Posted in True Story, Inspirational

My Opinion

Forget Freedom of Speech at present it feels like I have to fight for freedom of thought. If not for my upbringing of being polite to all and sundry even when they don’t deserve it.. mmm… so much biting the tongue, it is getting pretty painful.

Growing up with my dad, he encouraged me to have my own opinions and debate them at home. A healthy debate. We never had to raise our voices, call names, ridicule, no, we did not need to resort to any of those things. The topics ranged from politics, education, cultural differences, clothing, movies, characters in epic stories, sports teams, no subject was taboo. All this started at a very young age. In an era and culture where the father was supposed to be revered and not some one you argue with, my dad let me have that freedom.

Growing up with dad once again, I am constantly reminded of RESTPECT. My dad was an intellect. My mum on the other hand had not even completed year 12. On paper, on Tinder they will never be a perfect match. But, my dad had nothing but respect for my mum. He believed my mum’s strength, confidence and demeanor could not be measured by a mere paper qualification or the lack of it. Years to come after his demise he was proven right.

I look around the girls I grew up, in the boarding school I attended, again we were asked to conform, however, almost all of us have not conformed to any box that the society has laid out. Each one of us has taken different outlook on life. But most of us are happy at our destination.

Is it a story about success or survival for my friends and me. Is survival the success? What’s your yardstick on success? That’s the million dollar question without sounding all hippy.

Success is like Happiness, the yardstick belongs to you, not to your neighbor. It really does not matter whether my neighbor things I am successful or happy, what matters is what do I think. Again something that my dad instilled in my success cannot be measured by your bank balance, the car your drive or where you live alone. There is absolutely no harm in having a healthy bank balance and the rest. But that alone is not my yardstick. It definitely could be yours.

What about my opinion? Most of us have a reason for our opinion/opinions. I am willing to listen to your reason for your difference of opinion as long as you would give me the same courtesy. Taking the lessons from my dad, I implemented this in my household and the boys and I have a fairly robust and healthy debate on most subjects. My husband on the other hand struggled at the notion of not being able to raise his voice or bluff out. He is showing progress (as he really has no other choice).

However, the world at large is a different animal altogether. The amount of people who feel need the educate me as “You don’t know”, yes thank you for educating me, I missed out on that piece of general knowledge as I was sleeping under a rock all this time. Thank you for the wake up call and taking the time to educate me. So generous of them and I am making snide remarks. Apologies to all the well wishers, just saying it was a waste of your time.

Thinking of posting a Opinion of mine each day and see how many I could tick off.

Opinion of the day –

Australia is a Great Country

Amazing country, great people, time after time we have proven it, now with the floods, we have risen again, soon it will be drought, and then it will be bushfires. But we will help each other, we are nation built on the notion that every one’s a mate, and we rise again.

I like the fact that my tax dollars goes towards looking after the retired, those who are disabled, those who are struggling to get employment. Yes I know its not a perfect system, and some unemployed could get off their backside and work, so can the politicians not wrought the system by claiming travel and renting and everything else. Its not a perfect system but near perfect.

I like the fact we have award wages and we don’t need to tip. I pay for the food, the owner of the business pays his employees. Yes, the waiter is not reliant on the customers tip. We still have a wage gap, but in all honesty it is pretty fair. It is way better than, India, China or even the Great America. We still need to work on how we treat the back packers and overseas students. Yes, not perfect but pretty darn close.

I like the fact that we have Medicare, even the poor and the old can avoid dying if they don’t have to. We have public education so the poor can get an education and come out of the rut.

I know I am paying my taxes for all of the above. Once again I would rather pay for the above than to pay for Murdoch, Packers or the rest of them to buy another private Jet. I would prefer not to pay for Polies life long super, once again not perfect but near enough.

Sydney is not New York not even Paris. But, I have never been one to be spellbound by big and shiny things. Not everything that glitters is gold. In my opinion Australia is the real deal. I left Sydney and came to Adelaide. Our choice to settle here. It’s not because we couldn’t make it in Sydney, in fact Hubby took a pay cut to come here. It was a genuine sea change that we came for. Adelaide is far more backward than Sydney in many aspects. But, surprisingly far better life style than Sydney or anywhere else. But, not for everyone, obviously far more opportunities for young ones in Sydney and Melbourne. It’s like the Hemsworth’s settling in Byron Bay. Their heaven, but might not be for everyone.

