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Showing posts from January, 2016

Hospitalized in Australia.

I was having a lovely time in South West Rocks, right up until I found myself gasping for breath. Next thing I knew I was in an ambulance, then in an ED, then on a transport to another hospital. Maybe I should have led with this: don't worry, I'm ok! The cause was basically just a virus, plus me pushing myself too hard. But it sure was an interesting couple of days. My first overnight in a hospital since I was born, as far as I can remember, and in a country where everyone calls you "love" and "darling" and "sweetheart." So I couldn't resist scribbling down a few little snapshots: The inclusion of morning and afternoon tea as part of the meal program. The sweet old paramedic who kept calling me darling. The amazingly good vegan hospital meal (no, I'm not vegan now, I think that particular nurse just didn't know what vegetarian meant -- but with falafel and veggie cous cous, I wasn't complaining!) The four-packs of sand

Keep New Zealand Weird.

I entered New Zealand with mixed expectations. It had never been that high on my list, but it seemed like a must-see if I was going all the way to Australia anyway. People rave about New Zealand. On the other hand, I was coming from an amazing time in Argentina , and any subsequent destination would have a hard time following that! After two weeks in New Zealand, my impression is pretty much as mixed as my expectations had been. It had lots of pros, a handful of cons, and a whole lot of weird. Here's a taste... 1. Beautiful but overpriced natural wonders. The Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland boasts tectonic activity out the wazoo. Lakes steam with sulfur. Giant pools glow bright green. Reds, yellows, and blues naturally intersect in boiling hot danger zones. Well-adapted birds happily walk amongst the bubbles. Though the park is not accessible to wheelchairs, the paths and stairs are fairly accessible to a range of ages and fitness levels. It's really unique an