A Travellerspoint blog

April 2018


a day of contrasts

overcast 34 °C

Today Sal and Tracey started the day with a swim in the sea,L1060929.jpg it seemed a great idea until I realised later that they were 'breaking a rule'! L1060931.jpgHowever they both enjoyed it immensely (maybe partly because of).

We then drove to Sharjah (another emirates) to the Blue Souk (market).L1060962.jpgL1060957.jpgL1060954.jpg Sharjah is more closely aligned with Saudi and therefore more strict with their adherence to religious protocols. It is also cheaper to live there and many people commute between the cities.There was a definite different feel in the two areas - more glitz and glamour in Dubai. large_DSCF2508.jpg

Once back in Dubai we went to Dubai Creek. DSCF2527.jpglarge_DSCF2525.jpgWhat an attack on the senses!! The dhow are just incredible in their sheer numbers, dilapidated states and crammed in right next to shiny, blingy buildings. Need to see to believe. We went to an old souk there which was full on.DSCF2496.jpglarge_DSCF2484.jpg Had lunch there, didnt spend too long in the souk as it was pretty crazy.DSCF2489.jpg We then had a lovely ride on the creek in a dhow to get some great different angles of the city. Even the contras from one bank of the river to the other.

Posted by Sallyj66 16:38 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (3)

Last day in Dubai


We were on our own today as Tracey and Mark were working. Sal had made contact with an old water ski-ing friend, so we met up in the Emirates Mall for a coffee. That was certainly more manageable than the Dubai Mall. Had photos outside the snow planet ( ridiculous)!DSCF2558.jpg

We wanted to visit the Jumierah Mosque that Sal had done a school project about many years ago.DSCF2564.jpgL1070005.jpg Our taxi driver from Bangladesh became very agitated when he thought it so unfair that the ladies were out holidaying when he was spending everything on his wife and family back home! Only gets to see them once a year. We were too late for the tour but were allowed to go inside for a look. Very different from our Abu Dhabi visit.

From there we went up to the Meena Bazaar to look at fabrics..L1070012.jpgDSCF2586.jpgDidn't find the particular shop the was recommended, but there were huge numbers of others . Haggling is one of my least favourite things, but thank goodness for Sal who likes the challenge! We at long last found a genuine samosa place.DSCF2571.jpg

Also visited the Dubai Museum which was very interesting. DSCF2576.jpgDSCF2573.jpgGave me lots of ideas for things and places that we hadn't explored yet.

A swim in the hotel pool, joined by lots of boisterous little boys from Uganda here for soccer.59B50509915AECB077EE22C694D1ECA0.jpg

Our last evening with Tracey, Mark and Alison was just special. All the other went up to the observation lounge at the Marriott - i.e.52floors up,L1070065.jpg to see Dubai at night and also get the landmarks in perspective.The photos are awesome and just fine by me. I stayed down in the bar and had a lovely G & T and watched the night lights transform the city.L1070078.jpg

L1070090.jpgFollowing that we went to a Bedouin style restaurant by the beach. large_L1070097.jpgL1070104.jpgGosh it was great.

Thoughts on Dubai on leaving - it is jaw droppingly awesome. However I have some disconcerting thoughts about the slave labour that supports it, whether it be from the Pakistani dhow driver who spoke of his family back home, the Bangladeshi taxi driver who sends all his money to his wife and family, the big white buses carrying all the construction workers that are only allowed on the roads at certain times, for the lovely security man at the hotel from Malawi. Would I want to live here? I don't think so, am I pleased we came - 110%!!!

Now the next leg of our adventure starts.

Posted by Sallyj66 16:45 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (2)

Pick up day

Home is where we park it!!


What a contrast from where we have been.IMG_0286.jpg

Started the day with a full breakfast at the hotel, overlooking the runway at Heathrow and saw the huge aeroplanes landing almost one a minute. it was so quiet there and the ground didnt shake at all - until you went outside. An unexpected treat. No Air NZ tho.IMG_0260.jpg

We had booked a taxi online, so there’s always the trepidation that it won’t come. Ours was late. The journey took ages = an equivalent trip to Nelson in a taxi. He told us that the traffic was very good, which meant there weren’t long delays or snarl ups. This man was from Ceylon. Got lost finding the yard, as they use the post-code in the sat nav (rather than the street name) so that caused some hiccups.

Paul (that we’d been in communication with for some time) now had a face and voice. He was slow and deliberate in his walk thru of the van. He said he has 2 more people from NZ this weekend, the same process as us.it was a very good idea to record on the phone his instructions, as we’ve gone back to them several times already - specially about the water.

