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Brad's Semi-Transcontinental Adventures!

Hi all and welcome to my travel page! This is the spot I'm going to record all of my travelling adventures over the next year or so. For those of you who don't know, here is the plan:

Turkey - Iran - Pakistan - India

And here is what has happened so far:

Turkey - Syria - Turkey - Bulgaria - Turkey - Georgia - Armenia - Iran - Pakistan - India - Nepal - India - Thailand - Cambodia - Thailand

Please feel free to leave lots of messages here for me, I'd love to hear from you all. Enjoy!

Diary Entries

Friday, 03 March 2006

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

315 days after the first posting of my adventures on this page, here it is: The Last Post.

Just briefly, the ten days or so I spent on Ko Chang island were very relaxing and also highly uneventful! I went to the beach every day, read several books, and pretty much did noy a great deal more. On one day I hired a scooter and rode around the island, and on another went on a snokelling trip (that was pretty good actually). Relaxing and boring...One of the coolest things was the bungalow I stayed in, it was actually built over the ocean (on stilts) so at high tide the waves (very small) would crash the whole way under my cabin! Actually it was very loud...

I guess now would be an appropriate time to reflect on what has been for me an unbelievable adventure. Just that I have had the means to do somthing like this is an incredible privelage - the vast majority of people (at least 99%) would not even be able consider doing such a thing (which is an indication of how well off we all are).

I have had so many amazing and humbling expeiences, each of which has opened me up and changed the way I see the world. I guess if there were to be two things that impressed upon me most strongly during my travels of such dirverse countries and cultures, it would be this:

People are basically the same and want the same things.
AND
People are basically good.

I feel I owe a great debt to every stranger (and there were very many) who has shown me kindness expecting nothing in return. The people who helped me onto the right bus, shared their food with me, showed me the places only they know, invited me into their homes, those who sat next to me in restaraunts, saying nothing but paying for my meal without any expectation of gratitude. These are the experiences that make travel the most wonderful enlightening experience.

Of course, while the people I met have been the soul of my trip, it would not be complete without the mindblowing adventures, sights, and experiences that give you a sense of the glories of history and wonder of nature. I feel compelled to write a short list of the highlights; the sights that left me gasping for breath.

Crossing the huge stone causeway into Angkor Wat, the biggest religious building in the world.

Walking among the streets of Palmerya, the awesome ancient Roman city in Syria.

Standing at the edge of the immense Rakaposhi Glacier, feeling vertigo looking up to 7788m Mt Rakaphshi.

Beholding the Taj Mahal, the most beautiful building I have ever seen.

Wandering in Imam Sq in Iran amongst the glittering mosques and pickniking Iranians.

Being surrounded by gigantic mountains and my family (at the same time!) at Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal.

Entering, on the second day of my trip, the most awesome, powerful building in the world - Aya Sophia.

Of course I could go on forever, but these were the standouts for me. In addition to these, there were also two very special historic places, not physically spectacular but magical because of the history and legend attached to them - Troy in Turkey, and The Castle of the Assasains in Iran. To be at such places is to really realise the depth of human culture and history.

Although backpackers can be a fickle bunch, I have had the good fortune to meet some wonderful travellers who shared parts of the trip; I will stay in touch with many and hopefully see some again in other parts of the world (Kamchatka?!).

And of course, a final thank you to the people from back home who came and experienced part of the ride with me - Jess, and my wonderful amazing family (yes Alex, I suppose your a part of that now!) who I've caused so much worry to! It was so wonderful to meet you along the way and share some of the journey with me; I'm sure you'll understand a lot of the things I've been talking about.

Well, it is feeling rather sad that I write the final words in this diary, thanks to you to all of you who have followed my adventure - I can't wait to see you all!

Monday, 20 February 2006

Location: Trat, Thailand

Finally, after 10 months (today) of travelling I'm finally on my way to a perfect beach for some major chillout time.

I spent one more day around the Angkor temples after the last post, hiring a motorbike (and driver) to take me to some of the more remote temples. The first was Bantea Serai, a small temple but with amazingly ornate baroque carvings that almost seemed to move as you looked at them. Following that, we headed out to a Kbal Spean, a riverbed that has had thousands of linga (holy phalluses, basically) carved into it. Hmmm...

The coolest temple of the day was Beng Mealea, a huge ruined temple has has been left basically undisturbed in the jungle. Due to its remoteness, it get very few visitors, also a big plus after the crowds at Angkor. There's not really any paths, to you can climb all over the piles of rubble and onto the roof of the temples. I even met a young urchin who appeared from behind a tree who showed me a few secret nooks and crannies, including a a big partially buried hallway that was still standing. We had to run for it when an offical guide game along though, or else she'd get in trouble!

