Posted in travel

An unusual destination for a holiday (Part 5)

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Point Lowly Light House

It has been many moons since my last post.  That lovely holiday is just a vague memory now.  How I wish I could be back there again leaving all this humdrum.


Our week long stay in Whyalla came to an end and it was time for our return drive back to Adelaide.  We left early so we could stop at a few places that was recommended to us.

First stop – Point Lowly Light House.  Spectacular views in abundance and all for free.  Mother Nature really asks for very little.  And it is sad that we take her for granted and fail to preserve her.

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Next stop was Port Augusta

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Interesting fact – Port Augusta does not have a Port.  Just a Jetty.

These were rather quick stops and the flies gave us the necessary nudge to get back on the road.

And then came Port Pirie.  It’s a bigger town than the other’s we had just passed.  We grabbed our first coffee and the toilet break.

Going into small ports and towns for work, hubby does meet many interesting characters.  One of them is Craig.  Craig is an avid fisherman.  One of his tales is now part of the Port Pirie Maritime Museum.

He accidentally caught a Shark

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An exact replica with all the scars, wounds etc

Well she wandered into his net. As always it happened on a weekend, when officials were scarce, and knowledge of what to do was even more scant.  Initially he was told he could have the shark and an interested party was ready to part with some good money for the teeth.

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Then the officials changed their minds.  By then Craig had brought the shark to Port Pirie spending money and elbow grease.  The shark story was a big hit in the town, and it even hit the news papers, but without any mention of the hard work by Craig.  Hubby related this story to me and took me to see the museum.  Like the officials I may have completely got the entire story wrong or at least some parts of it. But the long and short of it is that a big white shark got caught and Craig took it to Port Pirie.

Many a things have been learnt from the carcass.  She had a sting ray spine caught in her teeth.  And they believe that could have been one reason why she got caught in the net.  She was unwell and was trying to catch the fish from the net rather than go hunting.

Next visit was to “The bridge to nowhere”

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The bridge to nowhere takes you to a little island.  It may be the bridge to nowhere but once again, natures beauty is everywhere in this part of the nook.


Hubby wanted to catch up with Grant, a shipping agent who has his office based in Port Pirie.  It was going to be a quick hello and we were going to go on our way.  The quick hello turned into a big chinwag and then further extended to an invite to Brett’s new home.  We were talking about great places to retire.  And I think this was Brett’s subtle lobbying for Port Pirie for our retirement.  Definitely worth putting it on the list.

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I think around 150 acres of it
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And that’s the view from his veranda – The Flinders Rangers

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Thank you Brett for this treat.


The final verdict for Whyalla and it’s surrounds –

Simply spectacular.  This region is so misunderstood.  Well, it ain’t Paris or Hawaii. If you go Bali and you were looking for the Eiffel Tower,  you would be told that you are in the wrong country.  Same goes for Whyalla, don’t look for the Shangri la, if that’s what you want, then this isn’t the place for you.  But, let me just remind you that, there is no Shangri La on the summit of Mt Everest either.

Whyalla gets a big thumbs up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in travel

An unusual destination for a holiday (Part 4)

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Whyalla Locals’ Hang out

Sun is feeling shy to make it’s appearance. Dolphins feel the same way.  Of course I am disappointed.  But this is nature.  It is a stark reminder that we don’t control everything.  The water is choppy, wind is present.  The Beach Cafe has it’s entrance to the beach side closed and operating through the garden side door.  I find refugee inside the cafe and start my writing.

I have a 180 degree view of the beach and the Garden.  And of my favourite tree.  Met the gardener on the way to here.  Finally found out the name and the possible age of the tree.  It is a Fiscus Elastica, commonly known as a Fig Rubber tree.  Whyalla seems to host a few varieties of these trees. He believes the tree could be as old as 100 years. It had it’s first stay at the cemetery.  Due to it’s large root system and not wanting to disturb the residents they moved the tree to beach side location.  As per one of the locals, the council had wanted to cut this tree not long ago. Fortunately the locals put a stop to it.  I can never understand the logic behind these councils.  When you want to cut down an infected tree in your backyard, they will make all the fuss, but then they will want to cut down a perfectly good specimen such as this.  Anyway I am glad that this tree was saved from their ignorance.

More on the tree, as per my Wikipedia search these trees are mainly in Asia also in US the state of Florida.

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The warm cup of tea comforts my frozen fingers.  I smile at the waitress while adjusting my disheveled hair.  No words spoken, but its understood that my hair looks terrible but she understands.  The long bushy grass looks like my hair or my hair looks like the grass.  It depends on which way you want to look at it.  Same outcome different out look.


