Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wow, what a bizarre few days...

Full of ups and downs..... pros and cons.... weirdness...

Pros:
- The Boi came home Tues night from India (yay!)
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- Ozeyarn ran out of a sale yarn I ordered online, so they sold me a non-sale yarn (Jo Sharp DK Wool, in black) at the sale price.
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- My Secret Pal Tea Cosy parcel arrived (thanks Amanda!) - photos below...
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- Got to go out with 2 of my oldest friends on the weekend, havent seen them for months!

- KnitPicks Harmony! Yay!


Cons:
- The Boi came home sick. We think he got a food bug from touching his India stuff and then eating.

- One of my KnitPicks needles is brokened.

- I didnt get the place I had my heart set on in Summer Hill. It was cheap AND perfect.

- Being told I was 'damaged', by The Tool (an acquaintance's boyfriend). When we first me a few years ago, he told me and the GF that we were only gay because we hadnt met the right man (and intimated that he was it). Then on the weekend, he would not believe that I didnt find him sexy and immensly interesting. He also likes to think of himself as a 'Master', which I dont buy at all (the thought of him 'dominating' submissive women made me vomit in the mouth). Since I did not fawn all over him and agree with everything he said, I was 'damaged'.
Ew. Vomit in the mouth again.

So very weird indeed.

My Secret Pal rocked - she sent the MOST awesomest 1950's kitsch poodle toilet roll holder... I squeeled when I realised what it was! Not to mention the 1950's koala tea-cozy, the skull face cloth, the ball of black bamboo cotton and one of pink Boutique, and numerous chocies and morrocan green tea (my fav).

Here is a picture of the parcel - isnt it great??







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Also finished my Tea Cosy for my pal - hope she likes it. (she should have got it yesterday)






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Here's something that will make you laugh. When the Boi came through Customs (finally, we had been waiting for over an hour), he was barefoot. They took his shoes because they had India crud on them! I also presented him with a metre high, purple, shiny, welcome-back-home monkey ballon - he loved it!


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thanks Jus and Parentals!

I just found out what they got me for Xmas..... Knitting Lingerie Style, Romantic Handknits, More Sensational Knitted Socks and The Drag King Book (pr0n for femmes, not sure my dad realises what its about).
They rock! (They also bought me Sensational Knitted Socks by accident).

I also got asked to design a sock for a certain online yarn retailer who's yarn I adore - w00t!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Congratulations Jodes

After many years of avoiding the question, Jodie Foster has come out.

I caught some of "My Sister Hank" on TV the other day - thinking, damn, she makes a cute boi! LOL...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hello peoples!
























I'm back (yay!). Whew. Lets just say spending an extra 5 hours in Delhi Airport when you dont want to sucks. At least they put me up in Kuala Lampur in a fancy pants hotel (my flight was delayed meaning i missed the connecting flight...)

All the nice photos are on Flickr now... but here's some for your consumption...
















Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bikaner and Pushkar... 5 days to go...

Bikaner is a weird city, i'll give you that.
A dusty industrial city, with beautiful Jain temples, fantastic forts and a really out of place water fountain.

Where we were staying was really cosy - in a guesthouse that was run by a guy called Jitu, and his wife, dad and mum.
We ate breakfast and lunch in his living room (it looked like your grandmother's living room). The hot water for the shower came in bucket form. That is, when you wanted a shower you asked for a hot bucket. Then you scoop out the water using a jug and wash that way. The Boi said it's pretty standard for India but its the first time on our travels we've come across it.

The fort looks looming and a bit boring, not giving you an idea of the beautiful interiors. Many of the rooms were painted so intricately, and one vaulted hall was carved entirely of sandstone. No photos we could take can ever do it justice.
The tour guide for the group in front of us (about 40 indians) told everyone to sit on the floor, then took our camera and made us sit in amongst them. He took our photos to show the tourists what they looked like (digital display). Many of these people had never seen a digital camera so it was pretty special for them (and bizarre for us!). ;D

The next day we did a camel safari! We got to go to the Karni Mata temple (Rat Temple) in Deshnok (the sign out the front says "the 8th Wonder of the World?"). We've seen photos of rats swarming everywhere (dont forget, you have to take shoes and socks off when you go in, its a temple) but maybe most of them were asleep. We only saw 50-60 or so... It was still pretty cool though. The temple is beautiful, with real silver doors and marble carvings everywhere.

Then on to the Camel Man's house. We hung out with his family while he rustled up some camels, and they invited us to take photos of their mud buildings.
Fin and I got onto the camels, and I imagine we looked ridiculous. Big hats, big asses, swaying away on a camels back. Fun though (for the first 45 mins) and then you start to get sore in places you didnt think was possible...
The desert in Rajasthan isnt the Sahara type desert, its more like Australian desert, scrubby, sand and gravel, the odd tree. Alot of people live out there, everytime you think that there's no one for miles around, a turbaned head pops over the next rise.

We didnt ride on the camels all day (sore bums) but to visit the villages we had a jeep (complete with loud Bollywood music and fast driving). A lot of driving. The best bit of the day was being invited into someone's home (just a random family) and eating desert grown water melons. The son cracked them in half with his hands, and we sat on the ground in a group eating them with our hands. Bliss!