The only other place I really had time to visit in Cambodia was the capital, Phnom Penh. A fairly quite city set on the Mekong river, the atrocities the country suffered are still pretty clear when you talk to people. You don't see too many people around older than about thirty, and in the age group from twenty to thirty there are so many orphans. As well as visiting some of the cities more beautiful sights (the Royal Palace and National Museum) I went to what was the central prison and interrogation office during the Khmer Rouge - S-21. In what was once a school, nearly twenty thousand people were interrogated and tortured - six people survived. Like the Nazi death camps, the Khmer rouge documented each case very carefully and left hndreds of thousands of documents and thousands of black and white pictures of the prisoners. The included the most heart-wrenching picture I've ever seen - a woman with an identification number around her neck, holding a young child. Her face is a mixture of sadness, despair and hopelesness, and tears are running down her cheeks. I can't even begin to describe what going to a place like that is like, you just have to see it for yourself.

Despite all of these terrible events, Cambodians are wonderful people, full of warmth and friendliness - today, when travelling back to Thailand a total stranger (travelling in the same car as me) bought me lunch, despite being far less well off than myself.

Well, this is going to be one of the last entries on this page, as after my beach + cocktails stint, I'll be heading back to Bangkok briefly, then back to that land I still (surprisingly enough) call home.

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Location: Siam Reap (Angkor), Cambodia

...well, in the end, I did end up going to Cambodia! I'm writing this from Siam Reap, or better known as Angkor, the immense ruined city built by the Khemer empire over a thousand years ago, and one of the most amazing things there is to see in the world (for those unfamiliar with Angkor, it played a starring role in the first Tomb Raider film). I've been cycling around the many temples for the past two days, and I have to say this is far and away the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

The jungle for kilometres is littered with all variety of temples in different conditions, the remains of a city that once held well over one million people. Each one has its own unique amazing character, but there were of course a few standouts...

Angkor Wat is undoubtably the best know of the temples, and for good reason. It is apparantly the largest religious structure in the world Surrounding the temple is a man made moat, which is about fifty metres across and well over a kilometre in both length and width. To approach the island you cross a huge stone causeway, then pass through the main gates to behold the temple itself - an immesnse structure crowned by four towers surrounding a central tower. Clambering up the super steep stairs to the inner sanctum is incredible, you can't believe you're really there. Let me say, the photos don't even begin to capture it!

Another highlight was the Bayon, a temple built by one of the god-kings to glorify himself, and certainly one of the most unusual temples in the world. There are over two hundred faces of the buddha (whos face was modified to look like the king's) carved into the multitude of towers protruding from the temple. The result is everywhere you look, there are at least four or five faces at different hights staring at you. Very strange and mysterious...

One of my favorite temples was Ta Prohm, one of the temples to be engulfed by the jungle and only discovered in relativly recent times. Although much of the vegetation has been cut out of the temples, some of the trees were so entrenched that they couldn't be removed without damaging the temple. The result is some amazing growths - huge tree roots that have found gaps in the stone and sometimes totally covered sections of the temple. This place is really awesome to wander around in!

A huge ziggurat temple nearly the size of Angkor Wat's temple, but left unfinished for unknown reasons.

Other than these there were another dozen temples I visited, but I'd be here all day if I wrote about them all (and they are all worth writing about). I even managed to fit in a quick swim today in one of the old resovoirs with some Cambodian kids! I ended the day today with a visit to a massage school that trains blind Cambodians to give massage - a wonderful, touching (excuse the pun) experience. The poor Cambodians have been through an aweful lot in recent years (Pol Pot's regime, genocide, civil war - the Khemer Rouge were still active here only fifteen yeas ago) and compared with Thailand, it suddenly seems like I'm back in the third world again (the road from the border to Siam Reap was the worst I've ever been on!). The people here are so extroadinary, always smiling and ready to help and and have a laugh, which is truly incredible given what most people have gone through.

Tomorrow I'm going to some more remote temples to do some exploring, then the day after heading down to Phnom Penh to check out Cambodia's rocking capital!

Friday, 10 February 2006

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Before I start - Loads of new photos up, so check them out!

I'm writing this to you from sunny Bangkok, in what looks to be one of my final sojorn before heading back to the world of beaches and vegemite. I arrived here yesterday afternoon after flying in from Kolkatta - goodbye India! Being in Thailand is such a relief after the hassel of India. Clean streets, organised traffic, even the touts go away if you say 'no thank you'! This morning I visited several temples and the old royal palace. Thai temples are amazing, they are covered with gold paint and shine brightly when the sun is out. Thai people too are very friendly, and the food is fantastic (although I think four months of curries may have burnt out my taste buds...)!

