Archive for March 2009

Notes from damascus.

This is going to be a long & often edited post but I need to get writing, when I post photos it will be finished!

First of all Notes From Bon.  What an adventure we’ve had, everyday has been busy with traveling & sightseeing or activities.  MC surprised me & settled into life on the road perfectly, taking her naps in the Ergo, breastfeeding when & where she could & bathing in various buckets & tubs! CJ did great too although he got his cough & cold back & found the whole thing tiring.  Right at the end he also learned to nap in the Ergo rather than fight it & end up exhausted.  He only learned the F word yesterday so not too bad :0 He had some rough patches.  A was funny, definitely enjoying the more luxurious legs of the journey.  The fact he slept 4 nights in a hostel & on a train was impressive.

Me, I liked the big cities Damascus & Cairo.  Bosra stands out in my mind & some of the incredible meals we had in Syria.  I did excellent planning & it was a whirlwind 2 weeks.  As usual I felt confused by it all, I felt privileged but not necessarily happy to be so.  In Egypt (Luxor) kids begging, men hounding foreigners to make a few bucks or ripping people off, women in the background.  At first the hassle makes you angry but later when I ponder what it must feel like for someone who gets by day to day by begging I feel troubled.

Back later.

I left the last post in Damascus so back to the start of our journey.   The next day we bused to Palmyra.  My highlight was buying a filthy old dress hanging outside a small shop on the main street, it’s made out of the Arabic black and white checkered head cloths.  A was disgusted I was spending money on it & it took 3 washes to get the water to change from black but I was right, love itp3180218

I guess the roman ruins were quite cool too!  We stayed here

Decent clean hotel where we had more really yummy food.  We also had a great meal at a small B&B called ‘Casa Mia’ with our travel buddies from Damascus.



Palmyra to Krak des Chavelier.  The countryside and castle were stunning, the nicest part of Syria.  We had a huge feast for our lunch, tons of the best mezze and then chicken for the boys.  We didn’t need to eat a proper meal until the next evening it was so good.




From Krak we traveled to Aleppo via Hama, Dead Cities & Apamia.  Hama sux it was disappointing as I’d looked forward to it.  We were freezing, & it was smelly & dirty so we ended up tasting all the Arabic sweets in the bakery.  It was a long day & e were happy to arrive at Hotel Mandaloun in…












Well it seems my notes on Syria have been misplaced along with, one Syria Lonely Planet, one beautiful new turquoise necklace, and one tap juice bottle.  So off the top of my head: Cold in March, dirty, crazy driving, bleak, concrete block flats without paint, great food and welcoming people, very traditional little Western influence, no colour – greys & browns, Damascus old town- neat windy narrow streets Krak des Chavelier- countryside & castle were stunning, Palmyra was amazing, Aleppo reminded me of a big town centre (Porirua!) we were warming to it when we left, pictures of Bashar al-Asad everywhere.


Add comment March 29, 2009

This is not a travel blog!

But of course I want to tell you all about our trip.  We are in Damascus and so far everything has gone perfectly, Damascus is very cool.  Qatar airways was awesome and MC & CJ traveled really well.  We’ve been in Damascus 3 nights now staying at the Damascus hostel which has been very comfy & an excellent base.

Cosmo loves ‘Bunny’ the bunny.  We’ve been exploring the old town & souqs, went to the Omayyad mosque and Azem Palace, went to Bosra on the bus, tasted some yummy food including an impromptu lunch at the Four Seasons.  That was funny, everyone was in suits excepts us with the kids & in dirty jeans, we think they were suspicious of us as the F&B manager came over to talk to us – find out if we had the money to pay I reckon!

I bought some beautiful clothes this morning, a hand embroidered dress and pants made by Syrian women in a scheme to have them keep alive their craft & create employment for them.

I’m in an Internet cafe now, A had an interesting time here last night when 6 officials came in to go through the computers & check out what people have been looking at.   You have to show your passport when you come in too.

We’re off tomorrow, busing to Palmyra.











2 comments March 17, 2009


I’ve password protected by UAE dis, big brother and all that.  And I don’t want to contribute to wordpress being banned here.  CJ’s middle name will get you in.

Something really weird happened.  We sold my car and most of our furniture.  We were almost mentally prepared to leave and were looking at the possibility of buying a business in Thailand, or trying to decide where to from here for us.  so just as the last bed was being removed on wednesday night the phone rang and A GOT A JOB!

So I wrote I wanted to go to Syria and Egypt and then come home, and that is exactly what we are about to do!  We will be coming home to an empty house (no beds, no oven, no fridge, no power by then) but we are staying and are very happy about that.  We’ve been camping out in CJ’s room and eating meaty boy meals (bleugh) so looking forward to setting off in the morning.

Here is our itinerary

4 nights Damascus, visit Bosra

1 night Palmyra

1 night Krak des Chaveliers

2 nights Aleppo visiting Hama and the Dead Cities on the way

2 nights Cairo

sleeper train Cairo – Aswan

3 nights Nile Cruise

2 nights luxor

It all feels surreal and I half expect to come back and have something go wrong.  But it’s all looking good so we will enjoy our trip and the huge sense of relief we are feeling.  Phew!