Later on we went to a Bishnoi village of 'untouchables' (low caste). The people there are so friendly, so proud of themselves and their houses, it was amazing. We kept getting invited into peoples lovely mud hut houses, asked to take photos, offered chai and biscuits - wow. Fin and I felt really embarrassed - I mean you dont do this in OZ! You dont walk into someones lounge room or bedroom and take photos of them doing stuff.
(Jitu said that because of their caste they love the fuss tourists make over them, it makes them feel special. Caste Schmaste.)
I happened to spy a spinning wheel (of course) in the corner and one of the girls got it out and showed us how she spins wool into yarn. I had a go and failed miserably. The guide (who had been giving me advice) had a go and did worse hehe.

One woman was hilarious. She showed me how to grind millet in a stone grinder - then poured out a container and told me I couldnt leave til I had finished it all. Man it's hard work! Fin had a go and finished it up - so she said she was going to lock us in there until we finished the whole 10 kg bag! No english, but the gist was enough hehe...
Then she was going to teach me to make chapatis (and then make ALL the chapatis) but I said that I have already ruined one meal for her hehe. (And our body jewellery caused quite a stir. Fin has just been accepted as a guy in most parts of India, and guys dont have their noses pierced! And labret (lip) piercings? Women kept coming up and touching mine, thinking it was a jewel stuck on my lip... Very funny).
Really a great day.

We're in Pushkar now, the hippie town of the desert. There is a small lake, surrounded by ghats (steps into the water) and all the buildings around the lake are painted white or pale blue. Western (mainly Israeli) food abounds. We've been feasting on good pizzas, pesto pasta (yum) and great granola for breakfast. Waking up to the sounds of bells and chanting in the morning, its all been very relaxed and Shanti Shanti. I call it a hippie town, cos the bhang (hash) flows freely around here, and you can tell thats the only reason some people are here.

So basically just resting from all the travel! Off to Delhi in a couple of days, and I'll be home on 4th December.

Catch ya!
Bex

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer

Udaipur was sadly disappointing. Its long been a tourist centre since Octopussy was filmed in parts of the city (James Bond Movie), so although most of the buildings are beautifully cared for, prices reflect the tourist magnet aspect.

We wanted to go on a boat ride on the lake, but it was going to be 300 rps ($10) each, plus 25 rps to get into the area where the boats leave from, plus there would be about 20 other tourists on the boat too. This might sound ungrateful until you realise that 600 rps is how much you pay for a hotel room, and we paid 100 rps for a guy to row us up and down the Ganges in Varanasi.
The tourist area is pretty confined to one small part of the city (along with the palace etc) and there isnt much to see after that. We decided to leave a day earlier than planned and go straight to Jodhpur via a chicken bus.

Chicken bus? You know when you see the stereotype Indian buses on TV, with 5 people crammed on a seat and chickens and goats in the aisle....
Thats pretty much it. As we took the 'deluxe' bus livestock was not allowed but there were up to 6 people crammed into one space. I've never seen so many people on a bus.
We went through a police check point, and they came on board to make sure the bus wasnt over crowded (information courtesy of a little 'auntie' beind us who spoke perfect English); as soon as it was passed the bus stopped to cram even more people on!
2 hours later when another checkpoint loomed, the driver decided to bus-bash (i.e. leave the main road) and look for a way around! He drove down these tiny tracks, and finally met up with the main road, replete with extra passengers.

When we got to Jodhpur the auto (tuk-tuk) guys jump on the bus and herd you off before you know whats happening. What they didnt count on was Auntie-Ji! The little auntie from behind us organised an auto for us ("40 rps?!?! They are paying 30 rps and not a rupee more!'') and made sure we knew what was going on. She was awesome. I wish I could have at least got her name....

The hotel we had booked was next to a park, which the day before had been sprayed with 'plant medicine' (hotel guy) or pesticides (the smell). Our room reeked of it. We managed to get another a room on the next floor up, but wanted to change it the next day. Glad we did cos we got a room in a haveli! The building was lovely (right at the base of the fort) and the staff super helpful. They also had traditional dancing and singing everynight. One down side was the cochroach Fin found in his vegetarian pizza - we sent it back asking for no animals next time please hehehe....ewww...
Jodhpur is really polluted and hazy, but i kinda liked it all the same. Then we caught the overnight train to Jaisalmer.

Jaisalmer is really picturesque - everything looks to be made of sandstone and the fort is smack bang in the middle of the city. The air is a lot clearer out here and its easy to see the stars at night. Inside the fort is a warren of twisty-turny lanes, and delicately carved temples. I wish i could upload some pictures! There is so much to see here, and Fin says he likes here most of all. We have a really cute place to stay with a great manager (if we ever came back I would stay there again). There's only one problem.

Farts. Jaisalmer smells like horribled eggy-cabbage farts. Every now and then a slight breeze blows and you get overwhelmed by the smell of fart. I think it might be because of the cabbage they put in everything: Sweet corn soup, ingedients: corn, lentils, cabbage. Vegies au Gratin, ingredients: cabbage, cauliflower, pineapple (WTF i know). Ministrone, ingredients:cabbage, noodles and some kind of tomato soup base.
My theory is that everything has cabbage = the farty smell here. hehehehe....

Well, better hop off the net. Off to Bikaner tomorrow, home in 10 days.... cya!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Namaste!

** Sorry guys, cant load any pics here for some reason, but click here to see latest photos i uploaded on dialup speed... running out of room on Flickr!**

Well the Taj is totally, 100 % worth visiting. Its beyond beautiful.
We lined up with about 200 other tourists for the dawn veiwing, sat on a step and waiting for the sun to come up. Spectacular.