But, before I get ahead of myself, this diary certainly has a few blank spots...I begin where I left off last time. After the trek we all decided we'd have just enough to go on a short safari in Chitwan national park, the biggest in Nepal. So it was up early again the next day to bus the six hours to the park, where we had just enough time for lunch before our first activity - an elephant safari through the jungle. We didn't really see much - a few deer and monkeys, but the thrill of crashing through the jungle on the back of a elephant more than made up for that.

We all crashed that night, still feeling sore spots from the trek, and then got up before sunrise the next day for another elephant safari - again wonderful, especially in the pre-dawn mists. We had another surprise when we got back too - we were taken down to the elephant pen to meet a mother elephant and her three year old baby. Today also, was Alex's birthday, so it was a great surprise for him being the obsessive animal lover that he is. We all fed and played with the baby (which was totally cute and fantastic), then hasd lunch and went on a canoe ride down the river. It would have been pretty tame, except with seven of u in the boat the water was only a few centimetres below the edge of the boat, which made it quite fun trying not to tip over going down the small rapids!

That night we had a surprise party for Alex (it was his 21st) with a few beers and jungle cocktails, before again getting up sure early to get the bus to Kathmandu. The situation was quite tense when we arrived, as there were elections being held that were being boycotted by all the major parties and that were unsupported by the Maoist rebels. This ment that along with strikes and candidates pulling out (an interesting anecdote - for one seat due to the election boycott, a beggar won the seat uncontested - when she won, she was quoted as saying "at least I don't have to beg anymore"!!), there were also curfews, bombings and assasinations going on all over the place - I'm not being flippant here. The tourist areas had been declared safe though, so impressivly, no one was really worried! We spent two days in Kathmandu going to temples, some beautiful old stupas (buddhist monuments) and to the place where the Hindu Nepalis burn their dead - a rather up close experience.

After the two days in Kathmandu we all flew back to Delhi, the last stop before everyone went home. I didn't do a great deal the next day, mostly just rested. The next day, however, I went to hear the Dalai Lama give a talk. It was incredible to hear him speak, surely he is one of the most wise and happy people alive. I also had time to do a bit of shopping myself, and to go and see the lotus flower shaped Bahai temple. The Bahai believe all theistic religions are basically the same thing, so it was rather curious and encouraging to see Hindus, headscarved Muslims and Christian nuns all worshipping in the same place.

Theres not much else to tell except that I flew from Delhi to Kolkatta, spent the night there, then flew from Kolkatta to Bangkok, and here I am. And indeed, this will probably be the last port of call before I return, although I have nearly been persuaded to have a last adventurous dash to Ankor Wat in Cambodia. I'll just have to see...




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Recent Messages

From mum
Monday 6 March 2006 8pm

Brad...your last posting is wonderful! You have summed up your adventure beautifully.
We are so proud of you and what you've done over the past ten and a half months. You are right...there are very few people in the world that would have the money, time and your unbelievable courage. Although you were missed terribly by friends and family (and in this, I'm sure I rate the highest!), it was an adventure you HAD to have. The experiences will last a lifetime and will manifest themselves in so many ways...often unexpected!
Welcome home! You looked so relaxed at the airport yesterday when you emerged from customs ladden with all your bags and your faithful backpack. It is truly fantastic to have you home safe and sound.

Our family dinner last night and swim today at Redhead beach was a great beginning for your next life adventure!
I'm sure you have so many more journeys to travel.

A job well done!

Lots of love, mum xxx


Response: Thanks mum!

It has been an amazing journey, but it's wonderful to be home safe and sound and swimming at the beach again. It was so good to see everyone waiting at the airport, and I can't wait to catch up with all the friends I've missed over the next week or so.

Lots of love,
Brad
From mum
Thursday 16 February

Hi Brad!
I've just read your site and seen all your photos. It's funny to think we have been part of your adventures and to see some of us in your photos. I look pretty exhausted resting on our way up to Annapurna Base camp. I guess it was pretty exhausting, especially at over 4000 metres...at sunrise and before breakfast!!!

It was truly amazing to be with you and share such monumental experiences!! We have only been back for 11 days. Life seems quite boring in comparison to our hectic and often chaotic life in India and Nepal!

It was amazing and I will never forget all those special moments...and all the ones in between.