When I first arrived in Adelaide, I came across the two carriage so called train and then to witness the train station which looked like a bus stop was a shock to the system. My eldest later told me that he was expecting haystacks on lorries on the road (blame it on too much TV and cartoons). Yes, all these things gave us a chuckle. But over the years I have come to realise that Adelaide is more progressive than many of the major cities, Adelaide was one the first cities to stop plastic shopping bags (in Australia), and now moving towards removing single use plastic containers, its a very common site to see people taking their own mugs to buy coffee. Our Energy sources are mainly wind and solar. We are a vast country with most of the year with sunshine. Capitalising on this should be every states mission.

From Wine, Gin, Food products to IT and innovation we punch above our waist. Those in the industry know about this. Every one knows Muhammad Ali. But not so when it comes to Joe Frazier. Does it mean Joe Frazier wasn’t good or does it mean you don’t know your stuff. Yes, it means you don’t know enough.

I like to leave you with a quote from Daisy Bates

“The real bush poetry cannot be interpreted by English Poets, but a true Australian steeped in the charm of it … His poems will issue like Chauser’s from the inborn joyousness that is the heritage of all who are born in this land of sunshine

Forget Freedom of speech, I am fighting for freedom of thought at this point. And I can tell you, that if not for my upbringing of being polite to all and sundry, mmm… yes let’s stop there.

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Thankfully not another statistics

This is a story of a woman that I have recently come to cross paths with.  I don’t claim to know the whole story nor do I claim to understand the feelings and emotions she would have endured.  Not even close.  But her tales touches my heart.  No, her tales sends shivers down my spine but her tenacity and what she has become touches my heart. 

I started writing today, initially to pen her a few words.  To tell her how thankful I am to know she is ok and how humbled I am to know her.

But then I thought that there are lessons to be learnt here. So, here I am, to talk about Megan. (Obviously Megan’s name isn’t Megan).

This is a story of woman who can truly claim to be a survivor, a hero, an inspiration and any other cliché’ that you could coin together. But what is really remarkable is not just her survival, but her tenacity and her drive to excel.

I was not with her when she wept. I wasn’t with her when she screamed. I wasn’t with her when she felt hopeless.  If not for Covid 19 I would give her big hug now and tell her, how sorry I am that she had to bear all that, but I am so darn relieved that she is ok.  Maybe not completely ok.  But she hasn’t stopped to play the victim.  I truly admire her strength. 

Ten years ago, while I was renovating my house for its imperfections, while I was complaining that the tilers had left the house in disarray, while I complained that I had to use the guest bathroom again as ours was unfinished….

Probably at the same moment wonder, what Megs was going through… Probably living in fear or worse being abused by her partner, Probably homeless with two kids at tow.  So many probabilities, and all of them worse than the other. 

I do not know all her stories.  But what I have heard so far, the glimpse of her past that she has shared so far, sounds pretty gruesome.

To say that she wasn’t born with a silver spoon is an understatement. 

“I met my biological mum at the age of 12”

she says quite nonchalantly.  What happened in that first 12 yrs of her life, I do not know….What happened in the next twelve years of her life, I don’t know that either… Where are the scars or what are scars?  They are well hidden. 

We continue with our end of financial year end reconciliations, reporting, preparing for Audits and plain and simply stressing out. So our conversations turns back to all things numbers.

Megan started at this company at the receptions desk.  And has upskilled and worked her way up.  Which is remarkable for anyone in its own merit. But for someone like Megs, who had to put out so many fires and the scars that had to be nursed, is a truly remarkable feet. 

She is smart, competent and confident.  She is sincere and reliable. And that wrap is for her professional life.  In her personal life, she is an amazing mother for two young girls.  She is the kind of mother who would amputate her limb to save her child.  For the naked eye there are no battle scars.