The above was all written a few weeks ago while we were still in Whyalla.  Last day of our stay and the internet gave way and the post got drafted.  I am home and in the real world now.  As always writing took the backstage while I cleaned up and got back to the normal humdrum.


We stayed in Whyalla for almost a week.  It was an interesting kind of holiday as hubby was working till late everyday, almost like when we are home, but this was different. When he got back, we either went out for a meal or at least a drive.  There was just the one TV, so we had to watch what the other was watching.  Made way for more cuddles.  Somehow less was more.

During the day, I would roam around the town – taking pictures, and talking to the locals.  It was a quirky little town.  But so badly misunderstood by the rest of Australia.


Whyalla and was and is a town that was built by the Steel industry.  Ironically the same industry became the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’.  Collapse of Arrium Mining nearly turned the town into a ghost town.  The town is slowly being revived thanks to Sanjeev Gupta of Simex.  Morale and outlook of the locals seem rather positive but none have forgotten the gloom days.

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The signs of the collapse is still evident throughout the town.  There is nothing other than iron ore in the region.  As a very arid land, no farming or winery either to support the town.  However, digging up iron ore and making them into steel was a very big industry.  Along with the locals many professionals worked on a ‘Fly in, fly out’  basis.  So with closure of Arrium Mining, many support businesses such accommodations, cafe’s and restaurants took a hit too.  It created a horrible chain reaction. Those who supplied to the restaurants and hotels, anyone who works at these places, everyone suffered… it must have been so hard.


Thanks to an entrepreneur with a vision and the locals resilience the town is reviving again.

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But there is more to Whyalla than just the steel industry.  And that was a total surprise for me.

A strong sense of doing their bit for the environment, local pride and local Comradery is very evident.  This is a shop I found on one of my outings.

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Inside the shop was even more interesting.  uma phone 6oct 015.jpg

You can bring your own container and fill up.  Whether it be Dish Washing liquid or Tea bring your own empty Jam bottle or any other bottle or container and fill up.

This is just a small country town, and in the big smoke Sydney and Melbourne there is resistance for just getting rid of shopping bags.  Who is backward now?

 

 

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I want to write more. However, real life is nudging me.  So I shall pen off now.  Promising to return soon, knowing very well, that I might break that promise too.  If not tomorrow, another day I will bring you more photos that would make you want to take a trip to Whyalla.

 

 

 

Posted in travel

An unusual destination for a holiday (Part 3)

 

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Sea Gull Musical Chairs

It’s a balmy day. It’s windy too. No sign of the boats nor the dolphins.  But it’s still beautiful. I sit myself on a seat overlooking the boat ramp. Still in hope for a returning boat and the dancing dolphins.

No ripples on the water, but my hair is being blown away to all directions.  Then I see the somersaults in the water and my heart leaps again. They weren’t interested in coming to the boat ramp today.  I am a tad bit disappointed.  I settle for watching their somersaults.

They were oblivious to the troubles outside.  They don’t have to stick to a clock, just fish and eat when they please.  No argument to do the dishes or to take the trash out.  Don’t even have to worry about paying for the roof over their heads.  Just keep swimming as much as they please. It’s not about ownership, it’s everyone’s to share.

The little one’s not as clingy today. She has got the confidence to roam on her own.  She still comes back to check on her mother now and then.  Mum too keeps an eye on her.  Mothers of any breed are a special breed.  Whether, it’s a dolphin, lion or an ape they all seem human.

Thank you Whyalla for giving me this opportunity to watch and muse these beautiful creatures, your stunning landscape and the down to earth locals.

Having a salad and cake at ‘Whisk Away’.  Yes life is about fifty/fifty. Because I had the salad now I can spoil myself with a Choc Caramel Pecan Roulade.  Well I am saving half of it for later.  I am sure the Dolphins’ doing the same, work when they have to, eat what they should, but not denying themselves a treat when they could.  Life can be pretty simple when you don’t complicate it.  We think we are the superior animal just because we know about the moon and the stars.  The Dolphin fails to know about the moon and the stars but it happily dances under both. Why can’t we make our life simple and just dance under the moon and the star?


Walking around this place, you feel the camaraderie of the community.  The locals are a friendly bunch.  Most very ready for a yarn.

