Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Hong Kong garden takeaway"

I did not understand how everyone did not carry a nice parasol to keep the harsh sun off their heads.
I seemed to be the only one.
I did not understand why we had to leave the shade of the parks, where people en mass were practicing Tai-chi, where many interesting birds could be seen, as well as fancy butterflies where constantly going by, and the city seemed far away instead of just beyond the tree line.

As with all really humid and hot places, I enjoyed the night best.

There were many small children taking themselves to school on the subway, which reminded me of New York, a lot reminded me of New York, I suppose this is my largest city to reference. Also I thought that the Asian tourists we saw were not unlike the Americans that go to New York, to marvel at the vastness and to of course; shop.

I think that I would have to visit Hong Kong several times, in short stays to feel as if I had seen any of the city.
All I can think of is the many, many side streets I must have missed, plus Zok walks quickly whereas I always want to sit on a bench and really take a look.
I had a nice birthday, although I feel very old.

"Tourists swarm to see your face"

We saw photos from the 1970s as well as early 20th century, and Hong Kong was crowded then as well.
There were many, many, tourists in most places. The parks were quieter and had less round eyed devils than the big Buddha, or atop the lookout from the peak tram.
I found the presence of malls attached to tourist spots exhausting. I get tired just thinking of the quantity of items, the value of those items, and the money that goes round the world.
Instead I enjoyed the night markets where I bought a few items at very low prices.
Do you take the time to marvel at the quality of your life? The space and freedoms you enjoy?

"symbols crashing everywhere"

Many people are puzzled still by my being vegetarian.
I am often treated as if I must be starving.
This same misconception is applied to my traveling.
Fried tofu with a tasty sauce is a normal snack in Asian countries, like french fries in America.
Zok of course ate fishes, and marveled at the presentation, and is currently plotting ways to create bento boxes at home.

"Harmful elements in the air"

We arrived at 5 a.m. the day before my birthday.
The sun was up by the time we took the train into Kowloon island.
We left our luggage and went straight out on a Colleen inspired goose chase, such is life when a person uses travel books from the library.
However, at that location there was a new place that had really nice baked goods, which helped ease the pain of canned coffee.
Then we went to Kowloon Park, the parks were my favorite parts of Hong Kong.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Life Without Me

Tomorrow, Zok and I leave for Hong Kong, where I will turn forty-one years of age. Hong Kong definitely falls into the category of wonder-I wonder if I ever thought of visiting Hong Kong. I wonder if I could have found its placement on a map earlier than ten years ago. I wonder what the reality outside of descriptions from a travel book, or other peoples photographs will be.
When I think of being forty-one I think of Margo Channing. Bette Davis as Margo Channing, looking well for her age, but still looking her age. Margo who drank too much and behaved badly on her birthday.

I have packed for three climates, but mostly I have under packed because used clothing elsewhere is inexpensive, and I will make up what I need by wasting time alone in second-hand shops. I like to keep items of clothing and shoes for at least a decade, and so I will buy a pair of boots from a tried and true brand in America to replace a pair that I bought in New York City sometime in the early 1990s. The old pair will stay in Stockholm freeing up space in my suitcase for the new. A simple yet effective system. Most of the suitcase is taken up by my tight fisted nature, I have packed toiletries, aspirin, and cold medicines that are expensive when they can be found at all in Sweden. I am going from the beginnings of spring, into the beginnings of winter and surely I will have a resurgence of the cold I still have lingering.

Zok spent all his time home, digging up new garden beds. He has planted blueberries and raspberries that will later become pie.
He has found a sunnier place for our tomato plants and left the winter garden bed still planted. He has put in peppers of all types, and created all sorts of barriers for the snails and slugs, which I fear will only cause them to act like circus animals, then passing on new tricks, to the next generation.

Most of my seeds have turned into the beginnings of Hollyhock, and Foxgloves. My twig looks like a small tree, and even had one bloom, I don't know the real name of the tree, but I call it a 'snowball' tree because of the way the blooms look. My gardenia looks horrible but my tiny lilac tree that only went in at the end of autumn has lilacs on one branch. The garden will go on without me, and I am sad to miss its progression. Most people I know only think of traveling as being more exciting than living day to day, but I am often happiest following the sun from the front porch to the back. Admiring the garden as I sit in the sun with a drink and a book. Content to watch the colors in the sky change as the hours pass, ending a quiet day, by gazing at a horizon full of stars.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"The Ballad of Queen Bee and Baby Duck"

I actually do not know what to say.
Here are the facts:
Zok and I went to the 'Hobart Show' (read more 4H club event than state fair), to help out at a croquet field that was put up to promote the sport and hopefully pull in new people.
I really wanted to see baby piglets, (is that a redundant to state baby and piglet together?) however apparently due to (potential) swine flu, all baby pigs stayed on their farms.
However, there were dogs, who were in charge of herding ducks, that were wearing dresses, potentially cross-dressing, this may or may not have been part of a lead up to the gay pride festival which is on late next week.
I applauded the ducks, because whether or not they were newly out of the closet, I thought both the hat and bustle took a bit of daring on their part.
Also I beat Zok in golf croquet 15 to 11, which was very satisfying.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hush your purdy mouth.

Home again-a bit bruised and battered, as expected.
Training for a roller derby bout is a serious business. Although I got to Geelong in time for Tuesday's practice (excellent blocking practice, with cones set up to make skaters work on their timing) and followed Tuesday practice by going to the next night of 'Freshie' skating practice, this was simply not enough to prepare me for the bout. While I was in Tasmania where skating practice was often canceled or cut short for one reason or another, the Geelong skaters were skating (hard and fast) two-three nights per week, scrimmaging, and being assessed by coaches and refereed by the same.
My skating out on the concrete streets, blocking air was just not enough to bring me up to scratch. Therefore I had both my (awfully) bad and good moments during our second bout.
The next day however, was a co-ed scrimmage, mostly for the male skaters who are working towards bouting status, where I got a bit of ref training, or as I like to say 'got to be a foal on my way to Zebra-hood'.

