A selective memory is the greatest asset of any traveller or adventurer.
When the mist comes in and you can’t find the path, you tell yourself, as you have done so often before, that you will never return to these wretched slopes, jungles, streets again.
And when you do return home, this deft attribute blots out the hardship and the fear and you begin to plan again to go where you have not travelled before.
Peter Hillary, from Journeys: Timeless Travel Quotations
Do I want to go to Africa now? Oh, yes!
A video taken from the top of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (previously known as the Burj Dubai).
It’s pretty amazing to see a city built in the middle of the desert, all the green parks are from irrigation.
Here’s a photo of the Burj Khalifa that I took when I was in Dubai last year.
The building is so tall, I couldn’t quite get all of it in the photo!
This is the London part of a British road trip that Claude Friese-Greene undertook in 1924, and filmed using his experimental colour process. Much of The Open Road has been restored and more information about the resulting 65min film can be found here.
Making sure I have the right converter for the countries I’m visiting has just become a standard part of travelling. I was lucky on my recent travels that all the countries I went to used the same plug, so I only had to take one converter. I brought a beautiful lamp in Turkey that I need to alter the plug on so I can use it in Australia. (Yes, I could buy a Turkey to Australia converter, but why bother finding one when I can just cut the old plug off and re-wire an Oz/NZ one on?)
I’ve never stopped to think about why countries have different shaped plugs, plugs with fuses, plugs without earths,or different voltages. Luckily, someone else wondered about this, and has shared their infomation in an entertaining article at Gizmodo:
If you buy a phone charger at the airport in Florida, you won’t be able to use it when your flight lands in France. If you buy a three-pronged adapter for le portable in Paris, you might not be able to plug it in when your train drops you off in Germany.
And when your flight finally bounces to a stop on the runway in London, get ready to buy a comically large adapter to tap into the grid there. But that’s cool! You can take the same adapter to Singapore with you! And parts of Nigeria! Oh yeah, and if said charger doesn’t support 240v power natively, make sure you buy a converter, or else it might explode.
Basically, the best way to guess who’s got which socket is to brush up on your WW1/WW2 history, and to have a deep passion for postcolonial literature. No, really.
Read the rest of this fascinating article here. (But while I get the WW1/WW2 connection, the relevance of postcolonial literature continues to evade me.)
These are some of my favorite photos of Palmyra, Syria.
Palmyra is an amazing ruined city in the middle of the desert in Syria. Pretty much my entire recent holiday was organised so I could finally visit. And it was worth it - beautiful, unique, and not at all crowded with tourists. I am definitely going back!
The Great Colonnade, looking towards the Monumental Arch
The Sanctuary of Bel through one of the smaller openings on the Monumental Arch
A crumbling tower tomb seen from Elahbel’s Tower
My holiday is over now and I’m flying back to Australia today. I had a wonderful time and saw some awesome places. It turns out I love ruins and museums so Palmyra and Jerash were my two favorite places. The Dead Sea was fun and I travelled with some really nice people.
I can’t wait to go travelling again!
I had a wonderful time in Turkey and Syria is different but still awesome. The only problem is that in Syria my mobile phone does not work and I cannot access my normal email account (also it is getting more difficult to find internet cafes). Meanwhile, I can still access my gmail account madscientistnz [at] gmail dot com, but cannot email other people as I don’t have any addresses saved in there!
I just wanted to reassure my family and friends that I have not dropped off the face of the earth, but I am having a wonderful time. I have got the hang of taking lots of photos and hope that some of them look good on the computer screen as well as the camera screen!
Normal emailing will resume when I get to Jordan on the 13th (have rearranged my travel so I can stay an extra day in Syria), I presume my phone will work there as well.
Edit: No, my phone doesn’t work in Jordan either. But I can get to my normal email address!
Wanderlust is an awesome application that has mapped out some of history’s greatest journeys. Amelia Earhart, Marco Polo, Around the World in Eighty Days; just choose a route to find out more.
Today is the start of my long-awaited holiday! I’m flying from Brisbane to Istanbul, then spending three weeks travelling down though Turkey, Syria, and ending up in Jordan’s capital Amman. I’m spending two days in Dubai to catch up with a friend living there, and then it’s back to Brisbane: real life, work, and the fun of choosing where my next holiday will be.
Don’t worry – I’ve pre-written entries and set them up to post automatically every second day or so, so you don’t need to stop visiting!
Since I’m spending all of today flying (my flight leaves at 2am so I’ll be at the airport before midnight), I thought this was an appropiate video to post!
This ‘Bare Essentials’ safety video is an excellent use of body painting – actual Air Zealand staff were used and they look like they are having a really good time!
And here’s some behind the scenes footage: