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lost in space

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

sleeping at Dubai airport….onwards towards Auckland

We lose most of today somewhere.
We left Istanbul yesterday evening and took a four hour flight (just long enough to watch a movie and enjoy dinner) to Dubai, arriving when it was pitch black. Ribbons of orange lights stretched out beneath the plane as we landed. Having just spent a couple of weeks taking in mosque-ish architecture, the airport itself struck us as very mosque-like; big glass domes with star patterns. Men in turbans, leather sandals and flowing white robes set this place apart as different to anywhere else we’d been so far.  Security was very tight – shoes and belts had to be removed for x-raying in addition to the usual bag searches just to get into the transit area. Might be something to do with the plane that some dude tried to bomb the day before we flew!
We spent from 1am local time through to 10am perched on semi-reclining seats or spread out on uncomfortable seats or the floor and tried to sleep. The adults each managed an hour, the kids significantly more. 


Then taking off in daylight, our eyes flitted between the massive highrises of the main strip and the fenced mansion compounds creeping into the desert. Interesting to see roads getting covered with sand – do they plough them like the snow in colder climes? We flew over the manmade islands forming a map of the world – reactions of various family members ranged from *twee* to amazing, from creative to *won’t it all be wiped out in a tidal wave one day?*
A thirteen hour flight followed. Most of the children sat glued to their personal television screens for the duration, taking breaks only for meals. Adults enjoyed the babysitting service and took in a few movies ourselves! (Two recommendations: Julie and Julia, and Food, Inc.)
Meeting the sunrise somewhere over Australia, we marvelled at the hours and hours we spent winging our way across that massive continent of red dirt throwing up dark green trees. After another transit hour in early morning drizzly Melbourne, we were on the last leg.
The screens continued to perform their magic..
Forty four hours after waking in Istanbul, we flew over Lion Rock and our-favourite-beach-we-always-go-to, Karekare, and finally touched down in Auckland. It would be another five hours before we would let anyone go to bed!
But now we’re getting ahead of ourselves – that all happens on the 28th.
As I said, we lose the 27th.

PS When we checked in at Istanbul we were carrying 130kg – considerably more than we had been with our last days’ shopping, and that also included 20kg of pot and wok that we had been lugging round since the motorhomes. So if we took all that off, we’d estimate we clocked in at about 10kg per person, which doesn’t sound like a lot! But you know what? If we went again we’d take even less. We’ve discussed what we could leave behind, what extras we would take (only one thing, actually – a tripod)….and I really hope we have the opportunity to try out our theories sometime!


Saturday, December 26th, 2009

on the plane towards Dubai tonight….and onwards

It’s our last day before the homeward flight tonight.
Kboy12 talks incessantly – he does that when he’s excited.
The bags are packed and stacked in the storage room. We have to confess to taking home more than we brought away – the allure of Istanbul shopping and the knowledge that we would not have to put our packs on our backs again mean we have filled them up to capacity and then have two extra boxes as well! We’re bringing home ceramic tiles and Turkish towels, a sparkly lamp and hanging light, not to mention a pile of notebooks, bookmarks and the obligatory Turkish Delight!

In the practical sense we’re ready to go home.

But we have time to kill and take a final walk, go for last shish kebabs, continue to insist to every carpet-seller, who stops us that we are not buying any Turkish rugs no matter how much we’d like to.
For two weeks we’ve been in Turkey and for the first time today we discover a brilliant BLUE sky. A summery blue beckoning us homewards. 

These grey days….

….have turned into brilliant blue. We walk the same route already taken often – past the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, actually past lots of mosques…it all looks so different in bright light, and there’s always something different to see:

We return to the hostel, hoping to convince smallish children to nap. They do. 
Whenever someone stands up ERgirl3 asks if we’re going “to our home in Zealand now”.

We are.

seeking Christmas

Friday, December 25th, 2009
Istanbul, Turkey Turkey has had a reputation in recent times of being not particularly friendly to adherents of the Christian religion. We wondered what we’d find. Christmas Day dawns – bright and early….well, early, but barely light. We are staying right ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lest we forget

Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Istanbul, Turkey via the Gallipoli Peninsula


Impressions from the peninsula: * the sheer number of cemeteries sprinkled along the coast

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where are we?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
Eceabat, Turkey (via Pergamum and Canakkale) Immediately after breakfast severe cramps grip my stomach. Could it be the super-salty pickles we just ate with our eggs and tomatoes? Surely not that quickly! Is it perhaps the pide we ate for ... [Continue reading this entry]

“What do you write about on a day like today when we did nothing mum?” asked Kboy12

Thursday, October 29th, 2009
Krakow, Poland Well, my dear boy, speak for yourself! YOU may have done nothing, but someone went to the market this morning to buy our food for the day. So I could write about the things I saw, the conversations I ... [Continue reading this entry]

you’ve been asking

Friday, June 19th, 2009
by Rach Stellendam, Holland Our email inbox is full of “when are you coming home?” messages. Today I’m supposed to be able to tell you the answer. But I can’t. Sorry. We tried to book online, but couldn’t, because groups cannot exceed nine people and ... [Continue reading this entry]