Australia, blogging, Travel

Travelling to the Pilbara in Western Australia

I was 22 years old and I was lucky to make it to 23. But I didn’t know that yet.

While other girls my age flocked to tropical getaways or the beach for holidays, I was going to the remote North-west of Australia. The fact that I’d promised to visit a good friend in a mining town in the Pilbara, some 5000 km from a major centre, was seen by my beach-loving colleagues as evidence I’d lost the plot, or had fallen in love? Or possibly, both?

Western Australia’s Pilbara Region

Western Australia’s Pilbara Region

The Pilbara is a large, dry, thinly populated region in the north of Western Australia. It is known for its Aboriginal peoples; its ancient landscapes; the red earth; and its vast mineral deposits, in particular iron ore.

Wikipedia

This arid Western Australian region is known to be hot and very dry. Even the Aboriginal word for the area bilybara, means,”dry” in the Indigenous Nyamal and Banyjima languages. Given that it would take a staggering and torturous 51 hour drive across several deserts from the Eastern side of Australia, tourists are warned not to travel unprepared, as this region can be terribly unforgiving. Little did I know how telling those words would become, later in the trip.

The Pilbara was an unusual and very different place to my home in the East. That interested the 22 year old me. Books on the area were non-existent so my only knowledge came from the one person I knew, who lived there. Despite the reservations of the “Negative Nancys,” at work, I boarded four consecutive flights spending a total of 19 hours circumnavigating my way round to the other side of Australia by air, in order to arrive at a place, called Port Hedland.

Driving in to Port Hedland

I wrote in my travel journal:

Driving into Port Hedland from the airport, the first thing I notice is the redness; the country is so very red and flat. So flat you can literally see for miles not that there is much to see other than red dusty sand. Ancient soils like these look quite alien and hostile to a city girl, but, occasionally, I spot a vestige of low saltbush or a stunted tree struggling valiently to survive against the harshest of climates.

Tell me again why did I choose to come here?

My Travel Journal ~1984

After meeting a few of my friend’s housemates and family, it didn’t take me long to notice the town of Hedland, as the locals called it, was naive and raw – undeveloped, with an pervasive atmosphere of transience. The residents appeared similar to a young child unable to hold its attention, they were restless, found it hard to settle down, were constantly agitating and always seeking something more than Hedland could offer them.

The rudimentary Hedland Drive in. It closed when video availability came to town.

No one is putting down roots in ‘Port Hedland,’ I was quickly informed. Everyone here speaks in terms of before PH, [Port Hedland], and after PH; the present moment being likened to a kind of stagnant quagmire they wade through, before true reality begins again. This was a place in which the people exist because they have to; a place they stayed in, only for as long as they had to stay.

The majority of indigenous families live on the town’s outer fringes, usually in Government sponsored housing. There’s a multitude of social problems and I note the streets are littered with rusty car wrecks and the detritus of disadvantage. Prejudice and racism appears rampant. I feel ashamed of my comparatively affluenct city life and my general ignorance of the Aboriginal’s plight.

Even the weather seemed discontent in Hedland. Cyclones regularly ravaged swathes of this country in summer, perhaps made worse by the lack of hills or trees which might ameliorate the wind’s fury. You have to be resilient to live here or perhaps it is the living here that makes a person tough. I am unsure which.

My Travel Journal ~1984
The roads in and around Port Hedland c1984

Port Hedland Mining and Maritime Activities

Almost without exception, the town’s people were either directly employed by the mining industries of salt and iron ore, or performing ancillary jobs supporting mine workers. Mining was, after all the very reason this town was established.

One thing that is impressive about Hedland besides the mine, is the port, impressive by its sheer scale. It handles the largest tonnage of any port in Australia and it is here that that salt and iron-ore is unloaded, screened, crushed, stockpiled and transferred from wharf to ship to export.

