Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Epic Email #3

From May 19, 2014

Hola all my friends and family.
Am currently in Noosa Heads.  This is the Sunshine Coast of Australia.  Beautiful weather so far.  Caught the bus from Surfer's Paradise to here this morning.  This email is only until Sydney.  Will update it later, don't want inundate you with too much info!  

So not too much happening in Oz. Fairly tame actually. From the last time i left off, i had been in Perth. After Perth I went to Melbourne and stayed with Hannah Tilli...she was, of course an excellent host. She lived in a little suburb of Melbourne called Yarraville. It was a super cute area in which there was a plethora of cafes and little shops. I would refer to it as Yuppieville had I not so much respect for it. Just saying.
Well Hannah was in the middle of moving back to her parents so after one week I decided the welcome had been worn out and I wanted to check out another suburb of Melbourne. I moved to a hostel in St. Kilda to a place called Lord's Lodge on the recommendation of a fellow facebook traveller. The owner there, Pat was more than extremely helpful and gave me lots of help and ideas for stuff to do. My roommates however were another story altogether. I suppose that this would be considered my first official dorm style hostel stay as in SE Asia they were single private rooms. The girls only room was completely booked so I had to go to a mixed room (ew! Stinky boys). And believe me there were STINKY BOYS!! The rooms reeked! Seriously I had to hold my breath it was so bad.
Anyway St. Kilda is a beachy little town. The beach is about a 20ish minute walk away. It is gorgeous! My first exploration day i was sitting on a little pier watching the sunset and waxing poetical..seriously! When i say all these guys on jet skis doing their thing. I got a bit of a grin because i was the only female for miles and they were doing their macho show off thing with the jet skis and getting closer and my head i started a count down for how long it would take them to approach me as I knew it was coming...sure enough 2 minutes later a guy comes right up and does like a side ways stop where it splashes water out, you know kinda splashes me without getting me too soaked. Anyway, he was like (add in Aussie accent “whatcha doing out here by yourself?' that wasn't what i had expected to hear...he was pretty much calling me loaner!!! I got all huffy and indignant and was like “watching the sunset yo!”...he was like “really?” all incredulous. I was like “yeah” all wanna make something out of it...then he was like “wanna come for a ride....? I was actually tempted..but because I am soooo SMRT i said “No thank you” all polite like my momma taught me. He looked a little surprised and offered again, but there was no convincing me to hop on some thing and go out in the middle of the ocean with some random stranger.

Ok, so back to the hostel. There were 3 bunk beds . I was lucky because Pat charged me the 8 bed dorm price for the 6 bed dorm. Yahoo. So the guy who had my upper bunk, we shall refer to him as “ex-convict” or ex-co for short (keeping with the aussie tradition of shortening everything, which by the way is super cute. I introduce myself as ' hi I'm Rebecca', and they respond 'how ya goin' Beck?', totally adorable!). Now Ex-co got his name because he has the tear drop tattoo on his cheek and the knuckle tattoos (you know, the love/hate ones) too. So think there might be a bit of a record there. He is the most interesting roommate I have to say. The others were just inconsiderate thieves. Ok, the first night, I thought that there was an earthquake, every time ex-con shifted in bed the whole bunk reverberated with the aftershocks. Also forgot to note that the distance between lower and upper bunk is puny. Can't sit up and if shifting in the night the wires from the springs beneath upper bunk scratch you arm. Very unpleasant.
SO ex-con is as shifty in his sleep as his daytime mannerisms. He also used my bed as a stepping stone to climb in and out of his bed. Imagine that. I glared at him, but I imagine it was difficult for him to see behind my rhinestone butterfly eye-sleep mask. One night I awoke and peeked from behind said sleep mask and saw 4 pairs of jean clad legs belonging to shifty friends of ex-co. Very annoying. They heard me move so all peered at once into my gloomy lower berth. This was unnerving to me so I glared (c'mon it was 3 am!), grunted and rolled over. Again, effectiveness of glare is questionable. Another night I awoke to much tossing and turning in above bunk, and suddenly BAM! He had taken a giant leap from his bed to the middle of the room. Twirled around twice and then left. Weird. Not sure if I prefer that or the using my bed as a stepping stool. Will contemplate and get back to you on that.

On Saturday night Laura Sullivan (from the Melbourne church) invited me to spend the night at her place I had already paid for my bed, but thought it would be fun to hang with her. It was indeed fun. Brian, her dad made me Vegemite (blech!) for the first time to try. I felt like puking for the rest of the day (mom, you know how if I eat eggs on an empty stomach, IE, first thing in the morning, I feel sick ALL day, it was the EXACT same feeling!). And then her brother James and I jammed the next morning. I played the drums. It was like a sleepover So when I finally returned to the hostel I discovered much to my dismay the irreplaceable hostel sheet that Mason had bought me had been untangled from my bed sheets (oops! Sorry momma, I forgot to make my was the first time I swear!), and spirited off into the vast land of Australia. I immediately checked ex-co's bed...but quickly reasoned upon examination of his bed sheets that he wasn't too concerned with personal hygiene therefore would have no use for an extra layer of protection between him and the environment. But it was gone. Sucky deal.
Ok so here's the winner. My last night. Let's set the stage. Me sleeping (of course) 3 am. Already had sporadic sleep as German roommate who felt it necessary to answer her phone and shout loudly into it with the lights on half an hour ago. Ex-con had been peacefully asleep fairly early that night, 2ish am. My slumbers were rudely disrupted when ex-co jumped off his bed, used my mattress (and it turned out my knee as a new step in his ladder). This discomfort obviously jolted me instantly out of lala land so i tried to sit up and then promptly banged my head. So I naturally grunted. He didn't even blink or say sorry. Swine! So i peek through my butterfly mask (am a little petrified of him at this point as he looks dangerous and I don't want him to know that I am on to his nefarious past, although the tatts are a screaming advertisement, but still....playing it cool). And I see him at the door hoarsely talking to someone who had the deep authoritative rumble of someone who, well, is authoritative. He was saying ( i pulled the bright orange earplugs out to eavesdrop better), “I swear I didn't see anything, I don't know anyone! I already told you everything I know”. This went on for a few moments and finally deep authoritative voice rumbled back “Mate I already told you, this is the last time i say it , put some clothes on and come with me!!”. I squinted through the dark as wearing glasses doesn't happen while sleeping and sure enough he was in his unmentionables....