We spent about 2 hours there, and the mosque and other monuments were awesome as well. We wished we could have spent another day in Agra, there's so much to see. A lot of people (online) say Agra is polluted, crowded and full of touts but we didnt find that at all.
The only problem we had was leaving - all the nice, aircon, deluxe buses were pre-booked so we had to catch the cramped ordinary bumpy bus to Jaipur (6 hours). Fin spent half the time holding a lady's baby!
And the bus dropped us off in Jaipur in the middle of no-where, miles from the hotel. And then the auto-richshaw guy (tuk-tuk driver) dropped us off 1km away from where we asked to be taken cos he was a bastard (he kept slowing down in front of hotels, "nice hotel madam, you go there" - keep driving mate!).
Finally got a 15 yr old kid to cycle-rickshaw us to the hotel, and its a lovely place. So clean, so clean. Cleaner than Indian clean (indian travellers know what I mean by Indian standards clean). They change your sheets daily! And do a rockin' pizza.

Hopped into a cycle-rick today, and panicked that I had lost my wallet! Couldnt find it anywhere! Oh shite! But of course, it was in the back pocket all along (i had my money belt around my waist and smaller change in the wallet. I'm such a duffer.
We went to the Hawa Mahal (palace of the winds) which looks lovely from the street, but is sadly neglected inside. The walls are scrawled with graffiti and windows are hanging off their hinges. I got really upset by seeing it, wondering if this is how India treats all of its heritage monuments, until we went to the Amber Fort.

Awesome. Great. Fantastic. We caught the ordinary bus there (8 rps each hehe) and then rode an elephant up the hill to the fort itself. So much fun, we were cacking ourselves the whole way. The elephants dont look sad, they arnt chained and there is a society for the care of elephants next door. The looked happy, if not a bit bored.

The fort it self looks cared for, and we took the audio tour which was a great idea. We heard about the Ranis (the harem) and the Raja, the courtiers etc etc and kept wondering what the place would have looked like when it was first built.
Fin and I kept getting asked by strangers to have our photos taken with their children - there were plenty of other NGs there (foriegners) but it was just us. Maybe we look approachable (i think we do hehe).

Well, its getting late. Time to go to bed. Big day of shopping 2moro, then the night train to Udaipur.

Namaste! xx Bex

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hello from the most romantic place in India.

I'm in a net-cafe, about 40m away from the east gate of the Taj Mahal.

Our hotel is across the road and is a welcome oasis from the hustle and bustle of Agra. Diwali in Varanasi should be re-named the festival of firecrackers, every kid on every corner had some kind of explosive device! Talk about loud!

The 3 of us (Shera, the Boi and me) managed to score a seat on top of a houseboat to watch the nightly Aarti (offering to the river) and it was pretty neat. A night and early in the morning, the colour of the river is disguised enough that you forget whats in it, and it looks lovely.

A few days before we took a 6am boatride along the ghats, watching everyone go about their business. When the sun comes up, its a fiery red ball - truly beautiful.

Yesterday, just before leaving, we got to experience Indian Beaucracy in action. We decided to post some stuff home. Easy right?
First you need to go to a tailors. He then sews your parcel up in white fabric and seals it with red sealing wax. Then you can go to the post office.
The post office worker lead us through a rabbit warren of sorting and filing rooms to get the parcels weighed. Then there's the forms you need to fill out. Then sign this. The write your passport number on this. All in all, it took most of a day and ended up costing 1,500 rupees for me to post 2.7kg home (about $50). A bit of a shock!

All in all, its good to get out of Varanasi. When we left (about 8pm at night) and had to walk through tight alleys.... well, there's some unsavoury characters around offering drugs.

An 11 hour overnight train trip and here we are!
Fin is still feeling a bit tender in the tummy (poor thing) but hopefully will be better soon. Off tomorrow morning to go inside the Taj Mahal at dawn, then catching the bus to Jaipur for 2 days of shopping (dont tell Fin I said that hehehe).

Love Bex!
xxxx

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fin asked me what was I doing, looking at the new IK mag online....

Silly Boi - being in India doesnt stop me wanting to know what the next issue looks like!!!
hehe....

Namaste from Varanasi, the holy city of the Ganges!
Still no USB ports on my computer so no pics yet...
The 18 hour train journey from Haridwar to Varanasi was hell. We had to catch a train in cattle-class for 4 hours, then change, and catch a semi-aircon sleeper train overnight the rest of the way.
All well and good? Dont forget my perpensity for picking up food-bourne bacteria! About an hour before we had to change trains I didnt feel so good.... In fact right before our train stop I needed to be sick, now! The train was jammed with people waiting for it to stop so they could get off as well and the temperature was sweltering. Both Fin and I were fully loaded with packs, and I couldnt push my way through the crowd....
The next thing I remember is coming to on a pile of little didis (aunties), and then vomiting up all over myself. All down the front of my shirt. Lots.

The crushed women helped me stand up, and by this stage people cleared around the door so I could stick my head out and continue vomiting. I had about 5 people (not including Fin) holding onto me so I wouldnt fall out, people patting my back. A couple of men moved right back so I could sit down. You forget that in the hustle-bustle, crowding and pushing, the Indian people are really an emotional and caring one.