Just before the weekend another casual conversation leads to her telling me why she moved from a beachside suburb to miles away into hills.  Again, no tears or any other emotional outburst, just casually she says, Ï had to flee from my abusive partner, I was homeless for a while”. Eventually she had obtained a caravan and parked in her step sister’s property and lived there with her kids.  She goes on to say that her daughters now suffer badly with anxiety etc, due to their childhood.  She simply says “they saw a lot”.  Simple words but they sound so heavy. 

Her kids had started school in that area, and not wanting to move them and put them in instability again, she chooses to live in the hills district and travel to work daily – a two hour trip consisting of 20 min walk and 2 buses for just one way. What an amazing mother.

The story itself is not much different to most other domestic violence stories.  What is remarkable, what is different in this story is “Megan”

She had chosen not to be another statistic; she had chosen not remain a victim nor to play the victim card but to make something of her life.  Maybe it was for her kids, whoever or what ever the reason it was for, she decided to swim rather than sink.  She decided to climb rather that descend.

I am truly humbled to know this remarkable woman.

What’s my message, what do I take from all this.

First and foremost, to Megs, I know your battles aren’t over yet, but girl, you’ve done so well so far, take moment and take a bow. You’ve earned it. 

Note to myself, next time I complain about something inane, let me remember, that life could be so much worse. 

To free yourself from the tendrils of domestic violence is not easy.  But you need to. He is never going to change.  Yes, he was sorry, but he won’t change, he will do it again. And again. Get help, from anywhere, you may think you are alone.  But someone will help.  So, get out before it’s too late.  Don’t ignore the warning signs.  Red lights may turn amber for awhile and you may even think it’s green now. But when it comes to abuse, one red light is all you need to pack your bags.  

Then once you are out, start to build your life back up again.  It will definitely not be easy.  But don’t let that son of a you know who still calling the shots.  You are in charge now. To crudely paraphrase it like Ned Kelly “shit happens” but unless you flush it and move away you will be still smelling that thing.  Even it was diarrhoea, you still need to flush it and move away.  Where am I going with this – Move away, playing the victim doesn’t help anyone, especially you.   Here’s to Megan. 

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Thirty Three years and Counting …

In our first humble dwelling in West Ryde – a one bedroom rented apartment.

We notched 33 years together on the 19th of Jan 2020. Time and tide waits for no one. The same way Cough, cold and the plague like flu doesn’t hold back either just because it’s your special day. I lost everything. I lost my voice and my room. I was banished to the guest room as no one wanted what I had.

We sipped a glass of Cognac sitting far apart. There were no candles or flowers. No caviar or lobster. Take away (take out) soup and dumplings adorned the table. I quietly watched my hubby through my “Vicks” laced eyes. He looked tired. He has lost most of his thick mop of hair. The pot belly has taken a permanent place and expanding gradually. That man who polished his shoes and waltzed in with dashing looks is not there anymore. He has been replaced with a tired old man. I know he needs a break. But he will stubbornly refuse.

I look down at my self. Once the non existent belly has found a few companions. They are fondly called the muffin tops. With our looks gone astray, all we have left is the love for each other.

Our 2nd dwelling in Sydney – our first purchase – a two bedroom apartment

It feels like recently we have been hit by seismic waves one after another. We need a reprieve. Each time we come to the surface it feels like some one is waiting outside to hammer us down back in again. My life partner takes the brunt of it all, without much ado.

The New year dawned for us with another uncertainty. I was determined to go through with my New Year’s eve annual party. As we get old I am becoming more aware of the fact that we are only temporary residents of this world. Life is to be lived was my motto on that day. It was hard at times to concentrate on the preparations and cooking. Still it was a good distraction. Family and friends gathered and we had a good night.

Six days later we drove to Sydney. In the height of the Bush fires we didn’t take this trip lightly. Hubby’s sister and bro-in-law were very concerned about us driving. For many reasons driving was a better option for us. However, safety comes first and we didn’t want to add to the ill fortunes that was following us.

I rang the Bush fire info authorities. These organisations mostly run by volunteers do an amazing job. They checked our route and gave us the thumbs up, also armed us with a few apps, that would indicate any fires near us, road closures etc. We also packed a few essentials in case we got blocked in. Quilt, Pillows, Water, food etc.