Very hard to go past without telling the story of Karen and Sam.  On one of my travels back from the Beach, I was aiming to get to the local supermarket Food Land.  My phone battery was on it’s last few bars.  Trying to evoke the Google Maps seemed a challenge.  That’s when I met Karen and Sam.  At that time they were not Karen and Sam they were just two strangers whom I felt comfortable to ask for directions.  After a few attempts at “turn left at the round about and after the Hospital” they both looked concerned that it was a fair walk away.  They were unaware that I was trying to dissolve the ‘salt and pepper squid’ I had for lunch. Karen offers to give me a lift to the Food Land and she insists.  So does Sam.  After my initial reluctance and feeling terrible about imposing on her generosity, I eventually agreed.  Even though it might have been an imposition I am glad I took her offer.  I truly met a gorgeous human being.  It is a set of bizarre coincidences and circumstances that makes us cross paths with certain individuals.  Well this was one of those circumstances.  Karen ended up staying till I finished shopping and dropped me back at my apartment.

We exchanged phone numbers and now we exchange text messages.  We have met up couple of times after that.  This couple have definitely made me believe in humanity. I like to share a video that popped in my Face book feed.

But sadly for Karen I am not Mrs Waldorf.  So she is not going to be coming into any good money or fortune because of me anytime soon.  Other than making a special request to ‘Karma’ to take care of her and her equally gorgeous husband, I have nothing more to offer.

Like most things in Whyalla I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to meet such a person in my life.


Signing off for today, more about the town of Whyalla to follow soon.

PS

Pecan and Quinea Salad and the chocolate Roulade was fab at Whisk Away.  Keeping up with the Whyalla theme, the staff were very friendly and helpful.  Fresh Food and Great Service never goes wrong.

Photos from this beautiful nook.  Once again my endorsements are voluntary and honest.

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Yes Life Doesn’t need to be Perfect to be wonderful

Sneak Peek – tomorrow’s blog

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Yes, interesting I know.  Well that is Whyalla.  It comes in all shapes and sizes

Whisk Away –  https://www.facebook.com/whiskawaywhyalla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in travel

An unusual destination for a holiday (Part 2)

Kangaroo sign

Starting from where I left off yesterday.


We had another hour or so on our drive.  Until now we were on major alert and on look out for any Roos that may jump in front of us.  Another hour to go the feeling of we are nearly there creeps in, giving us that relaxed feeling.  Just then..

We both at the very last minute see one big Roo on guard duty right on the edge of the road.  Thankfully, he had the sense not to jump in. Just before we could catch our hearts I see another on the other side of the road.  Once again we were lucky, he too didn’t see the need to cross the road.  Hearts in our mouth we continue our drive.  Hubby was driving very slowly.  We were doing 80kmph on a 110kmph road.  There was a car behind us, and he did  not hurry us either and I guess he was thankful that we were taking the brunt of the risk.

Another fifteen minutes into the drive we see another Four or more of them by the side of the road, having a good chin wag.  Finally we get to our apartment sweating buckets, just past 11.00 pm.

‘Good thinking ninety nine’ due to her past experiences luckily had brought a few items such as home cooked fried rice, Chinese BBQ roast pork etc, which became our makeshift dinner.  Our Apartment was very spacious and comfortable.  A major shout out to Whyalla Playford Apartments (more on the apartment later).  Soon after, we went to bed as Hubby had an early start.


 

Day 2 – Whyalla

I heard hubby leaving, but decided to continue my sleep, or more like start my sleep.

Early morning Epiphany – Whether I am in Whyalla or Paris, Whether we have rose petals on our pillows or not, what happens in the bedroom will remain the same.  Yes, I did not get a wink of sleep.  My very virile man kept me up all night…

SNORING


 

After a few failed attempts at sleeping in, I decided to start the day.  I slowly emerged out of the apartment and started to venture out into the nearby streets.  I checked out a clothing outlet and ended up buying a top.  So much for not wanting to do shopping in Whyalla, shopping ended up being my first activity.  Had a good chat to the ladies there, the sales assistant as well as a fellow customer.  Then I headed to the Beach.

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It was just simply stunning.  I do live near beach. However, I was once again in awe.  Australia on the whole being the largest Island in the world (it is not considered the largest Island as it is considered a continent, but technically this would be the largest Island in my books) we are spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches.  Each one unique in it’s own way and this was no exception.  I slowly walked around, taking it all in and just soaking in the beauty and calmness of this paradise.


I was caught breathless again by this beauty.

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How could you have such an amazing tree, right next to the beach?  But there she was.  I have asked many locals, including the Whyalla Council about the age and name of this beauty, but unfortunately not much is known about her.