The policeman left (how do I know it was a cop you ask? Well his next sentence:P). Ex-co frantically pulls some pants on and one of his friends came to the door and I heard Ex-co say “The cops are here, they are gonna search gotta hide the weed!” Then there was fumbling around the drawer/ bed area, I was really alert because I had the sudden thought that my bags were right there and I didn't want them to put it in my stuff. But the friend shoved the bag down his pants and took off, only to return 2.2 seconds later and exclaim “they're at the door searching everyone going out!”. Ex-co remained calm and was like find a place NOW!” Then both he and ex-co left. I heard some shouting and other loud noises from outside. I put those earplugs back in and went to sleep again. I never saw ex-co again. The moral of this is that if you are dumb enough to smoke weed (i think he was dealing it too as that would explain all the visitors in the middle of the night), then well, you are just plain dumb.

SYDNEY: (April 27-May 11)

Sydney...what a wonderful world. I came here after Melbourne as Devin and Max (her bf) were gonna be here for a bit and I wanted to spend some time with her. She has been travelling since last September and is now returning to Canada. As I am now travelling I won't be able to see her for another little while. My first night was spent in a place called Glebe. It was a random little house. I had my own room for 40$ and left the payment on the dresser. Then I found a hostel near King's Cross called Eva's Backpackers as it was much cheaper. 28$/night. This was the cleanest hostel ever!!! The rooms only slept 4 to a room so they were much nicer. My roommates were much nicer than the previous ones and there was no ex-co staying in the room.

Anyway in Sydney, I met up with Dev and Max, turns out their van had sold the day before (which is why they were in Sydney in the first place) so they were leaving the next evening (*sob*). We spent some time checking out the Opera house at Sydney Cove and the Harbour bridge. We also took a walk in the botanical gardens where we spotted massive fruit bats hanging out in the trees. They were really spooky looking. We also saw disgustingly huge spiders with the biggest webs ever. I have new found sympathy for flies living in Australia. Well, actually not really, I don't like flies. They are also really big here. Anyway, that was fun. It was Devin's birthday, so we parted ways in the evening so her and Max could have a date night. The next day she left...Australia is a lesser place without her her. She will ever be missed.
I met a girl from Germany and we went to the art gallery together. That was a trip. (before I forget, the risotto I had for lunch was the best EVER!!! ). She was an art person, so many of the paintings “spoke” to her. I had a hard time not giggling as she went into raptures about some 18th century painting. But it was entertaining. I think she probably thought i was an ignorant clout. So for the next few days I did much wandering around the city. I ended up meeting a french-Canadian, Mylene, and we started to hang out.

Some days we would walk for up to 9 hours, just meandering around, Great fun. 
I went to Bondi (yes Kaylee...i saw one of the guys off the rescue thing, can't remember the name....). One day I took the train up to Katoomba to hike in the Blue Mountains. Most gorgeous place ever. I guess they are “Blue” because of the eucalyptus oil burning off and creating the bluish haze. I got to hike for about 4-5 hours. I topped the hike off with the Grand staircase. A thousand steps ending up at the Three sisters, 3 large rock protrusions. I shed a tear here in memory of the three separated Marks sisters and then moved on. It was so cold up there as the sun started to set. I felt like I do after snowboarding, like my bones were cold, I had a hot chocolate and that did help warm me up. I fell asleep on the way home. It was a satisfying day:)

The next day I met up with Ashuka, a girl I met at church and Mylene from the hostel. We went to Bondi and hiked around a bit. It was beautiful . The next day Mylene and I met up with Adela Gibson, another girl from the church and we caught a ferry to Manly. This was an beach on an island. The ferry ride was the best part. We went there in the day and timed it so that the return home was at night for a different view. A really good day to spend my last day in Sydney. That night we all went out with Maz and another girl, Sam and we ate pancakes. Doesn't get better than that.
Have been loving every moment of my Oz adventure so far. Was only a little homesick for 3 days in Melbourne because I think I had had an actual conversation with mommy and daddy and the chain reaction was i was a bit mopey for 3 days. But although I still miss ya'll, I no longer feel like I will cry if someone says the word “mom” or asks me if I miss home.
Luv u all and miss u all too....

Epic Email #1

To all our lovely friends and family back home!!!
Please do not feel obligated to read this whole thing as it is quite drawn out and rather long. Just know that it is my personal documentation of this journey.  With so much happening everyday, it is easy to forget large chunks.
love you all and wish you were all here!!!!

Wednesday March 10, 2010
Our plane trip was rather uneventful. The first leg of the journey Garrett and I were separated for 13 hours. I sat next to a very sweet lady who was from China. Her name was Enna, and her English was very limited. She kept talking to me as though there was a chance I might catch a few words, but of course, i had no clue. She insisted on giving me Hong Kong dollars, then proceeded to give me Thai dollars as well. I felt very bad, but she was adamant. Then she told me i was “very nice girl, so beautiful”. This of course ingratiated her to me, naturally. The people across the row were also Chinese, and Enna and I traded our cookies for cheesecake with them. The cheesecake of course being the better end of the bargain. Then as we were disembarking, she gave me a big ole hug, and then told all the Asian people around (which was a large majority) something that made them all smile and wave at me. A lady behind me translated and said that Enna had told everyone I was “so nice white girl”. Yup, I am starting an Asian fan club for myself. It should be good. Please feel free to join.

We arrived at approximately 2am this morning to our hotel, Regent Suvarmabumi (or a name close to that;P) . It was fairly close to the airport which was nice. Garrett had slept for a good stint of the journey, whereas I had managed to get maybe 1 hour. My little brother's got the Marks gene for sleeping anytime, anywhere. And since DNA is genetics, not destiny, I have decided to work on that whole conking out wherever, no matter noise or motion. I'll let y'all know how that one goes.