We managed to get off and find ourselves in the arse-end of India. I dont think any westerners have been to this station before, its certainly not mentioned in the Lonely Planet. I'm trying to cover my vomit-stained clothing with my scarf and remain inconspicious - very hard with a crowd of about 10 people staring.
Fin became my super-hero - he carried both our giant packs and one of the day packs so I wouldnt have to. We couldnt find any toilets (that I could use) until we found the "Upper Class Ladies Waiting Room". Wait, I have an upper class ticket and I'm a lady!
It was airconditioned and thats all that was going for it. The toilets didnt flush, the showers didnt work but I managed to get myself reasonably clean, change and escape with a little old lady harrangueing me in Hindi the whole time.

We then went and found our platform and waited for the train. I spent most of this time kneeling on the platform, head over the edge heaving my guts up. I've never been so sick. I am also not scared of the dirt here anymore hehehe.

It was a relief to get on our train, we could lie down and try to get some sleep (with many toilet breaks) before we got to Varanasi.

And its not as bad here as people say, I expected more vicious touts and hard sell. Its taken me 2 days to feel semi-ok (with Fin force feeding me Gastrolyte) and i've since caught a cold. But at least i'm not throwing up!

Yesterday we went to Sarnath (a special Buddhist place) and saw the Boddhi tree that Buddha originally sat under and taught from. Well, its a tree from part of the originial.
We also saw some excavated ruins (umm, its ok to walk all over them here, not like stay-behind-the-ropes at home) and a Thai buddhist temple. We've hooked up with an American woman called Shera (i keep thinking princess of power and singing the He-Man song). She's just finished a 10 day trek in the Himalayas, and then told us she is 60 years old!!!! WTF, I would have said late 40s!
Anyway, we have breakfast together and went to Sarnath together as well.

Today is Diwali - the festival of lights. The Boi and I are gonna try and find a post office, and maybe do a little more shopping before the festivities begin.

Catch you all later, xxx Bex

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The other night, an elephant walked past my balcony...

Welcome to Haridwar!
It was a shame I didnt have my camera nearby to take a photo.... the elephant was followed by glittering carriages in which people dressed as gods were being paraded. Interspersed between the gods were raucous marching bands, with crazy sequined outfits.

Haridwar is one of India's holiest cities, sitting on the Ganga (ganges). Its packed full of pilgrims from all over India - it meant that we (as westerners) were hassled less as there was plenty of other mugs to sell their wares too. I bought these interesting carved wooden stamps, I hope Customs will let them back in the country!

(BTW - I've put some India photos into my Flickr if you want to have a look)

The next day we went on a 'safari' (ummm, not enough animals for it be a real safari) in Rajaji National Park. The tour guide, Sanjeev, has his own baby elephant he adopted called Yogi, and we got to get up real close with him! He trunk-drooled on Fin which was too too funny! (think of a runny nose mixed with dirt, coming out of a trunk).


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Then we went into the park proper. Sanjeev knew his stuff and pointed out all different kinds of birds and monkeys to us. We even saw woodpeckers (bizarre). We walked down a path that had thick forest on either side (like Jungle Book) when he stopped and told us to be very quiet.

He asked if we could hear that 'noise' - turns out it was deer speaking to each other, saying there was a leopard or tiger in the area...
Another 50m down the track, and there were leopard footprints in the dirt!
We came out of the track onto the banks of the Ganga, and had a bit of a rest. On the way back to the car, Sanjeev pointed out some tiger's footprints - they were bigger than my hand! I was kinda glad we didnt see any big cats!

Later on that day we decided to head to Rishikesh for a break.

Rishikesh rocks! The town proper is nothing special, but as you get further north its really gentle. We have a super cheap and basic hotel room (300 rps per night = $9) that over looks the Ganga and the temples. I love it.



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You can get almost any food at the restaurants here (I had a decent pizza the other night) as well as wonderful Indian food. The ambience is really quiet for India and there is enough westerners around that we dont get stared at heaps.
We went white water rafting on the Ganga yesterday - and it was fun! I REALLY didnt want to go but Fin talked me into it. We got to jump into the water and swim next to the raft, and I nearly got thrown out on the bigger rapids (dont worry mum - i was wearing a helmet and life jacket, promise). Heaps o' fun!

Today we are resting and recuperating, and catching up on emails... I'm feeling the best I have been for a long time, and didnt need to take my meds this morning which was super.

Thanks again to Joy, Lena and Nyondo for putting us up and taking care of me!
Rewalser Lake is awesome and I can see why those 3 girls love living there. The community is really friendly and its so peaceful compared to other parts of India.



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Walking around the lake and seeing the 'sacred' fish (in a scared lake, of course!), getting chased by the not-so-sacred monkeys, it was a really nice place to stay. The wild mountain nuns are hilarious too - so not like nuns over in Australia - they are pranksters and jokesters and love having their photos taken (cos they are pretty hehe).

Side note: Things I have lost in India
1 x pair of sunglasses I lost down the train toilet as I was throwing up
1 x pair of sunglasses between Mandi and Rewalser
1 x blue sports bra, as above
1 x my stomach lining!
(I only have one other bra with me - Fin jokes I can probably lose it while wearing it)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm ALIVE!!!!!! Barely.

Hi guys! This is long sorry....

India is soooo weird and crazy and interesting and confronting all at once.