The weather was on our side. So on that Monday the 6th we started our two day trip to Sydney. I am glad we drove rather than fly to Sydney. It gave us time to talk, hold hands and just enjoy the presence of each other. In our busy lives this was such a luxury. And to enjoy the nature, the bare Australian out-back has it’s own charm. The iron fist grip of the drought was very evident.

Pink Lake – But not a drop of water in this lake any more.

In places we drove through thick fog of smoke. Smoke from the bush fires that were burning at least 100 Kms away. Makes you wonder what it would have been like at ground zero. We did meet a couple of fire fighters at one of our coffee stops. They looked tired and worn out. They still managed a smile for us.

It is only fitting that I write about this today on Australia day. This is a beautiful country. Sure we have bush fires, year after year. Maybe each year worse than the last. But it has not broken us yet. Sure we have the worst Prime Minister in the world (maybe that’s a bit harsh but among the one’s we’ve had, have to say he tops as the worst), but we definitely have some of the best humans in this part of the world. We are one big family. We have our differences, amongst them some quirky relatives too, but all in all we are an amazing family. We are there for each other.

When the American, Canadian and New Zealand fire fighters rocked up on our shores, I felt proud to be a human. Although we are responsible for so many vile atrocities, we are also capable of being extraordinarily amazing. Some of my friends from overseas who had snapped a picture with our local Koala posted this on facebook. All the concerned messages from friends and relatives from overseas confirmed that we were not alone in this battle.

This was not exactly a joy ride to Sydney, I do not wish divulge too much into that as it is not my story to tell. While we were there we visited a couple of friends of ours. One of whom is now on remission from bowl cancer. Another example of mistaken identity by the Kharma god. I am pretty sure he has not hurt a soul in his past 10 lives nor will he in next hundred. However, he has so far put a grand fight and at present is still the victor. The other is the carer of his wife with Dementia. She is not that much older than I am. This is the first time I have come across a younger person with this horrible decease. She was a stylish, assertive, tough career woman. Seeing her like that was very upsetting. This has made me question everything. Her hubby is doing an amazing job taking care of her. But how do you really come to terms with all this. It would be no difference to living with a stranger. There is no telling if I could become the victim as a carer or as the patient.

Life is precious. Live it today is my message.

Talking about the road trip I had veered off the track about us – hubby and me. But not exactly. This trip to Sydney, the life lessons learned has confirmed more than anything is that I love this man very much.

What we have right now is what we really have. We have to hold on tight to that. Our hopes and dreams for the future are just that. A Dream. It will only eventuate if you wake up from that dream. So realise your reality today was your dream yesterday. Enjoy it and treasure it.

After a week in Sydney we drove back to Adelaide with much lighter heart. Even when things are not great we need to be positive and be thankful that the situation is not that grave either.

Work related dramas started to evolve for hubby as we were driving back. After driving for nearly 10-11 hrs on the 2nd day of the drive we get home around 7.00pm. He unpacks the car and leaves immediately to work. Returns late and then leaves early next morning to Port Pirie – 230 kms drive. His cadet day training comes to fruition I think. We returned from Sydney on the 13th. Since then he has been to Port Pirie, Mackay and Western Australia.

How do I thank a man who tirelessly works not just for his family but also for the family of his employee. He knows as a family we are ready for him to retire. I would rather buy a few less shoes than see my man work so hard. But he is a complex man with very strong ethics. Very hard not to be proud of this man.

Since Christmas we have been eating out a lot. I could see he was so tired that all he wanted was to get two minutes of sleep. Not get dressed up to go out. So for this anniversary celebrations I wanted to make a special meal and have a quiet night at home.

But then I got attacked by something similar to the Bubonic plague. It is not a secret that my husband doesn’t posses any of the skills of Jamie Oliver. So he brings me soup each day from “Shanghai Tea House”. He will bring me enough for the next day lunch as well, then a fresh one for dinner. On the Saturday he had been working since early, he rings me around 4.30pm asking if I wanted more soup. I was feeling a bit better and I was going to help my son make the soup that night. So I said no for the soup but I was craving for a fresh Juice with a lot of ginger from Boost Juice. He asked what my son would like, if we wanted sushi (my sons and I love sushi, it’s our go to food when we are sick, hubby is not a fan of sushi). My son too gave an order for the Boost Juice but said no for the sushi as we knew the juice would be rather filling. Few hours pass by and no hubby on sight. I feel rather guilty, because I know he would be so tired after working non stop for so many days.