When we walked into the hotel I was all worried because it was smoking hot in there. We had come from 7 degrees C to 32, it was a big leap. Luckily after about 15 min, our room's AC kicked in.
We both woke around 7am but tried really hard to go back to sleep, alas, we were pretty alert, so we crawled out of bed at 830ish. Considering back home it would have been 10 pm we were doing well. By the time we had repacked ( I had re-examined every SINGLE thing being repacked as my bag is quite heavy and difficult to lift, lucky me) and showered etc, it was close to 1130am. We took a taxi to the train station to book our tickets to Chiang Mai. The people in the station were super helpful and really friendly (Incidentally, we had to use the restrooms there, this was the first time Garrett or I had used a squatty potty, we are pretty much pros now, oh yeah, and to whoever advised us to carry tissues and TP wherever we go, I LOVE YOU!!!!). At the airport we booked our trekking adventure in Chiang Mai as well as hotel (guesthouse) and bus/train to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We got a decent deal (we think), our trek is lots of hiking, elephant ride, white water rafting and bamboo rafting. This also includes a night with on of the hillside tribes (refugees from Burma (Myanmar?), the long necked tribe). We are both stoked about this and cannot wait. It was very handy as we then left out bags with the travel agent for free so that we could explore Bangkok unhampered!

After this we went to Khao San Road. This is basically the Richmond Night Market on one long road and a lot more options. We took a tuk-tuk for our first time to get from the railway station to Khao San. It was fairly tame, but we remembered to barter, so of course we were all proud of ourselves. Once there we just looked around. Garrett was asked a gazillion times if he wanted a suit, they were pretty aggressive. We ran into this guy who seemed super friendly. He was a tuk-tuk driver and was offering to drive us to a bunch of tourist places for really cheap. We didn't really get that great of vibe from him. As we questioned him further, it turned out he wanted to take us to shops and other areas owned by his friends. Or anywhere else he could get a kick-back for himself. Again were all proud that we saw that one coming....and then along came Mr. Panki. As we were trying to figure out how to get to a tourist attraction, we ran into a very nice Thai fellow (“fellow”? I talk like an old person!), anyway he gave us some pointers on what tuk-tuks to take (BTW, these are the modernized versions of rickshaws, little benches in carts pulled by motorbikes). He said that if they had Thai flags on the roof they were government sponsored which means they are cheaper. He then flagged us a tuk-tuk and told the guy where to take us. The guy was Mr. Panki. Apparently today is a Buddhist holiday so there is a promotion for tourist. 20 baht only for 2 hours. 20 baht is not even one dollar, probably close to 70 cents. Because Buddha is kind of a big deal here, the govt pays the petrol for its drivers. We immediately liked Mr. Panki as he said we were “so beautiful people”. Once again it doesn't take much to buy my love! First he took us to a small Buddhist temple. There was a shrine there that was a couple of hundred years old. What was cool here was the actual building in which it was housed. There were intricate scenes painted all over the walls. The windows were quaint shutters but ornately done in gold. The floors we all marble, shoes must be removed prior to entry into the room, so it felt really good on our sweaty feet (ew! Where hundreds of other sweaty feet have all been as well!), also this room was the single cleanest thing I have seen in Thailand yet. The keeper was also kind of cool to talk to, he said the paintings in the temple were done by “old famous guys”. We returned to Mr. Panki. He was very friendly and said he was an English student so he was practising his English on us. He then said he was taking us to the Thai Fashion House as there were many government promotions on for today. He said that the fashion house was having an information teaching session for tourist so we could learn how to not get ripped off. He pulled into the store and Garrett and I walked in. The salesperson was all over Garrett like a fat kid on a Smartie. Turns out it was an infamous suit shop. He quoted prices, offered good deals and in general applied too much pressure for the Canadian liking. Garrett walked out. Mr. Panki looked disappointed but said he would take us to another suit shop. We argued that we just wanted to go to the festival (in the dead Buddha's honour, with lots of yummy food), but Mr. Panki said he had to go get his petrol coupon there. Because Garrett is semi-interested, we acquiesced. This time the place actually was the Thai Fashion House. I think the previous place had been his friends or somethings. We went in but again didn't want to purchase. Garrett is as cautious as they come and didn't want to blow our limited budget as it was only our first day and who knew what the future held. Mr Panki then dropped us off at the festival. We still hadn't paid him yet as he was gonna complete the trip by bringing us back to Khao San road. We went in to the festival. It was a gong show. There were REALLY loud loudspeakers everywhere, with three or four different speakers/singers/chanters doing their thing. There was food. Everything from grubs (right out of the Lion King, remember Timon and Pumba, and they ate those worms and bugs?!) there were beetles, bugs, grasshoppers and centipedes. We were both quite hungry by this point, oddly enough we didn't want to eat:P I think the bugs and other odd arrays of food kind of turned our jet-laggy stomachs. There was a ginormous Buddha that was over 150 ft tall. His toes were HUGE!!!! Anyway people were praying and burning incense and giving flowers to statues and monks. It was an interesting sight to see. It sure made me appreciate Christianity so much more. Not only is our God living but guess what!!! ???I don't have to bow before a statue that is made of disgustingly expensive materials where poverty surrounds it.(Yup, that was a shameless plug for Christians right there!). That was a little sad to see, the Thai people have SO little!!! Anyway we walked by this one platform that was set up with flowers and all sorts of little pictures and books with what I thought was a wax statue or mannequin. At first I thought he was real, but he wasn't moving, on closer inspection he wasn't even blinking, so we decided it was indeed a mannequin. Well a few minutes later, another tourist had found out it was a live dude!!! You couldn't see him blink, or even really breathe. We watched for a long time and took flashing pics and still no sign of life. Even now I think they may have used an embalmed corpse, but I guess the skin would have looked more grey. I don't really know, but it was creepy. He just didn't move!!!! 

After we left the festival we looked and looked for Mr. Panki, but he had vanished. We felt terrible, as we hadn't paid him and he had been driving us around for over an hour. I think he knew we weren't going to buy one of the stupid suits, so he cut his losses and went to look for other “beautiful” tourists. So pretty much we got a free tour:P We took another tuk-tuk- from Khao San to the train station. The guy driving this one was INSANE!!! He was fast, cut corners, and honked his horn a lot. It was one the funniest things all day. We were running a tad late, at one point we were stuck in traffic and I asked him how much longer. Well he took this as an OK to to go even faster and cut as many people off as he wanted. But he was a good driver, we got to the train in one piece.
Currently we are travelling second class on a sleeper train. We are trying to stay awake until 9pm, this is proving to be difficult. It is 830 now and I feel like I might slump over at any minute. I have already had to nudge Garrett a few times. But we are excited to start our northern Thailand exploration tomorrow:P