Angkor Wat looks awesome. Have fun in Cambodia and Thailand.
Take care as always. Lots of love, mum xxx
PS I can't believe you will be home soon! Imagine the party!!!!
Response: Hi Mum,

Hehe, yeah, it's a great picture! I bet thing do seem a bit slow after the hectic pace that is India. You don't have any tuk-tuk drivers to argure with, and no filth to avoid stepping in! Ah well, if you're bored you could always go again! I'm having a good time, carrying around way too much stuff, but not for much longer eh? Looking forward to getting back and seeing everyone - I can't wait for a weekend up a Forster!

Love brad
From Ellee
Hey Brad,

Hard to belive you've been away for 10 months!!! Looking at your actual travel plan up there it seems like you've been all over in no time. I hope the last stop of your journey is great fun and a positive end to the journey. All is well for us working away and having fun. Thhinking we'll go see Canada and Japan in 2008 so start saving your pennies again so you can come visit us!!!!

See you soon agin in OZ

Ellee
Response: Hey!

Yeah, it's going to be crazy to get back, but I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. Japan rocks, you chould totally go there, and Canada is suposed to be beautiful. Hope you are both good - check your email!

All the best, Brad
From Marlene
Hi Brad, 24/1/06

Just had time to at work to look through all your photos, it fast broadband at work, so it was great to view them much more quickly than my dial up at home. It was a refreshing change from working with finance figures and boring contracts.
Wow Mosque mosque and more mosques .Anyways I would imagine by the time you come home you would have seen enough mosques for your lifetime. the picture are great though and it was interesting to see how beautiful there all are and how important they are to the culture and country where you are visiting. I am looking forward to hearing all about your Nepal trek it was something I also wanted to do. Life goes on merrily along back home in Australia and everyone is well and healthy. Our grandchildren too grow up quickly, and Andrew turns 14 this year. We really enjoyed our stay in Forster for Val's 80th and I enjoyed Christmas with Bill and Val Dave Trevor and Karen and the kids. Shall really look forward to your return home visit and also seeing amny many more photos, particular from your mother too. It sounded absolutely fantastic to have your family back together for this part of your adventure and no doubt shall hear all about it upon their return. Love to you all and tell your mum and dad I shall give them a call a little while after their return to hear all about their trip. Bye and take care always love Marlene
Response: Hi Marlene!

Great to hear from you! Glad to hear you're enjoying the stories and pictures. Yes, I have seen a lot of mosques, but temples seem to be the prevailing choice of worship in India. The trek too was awesome - check out the pictures! It has also been really great travelling with the family, and experience very different from travelling alone. Anyway, hope you are very well and enjoying lifew in sunny Queensland!
love brad
From Val, Bill & Trev
Hi Brad,
Hope all is well. Right now I guess you are with all your mob. Hope everyone is doing well and sharing your adventures. We are just having a quick lesson on horrible Bill Gates machine and so will make this brief. Cool and rainy here and all well.

V, B & T
Response: Hi!

Great to hear from you, as always. Everything is going well, having a fantastic time travelling with the family throughout the deserts and forts of Rajasthan! Hope all is well, keep in touch,
love Brad
From Louise and Thomas
Hi Brad,

We are here with Jess and Pria in Sri Lanka. Jess recomended we check out your web page as we plan to travel through Pakistan and Iran etc on a route back to Europe. Sounds like you have had a good adventure, may help us when we get there. Jess told us your heading to Thailand. I have worked as a tour leader in South east asia for a year, so if you want any info let me know. Before we came to India we went through Bangladesh and Burma, if you want info on that let me know.

Enjoy your travels,

Louise and Thomas



Response: Hi!

The route through Iran and Pak is amazing, be sure to check out the northern areas of Pak around Gilgit and Hunza, and the amazing Persian cities of Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd - all totally incredible. I'll send you an email for an information exchange!
Brad
From Marlene
Brad,
Your travels still amaze me of how much you have done and how long you have been away and virtually living without all the modern conveniances, you will have a culture shock when you get back.
I really got on the internet to wish you a very very Merry Christmas and to say that I hope you l have a fantastic holiday with all your family.
You must be so very excited to be able to see them soon.
Then Gemma and Alex coming in January.

