Courting

Friday 3rd November 2017

Saronītha, Greece, chatting on line with friends about our collective times lived dancing in nightclubs

When we were courting (partying) I sent Erroll to move my car (lest I got a ticket). See, I couldn’t leave Arq as i was in a dance-off. Erroll found the car, drove round the block, miraculously found another car spot, came back to Arq to tell me about it.

We leave Arq next day; now we’re searching for the car through all the side streets of Darlo. Hours in the harsh light of Monday morning. Nothing.

Then we retrace a full 24 hours steps…and there the car was: in its original car spot.

Either Erroll was tripping that he actually moved it or he moved it and bloodywell parked it in the same spot.

September 2008, Redfern Sydney

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Spring Attika Mainland Greece

March-April-May 2017

Wild poppies sprout all over mainland Greece early in the Spring season. They’re known as ‘paparoūnes’ here. It’s the very first time we’ve visited Greece during this delightful time of year when days are sunny and the air is fresh. We’ll be coming again next year that’s for sure.

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04-04-17 Cliff Hanger

Tuesday 4th April 2017

A letter i wrote Erroll…

Darling look how we explore the beauty of Greece! We wander the coast and explore caves.


Today Kingsley was in the extreme intrepid with his beloved goat tracks. He slipped a couple of times but in the main climbed sure-footed. While stopped at the top of a cliff I of course wanted a selfie. As I manoevered us to sit together and steadied the phone Kingsley played with the pebbles at our feet. All at once he chucked a rock, it hit this Samsung, the phone flipped out of my hand, I screamed like a wild woman, Kingsley became mute with terror that my phone was slowly tumbling down a steep cliff toward the Saronic Gulf waters hundred meters down below. I said a wee prayer, the phone stopped on a tiny ledge held in place with a few rocks and it was then up to me to climb down on my bum scooting / sliding down on my arse attempting to remain alive and not dislodge any pebbles/rocks which would tumble onto the phone and dislodge it further.

Miraculously I retrieved the phone, handed it to Kingsley while I scooted up to the top of the treacherous cliffs and gave Kingsley a kiss.

Later on as we wandered back to town Kingsley noticed the scratches on my calves. He knew from where they came!

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Cloud Seeded Storms in Dubai

Spring 2017, Dubai

The rumour is that lately our government has been seeding clouds so that rain is made and inclement weather is created for us living in Dubai to delight in. But the reality is that this is no rumour. Cloud seeding is happening with greater frequency and our skies are opening up with very welcome rainfall.

Cloud seeding and other weather-modification schemes have been around for years. In winter and spring (as it is now in Dubai) there aren’t sufficient ice crystals in rain clouds to give us precipitation, and if droplets fall in liquid form they generally evaporate anyway. Cloud seeding is the idea of adding ice-forming particles into the atmosphere (and clouds) to make liquid drops big enough to fall to Earth.

Some background: rainfall occurs when supercooled droplets of water – those that are still liquid but are at a temperature below the usual freezing point of zero centigrade – form ice crystals. Now too heavy to remain suspend in the air, these then fall, often melting on their way down to form rain.

Even in dry areas like Dubai, the air usually contains some water. This can be made to come together and form ice crystals by seeding the atmosphere with chemicals such as silver iodide or dry ice.

They work to promote rainfall by inducing nucleation – what little water is in the air condenses around the newly introduced particles and crystallizes to form ice. (That is, water vapor freezing onto particles, which leads to precipitation).

The ‘seeds’ (which are cigarette shaped) can be delivered by plane or simply by spraying from the ground. Whether the rains and storms we’ve been experiencing this entire week are due to cloud seeding we don’t actually know. All we do know is that its been raining off and off for the past week and the sky is filled with rolling clouds, our roads are flooded, Dubai International Airport is chaotic, and the thunder and lightening is much greater at night, and our city seems almost gothic these days…

 

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Cooler Winter Dubai Weather 2017

Wednesday 1st March 2017

Who would have thought its still winter in Dubai, this the first day of March? In fact Spring starts on 20th March here, the truth of which makes expats here very happy as this cool weather makes outdoor pursuits pleasant.

For this reason we are spending every single day outside.