Mammoth iron-ore carriers frequent the port and dot the horizon, transporting the iron-ore to Japanese, European, Chinese and Korean markets. A 426km-long railway was built to carry ore from one of the world’s biggest mining facilities in Newman, southeast of Port Hedland. This busy line is visible along the road to Port Hedland and trains and their cars are up to 3km long.

https://growporthedland.com.au/about-port-hedland/

Near the port itself, I recall seeing towering piles of salt and massive, massive ships – both of which seemed higher than a six story building. The tides here are huge and the land so flat, a shipping Pilot is necessary to guide the huge vessels in and out of the port.

My only Helicopter ride

I was invited aboard a Helicopter Taxi bringing the Port’s Shipping Pilot, back to the land after he completed his task guiding the ships. Nowadays WH&S would most likely prohibit such familiarity by a tourist. It was my first and probably my last helicopter ride. It was jerky and noisy, something I had not anticipated.

Mining Boom and Rental Accomodation in Port Hedland

During the 90’s mining boom, rental prices for accomodation in Hedland became ludicrously expensive and resources were stretched to breaking point. Any kind of accomodation was so sought after, the one pub in Hedland closed down and both it and shipping containers were converted to flats for workers. The workforce became ‘fifo,’ – (fly in, fly out workers), in which they were separated from their family for weeks on end, then able to fly home for some leave before flying back to resume work again. The population is now over 14,000.

My final night in Hedland was spent at the open air theatre. Even in winter, it is so cooler to sit outside under the stars on a camp chair and watch a movie and of course, there are no city lights to dull the screen. Sadly, I can’t even remember what movie we watched.

The events over the ensuing week overshadowed this and the first few nights of my visit. A story I will relate another day.

Me in the Pilbara
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Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Meditation

Sometimes the Universe sends you just what you need to hear in an unexpected moment. I hope these words will be as meaningful for you, today, as they were for me.

May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.

May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognise and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.

May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.

May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not indifferent.


Source: Thich Nhat Hanh Metta Meditation
Motivational, Philosophy

Problem Solving

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”

James Cameron

Most of the effort in problem solving is in firstly correctly identifying the real problem. Once it has been identified, a problem becomes much easier to break down into chunks. Find 15 minutes each day to slowly work through an issue that you have been procrastinating about.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

Problems aren’t something to be ignored in the hopes they will disappear. A new problem might be seen as a new opportunity to progress further to the common goal.

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”

Jim Rohn

blogging, Community, Photography, Travel

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Mountain Top

Kakani 1988

It was a perfect afternoon on a perfect mountain top, 30 km west of Kathmandu in Nepal.

We’d travelled in the back seat of an ageing and dusty Black Toyota sedan to Kakani. The lack of seat belts in the car might have given an inkling of the car’s advanced age, but it was mainly the dark exterior that prompted our Nepalese guide to label it, “the Mafia car” suggesting with a hearty laugh, that our driver looked “criminal!”

nepal guide
A young Amanda at 6500 Feet at Nagarkot with Nepalese Guide Madhav

Thirty odd years ago, the road to Nagarkot Mountain Top and Lookout was narrow, winding and precipitous. Dirt tracks, barely one car width wide, that would be better suited to goats, twisted their way sharply around steep hillsides with never a guardrail to be seen.

Despite this, I was focused less on my safety than on the countryside itself. It looked alive and thriving. Almost every hill no matter how steep, had been heavily terraced and cultivated with crops. Quaint mud-brick farm cottages clung to 80 degree slopes and the mountainous backdrop grew ever more spectacular with each and every bend. I pinched myself.

Was I really here at the top of the world? I marveled at how the puffy white clouds perched high up in the sky were not actually clouds at all, but the Himalayan mountain tops tinged with snow!

Every few kilometres, or so, smiling school children appeared on the roadside, waving enthusiastically at our car, as we passed by. Our Guide informed us that many of the chuldren walk several hours just to reach the nearest school. No School of the Air exists in Nepal. A very different life to Australia, where schools are located in every suburb and in remote areas, lessons with a teacher are given over radio communication, (now, presumably skype), each day.

nepal mountain road

Nagarkot Lookout

On reaching Nagarkot Lookout, we were invited to sit on a deck chair at the cliff’s edge. I actually couldn’t stop smiling. I have never seen anything so extraordinary. It is a cliché, but the air was palpably clean and pure. Hauntingly beautiful flute music played in the air adding to the mystical atmosphere.