Have fun always and a safe journey with them all.
Take Care


Marlene x x x x

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Response: Hi Marlene,

Thanks for the Christmas message! It's so good to be spending Christmas with the family, I think is would have been pretty lonely otherwise. Yes, Australia is going to seems very clean when I get home! Hope you have a great Christmas and a fantastic new year.
love brad
From Carol Posselt
Hi Brad, we have throughourly enjoyed hearing about your travels, what great memories you will have. This is to wish you a very merry Christmas and a very happy and safe new year from us all in Karalee. Carol, Steve, Heidi, Amanda and Jonathan
Response: Hi Carol,

Thanks so much for the christmas message from so far away! It's going to be great seeing the family for Christmas, I can't wait! I hope you too have a safe and happy Christmas, and all the best for the new year.
love brad
From Val and Bill
Brad I sent you a little letter a few weeks back but I must have forgotten to "send". Just wonderful to read about your adventures. Amazing to think that you will be seeing all your family in a week or so. Fabulous! Take care! We'll be anxiously awaiting to know how it all went. Much love - we so admire your courage!
Response: Hi B & V

As always, so good to hear from you both! Keep up the good work on the computer - you'll get there! I'm travelling around the south of India with Jess at the moment, but I can't wait to see the family for Christmas! Hope you are both well and happy and enjoying the beach (wish I could be there for a swim and beer!)
love Brad
From mum
Thursday 8 December 2005 9pm
Hi Brad! Just read your last entry written today! Your trek sounds amazing. You were so lucky to meet up with such great people. I'm sure it was hard to say goodbye to them. Although no doubt you will meet up with the family from Sydney. Perhaps we will all meet them one day!!
We leave for India in only 5 days! It's hard to believe!!!
Take care. See you soon at the bus stop at Indoor on the morning of Xmas eve. Wow! Only 16 days!!!!Lots of love, mum xxx
Response: Hi mum!

Yeah, the trek was awesome - such good company! I'm sure we can invite the family up from Sydney for a BBQ!
I can't believe you're all leaving so soon - be prepared for some pretty monumental culture shock! Good luck with the preparations, have fun in Singapore and I can't wait to see you all!
Lots of love,
Brad
From Shellwell

My dearest Brad,
It's so wonderful to hear of your adventures. I feel sometimes like I'm reading a fictitious novel, or a strange old travel diary from many moons ago... almost expecting that an grumpy old English teacher (sorry Bill!) might pin me to write an essay about it in painful detail. And then I remember that you have been ACTUALLY experiencing these things, that's it's all real!
So rather than feel removed, I am instead drawn in, I close my eyes and try to hear the sounds, see the colours and depth of beauty, and even try to smell what you might smell! It's a wonderful feeling.
Selfishly I hope you draw into your inner depths as much of it as you can, the colours, the tastes, the energy, everything. So that when you come home, you can impart your new found 'knowledge' on the rest of us in all it's magnificent glory... the grand, the shocking, and the smelly... And we will all be a little more open-minded and enriched for it.
Thanks for sharing. You are an inspiration...
Love you dearly. Shell xxx
Response: Hey Shell,

Great to hear from you, thanks for your wonderful message! I hope I can, as you say, take in as much of it as possible because I know I'll be home before I know it and then it'll all just be a memory...rest assured you'll be hearing plenty of stories from me when that time comes though!
Hope you, Leon and the kids are excellents and everything is wonderful in your lives.
Love brad
From Rostas
Hey Brad,

Sorry it's been so long since we have made contact! I've been a little slack on the old catching up with people front. It's great to hear that you're ok after the earthquake. Jess is getting all excited about going away. She leaves in 3 weeks! She's starting to drive me a little crazy, verbalising thought processes and what she needs to do, but it's kinda nice too as I can see how excited she is. I've got my new keyboard!!!!!! It's great! Very RED. it's a NORD ELECTRO 2 73, if that means anything to you. I'll have to email you some pics of me being a dick head while taking pics of it. =]

Anyway mate, looking forward to hearing from you again and I wish I could be coming to meet up with you in India as that would be WAY cool. Oh, well, another time perhaps.

Love Rostas
Response: Rostas!

Great to hear from you mate! Just sent you a long email...the keyboard sounds mad! Hope Jess' antics don't drive you crazy, and wish you were coming over too. All the best mate,
love brad
From Asal
Hey mate,
How r u? I just heard from Cathy that you'e got stomach bug and it makes you poor thing sick again, what r you doing with yourself dear? please take a good care of yourself.
I've got a big news, I've bought a car and I'm so excited, it's abut five days that I've driven it but still driving in the opposite side is hard!!
Have you heard that I've got some shifts in the Newcastle's uni as the assisstant of exam supervisions? It's a really good job and satisfating pay, but I have to go there in the morning and return in the evening :-)
any way Alireza has given his files to Australia's embassy and they told him hopefully his pre-visa will be prepared by 20th of the Nov. (finger cross).
We've really missed you and wishing to meet you as soon as it possible.
Take a good care of yourself
Asal
Response: Hey Asal!