Some highlights of my trip, (beyond my still every present, ever obvious, love for the Geelong league), was getting to promote and put up posters for our game, and other small assisting jobs such as laying track, and helping with set up and clean up of the bout, which gave me a warm feeling of being part of a team.
I also, went to a dental prosthetist, in Geelong, at Smile Care where I got a custom made mouth guard. Not only was I able to have 'I heart Zok' put into the layers, but due to its custom fit I am able to both breath and speak!
I am not a sporty person, and I have never been part of a sport before, so let me tell you that for the most part, mouth guards are awful. Many people seem to be able to cope with them but I had a hard time, and I am so, so happy to have this new one.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"It's connected to the problems that I won't take for answer"

I always feel a bit sick when I am getting ready to go on a trip. Actually, that isn't the whole truth, I feel sick when I am getting on a plane, road trips by car or bus are fine. Plane travel is such a pain these days. I phoned ahead to add baggage allowance, but the rules had changed, now to add baggage after you have booked your flight, instead of twenty dollars each way, it is forty dollars each way, or if they deem your bags over the limit at the airport, an additional eighty dollars each way.
I am not a rule breaker, so feeling as if I am right on the edge of being over the allowance makes me feel nervous.
Skate gear is basically the entire allowance, I am not even taking toiletries, I will have to buy some in Geelong. I am very low maintenance these days, but still I find the whole procedure a bit of an ordeal, as if some outside force is trying to suck away my fun.
Speaking of sucking away the fun, we (the we here in Hobart) had yet another roller derby meeting. Once again everything has changed, once again everything is the same.
I will pin my hopes on my time away, and real change happening while I am absent.
My time skating (or not skating as it were) here has made me feel like a poseur all over again. I feel a bit silly going back to Geelong for the second bout. More than silly I feel unprepared, as the teams there have been skating even harder, training even more for this upcoming event, and I have been skating circles on my neighborhood roads.
Wish me luck, because I need it.
The photos are from the courtyard, where we had our last derby meeting.
The piece in the courtyard is made of material that catches flies. At night the piece is lit up, attracting the insects.
One of the skaters, and a person I like to think of as my friend works here, for a very worthy company called 'Kickstart Arts' if you don't know about them, you should look them up, and if you can support them.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Let me hear you balalaika's ringing out Come and keep your comrade warm "

Zok spent the day framing two prints that he bought when he was on tour in Russia. He and the band went to a market, where there was haggling, Zok is very happy when he gets to haggle. There was an added bonus of the fact that the Russian language is based on a Cyrillic alphabet. This means that the Macedonian and Russian languages share some commonalities, for example numbers. Therefore, Zok was able to really haggle with force.
If you were to come over, he would tell you how the posters started out at 10,000 roubles each but he got them for 2,000.
I love that he framed them himself, with bits found at the tip shop because when I first knew him, he had never considered shopping at a thrift store (op shop).
"Why buy something used when the stores are filled with new items"?
Over the years I have changed his perspective or perhaps this is just an example of compromise, just like the fact that we have a large, flat, television.
Which I must admit comes in handy as most movies we watch come as a DVD, and not a theater release.
We just watched 'Red Cliff', which Zok was able to get in Asia. I like to think of this movie as the Chinese Lord of the Rings. The version we saw was about six hours and when the movie ended, I was disappointed that there wasn't another disc. I loved the movie, although even our large television did not do the movie justice and if you can view this in the theater, then do so.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"Used to be one of the rotten ones and I liked you for that."

I have been living in Australia long enough that I am starting to forget the American equivalent for certain aspects of living.
Here, in Tasmania green waste is taken to the 'tip' which is a word, basically meaning dump, as in "No tipping allowed here".
Our tip is privately owned, normally the cost for our Jeep load is about $5 AU, this is reduced to $3, if we remember to bring recycling such as cardboard.
We live within a township so actually our recycling is picked up by the city.

The tip also takes salvage and random items. Each tip has a 'tip shop', which to my eyes is a free-for-all junk yard.
I don't have a lot of luck finding items in places such as these, I like my thrifting to be a bit more upscale, honestly I find the tip to be a bit like dumpster diving in a bad neighborhood, plus if you find an item there is a price for it.

However, Zok found what he wanted here, a couple of frames and some glass.
I, too found items, and I am not sure why, but both of my items were free.
The table cloth which isn't showing well via photo was thrown in by the tip shop with Zok's other purchases, and the cigar box was from a store I quite like, hidden amongst a strange array of magic items. I only wanted the box, so the lovely man separated the box out for me and gave it to me-

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"It don't rain anymore I go outdoors where it's fun to be "

I woke up besieged by this overwhelming feeling of dejection, due to last nights practice session. I want to think "Well, she is just not unaware of how mean she is being, (or sounding) and therefore I should just let it go". But, how to get over the physical response that comes along with being spoken to in such a way?

Then I remembered that Zok is home; TODAY!
With everything my life has been comprised of, all the events and trials, so much of my pleasure is involved with eating.
No, not eating per say, meal time. Hanging out together, playing cards or four-in-a-row.
I can't pinpoint why this is, not to be able to express the feeling well.
Some sense of, not having to hurry, of being able to talk over the thoughts in my head, to hear Zok laugh away my random bits of insanity or drama.
I really need some of that about now.