since we have arrived in burma,almost 3 weeks ago, almost everyone on the streets calls us with "hello baby"! they mainly mean tosca with it and then wave and tosca waves back. in fact we all wave back.than they would approach us and we would have a little chat with hands and feet and sometimes some little english. most of the time they would take tosca in their arms,kiss her or cuddle her and would adore thalia for her big eyes and eyelashes. for burmese the size and shape of the eye,the eyebrowns and eye lashes are beauty symbols par excellence. the bigger the eyebrown,the more hair,the longer and dense the eye lashes,the prettier. thalias killer eye lashes make everyone adore her to bits! on the streets people would call her and point to her eyes and face! i think my girls havent eaten that much sweets since ever! although christmas at uncle richards house was a sugar shock fro them too. lol. we would return to our hotel with a bag full of stuff. tangerines,coconut balls,cookies,bananas,the burmese people offer whatever they have to my girls!
in the past weeks we heard almost everyday the whole day "hello baebeeh". that much that toscas first sentence ever was " hello baebeeh" omg all of a sudden one day she said hallo baby and we couldnt stop laughing! now its the running joke in our family. each time we want to tease tosca we say "hello baby". she would than start laughing hard!
when fernando and i travelled in the americas,we went to remote places and just loved to mingle with the locals. in terms it wasnt easy as sometimes they were suspicious what the heck those gringos wanted at that god forgotten parts of countries we had traveled to.
now with our girls it couldnt be easier! all i could have asked for happened to us and even more. we dont need to approach anyone. people approach us. everywhere. anytime. we,as a family, with two young children, are a bigger attraction to them than they are to us!!!! if one spots us he or she would immediately call her friends around and point to us and smile and say hello baby!
we eat and drink at street markets and of course all of us already had some stomach adjustment time. lol
my favorite food is green tea leaf salad! i love it! its soooooooooooo delicious. and we are in chapati heavan here. due to the indian immigrants who came with the brits to build the railway there is delicious indian food available on every corner almost.
since burma is not yet the country where one would usually travel with kids. let alone with small kids. sometimes i just want to cry because people are so kind to us. the less they have the more generous they tend to be! in the cities the people love to take photos of the girls! or with us in general cause fernando is another big attraction here! because of his height and his full beard he is kind of an alien around.on a market he was approached by a small girl who stood petrified in front of him pointing to his face and asking what that hair on his face is! she had never seen a full beard before!!!
and fernando can grow some serious beard let me tell you that….lol!
unfortunately we cant really travel the way we would like to travel here as most remote parts of the country are still closed to tourism and one sticks more or less to the beaten path. modernisation is everywhere and although travelling in burma will still shoot you back into yesteryear it wont take long and it will be more and more accessible and easier to travel around. hopefully it wont loose its charme though….
very anxious i couldnt wait to see the temples of bagan! more than 3000 temples built between the 11th and 13th century spread around on small land. where ever you look is a pagode,small or big and will blow away your mind! usually people rent bikes to explore but with the brutal heat of the sun and to be able to see more without our girls complaining,we chose to rent a driver who turned to be a fantastic guide as well!
you barely or in fact never hear a burmese child crying or screaming. i was asking people about it and they would laugh. children here are seen as a big gift and are respected very much. each time tosca throws a tantrum i say "european kids" hahaha.
one lady who spoke perfectly english as she had worked abroad before,told me that westerners give the children a lot of freedom.freedom to choose.which she would prefer as it would turn out great in the long run. according to her burmese kids wont get that opportunity and therefore obey….hmmm. dont really know if that is the reason why they never cry……
travelling in burma makes me feel like a superstar. the attiontion we get from the people is amazing! so kind,so humble,so generous,so chitty chatty and lovely that i want to embrace them all for being so kind and generous to us!!!!
words wouldnt be enough to describe the beauty of the people we have encountered and i am already very,very sad that we have to leave this beautiful country soon….
one day i will for sure return with my family!