We spent some time unloading all our gear in their yard, which meant we could put all the plastic etc in their skip. IMG_0267.jpgThen it, was time to venture forth!!large_IMG_0285.jpg

Decided the first thing we’d need to get are some supplies, Food and equipment. Heidi (sat nav) is invaluable but she also has given us some headaches. We’d purchased maps at home of UK and Europe, but accessing them again took ages to figure out. Then at the hotel we couldn’t “acquire’ any satellite, and we finally clicked it was both cos we were indoors and maybe at the airport, so another crisis averted.

Filled up the van with diesel - 80 pounds and aready had quarter a tank in it. We were looking for Tesco as recommended we could get both food and supplies. Trouble was the first one we put into Heidi, was not the big super-store we needed, so that necessitated us back tracking and eventually get to where we were headed.

First ( of many) crisis - the alarm is cranky and keeps going off on us. Man is it loud.In fact we have spent the night with it off as we cant work it out - an issue to resolve in due course.

Cranham gave us a name of a camp ground that they ‘send’ their first timers to, so that was the next adventure. We ended up driiving through a much more picturesque typical english countryside to finally make our first night in the camper.it is called Kevendon Hatch Campsite - so like the “Wind in the Willows”

We had a very basic meal and very early night, just whacked.We are both very pleased with everything about Jabula, and once we have routines and worked out places for things it will be great. It is lovely and warm - outside much less so. L1070131.jpgIt has rained thru the night and is windy I think forecast 12 degrees .We have plenty of warm clothes. The facilities are excellent, but the price for one night is 32 pounds so that is dear.large_L1070130.jpg

Dont have a clear idea where to from here. We originally thought we’d need a couple of days to get ourselves organised but I think we are feeling confident, so may move off today. Did think of seeing Blenheim Palace that we didnt manage last time. Will see where we land.

Posted by Sallyj66 01:34 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (5)

Eastcombe near Stroud

reconnecting with old friends

sunny 14 °C

Our first full day on the road.L1070132.jpg

We had made a decision to visit old friends of Sal's family from SA days. large_L1070140.jpgThis meant travelling to Eastcombe near Stroud approx half an hour away from Wales. It also meant we had to confront the London motorway traffic for the first time. Certainly less hair raising than UAE, but Sal is still getting her confidence with the van. Pretty much ok, understanding the little communications still, e.g flashing lights at you is not a sign of annoyance but one of consideration to let you move into a space.

Once off the motorway, it became more typical English, roads alot narrower and this area is hilly. My goodness some of the roads are narrow.

Was just neat to reconnect with Keith, Sarah and her family. Had some more supplies to kit out van - especially for when we visit France. There were stories of scouting high jinx in SA. Sadly Keith lost his wife a couple of months ago also, so some commiserations as well. It is fantastic to see the area with 'local' eyes, and therefore last night we went to this rustic pub for a pizza meal.L1070144.jpgL1070150.jpgL1070143.jpg So good to enjoy from a more genuine perspective.

This morning we are joining Keith in taking Ellie (very much loved little dog) for a walk on the common, before hitting the road again.

Posted by Sallyj66 19:02 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Blenheim Palace

via the Cotswolds

View auckland on Sallyj66's travel map.

This morning we had a bracing walk on the common with Keith and little Ellie (the dog). Quintessential England. Wonderful views, lots of dogs and their owners going for a morning constitutional. DSCF2595.jpgDSCF2591.jpg
We passed an 'animal xmas tree' - i.e on xmas day when people are walking the dogs they all leave something on the tree for animals in shelters. Such a lovely idea that would be nice to see in nz (not sure it would be respected tho).DSCF2619.jpg

We had planned to go onto Bath this morning, but surprise - change of plan. We have ended up coming thru to see the Blenheim Palace today and will stay with Sal's Aunt in Eynsham ( near Oxford) for a few nights before heading on the road again. Driving here we went thru some drop dead gorgeous little villages. The one I remember especially is called Barnsley. Impossible for us to pull over to take photos, the roads are so narrow and no pull over areas. The Cotswold stone is so gentle and honey coloured.DSCF2612.jpg

Blenheim Palace is impressive. DSCF2625.jpgDSCF2637.jpgDSCF2639.jpgWe joined a tour and the guide was funny and very knowledgable. He had an excellent grasp on all the lineage permutations which makes it somewhat juicy. Politics, power, privilege in all its full blown colour.

Thoroughly enjoyed the grounds and gardens. large_DSCF2682.jpgDSCF2673.jpgDSCF2661.jpgi think if we'd come a month later the flowers would have been stunning. Still very glad I've seen it after all the time of it being on my to-do list.

Posted by Sallyj66 22:02 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

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