I liked Delhi - it was like a crazy market where we were staying - i didnt like every 2nd guy asking if we needed an 'auto' (taxi) though. We landed about 9.30pm at night, and the airport was funny as. The roof is kinda caving in and theres this odd smell.
(I got to practice my hindi -"kripya ek panee" 2 waters please).
Then you get outside, and there is hundreds of people crowding around the barrier, calling out people's names. Theres a kind of kerosene haze in the muggy air and its totally overwhelming. We were accompanying a friends mum back to India, so her nephews got us a pre-paid taxi to where we were staying. Only saw 3 cows on the drive though.

We get in the hotel, and there is this tiny room and plank beds (hard as). Which was soooo welcoming after the long flight.

The next day we go up onto the roof area for breakfast, and low and behold, another knitter! Her name was Melinda, and she was from the US. They did the BEST nutella pancakes BTW.
She told us how to catch the metro train to Connaught Place (only 8 rps or 27 cents) so we could get some clothes.
The whole time there is these 'friendly' guys AKA touts, trying to start up conversations, take us to their uncles shop etc etc. Every one told us that no shops were open. Dont believe them, they dont open til 10am.
Got some cool indian clothes (i look silly) so was all set.
Went out for dinner and had a great meal (food so far was great). On the way back, Fin and I stopped to check out a wedding procession and Fin got dragged into the middle of it to dance!

The next day. Sick day. Ate a dodgy veg-cutlet (vege patty) on the train and chucked it back up a few hours later. Couldnt hold food down for the next 4 days.
Caught a little train up the mountains to Shimla, like a little England in India. Its about 2,000m above sea level and really pleasant up there. The place is crawling with monkeys.
Fin tries to kill me by making me walk to the Jakku temple, about 45min walk up a steep incline. I was sick as a dog, so couldnt even make it to the top. You have to rent a stick to fend off the monkeys as well! A monkey ran past me a stole a girl's shawl and ran away with it!
I finally saw the Himalayas in Shimla - this faint, snow capped mountain range really far away....

Then on to Mandi for one night, before finally meeting Joy and her wives in Rewalser.
And guess what Mandi has? Yarn shops!! All acrylic though, in these giant hanks. Once I can find a computer with USB port i'll be able to put up pictures.

I'm still feeling awful at this point, and not eating - i've lost a kilo or two. The drive to Rewalser Lake is really relaxing, and when you finally turn the corner you see this huge 15m high statue of Guru Rimpoche (a Buddhist dude). Its great!
Joy (and Lena's and Nyondo's) place is right behind the statue's head on the mountain side. Was really nice to get to meet someone you've only known online, and the energy in their house is really lovely.
Lena is a doctor, and was able to get me some meds to make me feel better (and eat something) which was awesome. They really took care of me and made all the difference in me getting better i'm sure. They are awesome cooks too!

There is a big sacred lake in the middle of Rewalser, and a lovely blend of Sikh, Tibetan Buddhists and Hindus who all feel this place is holy. There are wild mountain cave nuns up the hill a bit further, and Fin and I went and spent some time with them. They are hysterical!!! They all love having their photos taken (Chewwy Llama said the photos of us 2 were beautiful cos we were beautiful hehehe). Chewwy took us on a tour of the sacred caves up there, and we made offerings and she said some prayers for us. We have so many great photos!

Today we got up early and caught the bus to Mandi, then the bus to Chandigarh. After a slight hitch (i.e. a truck clipped our bus on the tiny mountain road and we had to sit there for an hour) we finally got here. Chandigarh isnt that exciting - although we found a supermarket and bought cheese slices and bread! yay! - and i'll be glad to leave tomorro to go to Haridwar for a couple of days.
The tummy is still tender, and Fin has been fine except for a slight cold. He sends his love
Catch you later, and hopefully my next post will make more sense (trying to cram in a week is impossible!)
XXXX

Friday, October 19, 2007

MOB BLOG

just arrived at kuala lampur airport - needs sleep!!!!! (free internets though)

off to figure out how we get our free hotel room for the day....

hugs!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Last post for Australia

Hopefully I will be able to get net connection in Delhi - possibly Shimla.

Just found the BEST choccies to take to India - remember Cadbury Furry Friends? The Boi and I have bought TimTams and Cherry Ripes as well.

Thanks for all the well wishes everyone - will be glad to see you all when I get back!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

62 hours to go!

According to the sidebar - squee!
Its a mission to decide what knitting to take with me, thats for sure.

Thermal is coming along nicely - once i've gotten past the ribbing its flying off the needles (better slow down or i'll have nothing left to knit in India hehe). The Boi doesnt like it all - hy said it reminds him of pique cotton. I said "suck it up - i want to knit this". LOL. Poor baby.

And now that DiscoKnitter's baby shower is finished I can show pictures of what I made her - the squid from the last post was a baby toy (with bell in its head!) - at first Lara said it was a Cthullu toy, darn, I shoulda made her that. I forget people are geeks like me too. HeHe.

EZ's February Baby Cardi on 2 needles, made with giant yarn cone yarn. (shame you cant see the sparkly flower button).

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Handy-dyed yarn baby hat, and embroidered baby-beater tank top. (the dagger pattern was from Sublime Stitching StitchIt Kit).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Some more yarn action

Catnip yarns is a purveyor of undyed, natural and/organic yarns....
Havent bought from her, but she sends internationally...
Kerry - looking at you matey! (BTW you remember that mohair goth laceweight you gave me - do you know what the meterage is??? Thanks!)

