Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Turkey to London-a bit out of order!

So I confused myself by only posting up half of my travel stories a while back, then doing new ones.

Anyways, here is the other part if you care. Will hopefully do the rest of my trip and final reflections soon, but no internet at home does make it hard.

Then it was Turkey, with 7 of my best friends, and the funniest! We visited the ancient city of Ephesus, smoked nargele (apple tobacco kinda stuff) out of this giant Turkish bong looking thing ina traditional Turkish bar with dancing and music etc, mucked around on NYE, got scrubbed, washed and massaged head to foot in a Turkish bath (now that, that is a cultural experience if ever I had one) and ate heaps of kebabs.

By far the best bit though was heading out to Gallipoli. Anzac Cove is just such an amzing place. You hear so much about it, and to see it,a nd put everything into perspective, was just brillaint. The poem written by their Army Commander and later President Mustafa Kemale Ataturk was incredible to read right there. Go check it out if you don't know it.

There is just so much I could say about that place, was so worthwhile. Has been interesting trying to articulate to foreigners why I went there an what i means to Australians etc. I mean it is kinda funy how much we celebrate a battle we eventually lost. I was struck by the stories of camraderie and mateship, particulalrly betwen the two countries. Top day in Turkey.

Paris is a beautiful city, and deserves everything people sy about it. It is just brilliant by night. People not so much, but not too bad.

After that I headed to Taize, which is like this eumenical monastery that people froma ll over the world go to to stop and reflect on their life and faith,to pray, for contemplation, and to explore where they are going in life. I really can't do it justice here, but was a really worthwhile time in amongst the rushing and touristy crap of my trip to stop and reflect on it all for a while.

London,other than hanging out with Lucas and Shaz,has been pretty underwhelming. Is just a big city with mediocre sights. I have loved being able to speak English, but it has not really grabbed me.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New York and Iowa

Have swapped the big city lights of New York for small-town mid west America. Slightly different!

New York was awesome, fully loved it! The peoplewere mostly nice, I got free tickets to a Knicks game at Madison Square, cheap tickets to the ice hockey (totally my new favourite spectator sport!), Chicken Parma rolls and all sorts of cool stuff. Wandered around Times Square, saw Statue of Liberty-which isn't that big, and the Empire State building. Also ended up at this little Theatre/Drama/Impro club in some little street which was pretty funny. I jumped on a team with these randoms and we ended up winning which was fun, the picture is terrible but you can see it here

Was really good doing a tour of the WTC site, had a dude who was a firefighter on the day showing us around which was amazing. Was fascinating being able to put legs on all the pictures and stories you have heard. Was really worthwhile.

Now I'm just hanging out with my mates who lived with us two years ago, out in suburban Iowa. Is pretty relaxed, and just cool to be with mates. Have been eating heaps of American food, went and ate at a college dorm dining hall yesterday which was funny as, and hopefully going out sledding and playing in the snow today. Am like such a little kid with snow, its just so exciting and new for me! Still practising making snow angels and pee-ing my name in the snow!

And man, if I was American I would get so fat, they just have so much cheap junk food, and so many chocolate and peanut butter foods, it's awesome!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Africa to Rome updates

It's been a few weeks since my last proper update, so have heaps to write about, so will try and keep it interesting and readable and doesn't fall into the 'another anoying travel blog post' category...



I think last time I had not yet been able to head up to the Kande bach area where I was going to run the football clinics etc.



So, Kande was an amazing place, both geographically and people wise. Was really great getting an insight into real village life. Man, it is just so far removed from anything we know. I was prepared for seeing the poverty etc, but the 'tribalness' of it really stuck me. These people just live in their little villge, living hand to mouth every day, and know no different to that. That is life for them, and it's worlds away from my existence.



The clearst moment of this was when i walked past a guy beating a big drum (handmade of course) and I asked my Malawian friend what he was doing 'oh, they're having a big party tonight and they want some girls to know about it, so that is why he's drumming...' he replied casually. I couldn't believe it. Slightly different to the mobile phone era I live in...



The people there were brilliant, seriously so nice and hospitable. It was awesome becoming mates with some of the dudes my age, and getting past the tourist-salesman veneer that is the norm for most white people in Africa.



Was great fun teaching the kids about footy, some picked it up more than others, but they all just enjoyed an older person giving themsome attention, which seems to be so rare over there in that culure.



Seeing what TJ does too was amazing. There are so many needs over there, and so many people who go there thinking they can solve them, and then there are others who are just there, doing what they can with the gifts they have, and responding to real needs they see, not just what they think the locals need. Maybe I was in the former, because the stuff I thought was most important was good, but not the best thing I did. Hard to explain, so ask me if that doesn't make sense.



But then it was off to Rome for not very long at all, which was fine, as I got to see everything I wanted to, and get a iny feel of what Rome is like. The Colosseum and Ancient Rome stuff was really cool, and the Vatican was amazing.



For me it wasn't awe-inspiring or uplifting in a spiritual sense, as big chuch buildings have never really floated my boat, but was wicked in an art sense. Man Michelangelo was a well talented dude!



I often used to get all haughty and social justicey and quote the stats about 'If the Catholic Church sold all their buildings and artwork, they could solve world poverty..' which in one sense is kinda true, but in another is an absolutely gross over generalisation.



The problems in Africa can not be solved by money alone (that is in fact but a small part of the issue) and the Vatican is more than just a church. Particulalrly with all the Greek and Egyptian sculturesa nd museums and stuff, and all the artwork, it contains the records and hisory of society as we know it. To just sel it off (who would buy it all too?) is just not a feasible option. Anyways, just gaveme some interesting stuff to think about.

London, OK, but not overwhelming...

In terms of big famous cities, Rome and Paris really do have it over London. I just realised how much of a travel tool I sound like saying that, but ah well. It's hard when talking about travelling to no be all 'ooh ooh, look at me, I'm so cool cos I've been to all these cool cities' cos those people totally annoy me.

It's like name-dropping for travellers, so annoying.

Anyway, didn't start to wite about that. London,not that impressive. Has some kinda cool stuff but nothing that has grabbed me. Stonehenge was intrigung, trying to work out how and why it is all there etc.

Best bit has just been hanging out with Lucas n Shaz though.

Saw a soccer game too which was fun, a bit below Premier Leaugue but still cool. League 2 for those who know, Brentford for Premiers I say!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Turkey-Greece-France

Arrived early this morning in Thessaloniki from Istanbul on the overnight train, which was great fun, and a comparatively cheap way to get out of the country.

Flying to Paris tomorrow, will do a mornings worth of sightseeing before heading to Taize for a few days to stop and reflect on it all so far.

Have been throwing around a whole lot of ideas about running trips with people from Oz over to Malawi to teach footy and sports and experience the life and culture etc, reckon it has a fair bit of scope, but will think about it some more before deciding if it just another crazy dream or a realistic idea...

Will post up reflections on Turkey soon too hopefully.

One Hit Wonder

What is onehitwonder?

What if everyone in the world gave you one dollar? Have you wondered what you’d do with it? We have, and we’d like to see how many people across the planet will give a dollar, and then we’ll give it away to the poorest communities in the world. Our aim is to gather 7.29 million dollars, one dollar at a time. Here’s how we seek to do it... [more]

The world is amazingly connected. Apparently we’re no more than six steps away from each person on earth. Currently 729 million people across the world have internet access. Now, imagine if only 1% of those with web access participated and gave a dollar—that would amount to over 7 million dollars to give away to those who need it most. Not bad for a measly dollar! On December 25, 2008 we’ll begin to give away every dollar, 90% to the poorest communities in developing countries, and 10%, plus interest will be used for community development projects within Australia. The money will be given through various organisations across the globe covering many regions and need. Not one dollar will be used for administration or any other associated expenses, these operational costs will be covered by us and our partners. If you’d like to keep track of how and where the money is given, please keep visiting the news/blog section to see the updated information.
why should I trust onehitwonder?

onehitwonder is run by a legitimate non-profit organization in Hobart, Australia.

onehitwonder will be professionally audited. The Auditor of onehitwonder is Deloitte.

onehitwonder has many partners from the business and community sectors.

I reckon this is a tops as idea, and so easy to get behind and support. If ur a blogger I encourage you to post it up and help them reach 1% of the internet population.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Delıghtful Turkey

Had an amazıngly hılarıous NYE here ın Turkey wıth some of my best mates, was just so good on so many levels.

Ephesus was decent, have had my fıll of old ruıns for now but.

Headıng to Gallıpolı tomorrow whıch I am really keen for, so that should be really ınterestıng. Has always fascınated me, so wıll be great to check ıt out.