Enjoy our walking tour of a winter Dubai…

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Burj Khalifa

Thursday 20th October 2016

From whatever angle you look, the magnificent Burj Khalifa is outstanding. It’s architecture, dimensions, finishing, aesthetic all combine effortlessly. Glimmering in the city’s perpetual sunrays, the steel and glass tower stands as the proud centerpiece of the Emirate of Dubai. We residents love staring at it, walking around it, photographing it and when flush with money, eat on its lower levels’ Armani Hotel.

Next door is Souk Al Bahar; an Arabic-style retail, residential and dining destination located in the heart of the Downtown Dubai, overlooking The Dubai Fountain.
Meaning ‘Market of the Sailor,’ Souk Al Bahar derives its name from its souk-style architecture, which features natural stone corridors, high archways, subdued lighting, and a unique waterfront location on Burj Lake.

Today we decide to explore the view up high, simply by walking around Souk Al Bahar, even dipping ourselves into one of its cool pools. For a resident of eight years, what I found up in the Dubai sky was breathtaking…

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Dubai Future Foundation in 3D Print

Monday 17th October 2016

Breaking records and being ‘the first’ is in the DNA of this city Dubai, no doubt about it. After hearing a while ago about a building in my neighbouhood generated then built from a 3D printer I set about searching for it. Yesterday on my way to Jumeira Emirates Towers at DIFC there it stood, white and organic; curved and post modern; a fully functioning office campus used already by my reckoning, I noted, by the chairs inside pushed about, and the odd note pad strewn over a table.

This incredible city simply knows no boundaries when it comes to brilliance: the Dubai Future Foundation stands centurion at the gateway to my favourite business hotel, Emirates Towers and in complete contrast to it in shape, design, feel. Global architecture firm Gensler designed the building; I’ve been googling their work all day.

The 3D-printed building has all the amenities of traditionally constructed structures, such as electricity, water, telecommunications, and air conditioning. The office is also outfitted with energy saving features, including window shades to protect from Dubai’s blazing sun. In order to create all the pieces needed for the office, builders used a 3D printer measuring 6 meters high, 37 meters long, and 40 feet wide. Seven installers and 10 electricians and specialists worked together to assemble the office in just 17 days. Its been estimated this represents a 50% cost savings in labour alone compared to buildings of similar size built with conventional methods.

Set in verdant gardens the 2,600-square-foot, single-story, multi-building campus housing the Future Foundation will help provide smart technologies for Dubai. First item on its big agenda: delivering the World Future Games, set to take place in 2017. Between then and now take yourself down to DIFC and stroll through the campus. Its a real 3D pleasure on the senses.

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17-05-16 Pebble Throwing

Tuesday 17th May 2016

Our first sleep in Saronîtha. And as I remember from past stays, my back still aches from the fold out bed. When K rises at 7:30am I am not impressed- so down we go again till 8:30, then Greek Nickelodeon, breakfast of yoghurt, two eggs (he ain’t liking the whites these days) and Kalamáta olives while I Jiff the pigeon-poo stacked balcony. It sparkles now! And it’s now time for adventures. Today Kingsley does a wee on the pebbles of a tiny beach we find to play pebble-throwing in the Saronic Gulf.

Mum calls on her mobile! Then lunch of veal sausage and mandarin (him), Greek yoghurt, paximáthia & tomato & olives, mandarin. Nap for two hours, though K receives 3 hours kip. And once up he gets buttery toast out on our balcony. We finally leave the house at 8pm for a walk and to play with Maria and Gabriella the little Albanian girls. I am still excited to hop onto the cafe’s wifi!! Sleep by 10:30pm.

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The Green Planet, City Walk Dubai

Tuesday 4th October 2016

Right now, possibly no other activity within the cityscape of Dubai is as invigorating as exploring The Green Planet located at the super slick City Walk precinct. And I mean this for children and adults alike: three adults and two toddlers came to investigate this relatively new installation as a novel way to celebrate one of our little terror’s birthdays today, thinking we’d dedicate an hour of our day there…and we didn’t want to leave!

The 'cube' at CityWalk wherein lies The Green Planet

The ‘cube’ at CityWalk wherein lies The Green Planet

Well, Kingsley and his sweet friend, birthday girl Haarleen, could not believe their eyes as we entered the four storey ‘cube’ housing an entire rainforest with its cascading waterfalls, pools of tropical fish and trees fluttering with colourful birds. Us adults were instantly transported to a misty, verdant ecosystem the likes of which we’ve not come even close to experiencing living here in the desert (or elsewhere for that matter).