So nice to hear from you! Yeah, I got sick again, it's this terrible Indian water I think...
How do you like driving in Australia? It must be a lot easier than Iran (except for the left hand drive!). Congratulations on the job! Did Ali get his visa? I hope so. I'll email you soon, take care,
Brad
From mum
13 November 2005
Hi Brad!
It sounds like you had a fun time in Haridwar for the festival and fireworks! The fireworks sounded a bit dangerous!! Did you have to duck out of the way of the ones that misfired?!
How was the yoga ashram in Rishikesh? Was it relaxing? Are you a yoga expert now?
The carvings at the temples at Kaharajo sound interesting!! Your experience with the pastor in Dera Dun sounded awkward. Lucky you're a good actor!!
Continue to have a great time! Varanassi sounds like an amazing place. I've been reading all about it and met a lady who's been there. you will have to tell us all about you're experiences there. Take care. Travel carefully. Lots of love, mum xxx

Response: Hi!
Yeah, Diwali was a lot of fun! No fireworks cameclosetom, but I saw a few people walking around with bandages on the next day! The yoga ashram was ok, just a quiet place where yougo to do yoga all day I guess...very Hindu.
Love brad
From Banno
Hey Brad,

Now I'm back I've finally had time to check out your website. Very cool, some nice pics in there. Sounds like your really into the spirit of things; I'm envious! You've gone to lots of the places I want to see on my next trip. Keep it up, you can rest when you're home!
Response: Hey Banno,

Yeah, I've been checking out your page also from time to time and it sounds like your trip was a blast! It must be weird to be back in the real world though...I can't even think about what thats going to be like. Hope you're having fun whatever you're doing, and see you whenever I get back!
Brad
From mum
Sunday 9 October 11pm
Hi Brad!
It was a great relief to know you are safe after the big earthquake in Pakistan. We have been quite worried. The death toll is over 20 000. How aweful. Glad all is going well in India. Take care, lots of love mum xxx PS Uncle Steve Is here with us overnight. He's on his way to Sydney. He says "hello" and he's glad you're alive and well!! I'll email you soon!
Response: Hi Mum,

Yeah. it was a real shock to feel the quake, it was quite strong. Say Hi to Seve for me!
Love Brad
From Bill and val
Hi mate we heard you've been sick hope alls well now we think you are now in India how is it this is a short message We have Ryan sitting next to us to guide us through the internet! You can see we are still in the learning process :-) so will close down now and hope you are back to good health see you later mate all the very best.
Response: Hi!
Yeah, I got really sick while I was in Pakistan, it was terrible. I'm feeling much better now, but don't ever want to go into a third world hospital again! I hope you are both well and enjoying the beginning of spring!
Love brad
From bill and val
hi brad this is our first email and we are still learning about the mysteries of the computer. W e hope to get better at this so pardon any mistakes. For now this will be just short and sweet - keep well and fit we are all well back here cheers for now luv and best wishes bill and val
Response: Hi!
Great to hear from you! Congratulations on starting to figure out your new computer! I'm sure you'll enjoy using it, its good to know I can send you emails now! I am very well, just resting up a bit before I continue on the next leg. All the best for both of you, take care.
Love Brad
From mum
Wednesday 21 September 2005

Hi! We're happy to hear everything is still going so well!I can't believe you went close to the border of Afganistan!!That's interesting that there are so many Japanese backpackers! That Sufi performance with the guy jumping up and down on his knees certainly was a bit weird! And the trekking you've done sounded fantastic! We are really starting to look forward to trekking in Nepal in January.
We are all relieved that you are feeling better after being so sick over the last 5 days. Get lots of rest and look after yourself. We are all missing you. Hope all goes well for crossing into India. Take care. Lots of love, mum xxx
Response: Hi mum,
Yeah, its pretty hard to believe I was there - quite amazing the amount of travellers who are going there too. Pakistan is a very interesting country, amazing scenery and people. It will be very nice to rest up for a bit one I get to India.
Love brad
From Trev
Hello BP,

Just a quickie to thank you for your most recent email. Yep....we touched very briefly on some pretty deep probs ingrained way way deep in the condition known as "the human condition". Hmmm....to be continued.

This email is to say that my Canadian visitors are here now and tomorrow I am flying out to Uluru with them, then to Cairns. Should be fun....quite a contrast to where you are. We spent a very enjoyable day with Sal at the Hunter Valley yesterday tasting all the wines. Good fun.

Have fun...as we will and I'll be in touch upon my return. Thanks again for your thoughts as laid out in your reply to mine.

See ya mate!