My hubby returns with a collection of stuff from the shops. Boost Juice at the shopping centre had closed by the time he had got there. Hence the delay. He had gone all over the place looking for another Boost juice. He had found a drive through Boost Juice. Didn’t know such a thing existed until now. Along with that he had also bought Sushi enough to feed the neighborhood, Chocolate Drumstics of two kinds and not to leave the dog out some chicken jerky for the dog as well.

I know it was not the 33.1 carat diamond ring Elizabeth Taylor received. Not even a 100 Roses Bouquet. But this man makes me tear up with just a Boost Juice. I am in love with this man today. I have been for the last 33 years. His love gestures are pretty unique. But that’s what makes him special. If I have one wish for our future, I wish we continue our lives the same way as today, with all the laughs, squabbles and simple love.

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

How old is your kid or Jasmin Tea

Sitting in a lonely supposedly Thai café but menu seems more like Malaysian, I pull out my mini tab to start writing /typing.  I think of continuing my writing on my trip to China, but I realise that today was not the day.  I am on edge, even though everything has gone alright so far.  So I think to write about, ‘waiting’ – waiting for a bus, waiting at the airport, waiting for medical results and waiting for your son to come out of surgery”.

It was a very early morning start.  But I think I had already become jittery by last night. I laughed it out loud, hoping no one picks up on my nervous energy.  I want to be strong.  In my head I know the data, statistics and the logic. However this mother’s heart seems to skip all logic and starts tearing up each time she is alone. 

I don’t know what to write about. All I know is that I need to write or do something.  So here I am debating what to write about. 

What age is too old to worry about your kid? I know he is not 2, but he is still my kid, I didn’t love him any more when he was 2 and I don’t love him any less just because he is legally an adult now.  He is still my kid.   Am I a neurotic mum?  Yes, maybe. 

This Jasmine tea is really good.  It really has a calming effect.  Not sure if it is the Tea or the writing, but I think the tightness in my chest is reducing.  I am tearing up writing though, thankfully the cafe is empty, however I like to believe that this activity here is helping. 

So how old is a kid? How old is your kid? Sleepless nights-your baby is up for a feed and a nappy change,  Sleepless nights – your toddler is teething,  tantrums, sleepless nights – your teenager hasn’t returned home, restless nights – your young man is sitting for exams.  Proud mum moments –  you are pregnant, the beginning of the worries and pride, unforgettable moment-the big day arrives, after screams and pain killers arrives the bundle of joy – undoubtedly an unforgettable moment/event that marks as the starting point of the roller coaster for the proud parents.  Proud moments – your baby’s first step, first time to call you ‘mum’, first day at school, he graduates.  So does it end there? Afraid not. 

It’s not about letting go. I have let him go, I am proud that he has left the cocoon, spread his wings and soured high.   But this mother cannot stop worrying. 

I know it’s not my fault that he is in hospital now.  I have been told that by everyone repeatedly and I get that.  But, I still feel terrible. Even if it was not my fault, do I want him to go through what I went through? I would go through it again ten times over, than have my baby on that operating table.  But, whoever/whatever well in this case a mutated gene dictates otherwise.  Yes, I get that, we have turned the unfortunate to fortunate. It was unfortunate that I had the cancer, however it was fortunate that I had this cancer as now we can prevent it for my boys. 

Logic is still playing second fiddle while waiting for that phone call to say my boy is out of theatre.  I start walking.  I get to Princes Highway.  I start walking, I end up at Greenwood Plaza which is connected to the North Sydney Station.  Peek hour commuters embark from the trains and walk past me with high pace.  Each one rushing off, unable to spare even single second.  I was one of them just two decades ago. 

Here I am, who has quit her job, tossed her career without a moments regret.  Observing this crowd, I realise, how much we change, how our priorities change as per our age and circumstances. Nothing matters, when it comes to your kids.