Squidalicious!

LOL - this little critter was so fun to knit!









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Yarn: Cleckheaton Country 8 ply
Pattern: Squid-a-licious from Hansigurumi

And I finished my flatmates socks just in time for his birthday yesterday.




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Pattern: my Passionfruit socks pattern, slipped stitch heel
Yarn: Hotsocks from Lincraft

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yarn sales....

Yep, just what you needed.
Xotic yarns is closing down - everythings on sale! They stock a lot of Karabella, as well as Nundle etc etc.

Woolshack has got Rowan Tweed and Jo Sharp reduced, and Opal socks yarns on sale again.

Have fun....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This so cool

I dont even know the word for how cool it is....

(Its Hellboy) from this craftylishious person cakeyvoice.
Kinda puts my knitted squid to shame....

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Knitting Graph Generator

I think this is gonna be really really great once she adds k2tog....
;)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

India Saga 3

Lets just say, a 10 minute phonecall on a bad line, trying to get a room in a certain hotel.

Man: 800 rps.
Me: 800 rps? Are you sure? The Lonely Planet says 700 rps max.

Man: Old prices - 800 rps.
Me: But its the September 2007 edition. Do you have a cheaper room?

Man: Its a mis-print - 800 rps is our prices. Only price.
Me: Fine, ok, i'll make a booking please.

Man: Certainly madam...
** proceeds to take all my details**

Man: Now, would you like the 650 rps room or the 800 rps??
Me: ** head explodes**

Monday, October 01, 2007

India Saga 2.

Booking a hotel over the phone. Short version.

Me: Hello.
Man: Hello.

Me: Hello
Man: Hello.

Me: Is the Bharatpur Palace Hotel?
Man: Hello madam. Yes madam.

Me: I'm calling from Australia, I would like to book a double room with private bathroom for the 27-30 November. Do you have one available?
Man: Yes madam.

Me: How much would it be?
Man: It is camel-fair madam - 5,000 rupees. ($147)

Me: No, camel-fair finishes before then, I want a room after the camel fair. 5,000 rps is too much.
Man: It is camel-fair madam. 5,000 rps.

**Camel-fair actually finishes on 24 Nov**

Me: I'm sorry, that is much too expensive.
Man: You call back in one hour, my manager will not be here. I give you special price.

Me: Ok then. I'll talk to you soon.
Man: Bye (hangs up quickly).

LOL
lets just say I called back an hour later, and the prices had dropped back to 600 rps - $17 (normal). This conversation actually took 7 minutes according to my phone....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs...

Another nice offering from Veronik Avery. - available at Kinokuniya for $44.95, or cheaper at BookDepository.

I originally favourited a few designs from this book, but there's probably only only one or two now I would knit.
Thats not to say its a bad book! The designs are more 'mature' or 'fussy' that I originally realised.

Great range of sizing, i.e. 32 inch bust to 52inch for some things, lovely pictures and well written. The fair-isle cardigan looks really lush (so do the latvian mittens). The military cardigan looked great online, but boxy in the book.

Give this one 6 Bex-points out of 10.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fears of IVF Lawsuit Deluge

THE number of lesbian couples having Government-funded IVF treatments is on the rise, sparking serious concerns about a flood of potential lawsuits over unwanted births.

Argh. This is really starting to annoy me.

Yes - the evil lesbians are going to all get IVF so we can have millions of children and sue the Government cos we didnt really want them in the first place.

Do people actually realise how hard it is to get IVF if you are gay? Not all states will let you - Victoria for instance will only let you have IVF if you are medically infertile. Its not like thousands of lesbians are running across the border to get preggers - most cant afford it even if they want it.

For example: Some friends of mine want a baby. They called a NSW state government clinic to apply for donor sperm and was told that ALL of their donors have signed forms saying they do not want their sperm to go to lesbians or single mothers. So the only option is to go through a private organisation. Its 3 trys max, then straight onto IVF. Minimum cost for all that is about $7,000.

Second grump - the fact that its ALWAYS noted the women sueing are gay. I personally dont agree with their decision to sue, but must the headlines always read "Lesbians want to sue" etc. I've never seen "Hetero couple wants to sue" - its a non-issue. I understand why they want to sue as a medical procedure was performed, and it went wrong. They asked the doctor for one embryo, he implanted two. He admitted he made a mistake.

IMHO - The couple has made a comedy of errors by saying things like the mother has lost the capacity to love, or they were going to abort one of the babies etc etc. I dont think they have handled the situation well at all, and how are the babies going to feel when they get older? And now, its affecting the communities attitude (wrongly) about IVF for lesbians, that we are all heartless and undeserving.

Just my 2 cents.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Well, i guess i'm not suprised really...

What is your Harry Potter Identity?

You are the one and only...Luna Lovegood!

You are the open minded and unique one, known to be a gentle person and at times very random! Though you can be strange at times, people always grow to like you! You are a VERY unique individual who is not afraid to stand out as long as you are true to yourself and others!

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

quiz
Quizzes and Personality Tests

First, a message from the fruit growers of Australia...




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LOL.

And finally took some pictures of my Swallowtail Shawl. Probably a good idea since the recipient is getting it tomorrow night!

The first picture is the most accurate one of the colour.