Sitting and looking out upon the highest mountain tops of the world brought me feelings of tranquility and material needlessness to my head. In those moments, any yearning for material objects and acquisitions completely vanished. Even my materialistic other half, the Moth, agreed that afternoon. We struck up a conversation with another traveler. He was from – wait for it: the Australian Gold Coast. Thousands of miles from home and I meet a stranger who lives less than 60 minutes from my home!

Meanwhile Mudhav, our smartly dressed guide, complete with pristine, ‘Mrs-March” bleached shirt, stated he never gets bored with the mountains. He reads Wordsworth, Keats and other romantic English poetry. He says his presentation as a guide, is different with ‘good people,’ like us.

Again, I smile!

We didn’t anticipate the final surprise that was yet to come.

Nepalese Women Carry the Load

As we sat on that small area of level ground surrounded by precipitous cliffs, enjoying the view at 2200 metres above sea level, two women appeared from below the cliff face, casually climbing up and over the rock incline directly in front of us.

Such was their physical strength they were able to scale an almost, I guess, 80 degree vertical slope, as if they were taking a light stroll.

There is no photo of them, but to our shock we noted they carried large straw baskets down their back, laden to the brim, with potatoes. The basket was held by a narrow rope tied around their forehead. You can imagine our astonishment and our incredulity at the strength of their necks under such a load!

Amazing Women!

Nagarkot and Kakani can get very cold as night draws near, but the view of  Mt. Annapurna, as well as the other mountains that make up this part of the Himalayas: Machhapuchhare, Ganesh Himal and Langtang, are in a word stupendous Mountain Tops. It is very easy to sit and watch those mountains for hours, so mesmerizing is this special part of the world.

My photographs are showing their age and the quality is not so good so I have included two videos to enhance your impression of the area.

Join in the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

Every other week we post a topic to inspire a post on a particular theme. This week the theme is Mountain Top. Your challenge is to feature a story, photo/s, a recipe or anything else that captures your imagination.  

You can post once, twice or as many times as you’re inspired by the topic.

Sandy and I take turns in posting challenges.  Keep notified of new themes by following both our blog’s at  Something to Ponder About  and  The Sandy Chronicles

How to join the Friendly Friday Challenge

  • Write a post titled ‘Friendly Friday – ‘Mountain Top’ and add a tag: ‘Friendly Friday’
  • Include a link to this Friendly Friendly Challenge within your own post.
  • Optionally, you can include the latest Friendly Friday Challenge logo. Download it here.
  • Comment below, on this post so that others can read your post.
  • Remember to include a url link to your own post in your comment below. This will guarantee a visit, in the event the automatic ping-back does not work.
  • Visit other Friendly Friday entries by following their links. It’s fun!
  • Follow the host blogs to see future Friendly Friday Challenges

The Benefits of Joining Blog Challenges

  • Increase your exposure in the blogging communities
  • Inspire and be inspired by diverse blog articles
  • Challenge your creativity
  • Make new friends and keep in touch with old ones

Are you joining in with this theme?

Where is your favourite Mountain Top?

How do you feel when you reach the summit? This motorcyclist loves the countryside too.

Blog challenge Friday
flowers
blogging, Philosophy

Are You Ready Yet? How We Shop

Are you ready yet?”

My other half, aka the ‘Moth,’ called out – anxious to leave for another shopping expedition. Meanwhile, I tapped away on the keyboard writing yet another blog post.

I won’t be long,” I distractedly shouted back down the hall.

But time then slowed for me; I was engrossed in getting my thoughts down from the jumble of words that regularly spin about in my head.

I dislike shopping for food or groceries as it is such a mind-numbingly, repetitive, ‘rinse-repeat-rinse,’ kind of task that my other half likes to do, almost weekly. For him, it’s like a contemporary equivalent of an old religious ritual. And each time we do it, I have to grit my teeth.