I glance at my phone to see if I had missed the phone call from the hospital.  No missed calls.  I aimlessly walk through my favourite shops.  I realise, shopping can only be a hobby not a distraction.  The latest design nor the best deals seem to grab me. I got back to Princes Highway and started walking in the opposite direction.  Not sure how long I walked for or how far I walked for.  But after sometime I thought it was time to head back to the hospital.  Maybe they forgot to call me.

Weeks later we went to see my son’s surgeon, whose clinic is in St Leonards.  I recognized that place and told my son I had come there on the day of his surgery.  That’s when I realised that there are two stations between North Sydney and St. Leonard’s .  Obviously this is a new source of humour for my son on my account.  My son didn’t initially believe that I had walked that much or for what.  I explained that I just kept walking along Princes Highway.  So, now every time we have a destination to go via Princes Highway he would suggest that I just walk it.  Yes, he does think that my anxiety and worry was unwarranted.  But he is no parent.  (Princes Highway is a major road in Aus extends from NSW to South Australia along the coast roughly about 1980 kms).

I enquire at the reception re my son’s progress.  She sends me to the ward that my son will be admitted to after the surgery.  The nurse at the ward was a sweetheart. Obviously another mother.  She explains to me that my son was taken in late and hence the delay in coming out of theatre .  That explains the long wait. It still was no cure for a jittery mother.  Her kind words and empathy were helpful  though. She takes me to the carers waiting room/lounge. 

My tablet and phone were on the last bars of battery power.  The sweetheart nurse shows me to a small room off the lounge where I could charge my electronics. I think doctors heal your ailment and the nurses complete it with healing your heart.

 I  am alone once again in a small room.  Although we detest solitude, it is still necessary. It plays an important part in reasoning , analysing and self healing.  I lasted all of ten minutes or maybe less with that philosophy.  I leave my phone and tablet to charge and join the rest of the zombies in the carer lounge.  The TV was on with same old, same old – someone was shot, a politician said something controversial, hurricane in Japan, some celebrity that no one knows or cares about is now engaged and another divorced, but still no news about my son.

There was no Jasmin tea in the waiting area. I make a mental note to myself, that I should add that to the “suggestions/complains” on the discharge form.  I was pretty sure another cup of Jasmin Tea is what I needed.  Not wanting to unplug my electronics I settle for a black tea and for some more of the world news.  The world seems to continue even with all the atrocities and disasters.  I finally get a call from the anesthetic to say that my boy has done well.  And that is my world.  We have our set backs. But life has a way of working out in the end.   My boy will get through this. we will get through this.

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

The Ganesan’s in the Orient 4

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Still in Shanghai

We stayed 3 nights in Shanghai.  We walked through many streets, drove a fair distance, rode the fastest train, a mini cruise all crammed in those 3 days.  China is a big country with a very old history and culture.  So 3 days in Shanghai was nowhere near enough.

It has been many moons and drinks since this trip, again life’s road blocks keeps popping up.  I am trying to think of them as speed bumps and not road blocks.  So, I am back again in my writing nook, looking for a distraction.

Back to what the sentence where I started “It has been many moons and drinks…” (before I veered off), so the order of the visits and some details may be distorted.

We were in awe with their level of engineering, architecture and the artifacts.  Most of these were 2000-3000 years old.  BC.  Before Christ and well Before Computers. However, it was to be expected on a trip to China.  They were renowned for this rich history and culture.  However the extent of it was mind blowing.

But what one didn’t expect was clean streets.  There was someone sweeping and picking up rubbish all the time.  The streets were really CLEAN.  For a county with such a large population I expected it to be dirty.  But I was wrong.

I believe our first visit was to the Yu Garden.  As per history, this garden was a gift from a son to his father.  That was one expensive fathers day gift.  It was really stunning.  Although not so peaceful as it was intended to be, as the place was rather crowded.  From sleepy Adelaide to this population explosion was something new to get used to.  Little did I know this wasn’t bad as what was in store for us later in the tour.

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Every tile, every corner of the roof was filled with  detail.

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We were given some free time to wonder around the little market we had just walked through.  However, it was too hot for my liking. The night before I had asked Sophie our tour guide if it was possible to see a tea ceremony and she gave us the option of doing the tea ceremony or the shopping.