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Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, IK Fall 2006
When: Started August 07 - Finished Sept 07
Yarn: One strand of orange Centola Vaggi and one
strand of Mystical Creations Yarn Rayon Boucle in Almond.
Needle: 4mm needle.
Mods: I followed the one on Pepperknit - great idea! Left off the damn nups too!
Really like this shawl! The rayon gives it a nice drape, and the merino laceweight gives it some body. Very happy! (Note to self - use lifelines. Ripping back 6 times is soul destroying).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hairspray

Went and saw it last night - I agree with everyone, its great!!!!
(had my doubts in the first 3 minutes, until that line about the guy who lived next doot - brilliant!)

Dont forget - today is Talk Like A Pirate Day, me hartys!

Its not easy being green...

Its not easy to book tickets on the India Rail website either....

The Boi and I decided to pre-book our tickets for the Haridwar --> Varanasi leg of our trip. Diwali is on, so there would be a lot of people travelling at that time. Its also an 18 hour train trip (does anyone else have visuals of The Boi and I hanging onto the outside of a train?).

The India Rail website is composed of 3 different websites you need to be able to navigate - Trains at a Glance (the timetables), the Reservation Enquiry site (gives seat availability) and then the actual booking site here. It also helps to have their Route Map open in another browser window.

1. You use the Route Map to figure out your starting and ending points are - then look and see if they share anyof the same route numbers.

2. Now use Trains at a Glance, open up the correct route tables and hope that the train does indeed go between those stations - sometimes it doesnt!

3. Flick through 3-4 different route tables until you can find the train that leaves and arrives at the time you want. Make sure it runs on the day you want too (oh yes, some trains only run twice a week). In this case we wanted the one that left at 6pm, and arrived 4pm the next day.

4. Visit the Reservation Enq site, hunt around for the link (its in tiny size 4 writing at the bottom of the screen), and check the train number for station names . Write down the 2 you need - HW and BSB.

5. Go to another link, check seat availability. If there's some available in the class you want, proceed to the booking site. If not, return to Step 2. Doh.

6. Booking site - you have to create a profile to even get a looksie in here. And i can only be accessed after 9.30am sydney time.

7. Now you have to go through a similar process as above, enter the starting and ending station, the date, the correct class etc. Any incorrect information makes you do it again.

8. Next page, you have to enter all the passenger details, and where you want to sit. The easiest part of this whole damn process.

9. How to pay, there is 20 - yes thats correct - different ways of making payment. You have to choose the correct one (and none of them is labelled International Credit Card BTW). Wrong answer, go back to step 7.

Done. Now you can print out a ticket and take it with you to India - no need to queue.
Except that all the trains we wanted to take were full. We now have to go via another station, change trains, hope for the best - well it is an adventure right?
This has just sapped me for the last 2 days.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blocking....















The Swallowtail Shawl is finished.... just waiting for it to dry.... ;)

Felt like something fun and mindless - cast on for this little cutie last night. Mochimochi Land Knitted Grass... so cute! I'm using Bamboozle from Lincraft - soft yarn but splits like a biatch.








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Life has been really busy at the moment, but thankfully The Boi comes back from the Ashram today, and wont have to go back for ages (he's been gone 3 weeks out of 4 for the last 3 months or so).
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Mental note - need sports bras for camel trek. LOL.
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BTW the latest Knitty is up!

Just realised looking at my sidebar - India in 35 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

APEC round-up

Well, the march itself was quite inspiring - I actually felt young in the crowd! Lots of 'older' people which was great!

This guy had the right idea...












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As did these guys....





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The Boi and I

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My flatmate and her Dad

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G-Boy and my Boi (hehe)











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Downside to the day?? The Police.
I've never had a problem with police at any rally/march before - ever. They're just doing their jobs - right?

Firstly, they comfiscated all the poles for banners - they could be weapons. OK. My huge umbrella is more dangerous than a piece of dowel (not to mention my 7mm aluminium needles).

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One policeman for every protestor was the estimate. See the little old lady below on the left? She got caught on the wrong side of the human wall and couldnt leave. She was pleading with the cops to let her through.
They didnt.


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xfghfxgh
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dfg
xcfg
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My experience was twice trying to leave the rally (i really really had to pee) and not being allowed to. The cops had no name badges, numbers etc, and refused to let me leave.
When I asked how do I get out, they just shrugged and told me to get back.
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In the end I had to go with everyone else into Hyde Park, cut across the garden beds to St Mary's Church and go back to Town Hall Station. Not happy John!
It was really inspiring to see all these people from different walks of life (north shore socialites, working class westies, students, grandparents) who gave a damn.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I am a sucker for Rita Hayworth

and Mazzy Star....


Dont forget people - protest, Saturday morning 10am - Sydney Town Hall.
Promise to leave if it gets nasty (my flatmate's dad is coming too!).

Knitter's Almanac

Hey guys - its back in stock for $10....

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Wonder Woman Jumper

Wow, this is pretty freakin awesome!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Feeling famous!

They published my sock in Creative Knitting.... yay!

Under the Blue Moon...

Great weather for it too... (this is Keffufal and moi). Whipped the skirt up in 3 hours the night before! (cant see the back, but its a fishtail with lacing down the back).
