Before the move to the Home by the Sea, the prelude to a shopping trip would be a visit to a delightful Italian cafe or Pasticceria and, in this way, I’d come to believe shopping could be enjoyable especially when it comes with a cup of hot chocolate as well!

The Pasticceria Cafe was run by an Italian man from Venice, with a rich and deep baritone voice, named Aladdino, who made the very best Italian hot chocolate! If you imagine a cup of blancmange-like, soupy thick, steaming dark chocolate milk, that you almost have to spoon into your mouth, you’d have the general idea.

Aladdino could often be quite intimidating, or so I found one day when I reminded him I liked the hot chocolate made really thick and soupy.

“You Australians,he bellowed at me in a tone that would impress Pavarotti. “It’s not a pudding, you know!

“It is a pudding for me,” I quip back. And my bribery comfort food, I think to myself; as it is some consolation for the ‘battle’ ahead.

Grocery shopping can be a suburban battlefield.

The stainless steel shopping trolleys are our ‘cavalry steeds’ and the supermarket aisles, a place where a cavalry-style charge might occur, if only during a red light special!

Not me, or the MotH! But a photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Each week, I notice the faces of shoppers at the supermarket. Stereotypes are always well represented.

There’s the elderly gentleman trying in vain to find Bi-Carb Soda, the fatigued mothers with crying babies insitu or children wanting popcorn, the bogan with a shirt-busting beer gut in a rush to get to the pub, the well-heeled Hampton fan searching for gourmet cheese and others who try to emulate TV reality show Chefs in an effort to tantalize their family’s tastebuds, while still balancing the budget.

The battlefield is exhausting!

shopping centre with consumers

The Rise of Generic and Convenience Food

Food prices continue to spiral upwards, coercing us to buy more of the less expensive generically branded items. Many seem to be quality degraded items from dubious overseas manufacturers, where one imagines working conditions to be almost medieval. I am lucky enough to pass them by if I can. The appearance of more and more convenience/ready-made meals is also worrisome.

Convenience food options seem to multiply each week taking up more and more shelf space.

I nearly lost the plot and caused a public scene last month, when I found they were selling shredded iceberg lettuce and grated carrot, in a bag!

So, now the working family has no time at all to grate a carrot, or perhaps the problem is they don’t own a grater? Will children grow up not knowing how to grate a carrot for a humble salad sandwich?

This leads my runaway mind to think of a future where only the elderly remember what a virgin vegetable actually looks like prior to peeling, slicing, dicing and wrapped in plastic bags lined with preservatives!

But we all have to eat, or face a riot on the home front, particularly if there are any remaining adolescent children lurking in the bedrooms!

How much longer are you going to be?

The disembodied voice filters down the hallway suddenly dragging me back to reality. It has happened again:  I have become engrossed in another blog post.

female writing

Has your supermarket changed?

Do you enjoy convenience food options?

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proverb from Tibet with snowy background
blogging

Norwegian Wisdom in Words

Some years ago, I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marvelled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

These often humble words, offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

birch trees beside a Norwegian stream

Mange bekker små gjør en stor elv.

Many little streams make a great river.

Photo by Rawan Jo on Pexels.com

Smuler er også mat.

Crumbs are food too.

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Environment, History & Traditions, Motivational

Sunday Sayings – Planting Trees

Toowoomba street and painted bird with lavender

“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~Greek Proverb

Goodreads.com

The Chinese sages also appreciated their value:

Chines proverb about planting a tree in a voice bubble

Let us not forget the importance of creating nature; fostering and nurturing Mother Earth.

Trees provide so many benefits to our everyday lives. They filter clean air, provide fresh drinking water, help curb climate change, and create homes for thousands of species of plants and animals. Planting a Billion Trees can help save the Earth from deforestation.

Helping to Plant Trees

Depending on location, it costs between $1-$3 to plant a tree including ongoing maintenance and stewardship. Including organizational overheads, I see this as a real bargain, especially for something that might last 70 years!