Our group of 12 have all bonded on a new level as we ate together, slept together and bathed (shampoo and all) in the river together. the trek was out of this world. by far my most fave thing thus far.
The first day a visit to a snake show and orchid farm.  the snake show was pretty amusing, but the orchids were pretty tame. Next we went to the long necked village who are refugees from Burma. The Thai govt does not `recognize' them and considers them to be aliens. They have no rights or privileges in thai society. I felt badly for them so I bought my first tourist trinket there. That was cool, but very marketed. Myself and another guy were the first of the tourists into the village. As the ladies saw us coming they hid cell phones, flicked off radios, a little girl even hid her plastic cereal bowl. I know that this way of life is very different from mine, but this was definitely tourist oriented. Then was a brutal hike for approx 3-4 hours.  the hike it self wasn't so bad.  i have done tougher.  but by the time we started the hike it was 1:30pm so the sun was very hot.  Garrett and i decided to share a pack between the two of us and take turns as all our stuff didn't fit in the mini day pack i had.  anyway when it came time for me to take a turn carrying it, it plum tuckered me out.  it was sooooo steep and hot.  i puked, got the shivers, was dizzy and there was a  twitch in my face and everything.  it was really embarrassing as i wasn't representing the mountainous BC very well. anyway, our guide "Whiskey" would make the faster hikers wait, then by the time me and the other 2 people got there the break would be over and we wouldn't get a rest:(  so at one point i collapsed and said ''puff puff...i ...can't....move!!!!"  of course by this time Garrett had taken the pack for most of the trip.  so i wasn't carrying anything!!! Well, finally we arrived at the Lahoe village in northern Chiangmai. we had the craziest huts with mosquito nets and everything!  once it cooled off i felt considerably better.  so much so that Garrett and i walked around the village and watched the locals thrush rice!! It was insane.  the villagers are so primitive (basic? old school? not sure what adjective to use without being condescending!). anyway, once the village harvests the rice the have a wooden bowl in a hole on the ground with what looks like a teeter-totter above it.  so 1-2 people step in rhythm to make the anvil-y thing break the husks off the rice. i had no clue rice came in shells!! This description of the method may be less than accurate, but there is a huge language barrier there.  anyway, we ate dinner and then we all sat around playing guitar, (yes, i did the Dixie song repertoire) then magic tricks then BED!!! (or rather straw mats on the floor!). Then we stargazed...the stars are crazy bright there! I saw many shooting stars!
i was very tired, but as we are both jet-lagging sleep is tough.  well, let me tell you that come morning that village is louder than any city!! The roosters don't just crow at sunrise, they crow constantly from like 330am on!!! I was all against cockfighting before this experience, but now i know why people want to make a painful ending for these super annoying animals.  well we were both the first ones up the next morning, and we watched the sunrise.  
That was spectacular!
The next morning, we did more trekking, but this time i only drank a tiny bit of water and chewed gum to keep my mouth moist. the day before i think that maybe i had drunk too much water. We started earlier too which was nice around 10 am, then we hiked (me with the pack, and in the front with the guide). Garrett and i stuck to the front of the line in order to see what we could see. I saw 3 snakes, 2 which were deadly. 1 lizard and one egg for the biggest spider in the world! CRAZINESS!!!
Next we went to another village (Karen tribe, refugees from china i think). Then another village, where they are from was lost in translation, Whiskey didn`t speak the best of English. Then we went to 2 different waterfall camps. They were stunning of course. We swam around and had water fights and gold- panning sessions....thanks to Garrett sharp eyes. Finally in the afternoon we arrived at the elephant camp where all 12 of us promptly jumped in the river with one bar of soap and one bottle of shampoo. Then we all tried to get clean!!!!
that night our guide entertained us with stories and interesting games in which you had to pick a card and do whatever the `dare` or rule was . For example if you pulled a 3 you had to run around the table and buck like a chicken. Shanda woulda liked this one as it was reminiscent of quelf.
then this morning i was up at 6. the sleep was better because the river droned out the other noises like white noise. But i just was awake because i was excited for rafting and elephants. also that morning whiskey asked if he could watch me put in my «contracts» (contact lenses), so i gave a little demonstration. It was kinda cute! He had never seen them before.

 The elephants we cool, i liked them, they were really quite adorable!  I got tickled by one. The elephant behind us reached up with it's trunk and tickled me. i laughed so hard. Then we white water rafted, which was hard work as the river was low and we kept getting stuck!

I broke my sunglasses, I was gonna throw them out but the guide `Ong` wanted them. He accidentally dropped the broken glasses in the river, and jumped our boat to dive and see if he could find them. I felt terrible because  he obviously valued them,yet they weren't good enough for me...
after white water we hopped on a bamboo raft and by then Ong and i were buds so he let me drive (steer? pole?). He couldn't speak a lick of English except left and right (and he often got htose mixed up!), paddle forward and backward and GO GO GO GO!!!! he was the bomb.
Finally we got lunch, pad Thai in which we doctored it ourselves with sugar, chilies and or limes. I simply squeezed limes in mine and it was so delicious. Our guide was a really good cook.

That night we all met up at a really cute authentic Thai restaurant. Jackie's. The lady ran it herself out of her kitchen, the kitchen was not at all western standardized, but the food that came out of there could never EVER be replicated in North America!! It was amazing!! She just kept making dishes and bringing them out, She also made amazing smoothies. She just would chop up the fresh fruit of whatever you ordered. I have a pineapple/mango, and a Thai ice tea. We then went to the Sunday night market, where we shopped and I became the shoppers assistant for the guys who wanted to get gifts for the ladies in their life back home, it was pretty funny!

And that my friends, ended my Northern Thailand sojourn.  We are still in ChiangMai, and have just been chilling out. I will keep you posted as to what happens next!


Well, this is one of the original emails I sent out prior to establishing the the blog. 
From April 8, 2010

***Disclaimer:  This email is super long because I wrote little bits along the way.  Might want to break it up over a few days or something.  Or skim read it.  Or skip it altogether.  Totally won't be offended.  