Did ALOT of window shopping - went to Gallery Serpentine because of the 20% off, but none of the corsets that I wanted were in my size. Trashie said that its the universe telling me to save for India, shes probably right!
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Then we (Trashie and me) did a tour of the TJ Andrews Funeral Home - pretty darn interesting if i do say so myself. I loved how the manager and the receptionist dressed up 'ghoulish': makeup and outfits, its nice they went to the effort. He also said that if anyone was walking past during the week, they are more than welcome to pop in and have a look around (they dont keep bodies there anymore...).






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Keffufal met up with us afterwards, and then the 2 of us went to SSK for some knitting time...

I have to wonder what the people around Arncliffe station thought when they saw me walking home.... :D.
I need to add - I won something!!! YAY! I won the Flickr group's project of the month, for The Knittery. I've won a free skein of yarn! Woot!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Score!

Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman for 3 pounds = $10. New. Including airmail to Australia. Need I say more? hehe...
Got it from my crack/book dealer here....
Also finally got Vegan With A Vengance - been meaning to get that for ages. Best recipes for vegan's i've seen in a looooong time.

Spotted this book for The Boi - Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-free Recipes for Cupcakes That Rule. He does love his cupcakes. Might get it for Xmas for him.

The shot was fine (got the Twinrex 2-in-1). The EMLA patches did help a little bit but I could still feel the sting. Only wimpered - I admit I am a wuss.
Talked to my Doc about Gardasil - was concerned the age-limit cut off was fast approaching - she assured me that I could get it when i get back from India, so bring on my EMLA patches again I guess.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sydney Goth SnB - this Sat 1 Sept.

Its official. We are crashing SSK (with the OK of Mary-Helen).

2pm - 4pm, Barmuda Cafe, opp the Newtown Police Station.

And heres some Swallowtail Shawl progress...
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I'm also off to get my Hep shots this afternoon for India. I also have an unreasonable fear of injections. Not piercing, not blood tests, just injections.
Fun.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

WooooOOOOoooo scary....



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Newtown, 7.35pm, 28/08/07. The eclipse was pretty cool - it was funny how many people were just standing on the street corners in Newtown watching....

Goth Knitting was great fun! Twas only 5 of us, but we talked and knitted for ages... I hadnt seen most of the grrls for months and it was so good to catch up. We are still deciding whether to have an official Goth SnB at this Saturday's Under The Blue Moon, but I suggested crashing SSK (heheheheheh!!!).
It should be decided today - its just hard to fit it in around all the different activities that are on.


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And I finally finished my Best Friend's Socks. I've promised her some for ages, and finally got my bottom into gear and finished these last night. Gotta post them today.
See the stripes?? I tried really hard to get them indentical, then the yarn itself let me down by having a join near the toe.

In the flatmate front. I spoke to my other flatmate about what was going on, and she got pretty upset. She agreed that he can be unreasonable and grumpy sometimes, but didnt want to lose my friendship (no chance of that!).

Talked to The Boi, and came up with the idea to house hunt in Summer Hill between now and India - if a place comes up that I like, then i'll take it.

Havent spoken to sucky flatmate yet.

Monday, August 27, 2007

You know, some people just suck.

And theres nothing you can do about it.

Gonna have a small rant about my flatmate (he doesnt read my blog). Basically he had a go at me, to The Boi, about how much money I waste etc etc (mainly about yarn). And about how the only reason he's letting me live there is to help me save for the India Trip.

Ran through my finances today and realised that I could do India and rent a place at the same time, although it would mean less spending money.
Another thing to worry about, just what I need.

/end rant.

Making sock blockers from a coat-hanger and other tutes..

Tutorial here....
Although, I almost never block socks tehehe...

Very easy tote bags... (this is how I kinda make mine), really easy, hint hint Web-Goddess!

How to make Polymer clay stitch markers....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sydney Goth SnB

The Next Sydney Gothic Stitch and B*tch
This coming Tuesday 28 August 2007
7.45pm, Cafe C, King St, Newtown (across from Aust Post)

Bring your little half-finished projects... knitting, crochet, cross stitch, wood work, soul-painting, head-shrinking, whip making....

ALL WELCOME :D

Fabulous Fifties Madness!

Whee!
Fun day! Although I did get a little sunburnt :(. Managed to resist buying heaps of stuff (no place to put it yet) and The Boi was happy....

My friends Benji and Tania came as well, so it was a happy foursome.

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Benji chatting up the ladies...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Knitting Scout Badges

http://www.cast-on.com/?page_id=123

MWAHAHAHA....

Definately aiming for my MacGyver Badge (Level 2)
Here is the most completest list of Tutorials i've seen on the web yet - craft yer hearts out!!!!

I have succumbed to the SwallowTail Shawl from IK Fall 2006 (thanks MissFee and Lara). Like I need another WIP! I'm really suprised at how easy the lace is so far, and more than a little chuffed that I could work off the charts no problem (i've never used charts before).

Here's what I managed this morning on the train...
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Its hard to photograph but its one strand of Centolavaggi in orange, and one strand of MCY Rayon Boucle held together (I wound them together on my ball winder). Looks a lot better in real life - its a bit shiny.
Making it for Rishi, the boss of the Ashram where the Boi is. I was trying to use what was in my stash, but i needed the Centolavaggi to give it some body.
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Now for some weirdness indeed. I was looking at my flickr pics and just noticed it said how many people 'viewed' my photos. Until recently, the most I had was about 15 or so for the peony scarf. Its now sitting at 168 views for my shoes.
Um. Heh. Ok. Might be making that one private; I dont mind foot fetishists, but I prefer to know who they are....

 
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