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un huis-clos

i´ve been longing to visit burma since i had seen a big colourful image of the temples of bagan in a german newspaper around 10 years ago. it was one of the most beautiful images i had seen and remembered me to the tv series i used to watch when i was a teenager. called something like king of siam with yul brynner playing the king of siam…..
back then i immediately started to find a way to visit burma but had to realise that it was closed to tourism due to political instability and issues within the country. burma being first under british colonial power it is not anymore since 1948. in the 80s it suffered under its military regime,which hasnt changed much since although the demokrats are on a good way into the countrys future. its history reminds a bit to the former DDR.
while the neighbouring country thailand made use of its strategically perfect position of bangkok at the harbor naming it as the capital and being open for trades with the outside world, burma shut its doors completely and changed yangon as the capital to naypyidaw.burma didnt want to know anything about the world and the world knew little about burma.
this changed completely when 1988 news about burma shocked the world. the people against demonstrating against oppression and mismanagement of the country by the military regime.
this was the chance for the political partie NLD with aung san suu kyi being the leader who got the peace nobel price for her non-violant protest against the military regime.
burma or myanmar how its called nowadays is having a make over these days. while now it is opening more and more to tourism,most parts still remain closed and one need speacial permitt to travel to those regions.
things are changing very fast and the major places of interest seem to be one big construction. tourist facilities popping up like mushrooms, everywhere in order to cater for the big interest of the travelling world to burma.
the majority of the recent tourists here are elderly europeans,mainly french on the vestiges of their indochine past,travelling in big groups on package tours.
the burmese women and men wear longyhis, a big piece of pretty colourful cloth wrapped around their waist. both,men and women love to chew on betel tobacco mix.
the nut is mixed with tobacco and wrapped into a the leaf of the betel nut which smells to dentists…
the streets are all covered in betel spits which look like fresh blood! i had never heard of it before and when i first saw the red spits on the streets i was confused why people spit constantly blood….quickly i realised its because of the betel….there is in every corner a betel stand where,most of the time a man, is rolling the mixture into leaves.you can smell the white paste they use to glue it from far away. as i said,it smells to dentist….freshly prepared when ordered it looks like s.o. is cooking. usually they buy three at a time and its quickly prepared and put in a plastic bag. while one is placed into the cheek.
once i have reliable internet connection again i will post some pictures of it.
right now we are enjoying ourselves and the beautiful burmese people at the picturesque inle lake. about the burmese people with us i will write in another post as it would go way beyond the scope….
it was our dear friend richard who brought burma back into memory when we met him in new zealand and inspired us with his trip 2 years ago.
thanks richie,i am deep in love with burma!!!!!!!!

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merry crhistmas,my dear friends!

hope you all are in a very cosy and warm place to celebrate christmas.

am sending much love from beautiful kiwiland!

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my new buddy!

without doubt swimming with a marine turtle is a awe-inspiring and relatively rare experience. everyone visiting the great barrier reef wants to swim with a marine turtle! those beautiful,graceful animals are the dream buddy for every snorkeler and diver. when we took a sailing tour to the low isles,a small coral cay near port douglas,we were left on the islet to spend the day swimming and snorkeling. there would be a glas bottom boat coming to pick up those who would want to explore the outer reef for a 45 minute ride. all went very fast and i was not really ready myself cause i was too busy preparing the girls for their big underwater adventure so i let fernando go with the girls. in fact i was the only one,together with a guide from our sailing boat who were left behind as we were a small group only.
after the glass bottom boat with my family on it, went to explore the reef, i went to the guide for a chat and while we were talking she pointed to a big brown spot underneath the water and said absolutely nonchalantly: i think that´s a turtle swimming here, why dont you grab your googles and swim with it. oh! my! gosh! i didnt even know what to think,if she was joking,if that turtle was for real and what really happened but next thing i remember was being in the water and swimming with a big green sea turtle! we swam for quite a while together and each time i stopped the turtle stopped as well. i could swear it was waiting for me….it just seemed to be….than out of nothing appeared another turtle. a slightly smaller one.and there was i with no one but TWO marine turtles swimming, ALONE in that gorgeous clear water! no others to bother and unfortunately no one to share….i was thinking,would anyone believe me if i would tell that?! this was something so special….we three swam peacefully together and words wouldnt be enough to describe how happy i was! if i could i would have cried under water. so beautiful,so peaceful,so blissful it was! after a long while i felt the water got wavier and when i put my head up to see where exactly i was i saw that i had left the safe calm waters and was already swimming in the wilder side of the island….than i saw that guide weaving her arms for me to turn back to the calmer side. i remembered that beautiful movie "le grand blue" and its protagonist…… its so easy to forget time and space if you encounter something this beautiful and special!
than i saw the glass bottom boat with my family on it returning back to the islet and it took me a while to tell them whom i had encountered and when i did it i spotted from the beach that big brown spot myself and rushed thalia into the water. thought this was a once in a life time experience and who knows how much longer we will be able to see them in their natural habitat, i just didnt want her to miss this unique experience. she put the goggles on and was instantly in awe! came up to gasp for more air! snorkeling with a marine turtle was something very new for her and she was just in awe! the turtle was just next to her, she could have touched it, it was that close! fortunately for our fellow snorkelers the turtles didnt mind us humans at all and were too kind to show up again and again and again for everyone else to be in awe too!
my time with the turtles was something very special indeed and i thought that sometimes you just have to let go and you might be rewarded…..