We just got back from Pai, we rented mopeds yesterday and scootered on up the mountain about 4 hrs took us from 9:30am to 3pm..
It would have been ok but the boys decided to do some "off roading"......Garret bailed pretty harsh as did James the Irish guy that came with us. Garrett is now in a foul mood because he broke his shock proof camera and did some hefty damages to the bike.  We decided to just spend the night up there as we were too tired to drive back home and didn't want to drive in the dark.|This was kind of unfortunate as we had already paid for our night in, and paid for another night in Pai. Fortunately there were four of us so it was cheaper than it could have been.  We left at 6:30 am Wednesday and got back at 10...we drove straight to except one stop for brekkie.  Anyway,  Garrett had to pay a lot of money for the damages to his bike.  They tried to make me pay for some big gouges that they said I did (I didn't, I only took a little fall and the bike landed on my leg, so the landing was soft! ouch!).  Anyway, we had to threaten to call the tourist police because they were saying they wouldn't give me back my passport till I paid, but I didn't want to pay.  Bit of a scam if you ask me! (Later it turns out that this is a well known scam and they warn you about it in the guidebooks...who'd a thunk
it eh!?) Some other traveller just butted in and told them to shove off as even he could tell the damages were old! A crowd started to form because there was quite a commotion between the Thai lady hollering at us and me stomping my foot and stubbornly crossing my arms saying “I WILL NOT PAY!!!!”, to the people all around interrupting to tell the owners of the shop to be fair. In the end after making us wait close to 45 minutes the lady said that I had to pay late charges for an hour, even though we only were a half an hour late, but the contract (written in Thai) said we left earlier than we did. All in all I only had to pay 40 baht, (1.30$ for being an hour late arriving with the bikes). This was an unfortunate lesson learned, but in hind sight we lacked some common sense in renting the scooters without inspecting for prior damage and making notes or pictures of the scratches. I wonder how hapless tourists have paid for the same scratch over and over again!

The night we returned to Chiang Mai
, we hopped on an night bus to take us back to Bangkok. The bus was very uncomfortable for Garrett as he is so tall and the seats are built for the South Asian body type. Slim and short as a general rule. We made it back to Bangkok by 5:30 am, as we drove into the city we say many Police Vehicles heading in as well (like 20-30 in a row!) as there was a large red shirt protest planned for that day. We then took a tuk-tuk to the train station where we hung out for 3 hours. Luckily there were many other travellers that we got to meet up with and chat with. We met one guy from the UK who told us about a spiritual revelation he had after he swam in the waters of Koh Samui. He then investigated numerous religions and ended up deciding that Christianity was the simplest message with the most hope in it, and he said it “made sense”. After this, I told Garrett that we were going to go to Koh Samui (Southern Thailand) and I was gonna forcibly chuck him in the waters. Sounds like a plan to me :P
The next leg of our journey was wrought with potential dangers.
Fasten your seat belt folks, cause here I go!

We had paid extra money for VIP seats on the bus so that we would have more room to move around. Weeellllll
, guess what!??The bus had supposedly broken down. SO the company shoved all of us into a tiny mini-van, but alas, there wasn't room for Garrett and I and another couple, so after reorganizing the cramped van, they shoved Garrett and I in and the other couple into an even tinier car. This was a less than ideal situation, but we didn't say much because there is a chance they could just drive off without you. Anyway, I was waaaay in the back and the floor of the van was metal and burned my feet, I resigned myself to sweating my brains out. Garrett got the roomier position in the front. That part was rather uneventful, except that the roads were in bad condition, so every bump was amplified if you sat in the back.. . My head would thunk the window if I dared to doze off. We arrived at the Aaranyprathet and our guide got our visas for us. We paid 35$ each (later we found out they were only supposed to be 25$), but they had people actually walk through with groups of 5 at a time. It was a fairly painless procedure and we all came out on the other side. I found it bizarre that we had to do a medical screening thing. But it only consisted of us filling out a health questionnaire. The guys in there kept saying to me `Do you know me and I said `No`. Then he answered `I KNOW YOU want me`. These are lyrics to a song played on the radio here. I don't think he understood the context of the song, just the I KNOW YOU part. Then he proceeded to serenade me as I left with `I am so lonelyyyyy, so verryyy loneelyyyy, I have noboddyyyy`. I think this is all he knew of that song. If you don't believe me you can corroborate this story with Garrett. It was a very surreal introduction to Cambodia. 
When I first arrived in Thailand I remember thinking...`Ah, so this is what true poverty is`. Being the spoiled Canadian that I am, I had ignorantly assumed that East Hastings was real poverty. Well this mindset was immediately challenged upon entry to Cambodia. As soon as I walked out of the customs, It was like I had entered a strange universe. There were people pulling carts that looked far too heavy for their emaciated bodies. The carts generally piled high with what looked like rubbish (cardboard?), I don't even know. It was really bad. But it was going to get worse.
The tour company Garrett and I had booked with tried to tell us that we had to bus to Siam Reap (where Angkor Wat is) then over to Phnom Penh. They said it was only an extra 3 hours (later we found out it is an extra 6 hours!!!). I pulled out the stomping foot routine (yes, I know, it is getting old, but it seems to speak universally across language barriers). I said `NO!, we are going directly to Phnom Penh. That is what we paid for that is what is going to happen. I am such a jerk. It worked. They found us a taxi with Air Conditioning. We were to share it with two other people (so much for paying extra for the roomier VIP coach the up sold us on). At this point we had been travelling for close to 20 hours. SO we really didn't care. I was dehydrated because our vehicles didn't have bathrooms and they don't stop much, so I wasn't drinking much...dumb idea. So this is the part where we lived up all 9 of our lives (if we were cats), and also I made my guardian angels cringe and work overtime. Our cab driver didn't speak a lick of English, so we knew there would be no conversation from him. We promptly befriended the Aussie squished next to us. His name was Adrian and he worked for an NGO educating and trying to end exploitation of children here. We had a lot to talk about for 6 hours.