Add comment March 13, 2009

Te whenua ki te whenua

We had MC’s placenta ceremony today.  It was lovely, with a few special friends.  Her whenua went out into the gulf, at the public beach, far side of the palace.  Here are the 2 poems I read for her.  We also had a psalm read by my friend (& doula at M’s birth).

Charge to the Child – Joy Harjo

Remember the sky that you were born under,

Know each of the stars stories.

Remember the moon, know who she is.

Remember the sun’s birth at dawn that is the

Strongest point of time. Remember sundown

And the giving away to night.

Remember your birth, how your mother struggled

To give you form and breathe. You are evidence of

Her life, and her mother’s and hers.

Remember your father. He is your life also.

Remember the earth whose skin you are:

Red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth

Brown earth, we are earth.

Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their

Tribes, their families, their histories too. Talk to them,

Listen to them. They are alive poems.

Remember the wind. Remember her voice.

She knows the origin of this universe.

And that this universe is you.

Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.

Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.


Te Whenua Ki Te whenua – Roma Potiki

I am an important being.

I am a treasure, a sacred woman,

tapu, as all woman are

and noa also.

I labour in many ways –

whole iwi pass through my hands.

Your father massages my body,

his touch reaching down below my skin.

The last small ripples of your arrival shake me softly.

I rest quietly now as your fleshy nurture is returned.

All births are virgin, blood spilt on the ground.

There is no separation. The intellect and the body are one.

The body and the land are one. there is no separation.

Te whenua ki te whenua.

A rung to the sky, the birds are released, heralds of an old promise.









Add comment March 6, 2009

Protected: The UAE

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Enter your password to view comments. March 4, 2009

I am sad today

So sad today.  Packing up the house, I didn’t expect to be doing this. It’s happened so quickly & now the reality is sinking in.  The Syria/Egypt trip is going to be amazing but I wish we could do that and then just come home.  But now we don’t have a home.  We’ve sold all our furniture.  I wonder how long we’ll last in Thailand, and I wonder how long it will take for A to find a job.  But it’s out of our control and what will be, will be.  I heard something I liked the other day.  How do you make God laugh?….. Tell him your plans.

This morning we stocked up our travel first aid kit.  We’re almost all organised now, just need to confirm the last few things.  Sigh.  This is crazy.

To add to it all we’ve all been unwell.  Mainly CJ struggling with his cough, he is miserable.  And I had a fever last night: chills, headache, body ache & then HOT.  But I’m ok today.

Back to feeling sad.  I’m sad because we’re leaving our lovely home.  Saying goodbye to our plants & stuff is hard & knowing we’ll be without our books, toys, clothes etc is tough.  But we are not particularly sad to be leaving the UAE.  There are many things here that are just not OK.  Maybe I will feel better if I write about some of them now.  Will start a new post!

Add comment March 4, 2009

Protected: The UAE

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Enter your password to view comments. March 4, 2009

taking shape

Plan B is starting to take shape. Life has taken a crazy turn & we have so much to organise in 2 weeks.  I’m either really enthusiastic about the whole journey or feeling stressed with all the preparations & planning, wondering how it’s all going to pan out.  The biggest stress is trying to pack up our house & decide what to do with the cars.  I’ve started to book flights and make some good plans.  We are leaving on March 15th.  Will spend one week in Syria and one week in Egypt.  Then we’ll stop through Dubai to rest & wash, and on to Chiang Mai where we hope to stay for a while.  Basing ourselves here to start,

I’m already looking forward to the organic breakfasts & 3 yoga studios close by. It’s the sister of Phranakorn Nornlen where we stayed in Bangkok last year.  Can’t wait!

Just got back from a morning walk & lunch at Sunrise Refreshment.  Delicious kai dished up today, I had the best chickpea dish (MC loved it too), and A said his was very good too.

Add comment March 2, 2009

cup part 2

I haven’t stopped thinking about this story since I read it a few weeks ago.  It’s very funny, the fifteenth  post down ‘The Case of the stolen lady Cup’.…

Add comment March 1, 2009

  • Recent Comments

    Lisa on cup
    Lisa on when the bubble bursts
    aniwaniwa on cup
    Reshma syed on cup
    aniwaniwa on nighttime
  • Pages

  • March 2009
    M T W T F S S
    « Feb   Apr »
  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

  • 1000 nights camp Abu Dhabi apartment attachment parenting baby led weaning Bahla beach birth blabber blessingway camping Chiang Mai christmas 2008 co-sleeping Damascus desert Dhafra festival Egypt empty quarter Ergo family travel first words goat market Gold Coast grand mosque hair cut home birth homebirth Ibri Ibri oasis hotel inequality jebel al akhdar kindy La Leche League liwa oasis love lunch in abu dhabi maid mangroves meltdown menstrual cup middle east montessori mother mother blessing motherhood mothering mum Muscat national day natural birth natural parenting New Zealand nizwa nizwa souq Oman Oman Dive Centre Pakistani cafe parenting parenting philosophy pecking order pregnancy racism redundant road trip rub al khali sad separation anxiety sunrise refreshment Syria thailand travel Wadi Damm Wahiba sands worst of the UAE
  • Twitter Updates

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.