It was time for lunch, and I was told that I couldn’t go wrong at the ‘Beach Cafe’ for a spot of seafood.  Recovering from Acid Reflux I dared to have some Salt and Pepper Squid with Salad, accompanied with a pot of tea.  It was just perfect.  On my way out, I thought the chef deserves a compliment, so I approached the guy at the coffee machine to convey my message.  Turns out he was the chef and the owner.  Lovely guy, who was very proud to let me in the secret that he learnt his skills from his mother.  I mentioned that it was the best Salt and Pepper Squid I’ve ever had and the Tartare sauce was to die for.  He also parted with the secrets of the salad.  This is not a cash for comments section, I am giving credit where it’s due and maybe it will help the next visitor to chose his or her dietary destinations wisely.  Fresh Ingredients,  homemade sauces, pride in what they plate out, accompanied with friendly service, you really cannot go wrong with that kind of business ethos.  Well done to Nick and the crew.  Needless to say I have become a regular at the Beach Cafe now.  ‘


After my nice meal, wanting to unload some of the calories, I start exploring the rest of the beach.

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I was walking on the left side of that archway, the entrance, when heaven just opened up and showered me a preview.  From up there I see six or seven Dolphins frolicking in the water below.  I excitedly followed them to the tip of this arch. There were two local girls siting on the point and watching both the dolphins and me with interest.  They told me that it was a pretty common occurrence and they come up to the boat ramp below, each time a boat comes back in. They follow the boat in hope of receiving a treat or two.

Armed with this information I headed back, keeping an eye on the boat ramp below.  Heaven was now prepared to air the main event.  A boat was heading back and was surrounded by a few Dolphins.  This is when I wished I was a bird with a pair of wings.  The young lad on the boat could understand my anxiety and was enticing the dolphins  wanting to keep them there until I arrived.

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Words cannot describe what I was feeling.  I was surrounded by these adorable creatures.  This experience is like none other, when you see them in the wild like this, it far exceeds any Sea World type experience. I am rather surprised that this town hasn’t capitalised on this well kept secret.  I guess that in itself becomes the uniqueness and beauty of the place.

Wyalla is so misunderstood.

Rest for tomorrow. Yes there is  more to this town.

Beach Cafe – http://www.whyallabeachcafe.com.au

Whyalla Playford Apartments – https://www.whyallaplayfordapartments.com.au/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in True Story, Inspirational

I dream a dream

dream

I have lived a dream.

But I ask for more,

I want to live my dream.

 

More, more, More

 

Whatever I have, whatever I had is just reality

Why can’t I have more?

 

I frolicked in the tea fields, and lived in a place fit for a postcard.

But that was just reality.  If I get there again that would be a dream.

 

I sailed the seven seas for years with hubby.  Again that was just reality.

If I could pay for my fare and sail again that would be a dream.

 

I live near the beach and it does feel like a dream.  But then again that’s just reality now.

So, then what’s a dream?

 

I still dream that I could be travelling again. Sailing the Seven seas and snapping the Seven Wonders.  I still dream that I am passing through Seven cities in Seven days.

 

I would do all that in a blink of an eye.  But in all my dreams my hubby accompanies me grudgingly.  So I lay down my dream for reality.

 

My reality is, we have a roof over our heads, we are well nourished (may be a bit too much), we are all still alive and there is a very good chance for a tomorrow.  Hubby is working very hard to make sure my tomorrow is a very good reality.  Do I need more?

I think my reality is pretty close to a dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Daily post

Pining for Spicy Penang Laksa

penang laksa

Cough and sniffles…  head pounds… throat’s on fire

My mind wonders what can I? what can I?  …

I could kill for some Penang Laksa.  It is simply, spice in a bowl.

Laksa – which is available in Australia or for that matter in most western countries would be modified to the local “white” pallet.  Laksa is usually coconut milk based. Which makes it to be rather creamy and rich.

But the Penang Laksa holds it’s own, because it is so different to the rest.  It is tamarind based. (Tamarind is a tree that produces pods, these pods when ripened are then used in many Asian cooking, it adds a sourness to the dish)

The soup itself is not as thick as other Laksa’s but it is loaded with so much spice and flavours that it will definitely clear my nose, my sinuses and  definitely numb my throat. And to use a regular cliche’ ” it will blow your mind”. I haven’t had this laksa since my last visit to Penang about 4-5 years ago.  But the memory of the taste is well embedded.

When leaving Penang, passing time chatting to some locals on the plane, I mentioned my love for this spice bowl.  As per them the broth is started with gently tossing a few anchovies in hot oil, then gradually all the other ingredients eg ginger or galangal go in. I am looking through online recipes and there is no mention of the anchovies.  But, I guess with any of the traditional food, each grandma from each region will have their own method of cooking the dish.

