the work was not too different. After having worked in the Operating Rooms in Perth for 20 years when I lived there before it was a surprise to feel very outside - however we got over that , For people who are on the fringe all there lives I think that daily life is courage.

I sort of overstayed in Perth but was reluctant to leave. I spent that time without a car for about the first time in my driving life so got a bit of confidence in catching buses and trains.

I have already talked about India so will talk about China.

I arrived in Shanghai and was met by Chris. After the big lack of fruit and veges in Rajasthan, Chris shouted me to this very very flash breakfast at the Marriot in downtown Shanghai. Unlimited Moet until 2.30 pm and every sort of fruit, vegetable, cuisine, desert, meat, fish and shellfish you could imagine.
Unbelievable and really recommended.
Most of all in Shanghai I enjoyed the rail system. Popping up and looking around like a meercat at each station. From the station shops and markets to the building and facilities around them I was in awe, walking slowly. The shopping thing applied again but learning curve.
Best thing I brought was the feng Shui bracelets from the Pearl markets and if was there again, that’s what all the girls would get as gifts. I also loved the ornate calligraphy brushes and thought that they were a handsome present as well.

I travelled to Xian on the train – arriving around 7am and was “Jim Beemed” Lucky I had read Lonely Planet so (I was actually Steven Beemed – his brother I think) and so was ok. The Ludao Binguan Hotel was OK but the dorms were on the 5th floor, no lift and I was had it’ after the train journey. I opted for a room on the ground floor which was actually a double with its own bathroom, TV and so on – equivalent of Oz $26 so indulged my self. Next time I would choose to stay the opposite gate but it was no problem to walk or get a taxi to that end of town
Saw the Warriors and fared much the same as others have there – I think the quality documentaries that we see in our lives must take some of the awe out of the places that we visit. Poor Farmer whatsit (Whose photo we are not allowed to take) sits and signs books – I did note that the signature varied from my already signed book to one that he was signing there. The reason I was told was that mine was his English signature and the other was his Spanish signature.
The soldiers are now within a new city - no longer the Farmers field.

I had joined a tour to visit the soldiers but would be more specific about what I wanted to see . That would include the factory (shop) where they are making soldiers to sell, and the mausoleum of QinShihuang, at the soldiers there is the most amazing surround movie – don’t miss that. The Huaqing pool is worth at least half a day for those who are into gardens and wandering, though I was disappointed that swimming was not an option. I was at the Bell tower just as a concert was starting and that was magic, and the very best thing – do it first is cycle/walk/stroll or dance along the city wall.

My favoutie thing in Cheng du was the peoples park and cycling in the traffic. Met up with Cissi and Belinda and they were great companions. While others went to LeShan I went to ?QuinShaN.
Amazing is the only word.

Later on stayed some time in Hangzhou, a day in Suzhou(can give this a miss) and spent Christmas at Yangshou.