Trev
Response: Hi Trev,

No worries, these are pretty important issues, and close to my heart. Have a great time seeing some of the sights of Oz, I have to say I certainly miss the surf, sand and BEER of Australia! Stay in touch!
Brad
From Trevor
G'Day Young Fella!! Well I have just taken the time to update meself with your travels after having let it lapse for a bit long. Apart from wanting to see how you are, what you've been up to and where you are headed next, I was motivated to check out the pictures of Iran, having just met you friend Asal yesterday!!

Brad what sorta blows me away is both the smallness of our world, but also the vastness of the planet. What I mean here is this. Here we were, down at Warners Bay just last night eating a good ol' Aussie hamburger (with the works may I add) with a beautiful young vibrant full-of-beans- and-curiosity-and-stories of a land that we (who haven't been there) have only heard of.....Iranian lass by the name of Asal ......and to think that she only recently just happened to bump into you on a busted bus somewhere in Iran.....and here we all are sharing stories, laughter, fun, culture, heritage, a beer etc etc all in such a chance, serendipitoneous (just made that one up) coincidental, arbitrary, sorta way, finding out from her that even she only knew she was coming here a month or so ago and knew nobody, not a fri..gin soul, yet came anyway!! It rings of just so many things: how small the world is....that we have so much in common with her (and her people) on one level, yet are so different on other. It tells me how small the world is, that it really is so easy for you to have travelled there, and for her to have travelled here. It tells me that there is no excuse, NONE (!) for the misinterpretation of cultural intent that our governments (western) and stupid media have foistered on us under the heading of fear and terrorism and national security. It tells me that all people.....ALL have such basic things in common, being the need for a sense of belonging, of curiosity, of peace and good will and desire and hope. Of being a part of the human race, well before being partitioned into the man made categories of race and religion. Mate it told me of the specialness of each and every one of us. The need for us to show tolerance and interest in one another and to keep our borders and cities and houses and hearts open to one and all at all times, with no exceptions. It told me, and I have always suspected this and you are proving it (as I did too in what now appears like another life, during my Canadian ventures) that 'fortune favours the brave'. It is all there, and has been for ever, and awaits those of us with enough smarts to go find it....as you have. Look at the stunning depths (and width and breadth) of cultural experiences you are having. Why are you having them? Because you had the dream, the foresight and the b...lls to get up off your ass and go see them. Yet so many of us (me included in this sorry stage of my current existence) choose to stay put and be routine, and boring and go look for ruts to jump into. This is where ignorance and intolerance and prejudice breeds like a rotten old toad-stool.....all in the dark and fed on bullsh..t. Ah mate......I am just SO proud of you and what you are doing and the style in which you are doing it. And the impact it is having on us all. Me for one, you are bit by bit opening up my curiosity and need-to-travel bug again!! When you come back I want you to spend aw, a couple of nights with me and teach me all your knowledge of music and how to appreciate all the different types and styles that you have sought out and experienced over there (it'd only take a night or two wouldn't it?) Ah mate, you just enjoy every moment and remember that this trip is charactising not just who you have become, and who you are, but what you will be and grow into as you go through your life. This trip is just an appetiser not just for future travels, but for thoughts, feelings, knowings, senses that you will carry with you for the rest of your days and that you will spread amongst those with whom you mix and share the stories. With each day and each experience your senses and spirit and being are being molded and tempered into something different, something deep, profound and intrinsic that will lead you to new places both in the physical world and within your psyche. This is what travel does, when you test yourself and expose yourself to new and different things and are open like a big fat sponge and let it soak into you. What occurs to me and what is making me wax so prolific right now, is the incredible depth of culture that you are experiencing. It is so goddam old and so profound. It is awe inspiring if for just one moment we can picture or remotely conceptualize all that has gone before, when you are standing at a given ancient place or tomb or mosque or wat or what!! Ah mate, it makes our country (white australia that is) just so damn shallow or, to be fair, because each culture must have a starting point, perhaps I should say 'so new'. You are in the cradle of goddam civilisation, the birth place of cultures seeing what has always been there......and yet to us living and remaining within the confines and security of our all-so-powerful-and righteous west totally invalidating all other cultures, especially poorer and or indigineous, less developed and lacking Macdonalts, characterising them as a bunch of crazy extremists, a bunch of oil wells to exploit, and a culture and set of languages that we don't understand, so therefore are suspicious of. No........meeting Asal (Sall we've nicknamed her) confirmed my suspicions. There is a world out there and it is full of wonderful cultures, beautiful personalities (ah the little Bedouin (spelling?) girl to whom you gave the pin, and the other who sang to you....and the mischeivious little urchins in the streets of christ-knows-where....ah each one of them touched my goddam heart. What beaut kids...Brad, these are special moments. Enjoy mate. Big thanks for the special postcard from Bam. Ah but in my humorous musings about the place with you (derived from the crazy sounding name it has) I missed the fact that it has suffered such tragedy. Yep, I probably heard the news report of that earthquake, and probably muttered "poor bastards" to myself, then went on to spend the remainder of that day cleaning the engine bay of some busted truck that I imported. Meanwhile, what did you say....20,000 poeple lost their lives and ten times that lost their homes, while the western world went and had a hamburger. There is something wrong here. As the joke goes, god in his heaven is probably lying on a cloud peering down, with moses or one of his other mates checking out the progress of the world, and is quietely shaking his head, muttering "you've gotta be joking". Meanwhile George Bush has just given another address to the nation, extolling the virtues of his presidency and ending with "god bless america"!! Ah but there is something wrong with this picture.
Mate......you take care as agreed. Have fun, and keep up the correspondence when you have time. Trev
Response: Hi Trev,