As the driver revved his engine.
I settled myself in the back to sleep. Within 30 seconds, I was sitting up gasping and squeaking with horror. The driver was NUTS! He was swerving in and out of traffic, perpetually honking. He honked at everything! Trees, rocks, cars, scooters, cows, horses, apparitions, imaginative friends, the get the idea. As we neared the countryside, traffic became less. After twenty hours with no sleep I managed to doze off. You know how when you go swimming or are in a boat and when you try to sleep you feel like you are still in the pool or lake? Well, in the past 36 hours I had spent about ten hours on a moped. As I fell asleep, I dreamt my scooter hit a cement post and I grunted and did a full body spasm and jerked awake. It took a moment to orient myself (where am I, who am I...etc.). When my brain was functioning, I heard the Aussie beside me chuckling and politely looking away. So of course I had to tell the stranger about my dream and why I was having them (this was the 2nd night in a row)....great ice breaker, let me tell you. Nothing awkward about that one. No siree.
I start
ed to pay more attention the erratic driving skills of the man behind the wheel. I noticed that he sniffed a lot (Brianna, I wish you had never told me what that means, but it did explain a lot, so maybe I am glad you told me...oh I don't know). And his eyes were REALLY red and bloodshot. Hmmmmm....I thought to myself, Brianna said perpetual sniffing with signs of bloodshot eyes and no cold symptoms is the sign of a drug uses....duhn duh duuuhhhhh. I began to watch the driver more closely. He switched from lane to lane at whim. The 2 lane road would sometimes become four. It soon became apparent that his honking meant `I OWN this road!`. I didn't tell Garrett, because I didn't want to worry him. Eventually I caved though, misery does love company. So here's the weird part. It gets dark quickly here. 6Pm is usually pitch black. It took us a while to figure out what exactly was going on. But here's what it was. As another car would approach, our driver would flash his brights, on and off, on and off in rapid succession. Whether or not the other car was driving with brights made no difference. The approaching car would flash his lights back (of course). As they put their brights on, our drive would rip a hand mirror out and hold it above the steering wheel. This would reflect their lights back into their own eyes. This dude was seriously tripping out. So he played this game as well as the honking game as well as one more. Let`s-see-how-close-we-can-get-to-the ox-and-cart-on-the-side-of-the-road. I aged 20 years in that trip. Then, the driver, sick of our englishy conversation started channel surfing on his radio (on top of everything else, oh yeah, he also answered his phone and would talk loudly in Khmer). He found one with some popular tunes we happened to know. Garrett, Adrian and I (there was a Thai women in the front but she didn't speak English so we couldn't bond) began to sing in moderate tones along with the radio. He let us for 30 sec, than promptly switched stations and played it full blast. It was a Cambodian talk show.
When we arrived in Phnom Penh, the driver attempted to drop us off at a dark train station at 11 pm at night. We wouldn't get out, as once again the conditions of our ticket said a bus station. This is where the Dominguez's said they would meet us (missionaries here). We asked to use his phone but he said he didn't have one although we had just seen him using it. Finally we convinced him through actions that we would not leave until we called someone. He wanted another fix bad enough that he finally let us use his phone. We were then able to call the missionaries and tell them we had arrived. The driver parked illegally on the road then put his hood up to pretend he had broken down. When security came, they didn't bother us much. Anyway, finally Perry came and collected us. PHEW!!!! We had survived!
Anyway, we arrived, showered and fell asleep immediately. In the morning, Garrett and I both had developed cankles (where you calf and ankles become one). Mine because of travel, heat and dehydration. Garrett's was much more serious. His wound from the motorbike had become infected. It was disgusting. It was really red and lots of * gag * puss. Erin is another missionaries wife with many years of experience in the tropics behind her. Upon examination, she pronounced Garrett house bound with rest and no beach for a week. So, we adjusted our schedule. We stay in Phnom Penh till March 29th. One week less in the south beaches of Thailand. We are both bummed out, but this gave me an opportunity to get to know the people, land and language a bit more than I would have, had we stayed only four days we had originally planned. I am thinking about coming back to maybe teach English here for 3 months in the next year. We will see if that pans out or not. You just never know:P
Our very first day in Phnom Penh, we went with Saum and Chorn from the Dominguez's church to S21 (Khmer Rouge Museum, formally a school) and the Killing Fields. I did not particularly relish the idea of going to these places, but felt that it was necessary to understand the people and to pay respect. I was not that knowledgeable about that particular period in history, I never remember hearing about it in school (an injustice for sure), or in media, or just general conversation. General overview is that Pol Pot overthrew the government in Cambodia in 1979 (dates could be argued, might be a little sketchy). He marched in and took over Phnom Penh. He made almost everyone go back to the countryside, as he wanted them to produce rice and remain peasants. He killed anyone who was educated, looked educated (i.e. glasses), or knew more than one language. This to this days of course affects the nation, as they have effectively `dumbed down` the genes of Cambodia. This isn't to say of course that there aren't intelligent people in Cambodia, just that there are much less. Of course you still have the old school generation who hesitate to educate their children as they are afraid it will damage them somehow. Finally the Vietnamese came and liberated the country. By then it was already in shambles and still is. No one from abroad will invest in the country as it is so corrupt and unstable, a company would be foolish to risk it.
The Dominguez's are American. Josie was born in the Philippines however, but everyone here thinks she is Khmer (Cambodian). Her husband, Perry, is American. When they arrived here, there were many things they had to learn. The first is, that there are no jobs for the people. Cambodia has nothing to export. They have clothing factories for say, Old Navy, but these factories generally employ females. Many young men come from families in the provinces. They come to Phnom Penh looking for work because their families in the country can no longer afford to feed them. When they get here, because there is not really any industry in Cambodia they cannot find jobs easily, therefore are often are hungry. IF they have to opportunity to work, it is usually 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week, with maybe one day off a month. The pay is not usually enough to pay rent and eat (estimated 30$ US month). So they
find small rooms for rent and share with many others. I have seen the rooms ( I didn't want to take a picture). They are big enough for a bed ( hard wooden table if they are lucky, otherwise a straw mat on the floor). Maybe 3-5 people share this room. Often whole families. They work, eat, sleep. That is all. Nothing more.