Feathered friends welcome us in

Feathered friends welcome us in

Open daily till late, The Green Planet is very special space and all the more so because its staff are ready to educate and encourage big and small kids with their encounter of wildlife. Staff professions span naturalists, botanists, educationists and vets. All speak with ease and authority regarding the wildlife they tend to. Today we learned from them all about the life-cycles of bees, ants, butterflies, sloths, turtles, even porcupines and tarantulas.

Below is how we experienced the magical destination of The Green Planet. Come on a walk with us…

Mesmerized from watching how ants colonize and transport leaves

Mesmerized from watching how ants colonize and transport leaves

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Sleepy, nocturnal porcupines

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Male sloth asleep

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Kingsley running the suspended rope bridge

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A pair of tropical birds

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Toddler heaven

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The one seat in the entire Green Planet rainforest

Such exotic birds at every turn

Such exotic birds at every turn

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Exploring caves

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Learning about catepillars and butterflies

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Little scientists encouraged to use the microscopes

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Educated, entertained and stimulated…leaving The Green Planet with a smile

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A Day Exploring St-Germain-Des-Prés

September 2016

Autumn in Paris. The Left Bank. Right about lunchtime and for the next few hours till 4:30pm, groups of friends, stylish couples, intellectuals, radical thinkers and businessmen fill the seats of cafes and brasseries either side of Boulevard St-Germain. The view from the sidewalk is inspiring; for the legacy of post World War II St-Germain-des-Prés remains in situ: intellectual life centered around bars and cafés is today teeming. Philosophers, writers, actors and musicians mingle in the spot where Jean-Paul Sartre and his lover Simone de Beauvoir would meet and develop their philosophy of existentialism over a drink.

The bars and cellars remain, as have the 17th century buildings but signs of change are evident in the affluent shops dealing with art, antiques, books and fashion taking root.

St-Germain-des-Prés is Paris' oldest church

St-Germain-des-Prés is Paris’ oldest church

At 3 Pl St-Germain-des-Prés Kingsley and I came across the oldest church in Paris, St-Germain. Originating in 542 when King Childebert build a basilica to house holy relics, this church became a powerful Benedictine abbey which was suppressed during the Revolution when most buildings were destroyed by fire in 1794. The present church dates from the 11th century and houses famous tombs such as the 17th century philosopher René Descartes, poet John Casimir and the king of Poland who later became abbot of St-Germain in 1669. It’s ancient sandstone walls are now covered in the most lush verdant ivy I’ve ever seen.

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Les Deaux Magots is famous for its patronage of celebrities such as Hemingway

At 6 Pl St-Germain-des-Prés, we found the world famous café Les Deux Magots which trades on its reputation as a rendezvous of the literary and intellectual elite of the city. This derives from the patronage of Surrealist artists and young writers including Ernest Hemingway in the ’20s and ’30s. The café’s name comes from the two wooden statues of Chinese commercial agents (magots) that adorn one of the indoor pillars.

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Paris is known for its Salons de Thé

Next door we came across the classic Art Deco interior of Cafe de Flore, with its all-red seating, mahogany and mirrors, which has not changed since the war. In this café terrace history comes to the present: post-war intellectuals would meet here and take their drinks, such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir meeting their ‘family’ (avid followers) as they thrashed out a new philosophy: Existentialism. Today writers and book publishers debate their own ideas of what life is all about over a cool G&T.

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Famous Cafè de Flore open 7:30am till 1:30am daily

The Left Bank’s most celebrated thoroughfare, Boulevard St-Germain, spans 3km and curves three districts from the Ile St-Louis to where we cross the Seine at the Pont de la Concorde. We walked it in one go. The extraordinary architecture all around us is homogenous because the boulevard was another of Baron Haussman’s bold manifestations of urban planning. We spot the late François Mitterrand’s private city residence, the Musée de Cluny, the Sorbonne University all before crossing the colourful Boulevard St-Michel. Here we stroll past the Odéon Theatre and onto historic St-Germain-des-Prés and lively café terraces brimful with the well dressed who lunch. Beyond here and onto the river Seine, the Boulevard becomes more exclusively residential, then distinctly political with the Ministry of Defence and the National Assembly. And it is here that we take breathe, look over to the Right Bank, and cross the Seine.

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One of the most enduring images of Paris is the cafè scene

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