So, I opted for a tea ceremony rather than shopping in the heat.  Some others joined me.

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Some of the characters from our tour group

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yes they had lots of tea pots

Tea ceremony was free however we all left with a small purchase for a small fortune. The power of holiday purchase.  I did enjoy the teas however, not sure if I needed to pay so much.

The following photos are from the old town, near Yu garden

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Next stop was the Shanghai Tower.  The tower gives you the  opportunity to see the extent of the concrete structures, sea of apartments and just the explosion of development.  It also gives you a clear view of the pollution they face.  The day was not overcast.  This was apparently a good day.

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The building known as the Bear Bottle.

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of course next to the bear bottle stands the bottle opener

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Then it was time for a ride on the Maglev Train.  A magnetic levitation Train Line.

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The day was coming to a close and the final agenda was a trip to The Bund and then a night cruise from the Bund.

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We were given some free time to wonder around by ourselves.  Our initial search was for a place to get a nice cool drink.  But accidentally stumbled on to this amazing building.  It is in fact a bank.  The Old HSBC Bank.  But it felt like I had entered the Sistine Chapel.  It is still an operating bank.  So we casually went in and exchanged some currencies as well.

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As night fell we boarded the cruise.

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Shanghai looks pretty darn nice at night too.

Good night all.

Posted in travel, True Story, Inspirational

The Ganesan’s in the Orient – 2

Cont from The Ganesan’s in the Orient – 1 …. https://uma197.wordpress.com/2019/08/31/the-ganesans-in-the-orient-1/

Adelaide airport was calm and no sign of cancelled flights, Cathy Pacific staff looked unmoved and it didn’t seem like the world was going to end any time soon, so we decided to board the plane and go to China.

After 9 long hours of discomfort and boredom we arrived in Hong Kong. The airport looked deserted. All shops and service counters were closed. And definitely no sign of protesters. Phew!!. We still spent a few more hours of apprehension as there was still no sign of gate allocation for our next flight. About 40 minutes to spare we finally get the gate allocation and we board the flight to Shanghai.

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The Ganesan’s touch down.

The earth roared and the sun emerged. A red carpet adorned the air bridge.

China was waiting for us. It could’ve been just turbulence and sun may have just risen as it was the morning, but we will never know if the show was for the benefit for the Ganesan’s. It was disappointing that Xi Jinping did not come to greet us, but we are not one to hold grudges, with everything that was on his plate we could certainly understand. Also we wanted to blend in, not bring attention to ourselves. Please, enough with the paparazzi.

But there was no chance of blending in, every turn there were big signs that blared out “FOREIGNER” and we were continually directed to those lines and queues. We see two tunnels – “To Declare” and the other “Nothing Declare”.  Just when we were going to head towards the “Nothing to Declare”, we were shooed off to “Declare”.  There was no time or opportunity to explain, we in fact had nothing to declare.  The guy (the officer) could see and comprehend what we were trying to say but he sternly pointed towards “Declare”.  Such a contrast to the Australian airports.  Over here in Aus you get the feeling they just want you to sod off, unless you are bringing in food, especially bananas or a dog, they just want you to get on with it.  The other difference is that, other than in Australia all other airport officials have a thing about smiling.  It is almost like if they smile or make eye contact somehow they might jeopardize the security system.  But honestly I feel more safe in our airports than anywhere else.  Pretty sure they catch all the real criminals, however they don’t feel the need to put the fear of god in every passenger for no reason. Every time I see that stern face I get the urge to tell “Just chill mate, just breath in and breath out”. 

I had gone off the tangent once again.  We slowly got through each section. I was alarmed when I realised that I was going to be finger printed. I had a choice, to argue that it was a violation of my privacy or just get on with it and enter China. Obviously I chose the latter. Losing all the money I had spent to come to China vs holding on to my rights, I realised holding on to one’s rights was so overrated. But on my return I heard from my son that he was finger printed in LA and Canada. I think it’s an argument/topic for another day.

Finally coming out to a sea of people at the arrival gate was such a relief. I skim through all the signs and posters from those who had come to pick up passengers and finally see the sign, “Wendy Wu Tours”.

WE ARE HERE, OUR HOLIDAY BEGINS.