The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign is a major forest restoration effort with a goal of planting a billion trees across the planet.

So you don’t have the time or don’t want to get your hands dirty? I hear you, but you can still support the various organizations around the world depending on your preferred location.

Tree Planting Organizations

Landcare – Australia; (not for profit)

Greening Australia – 20 locations around Australia (also not for profit) 25 million plants established; 15,000 hectares of habitat restored; 150,000 tonnes of carbon sequestered per annum

Reforestnow – based in Byron Bay Austalia (not for profit) -planted  105,227 trees to restore rainforest in Australia on behalf of donors from around the world (as at 23 Mar 2021).  $5per tree.

Onetreeplanted – a global not for profit organization working against deforestation. $1 per tree.

Graph Source: One Tree Planted

Plant a billion trees initiative – South America, Africa and China

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Go Ahead.

Our planet depends on it.

blogging, Environment

Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge – Something Different

Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge

Sandy set a Friendly Friday challenge to come up with Something different and I was convinced I’d failed to find anything noteworthy until I read Ally Bean’s Rudolph Framework which she’s adapted from a marketing analysis by author Ann Handley.

reindeer encased in glass bubbles art
Not ‘Rudolph’ but quirky namesake

The Rudolph Marketing Framework

The Rudolph Framework “helps you understand the actual problem you and your business solve for your customers– not the one you *think* you solve.” Click HERE to be taken to her fun explanation of this framework.

thespectacledbean.com/2021/02/23/applying-a-business-framework-to-this-personal-blog-to-tell-a-tale/

Most know, or will quickly find out, I am no blog business guru and to be frank, StPA is purely self-expression via my own mindful meanderings covering a multitude of topics from the environment to photography.

Therefore, you might, as I initially did, think this Rudolph exercise holds little relevance in the blogging world and is akin to writing one of those verbose, but glib ‘mission statements.’ [Groan]

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

Those two words, ‘mission statement,’ is enough for me to tune out and yet, reading further, I quickly realized that I did want to know where I might be headed blog-wise, and that a little blogging self-examination may indeed be useful, at least to me. Add to that, Ally mentioned that she was curious to see where the framework would take other bloggers. Thus, I’d dive right in. I may have taken it in a tangent way off the original intention, but it IS an experiment so who knows where we will end up.

Following are the Framework questions. One fills in the blanks for how it pertains to your blog. Like one of those grammar exercises back in school. Easy, right?

Something to Ponder About Blog’s Rudolph Framework

  1. Once upon a time, there was a blog focused on information important enough to share with others that promoted open, independent discussion called Something to Ponder About.
  2. It has the capacity to question, to inform, to frustrate and possibly to validate aspects of environmental change, in addition to various other topics.
  3. Some people doubt it because they’re sure technology will be the saviour in any environmental disaster and the blogosphere is merely filled with rank amateurs who not only ignore contradictory information and opinions, but seem hell-bent on locking up the planet, subverting business progress or fixate on their own capitalistic endeavours. [which is incorrect].
  4. But one day, the earth shouts at ALL its people so loudly that heads turn and deaf ears and closed eyes open.
  5. Which means that more folks become interested in environmental change and start to connect with bloggers and others who recognize we all live on one heavenly body.
  6. To help the awareness of planetary health and survival for all sentient beings.
  7. And that matters because the global population needs access to independent information and different opinions, from many diverse sources which results in an informed global community, who might be more proactive about positive change, mindful of equity and respectful of differences.
  8. In the process, you help coalesce a community of global cohesiveness and egalitarian understanding with blogs being one small catalyst.
  9. The Planet gets a kiss!

Applying the Rudolph Framework to Your Own Blog

If you wish to try this writing experiment with your own blog, check in with Ally. Blogger etiquette would suggest you cite Ann Handley and include a pingback to The Spectacled Bean.

reflecion in glass ball
Something Different

If you wish to join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge, check the instructions, or visit Sandy’s Friendly Friday post.