Along with the super spicy broth, there is also noodles and meat or seafood.   It will be topped with more fresh chillies, spring onion etc.  This is definitely worth adding onto your bucket list of things to try.

If I didn’t pay any taxes, I could probably afford to fly over to Penang right now, maybe even on a private jet to get my Spicy Penang Laksa.

If I didn’t pay any taxes, maybe I wouldn’t be contributing to a stupid vote on whether same sex couples could get married or not.  Food for thought.

Daily word Prompt: Spicy

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/spicy/

 

 

Posted in travel

Destination Goa (final)

Goa beach

Four am start.  Jan and I hardly had any sleep.  We were planning on a early night as we thought we need it for our 4 am start.  Didn’t exactly stick to our adult like responsible decision.  One more night of being back to our teenage days.  We weren’t exactly throwing up into the toilet bowl.  Just more chatting and reminiscing our past, the last couple of days and making promises for the future.  Relationships, Kids, loss, survival…. both of us in our own ways have been through a lot.  We are like two weeds that stood stubbornly through the storm and now looking a lot lusher.  We did bend, we did mellow, but we refused to wither.  I guess, neither of had a choice.

I so wish she lived next door and not in the opposite hemisphere. Every time I needed a hug she would have come running to me and every time she needed that hug I would have happily run over to her. But I think my hubby is relieved that there is a reprieve on the credit card and shopping. I treasure these holidays.  It’s truly a blessing that I can meet up with her once in awhile. Even though there are many days and weeks and years in between, thank god to Whatsapp and Skype, it makes it bearable.

Our bags gets rolled out at 4.00am.  We stood at the middle of the airport hugging and hanging on to our tears within our eyelids, interrupting and maybe blocking the other rushing passengers.  One big heave and then we headed back to our mundane travel procedures.

Getting through security took a lot longer than in Australia.  However, it wasn’t chaotic like it was in Chennai a few years ago.  I had about an hour or so before boarding.  For a small city, the airport was pretty good.  Very clean toilets.  Yes, this was in India.

Some Murals that caught my eye

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An hour went quickly with a bit of writing and taking pictures.  Next an uneventful flight to Mumbai.  Plane was clean and service was better than Jet star.

I had a long stop over at Mumbai before my next flight to Singapore.  After my stay at Niranta transit hotel on my way over I had decided I wanted to go back there again and get a room for a few hours.  This would give me a chance to meet that young man who helped me so much last time as well.  Unfortunately they were fully booked.  And that young man was not on duty that day either.  But, the young lady at the counter was still very sweet.  She asked me to stay in their lounge area, instead going back to the main airport area.  She even offered me a bottle of water and the ever useful wifi password. At this stage I had not spent a dime with them.  I was astounded by their empathy which went over and beyond the call of customer service.  I had breakfast with them, and left a small token of thank you in an envelope and left with plenty of time for check in etc.

I thought my bubble on perfect trip was going to unravel when the guy at the counter said my visa has expired.  I knew it hadn’t, I had checked and rechecked, so with a stern and irritated voice I replied “no it isn’t”.  On checking with another officer (lady officer) he realised he needed to have a “mummy look”.

This time around I had more time look around the airport.  Rather a big, classy, clean airport.  Yes, it’s in India and it’s clean.

This was a mural by the side of the travelator.  What a great welcome as you get off the plane.

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More quirky cafe’s and art work.

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As usual I was rushing with something and I think it was my bag zipper made a cut on my finger.  Nothing major, but the darn thing was bleeding.  So I got to the toilet and kept my finger under the tap trying to stop the bleeding.  But no joy.  The cleaning lady saw this and came to my aid, she couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t understand her.

Language didn’t matter, the beauty of humanity expands past language barriers.  

She got me a band aid from the first aid kit.  She didn’t know or didn’t care that she probably should be wearing gloves when dealing with blood.  I thanked her in English and went rummaging in my hand bag to get some money.  She held my hand and shook her head saying words, I think that meant “no, no need” and she left.

Yes, this was India.

How wrong was I to pass judgement, that India was going to be dirty and crawling with cheating, thieving vermin’s.  Am I a racist who was hiding behind past experiences as an excuse? I am not going to say entire India going to be this rosy.  Jury is still out of Chennai for me.  I hear Delhi is no paradise either.  But, lesson learnt is that there is going to be good and bad places every where, there is going to be good and bad people every where.  If you aren’t willing to give that destination a chance, you will never know and never experience and that would be a damn shame.

It’s a red hot yes to Goa and maybe even to rest of India.