Italy -- Croatia - ? All in my little Red Renault Trafic
Currently traveling
  • Day515

    Involuntary ending

    March 25, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Now countries may reassess the value of expensively designed airports as nobody gets to see them.
    I think the staff at Abu Dhabi airport, (all imports,) became a little confused about their viruses as Corona can be bought in the sports cafe, but all racks and piles in the retail outlets are completely smothered in Sarin wrap before the shop is closed.
    A Boeing Dreamliner will carry me back to Brisbane in one 13 hour hop. Its about one passenger for 3 seats so we are all socially distanced and can curl up to sleep. We take off at 9 p.m. so soon ready to sleep. Should have tried to wake up for the last 5 or 6 hours to synchronize with Aussie time; but everyone was so comfortable they slept most of the journey.
    Had to fill out extra forms about where one would self-isolate, and signing for ones understanding of the quarantine terms. I had my temperature taken and that was about it.
    Thanks to N, a friend of hers lent me a Saab to drive down to surfers paradise where she had found me studio apartment to lock myself up in.
    Retrieving it from the airport car park set me back $57 which reminded me that I was back in Macquarie Bank land.
    Now I am ensconced in a Paradise Island Resort studio enjoying another treat organized by N: bottle of organic Nature's Harvest Shiraz.
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  • Day513

    Mainly air plane

    March 23, 2020 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    1 Airbus 320, 3 flight crew, 4 cabin staff and 6 passengers.

    I think Etihad got the ratios about right for my comfort. Pity it was only an hour flight.

    The staff all came from places like Lithuania and Romania Even the captain who was a 5 ft 6 lady with a large pony tail and attitude to match. Great people but worried as Abu Dhabi will close on Wednesday and they will not have a job and won't be able to travel back to their own country so have no idea what will happen. One attendant told me her "friend" was on the flight to Brisbane and nobody knew if the crew would be allowed to return through a closed airport.
    I suspect they will because nobody wants to stockpile empty aircraft.
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  • Day513

    Land that time forgot

    March 23, 2020 in Oman ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Ordered from my safe haven in the Omani desert by hysterical governments unprepared - again - for large scale virus attack (but we have airports full of mothballed military equipment in case of human attack) I have bought a ticket home via Abu Dhabi.
    At the airport, the palm trees are waving but nobody else is.
    Ever half hour a expressway plays: "We would like to remind you that snogging is allowed only in the designated areas. Taking things a bit too far I thought; but then realised that the Arabicc announcer had actually said 'smoking'.
    Some one forgot to tell the Bangladesh sweepers that washing virtually unused marble halls was not really required, so they constitute 90% of the airport movements. Most of them have family back home and are especially concerned about them as information from the sub-continent is scarce and unreliable.
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  • Day509

    Farm workers

    March 19, 2020 in Oman ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Bernadette Bhacker stands proudly in front of the Bangladeshi workers.

    Redah Bhacker patrols his domain.

    The workaway stands inside his compost bin and beside the chicken swing he built. He is seen having a tet-a-tete with one of the newly arrived goats. ( I said it as pretty isolated up here.)Read more

  • Day509

    Reality check

    March 19, 2020 in Oman ⋅ ☁️ 31 °C

    Over 150 million years ago the "Tethys Ocean" covered a huge part of the planet. Over time, the Atlantic separated and grew, while Tethys shrank ultimately becoming the Persian Gulf. During the process the heavy, basalt sea floor collides with continents and forces up mountains and plateaus. Unusually, in Oman it was by obduction rater than subduction, meaning that the Omani lands were actually the sea floor and limestone islands at one time. This excites Australian geologists as this type of land formation is only found in these 2 countries.
    There is some evidence that Homo Erectus settled in the Al-Wustu and Dhofar regions a million years ago, and Homo Sapiens settlements can also be found going back only 100,00 years. People have therefore been witness to the gradual erosion of the higher land into the flat, pebbly desert on which this farm is to be found, near Lisq.
    Luckily, there is a large artesian basin underneath which allows irrigation of what passes for soil. Nevertheless, many types of plant are successfully grown without the aid of worms: date and coconut palms, citrus and even frankincense. They just tke several years to grow to maturity and what you can see is the fruit of 7 years labour.
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  • Day509

    The Holiday Camp

    March 19, 2020 in Oman ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    A peaceful getaway for relaxation on a working farm in the Omani desert, 2 hours inland from Muscat, 4 comfortably appointed cabins await you. Each one is tastefully insulated with palm fronds and fully equipped with twin beds, bathroom and kitchenette. A large communal area is available for BBQs and outdoor cooking. All your needs are catered for from complementary yoga mats to boules.
    A cool infinity pool provides those refreshing dips welcomed after a hard day relaxing on the loungers.
    Fresh food from the gardens help make those delicious meals eaten al fresco or in private in your cabin.
    Really there is absolutely nothing to do here but relax.
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  • Day507

    Grand mosque

    March 17, 2020 in Oman ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    The women’s prayer room (musalla) is a 'small' hall which can hold 750 worshippers at a time. It is smaller because most women pray at home. The decor includes handcarved wooden doors and a wooden roof. The chandeliers are much simpler than those of the main prayer hall which accommodates 6500. All in all, by using the courtyards around the hall, 20,000 people can attend services.

    The mosque used to have the world’s largest carpet and chandelier, but Emiratis and Qataris came, measured the interior and made bigger versions in new mosques to steal the title.
    The Persian carpet in the main hall measures 70m by 60m, weighs 21 tons and was woven over 4 years by 600 Iranian women. They made it in 85 pieces which were knotted together in situ, a total of 1,700 million knots.
    Of course, visitors mainly come to see the German lights. The 2nd largest chandelier in the world hangs from the centre point:
    * 14m tall, 8m diameter
    * 8.5 tons
    * 1122 halogen bulbs
    * 600,000 glass beads (sorry, Swarovski "crystal')
    * gold plated metalwork
    The inside of the chandelier has complex electrical circuitry which requires access for maintenance purposes which is made possible by
    Staircases and platforms inside the middle of the chandelier allow access for maintenance of the 36, complex switching circuits.
    The chandelier is designed with a large central minaret and twenty four smaller minarets circled around it to produce its characteristic shape. There are thirty four other chandeliers of the same design but of smaller proportion hung at other locations within the mosque.

    The mosaic niche is called 'The Qiblah', referring to the direction that Muslims face when engaged in ritual prayer
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  • Day507

    Not a Mosquito a mas grande.

    March 17, 2020 in Oman ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    After 30 years on the throne, Sultan Q presented this huge mosque to the people of Muscat.
    Nobody is so vulgar as to ask the price, but it was built over 6 years by important professional mosque builders from Iran.
    They turned out a grand building in a mix of Omani, Islamic and modern architecture.
    The square shape of the mosque surround the central dome which reaches the height of 50 meters. The 5 minarets define the limits of the site representing the 5 pillars of Islam. The main one is 91.5 meters tall and the other reaches 45 meters.
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