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melbourne cup or how to have a good excuse getting wasted on a tuesday!

melbourne cup or the race that stops nation has been a very big day for aussies today! everyone here in hervey bay was excited about it and it felt a bit like new years eve….when talking to people they all say the same: its not really about the cup rather than having an excuse to be drunk on a weekday! hahahaha when a lovely barista told me that this morning as well,i had to laugh so much!i knew from our landlord how holy that day is and that by noon everyone would be usually totally wasted! since i know aussies are early birds it didnt suprise me that the party was already starting at 8 am! last weekend we had spent just one night in rockhampton to cut our car journey short for the girls not to suffer. when we checked out at 8 am and went to search for a place for breakfast we found two lovely cafes next to each other. while we were worried if any cafe would be open that early in the morning,especially on a sunday, we saw from far away that both cafes were FULL! in fact there were long queues to order food!!!! at 8 am on a sunday that was truly something!!! full with locals who were having breakfast in large groups with friends and families!everyone seemed very happy and cheerful and no one besides us looked like having missed a good sleep….when i think back of my life in holland: even if i had a good sleep it would be nearly impossible for me to get out of my pyjamas that early on a sunday….lol! at ten o´clock when we were eating breakfast that place was already almost empty! wow! i instantly thought of my friend andi in den haag complaining that every place opens so late as her girls were early birds too and by 8 she would be ready to go out!….haha.hey andy, you would love it,everything opens very early here!you should plan your next holidays in beautiful oz! i remember in germany on the so holy sundays no cafe would open before ten!
anyway, melbourne cup is the most popular social event and number one horse racing event in australia. while the main race takes part in melbourne,local races take part throughout the country.the race is telecasted live worldwide and people dress up in their best clothes and especially women wear pretty dresses and hats!
as most of the people get wasted on this important event it is announced as a public holiday in most states. having said that i would have loved to use that excuse too get wasted on that event too….lol!

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a new life!

something beautiful has happened! two days ago my dear friend clarice gave birth to baby luna malou and am deeply touched about the new addition to her family! querida luna,i already love you very much!!!

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whitsunday on a thursday!

one thing i just could never really imagine was the pictures of the whitsundays i had seen in my earlier life. this beach called whitehaven beach which i only knew from tv commercials and magazines was the most beautiful beach i have ever seen! thought it would be a tourist trap and that beach does not really exist and its all photo shopped anyway,i finally witnessed its whole beauty in 3D today! its bluer,whiter,wider,bigger and prettier than any poster can possibly show! when our super cool guide showed us the view from the lookout hill inlet overlooking the gorgeous and utterly beautiful and mind-blowing whitehaven beach i was glad i had taken my sunglasses with me! the white of the silica sand,combined with the azur blue of the sky and the turquoise waters almost blindsided me! oh,my gosh! it was right in front of me,it was real and it was not airbrushed! i think i took like 100 pictures of just one angle lol. no wonder the whitehaven beach,being a part of the great barrier reef marine park is a world heritage area!
and than we were in beach heaven just walking around,swimming,snorkeling.
the creeks were full with stingrays waiting patiently for the high tide so they could feed on the crabs! of course we all had a close look at them and thalia couldnt get enough. meanwhile tosca was just happy splashing in the bath tub warm waters and chasing the poor hermit crabs and the little fishes…..
the whitsundays are a collection of island with whitsunday island being the center of it. it is believed that its name was given by captain cook who had traveled this area and discovered the islands on whitsunday. hence the name.
we had taken a rafting boat to reach the islands.
the boat was incredibly fast and the crew consisting of a ridiculously cool and friendly guide/skipper and the female captain. both of them in the beginning of their twenties only!since i have always rather been an underdog and light years away from being supercool,let alone cool,its funny and weird watching those youngsters handling things. i totally admire them! they are super cool,super friendly,super reliable and super strong! in fact i am in awe since the beginning of our trip as i have the feeling oz is managed only by youngsters! aah, to be young again…..
this time we were not in the mood of sailing. we wanted something fast. and this trip was just fantastic! the young skipper turned guide was an excellent source of information and on on our way back to the mainland he just turned on the music pretty loud and tosca who was just about throwing tantrums immediately started dancing in her seat and while thalia was sitting happy and relaxed the captain started screaming we should all hold tight now. and what happened than was incredible! she just drove insanely fast and overbalanced the boat !omg it was like sitting in a roller coaster hahaha everyone started screaming like crazy, us included and we all couldnt get enough! hahaha it was hilarious! that fast rocing boat rocked tosca directly into zzzland and she only woke up when we arrived at the marina.phew! i think the captain could read my mind….hahaha. when you are as young as the crew today one has so much courage and confidence! the older you get the more fearful one gets. well, at least i do…and it sucks big time lol.
happy and thankful to have seen something that beautiful, i am going to join the rest of my family to zzzland….

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