At the Luchkins' church, there were many people who had come in a taxi truck the church rented, they had all worked 14 hours that day, then taxied 45min to come to Wednesday night church. They all had the bleary eyes of over worked people. It was really heart wrenching.
I think that it is difficult to explain poverty. Back in Canada we have all seen those ads for children in Africa, with the extended bellies and big eyes with Celine Dion singing faintly in the background. We know poverty exists, we have seen pictures, movies,
etc., but nothing can really compare to seeing it first-hand. When I was there I felt guilty even experiencing hunger pains, and to leave food on my plate was a crime. As for my jobs, I have never lacked for work, and am thankful that even if my past jobs haven't been the most sophisticated or career-orientated, I have the ability to work where ever I set my mind too. Sometimes 2-3 jobs at one time, but Thank God for the blessing of work.
One of the things that made me chuckle in Cambodia was it was the nation of knockoffs. Apple was everywhere, but the bite mark was on the opposite side of what it should be. Puma was Puna. 7-11 was 6-11. KFC had two alternatives, King Fried Chk (KFC) or Louisiana Fried Chk. It was a source of entertainment the entire trip. These people are ingenious!
We finally departed Cambodia via plane to go to Phuket. Cambodians are crazy! It cost us 35$ visa to get in, then they charged us 30$ just so we could leave the country. It was an airport tax or date, the ten days in Cambodia were the most expensive of the trip.
So, we landed in Phuket, spent one night, then continued on to Phi Phi Island via ferry. I met some cool Thai people who taught me some new vocab. It was a fun ferry ride. We went to Phi Phi and stayed in the Uphill Cottages, named thus because they were “uphill”. I felt safer there in case of a tsunami. We checked out the beaches and hiked around for a bit exploring the island and reintroducing ourselves to the Fruit shakes of Thailand. Soooooo good. Almost as good as the ones Grandpa and I made in Mexico every morning. Keeping with the tradition started in Mexico, I also would have a Thai pancake every morning for breakfast. Delish. On the second day in Phi Phi, Garrett and I went on a large ferry cruise where they took us to a Monkey Beach where we go to see feral looking monkeys. And some other pristine looking beaches that were absolutely fabulous for swimming and snorkeling. We also went kayaking at one of the beaches. It was pretty rad. We met some cool people from Russia. It was really a nice time. We watched the sunset on the south pacific and jumped in over and over trying to get the perfect shot of us in the air with the sunset behind us. I got a good pic on the first try, it took Garrett 4 tries. Haha. They also fed us authentic Thai food with pineapple for dessert. The food was too spicy for me, so I skipped straight to the dessert. Pineapple=God's candy. Superb. The next day we went on to travel back to the mainland, Krabi. I liked Krabi better, mainly because it was 
noticeably cheaper. Also, the streets and beaches were quite a bit cleaner. The second day there we went on a tour on a longboat to a bunch of islands. There were about 30 people on this one. Again, a lot of snorkeling. I got a private tour from one of the guides. He knew the ocean well and pointed out really cool fish. Then he kept grabbing sea cucumbers and making me touch them(*shudder*). One of the sea cucumbers secreted this weird goop all over my hand. The goop glowed fluorescent under the water. I tried to get it off as it kind of made my hand feel numb and funny. I managed to get most of it off only by keeping my and under the water so the goop glowed. It would turn invisible as soon as I took my hand out of the water. Strange. I also go to see some caves and cool fish. I like snorkeling immensely. I was freaked out at first as there are weird things below you in the ocean, and it kind of creeped me out. Especially when I saw a poisonous black and white striped swimming below me. But it turns out the ocean in like our forests. Divided into stratospheres in which if you keep to the top, there are less animals that live and habitat that layer. So it would be like gliding along the tree tops. The dangerous animals like bears and cougars are going to have a rough time getting you way up high. Just like the sharks and jellyfish in the ocean. Well, not really. But it made me feel better at the time. The next morning was to be our last day. So we rented scooters again (wisely this time, we made notes of existing damage). And took off to Emerald ponds. It took about 2 hours to get there. Once there, however it was a nice surprise. It was this crystal emerald (huh!) coloured pond that was serviced by a freshwater stream from the ground. It was so cool and refreshing to swim in. We hopped back on our scooters to get back to Krabi. We had to catch a bus to Surathani to fly to Bangkok. Buuut, the sun was sooooo hot. I imagine it was close to 40-45 degrees Celsius in some spots. I could feel the sun cooking me. It hurt so bad. Of course we had forgot to bring sunscreen. We made an emergency stop to get some from 7-11 and slathered it all over. But still it hurt. I was burned for like 3 days after that! Sick.
So now I am in Perth Australia where I have been bonding with the Aussies. Most of all I like to talk to the kids. Little Aussie kids have accents. It’s so hilarious. I can't get over it because I think my brain thinks that Aussies are faking it, so when a kid talks, I am astounded. I am not sure why I am so amazed as I have not done a full psychoanalysis on myself yet. But this is what I think. They are so cute. But funny!
The only damper on my trip this far is that I lost my camera somewhere enroute to Australia. I have called the airlines, but don't hold much luck in it being returned. I am so sad as there are like 200 pics (including the awesome one of me jumping in the ocean at sunset). Fortunately if worse comes to worse Garrett has some, but his camera broke at the scooter accident so we used mine mainly. I could cry. But I haven't yet as I am that the airlines don't clean very well and it might still be under the seat or something. There is also a possibility it fell out on the bus or taxi. Not sure. But I am very sad. There may be a bout of tears sometime in the future, but for now I am hoping that it will turn up. It was a brand new camera too! Grrr.....
Well, my friends. I guess this email should keep you all occupied for a bit reading it. I must go now as I must create new adventures in order to have something to write about next time.

Well, my friends. I guess this email should keep you all occupied for a bit reading it. I must go now as I must create new adventures in order to have something to write about next time.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Muttama Princess

And 10 months later, I return to Muttama Station to be a harvest cook. After a lifetime of travelling from South East Asia to arrive here (6 days baby!), i arrived to the most disgusting sanitary situation in the house. This coming from a girl who's lived in a developing country for 7 months. That should say a lot.

I got the place all sorted out anyway, (4 hours to clean the stove/oven!). That night I went up to the farmhouse with one of the farmboys for dinner with the farmer and his wife. There is one boy who is the same from last year.
I wasn't confident on the cleanliness of the kitchen in the quarters so I didn't want to attempt food cooking there. I had a good chat with them.  Their favourite story was how a fellow teacher friend of mine got mugged. By three lady-boys on a moto. The farmer and farmboy never tire of re-enacting the scene. It keeps me in stitches. Sometimes I just randomly ask farmboy to do the ladyboy accent, and generally, well actually  ALWAYS, he obliges (never mess with the lady who is in charge of the food). It makes me laugh so hard. 

As for actual day-to-day life out here, it is pretty quiet. I originally had four Irish lads and one Aussie guy, but the Irish "needed to take a spoonful of cement and harden up" (Farmer Tom's words, not mine, my description was more along the lines of "bunch of pansies") and left.  The one guy in particular wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, and he was the catalyst for the whole mutiny thing. What happened was Farmer Tom told him to knock off work at 7pm as he was going to pull a night shift on the hay baler. So this clever lad waltzes home and proceeds to sit in front of the TV. Puzzled, I asked him if he were going to bed as I can turn the music off etc. He said, "No, it's worse if I sleep. It's better if I just stay awake the whole time."  