I will be back with another Friendly Friday challenge theme on Friday 12th March, 2021.

Amanda

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blogging, Photography, Travel

Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge – On the Way

Even though few people are currently travelling, most of us have travel stories about our global adventures, that we can re-visit through writing and photographs.

Welcome back to the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge, where I challenge you to create a post and share your stories, photographs, or memories, that you experienced ‘On the Way,’ to, or from, somewhere. It may be a shop, airport, workplace, historic site, residence, or whichever place you choose.

Friendly Friday Challenge Theme

On the Way

Instructions on joining the two weekly challenge is found here.

If you prefer an abridged form, you will find that further below in this post.

Now let’s take a trip through photos and a story:

In addition to the above photographs, I’m sharing a story of Just another person from around the world from 1986 that fits with the theme.

On Our Way – to the Airport

It was steaming hot and humid, as only Thailand can be. The vacation was over, but with our well-cured suntans and fond vacation memories lingering softly in our minds, the ‘Moth,’ (ie. Man of the House), and I were ushered into the rear seat of a Mercedes, by two young men who would drive us to Bangkok International Airport.

This older model ‘Merc,’ clearly nearing its use-by date, was the Taxi Airport Transfer our Travel Agent had kindly arranged, which meant we’d avoid navigating Bangkok’s public transport system in the oppressive, pea soup-like heat that had surrounded us back at Pattaya Beach.

Thankfully, the Mercedes was air-conditioned; mind you, the cooling unit was working extra hard to reach anywhere near the back seat and in reality, a vintage metal blade fan spewing tepid air would have been more effective than this car’s cooling system and I smiled a wry smile to the Moth, now seated beside me.

Photo by tom balabaud on Pexels.com

My hand reached across the numerous cracks and wrinkles in the sweat-caressed leather upholstery and touched the Moth’s hand. He’d been a tad nervous about travelling in South-East Asia and was clearly relieved he’d soon be on a plane heading home, to Australia.

Then something happened which began to make that look a little less likely.

We’d already been stuck in not one, but two, traffic jams and to pass the time, our Thai guide and his young driver would repeatedly push the ‘eject’ button, on the 1970’s era cassette player, and laugh uproariously when the ageing cassette plopped out on the floor. Added to this it seemed that absentmindedly switching the windscreen wipers on and off, and on and off again, despite the sun blazing outside, was an additional source of mirth for these two young guys.

Was this their first city job, I wondered? They looked like they were still a bit wet behind the ears.

Glancing over at the car’s instrument panel, I noticed the temperature gauge was spiking ‘hot,’ while the petrol gauge’s needle now flickered on ‘Reserve,’ indicating the fuel tank was close to empty. I raised an eyebrow and felt a slight tightening in my chest.

Cautiously, I asked the Thai Guide how much longer it might be before we’d reach the airport? In broken English, the reply came that it would be around half an hour, more or less, depending on traffic problems around the airport. I raised my eyebrows and looked again at the Moth.

Should I say something more about potentially running out of petrol?

I hesitated for a moment and crossed my fingers, but remained silent.

traffic jam Bangkok 1986
A Bangkok Traffic Jam in 1986. After two hours, we had travelled 100 metres.

Minutes ticked by and I began to calculate whether we could still make our flight if we did get stuck in another of Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams and whether the car would run out of petrol before we reached our destination.

I decided I should speak up.

“Won’t you need a little more fuel, soon?” I finally said, in a polite, suggestive way.

Both the driver and his offsider looked at each other, befuddled. After a moment, they shook their heads firmly. It seemed I might need to clarify a little more what I meant.

“The fuel gauge,” I said, gaining confidence and pointing.“It is showing empty.”

“Ah, hah,” the young Driver said, with a gentle laugh.

Temperature,” he said smiling and tapping the petrol gauge with a knowing nod.

Umm. I don’t think so.” I offered. I was shaking my head but in those days, I had a soft voice and hadn’t developed any kind of authoritative tone, so the driver easily shrugged me off with a quick, “No problem,” and flashed that broad and innocent Thai smile, that can charm almost anyone.

