Wednesday, October 31, 2012

dolphin cruise

I've been a bit slow getting out of the holiday mode (retirement is starting to look like a good ides!) and only done a little stitching. I have finished the last 2 postcards in our group challenge. Now I am collecting them all to display in the SA Festival of Quilts next week.

There are a number of sights and activities around Adelaide that I haven't ever done, or haven't for a long time, so I think I need to be a 'tourist at home' a bit more often. Before I returned to work we took a dolphin cruise on the Port River. It was a fine, picture perfect day, making for a great 2 hour trip that I 'd highly recommend.
  The old lighthouse
Two old tugs which now belong to the Maritime Museum. The Yelta takes tours and trips. I recall it being in Port Pirie sometimes when I grew up there.

 The Dolphin Explorer
 A seagull watching us. They are always so clean and white.
 Saw dolphins in several places - not close enough for good photos, but this at least shows they were there.
 One of the channel lights, and a sand bar that they protect against.
 Rarely seen baby seagulls
 The One and All sail training vessel was open for inspection
 Ropes, ropes and more ropes...

The temperature was only about 20, so it did get rather bracing on the top deck down at the channel entrance, and we retired to the next level then. Walking back to the car I thought these lovely window boxes gave these converted warehouses and a little European feel.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

a dzong, a farmhouse and two handstands

We visited the Punakha dzong, reputably the most beautiful - it was of the ones we saw.. It was the secong dzong to be built in Bhutan and served as the seat of government until Thimpu bacame the capital.
It has a picture postcard setting where two rivers meet (above) and a splendid new cantilever bridge (below) - a gift to the new Queen on her marriage which took place there last year. The site between the rivers has seen it flooded on occasion, and like most of the dzongs it has suffered a fire at some stage. ( A problem of them burning butter lamps, and everything being made of wood and highly decorated maybe)
The colour and decoration on the buildings is splendid, made more special by seeing the monks in their red robes. These steep wooden steps on the entry can apparently be drawn up, in times of danger

Near the entrance
Bees nests and honeycomb hanging on the outside

scenes from the courtyard areas

The main hall (can't take photographs there) was full of brilliant, vibrant decorations - paintings, silk banners and embroideries etc
As we went in and as we came out  a little woodpecker flitted about the trees.

We saw the huge new golden Buddha under construction, very prominent on a hillside near Thimpu
 This is a panorama view from the huge forecourt in front of the statue
 and a smaller view
Here is the national animal - the takin- which is endangered. Rather strange looking it is a cross between a cow and a goat. This is one of 12 in a special reserve.
 Part of a nunnery, complete with lazy well fed dogs...

We visited a tradional farmhouse, the home of six generations.

-  the garden
 - the wood stacked and stored
 - rice sheaves and more wood stored
 - threshing the rice. 'Very hard on the feet' said our 16 year old English speaking guide (daughter of the household)
 - the old style, wood fireplace...
 ... and new style electric hotplates and rice cooker
 - the chillies drying on the roof, and the little window (on the right) to get out there -
but I'm not sure about this gap!
 - storage cupboards like Aussie coolgardie safes
 - the steep steps up to the first floor living area
 - the farm house showing the usual 3 levels - lower level for farm equipment and animals, next level for living, and the top 'attic' level, usually with open sides, for storage of grain, timber or whatever.

... and finally, children are children anywhere.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

flowers, produce and more

Our hotel at Wangdu was another Kichu Resort - by a river again, but this time a raging torrent right beside our rooms. With the doors and windows open for the lovely fresh air, it was hard to sleep with the sound of rushing water.
 and some of the lovely staff. These tiny girls hauled our luggage, sometimes 2 bags at a time!

Some of the flowers...
 ... and this one with a beautiful butterfly

  Some scenes from the regular Thimpu produce market...

 Baskets to carry the produce...

and the plastic ones to buy

 peeling the garlic
  plenty of peppers

Produce for sale at roadside stalls...
 the white is a very hard, dry cheese
 the apples looked like red and yellow delicious
This was a large stall. Many folk sit beside the road with just a few things to sell.

Going over the mountain pass to get to and from Wangdu, the road was barely wide enough for the 2 lanes. Overtaking was ... well interesting is one way to describe it! Much horn blowing and a good bit of luck.
Having been told of the frequency of landslides and falling trees I wasn't too thrilled to be sitting behind these, but we weren't for too long
View from the top
 Memorials at the top
Near the top - a great place to catch the wind
Had lunch at this restaurant at the top - an easy park the first day.
On the second day we asked the bus driver to get the bus out (the second one) before we got in.Of course he did it in one manoeuvre.
Rice fields
You see people walking in the most unlikely places - these are school children who have been dropped on the side of the hill - and there is one of those plastic baskets
 The farmers use their rotary hoe/digger/mowers as vehicles, usually pulling trailers
 The road workers stop for lunch

Archery is the national sport - their only Olympian is a medal winning archer. We watched part of a tournament between some of the best. It would go from 8 am until about 5 pm. The field is 130 metres long,. The target is quite small. Some of the team stand at the target end. When there is a score the team does a little dance and chant of encouragement - at both ends.

 the chant at the shooting end
...and at the target end
 the size of the target
After all in the teams have fired four (I think) arrows from one end, they shoot from the other end, and the spectators sit only about 4 metres to the side. The best score at the end of the day wins.

Some more tomorrow, and that might be the end.