I tried to tell him that temporarily he might feel ill, but at 4 and 5am, he would be really happy that he had slept. He didn't listen. In fact he drove to town and bought 5 RedBulls. Then he sat down and downed them.  Sheer brilliance.  He went to work, then came home around 6am and went to sleep. At 1130am, the Farmer told me to wake him up. So I did. Genius boy was so upset, he muttered and complained the whole time. Then when he joined the group at work, they were waiting for a truck or something, so they were all standing around. This upset him to the point where he stomped back to the quarters and grouched about it to me. I politely, and delicately reminded him that he had the 5 hours the night before to sleep, which he didn't. The Aussie Farmboy came to the quarters and was like, "Soooo, are you coming back to work because we sort of need you?!".
Irish guy,"Ummmm...I have a headache and need coffee". Awkward silence where I avoided eye contact with everyone and looked for the nearest exit to make my escape, then Aussie farmboy left. 30 minutes later the whole lot turned up at the quarters full of laughter and jolliness. They told me they were out and wanted to know if I wanted out too. Pansies. They got all worked up over the way they were being treated.   I knew Assistant Farmer had no clue, and there was gonna be a scene.  I really wanted out, but unfortunately, the quarters were not the biggest place. When I saw him coming I quickly retreated to my room where I could hear a ruckus in the kitchen that involved a lot of swearing and shouting. I hid out until it quieted down then made an appearance. The Irish boys had their music pumping and were well on their way to getting wasted. They packed up and left a few hours later. Good riddance was the general consensus at the farm. 
 So currently I have two lovely Frenchies (who wash their dishes...WITH SOAP!!!) and the one Aussie.  Because the Frenchies are so tidy, it leaves me with little do. Lately I have been doing catch-up with family and friends from back home. My life in Cambodia combined with the internet situation made communications difficult. Also, I have been doing hours of navigation online trying to sort out school stuff from afar. Turns out I am terrible at this stuff. I really am way more comfortable face-to-face. Alas, being in the bowels of Ozland makes that a wee bit difficult.  Also, Farmer and Assistant Farmer both have kids so I have been doing some minding for them. Emma, the Assistant Farmer's wife is close to my age and we get along famously. Like a house on fire really. So we hang out and exchange gossip and recipes.  She has got two really lovely kids, Maddison and Angus. They are both close to my nephews and nieces age so I really like to hang with them. Farmer Tom and Steph have four kids, but the two older boys go to boarding school, so I see the two young girls, Abby and Gilly (10 and 9). They are absolute gems. They are currently taking dance and so the other day I was over and we had a free dance session to Adele and they ripped out all these groovy ballet/hip-hop moves and were quite good. So, anyway, it feels very homey and comfortable here. 

Usually in the mornings I clean up and try to bake a little while it's still cool.  Harvest is nearly finished and during that time the boys worked incessantly. One guy worked 24 hours straight, then came home and slept 18 hours. Poor bloke. These guys work so hard! I saw one of Frenchie's time sheets and he had worked 96 hours in one week! Yikes. Mind you, that would be some good coinage. I have hinted (never seriously) to Farmer Tom to let me drive the header (Combine for you Canadians). But after having driven him somewhere in the Ute and gearing down, then keeping the clutch in WHILE I turned the corner (apparently this makes it so that you have less control, somehting to do with compression, and my argument of saying I had full control because I am steering the steering wheel didn't fly), he says he doubts I am fit to drive the John Deere ride-on mower. Darn. I should,however mention, the header is 3/4 of a million dollars to purchase....
 On the weekend, the boys had been out there for a bit and Tom needed me to farrier the ute back in forth so he could get the road trains onto the paddock. While I was waiting in the paddock, Tom told me to hop up with the boys in the header. He says it was to show me how cool it was. I say he wanted me to talk their ears off and keep them awake. I got bored after an hour or two. But I am glad to have my part in this whole production, even if it is to make sure they aren't falling asleep.  

During harvest, they take turns coming home to eat and then sleep. I feel bad for them because they have been sitting in their tractors ALLLLL day with no one to talk to, so I usually sit at the table with them, drinking tea and checking on their day. Some days I feel like the only thing I did was sit at that table and drink tea:D  (And in case you didn't read into that it's more like I had no one to talk to allll day and there is a backlog of words stuck in me, so I have to get them all out, I just disguise it as an altruistic gesture of keeping them company...hah). 
The other night, Tom and Steph had myself and the three boys up for dinner. Steph is an awesome cook, so I always look forward to her cooking.  I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt (it was like 17 degrees out and I WAS FREEZING), but when the Frenchies came out they were all spit and polished up. So Aussie boy declared he couldn't be shown up by the Frenchies, and changed. So then if course I had to too. So there the four of us rocked up to the farmhouse in skirts (with gumboots as it was rainy) and "grade A" clothes...we looked good:D Steph served up  Indian food, although it didn't quite outshine the Shandhar Hut's food, it was delicious nonetheless.  We had such a good time up there. I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt by the end of the night. Tom and Aussie farmboy love to speak in French accents and imitate French stereotypes and it's so funny!The French boys just politely look on and take it with good humour. We all just had a really grand evening, and it felt very homey to all of us. As the Frenchies summed it up, "we feel belonged".  We do indeed. 

  I have seen my usual array of kangaroos, wallabies, tons of foxes, emus and an echidna!  I never tire of seeing them. The other day I was on a dirt road and decided to race the roo hopping beside me. He was going over 60 km/hr!  Impressive. 

Just on one last note, there's that part of the poem by Wordsworth, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud", in the last stanza it says " as I lay in vacant or in pensive mood, they flash upon the inner eye, which is the bliss of solitude", which I totally get now. There are certain sights that are so awe-inspiring that you think about them repeatedly.  I have never seen the likes of the sunsets and the stars that I see here. Every night, I stare out the back window, or sit on the steps and watch the sun sink into the wheat-filled paddocks with the silhouette of emus and wierd foreign looking trees and am thankful for the opportunity to be out here. Then, when it becomes pitch black, the stars are so close and big that I can just stare and stare and it never ceases to amaze me at how gorgeous the scenery is in our world.  God, the ultimate artist, sure knows how to do things right!

Found: One kanga in the paddock
Baby Kangaroo
Me and Mia, the baby Roo

In the quarters, chillin' with local wildlife

Tina, the sausage the wiener dog checks out roo