I sat back in my seat thinking there was no way we’d catch our flight if we ran out of petrol. I looked at the Moth, imploring him with my eyes to say something to the driver. His eyebrows were knitted together, yet he remained silent.

Would you like something to eat?” the driver then piped up? “A bowl of rice? You have time,” he said pointing to his watch.”

I thought a detour may use up even more petrol and remembering his questionable skills in reading gauges, I wasn’t confident we had any time for food. Declining politely, I advised him we’d eat at the airport, adding under my breath – if we ever get there.

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on Pexels.com

Several minutes later, the frenzied finger-pointing and gesticulating towards the car’s instrument panel, accompanied by feverish Thai mutterings between driver and colleague, suggested something was amiss.

Without warning, the Driver stepped hard on the Merc’s gas pedal. We sped off at high speed through the traffic. I suspected it wasn’t the pressures of time that had prompted his change of heart. He must have realised his mistake in reading the gauges and surmised fuel was now perilously low.

Falsely thinking that accelerating and reaching the airport faster would prevent the car from running out of petrol, meant we were now overtaking every car on the highway, at breakneck speed. I gripped the armrest tightly with one hand and the Moth’s hand with the other.

Just hold on! the Moth mouthed at me silently.

After what seemed like an eternity, I saw the terminal of Bangkok International Airport loom ahead of us through the windscreen. If anyone had been listening in at that moment, they would have heard four very audible and loud signs of relief from both the front and the back seat of the old Merc.

We had arrived.

Join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge

Do you have a story or photograph or two to share?

Compose a post, be that photograph/s, story or recipe, with the theme, ‘On the way,’ somewhere – and include both the tag, ‘Friendly Friday’ and a url linking back to this post.

After publishing your post, return here and leave a comment with your post’s url. That way other visitors can find your post and visit.

Do Follow the Friendly Friday Challenge blogs: The Sandy Chronicles, and StPA for future prompts.

Remember this challenge runs for two weeks and you are encouraged to post once, twice or as many times as you like.

Sandy will be back on Friday 26th February with a new challenge.

fjord norway with jetty
blogging, Philosophy

The World in Our Mind

Experts lay the origin of certain mental health complaints squarely at the foot of one’s early life experiences. That said, can they really account for as much as is suggested? If not, should psychological interventions be tailored to take this thought into account?

responsibility quote Gabor Mate

Environment and Genetics – Nature versus Nurture.

Marsha hosts a Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge –#WQWWC which I am joining in a little early today – as it is Wednesday here, already.

I believe the theme this week is Trustworthiness. My take on this theme is a little skewed, but I thought – Can I trust my intuition, my own thoughts? Should I trust my intuition?

Yesterday two things came to mind, nothing serious, just thoughts and today, those two things were most significant in events, both, in my house and the larger region where I live.

Intuition or coincidence?

Does this ever happen to you?

If you have pre-cognitive thoughts, do you or should you, trust them?

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Australia

Australian Slang – Lost in Translation, Mate

Sometimes, Australian Slang causes problems. Every Aussie uses it. When you’re born here, the meaning of those strange, shortened words are absorbed by osmosis. We are hardly even cognizant we’re saying them. We assume everyone understands what we mean.

australia meme
Photo Credit: Facebook

However, being so different to standard English words, the Australian Vernacular makes it difficult for non-native English speakers to understand, especially for those whose exposure to English has only been within the classroom, or via TV sit-coms. The full meaning of slang is often lost.

Mail Order Brides in Australia

Before the days of Tinder and dating agencies becoming mainstream, older single or widowed Aussie men might meet a prospective wife via a newspaper ad and through letters from The Philippines. Mail Order Brides wasn’t a nice social practice, but this story is not so much about that issue, as it is about the language barrier where slang is concerned.

The Moth’s (Man of the House), elderly Aunt had been divorced from her husband, Bob for some time, even though he still attended family gatherings. As Bob aged, he longed for company, so no one was particularly surprised when a delightful older lady, named Mary, accepted his offer to leave the Philippines, marry him and live in Australia.