Wow! Thanks for such an impassioned, honest message - rather than reply to it here (I'd take up half the web page) I've sent you a big long email.
Cheers, brad
From mum
Tuesday 30 August 10.30pm

Brad I just read your email. I can't believe the bus trip you have just been on! You poor thing!! I just read your email to dad and Asal. We will all be so pleased when you are out of Pakistan. We can't believe you slept in the desert near Afghanistan when the bus broke down. Did you get much sleep? And the soldiers with guns chasing that guy who was running away! Maybe it was Osama!! We hope you will have a comfortable train ride and have a good rest. We are sending you all our thoughts for a safe journey . 30 hours is such a long time but it will be much better than your 25 hour bus ride through the desert! Please write to us as soon as you can when your train trip is over. We are all worried about you. Please look after yourself. Lots of love, mum xxx
PS Ryan played his saxaphone really well tonight. We were very proud of him!
Response: Hi mum!

hehe, yeah it was pretty crazy - I'm getting very sick of buses...surprisingly I think I got a few hours sleep on some guys carpet! No, don't worry, I felt safe enough on the bus, and the sleeper cabin on the train will be such a relief after all these buses!
Love brad
From mum
Tuesday 30 August 5pm
Hi Brad!
Have you arrived in Pakistan yet? another long bus ride...It was great you travelled with your Russian friends...shame about not getting into the sacred Shi'a shrine. How funny when you said you were all from Russia!!
I have read about the quanats. It all sounds amazing! be careful of big afhans with beards and baggy desert clothes! They sound scary! Asal has been showing us places on your big map of where you have been and where you are gouing. She is so nice! Keep up your great writing and continue to have an awesome time! we are so jealous!! I've sent you a big email. Take care. Lots of love, mum xxx PS Thinking of you
Response: Hi Mum!

Yep, I'm in Pakistan! It's been a while since I've replied to mesages, I've been really flat out, so sorry about that...anyway, am having a great time, I'll email soon.
love brad
From Bradley
Bill Val and I have just read your wonderful tales dated 27th august, your mother also told us today that yopu have arrived safely in Pakistan. You have had the most remarkable holiday I have ever read and yet there wsill be still more to come. It really fantastic that's all I can say. It get more amazing all the time. I know I would never even attemp anything like your travells even though very intiguing , I think I would still settle for the known rather than the unknown and the rough roads that you have trabelled. You are living your dream and obviously loving everthing you do. Take care fior now Bill and Val sent their love and wishing a safe journey always wherever you go. Take care always we love you million s and are very very proud of you. Love Marlene bill and Val.
Response: Hi Marlene!

Great to hear from you! Well, I've always sort of liked the idea of getting away from the well trodden routes...it's really not to difficult though, often the idea of going to a particular place (Iran for instance) is much more scary than actually doing it. And the extra effort it might take just makes the trip more rewarding! Anyway, thanks for the message. All the best and stay in touch!
love brad
From Gem
hellooo, wow your adventures are just amazing! Iran looks beautifull - i would love to sit in a square soking up the atmospher at nidnight the lights on the mosque must be beautiful!! - what are you smoking??? Asal arrived yesterday - she is one cool chick! i'm taking her out with michael and everyone this week and to lots of concerts - its project week! looks like she is going to live on dawson St. near the con !!
have fun - can't wait to talk to you - i really miss you now!! xoxoxo
Response: Hey Gem!

Iran is so beautiful. Wow, glad to hear you're taking Asal out, I'm sure she'll have a great time and learn a thing or two about western culture too! That would be awesome if she lives on Dawson St! I wish I could be there, I miss you guys too...anyway, goodluck with the last few weeks of uni! Keep in touch.
Lots of love
brad