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Australia Day Family Barbeque

One Australia Day, Mary and Bob attended a family barbeque not far from their new home. Most of the farmers in the area were also extended family members, so Bob introduced his new wife to the family and also to country hospitality: ie barbeque food: meat, sausages, pavlova and loads of Beer. Very traditional, if you are Australian.

A few hours later, it was clear to all that Mary’s new husband had consumed far too many beers to drive either of them home.

Lost in Translation

As Mary was impatient to leave, she started walking home along the long, dusty road, herself. As she went to leave, an approaching car pulled over. Leaning out the car window, a neighbouring farmer shouted:

“Where ya headed, luv?”

“I go home,” Mary answered, eyes a little downcast. Guessing she was the newcomer who lived at least a half hour’s walk away, the old farmer flashed a big grin and said:

“Come with me, luv. I’ll run you over.”

Terrified, with eyes as big as saucers, Mary turned around and dashed back to her husband’s side, crying,

“I not want to die. He kill me.”

Aghast and confused, Bob stuttered, “Steady on, luvie ….Whad, whadya mean?

Pointing to the farmer’s car, Mary said:

“I not want to die. He said, He’d run me over!”

That’s ‘Straya,’ mate!

Mental Health, Motivational

Free to Change Ourselves

An ever so slight adaptation of a quote from William James.

When things are grim for Christmas in your part of the world, it may help to ponder an old Norwegian saying: “behind those those dark clouds, the sky is always blue”. The old Norwegians did not have an easy life through the long, harsh, unforgiving winter. One group of settlers died out, literally starving to death in Greenland, but even so they balanced their negative thinking with such a positive saying.

In olden times, a negative attitude may not have been conducive to a successful community. They may have had to put emotions on the back burner and concentrate on sourcing or rationing meager food supplies. Life priorities were vastly different and yet, all that time these old people were fostering self-reliance and resilience to adversity.

We can learn much from their attitude if we are open to it.

What do you think? Is action correlated with our level of happiness?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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blogging, History & Traditions, Mental Health, Motivational

Sunday Sayings – Emotionally-Driven Thoughts

We spend a lot of time in our own headspace, either at work or at home relaxing. In lockdown, some of us might be alone with our emotional thoughts, much more than we have ever experienced before.

This level of introspection, or mulling over problems, can get to a person, especially if they are a deep thinker or highly sensitive.

Concentration, Energy and Motivation

The extent to which we are occupied by our emotional-driven thoughts is often the extent to which energy is diverted away from our working memory, our concentration and motivation. We find it hard to concentrate on our work when we have something on our mind. The monkey mind, it is often called.

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Caught Up in Our Emotions

We talk about being caught up in our emotions and it can feel like being trapped inside your own head. At these times, it is hard to re-focus on matters at hand. Our worry or frustration centres switch on and at times, go into, ‘overdrive.’

But those thoughts in our worry centre, are not reality-based thoughts. They are magnified, exagerrated, skewed or biased. We are so much more than those thoughts. Thoughts are not who a person is. Yet we give them power over our moods.

Just like a loud noise that bothers us, trying hard to block it out, will inevitably make the noise appear louder. This is because our focus on the noise has increased. We might even become angry and frustrated.

If we can’t remove the offending noise, we must decrease our focus in order to tolerate the annoying noise, or the many frustrations of our lives. If our attention is diverted away from focusing on the noise or the frustrations, we tend not to notice it and its persistence wanes.

Practising Mindful Strategies to Prevent Worry

Similarly, we can re-focus our attention away from the abyss of introspection, by practising ‘Mindfulness‘ techniques, which are designed to assist us in staying within the present moment. The only time we can act and live is right now, in the present moment. Everything else, the past and the future is only a construct of our minds, so focus on the here-and-now.

The Glennon Doyle and Buddha quotes may have been at odds, but one might assume their objectives were the same.

What do you think of this Sunday’s quotes?