A KATRINA MOMENT

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Vladivostok

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

 

The train from the airport to vladivostok was a straight shot. So I was sure I could do it even with a language barrier. The train even had internet and tv cartoons playing. The train cost 200 rubles so when I got off and a taxi driver wanted 200 rubles for 500 meters I said “Niet”. Well the 500 meters was uphill with 2 bags and a broken wrist. A very nice gentleman helped me with my bags the last 50 meters or so which I greatly appreciated. Without him I would never have found the hotel which was not vible from the main road.

My primary purpose after getting in my room was a shower. After, I went to find roland and peter, 2 other members of the tour staying in the hotel. Since Vladivostok is so far north, it stays light quite late. I don’t think it is all night but I was so tired to notice. roland and peter mentioned meeting for the bus in the morning which I had known nothing about. In the morning we spent about 45 minutes looking for another member of the group, tom, who also had not gotten the message. This should have been a clue as to the organization.

 

 

 

Narita Airport in Tokyo

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Narita airport

I ended up spending three days in narita airport in Tokyo after I could not get on my first flight. Initially it was because I wasn’t sure when I could get a new flight. And after scrambling to get new flights I was too exhausted to travel back to Tokyo and find a hotel and start the process again. Oh, and skso because these flights had cost me so much additional expense, I really didn’t want further costs. All of these changes were eating into my funds.

Living in the airport was much like living as a homeless person. The first night I had a sleeping buddy, victor from denmark. We took care of each belongings when either of us needed to leave. The following night I was not so lucky. When I got up to use the bathroom and returned, my space was taken. I found myself a space on the floor.

If I had to stay in an airport for 3 days, narita was one of the best. The airport has a complete mall inside. I know shopping isn’t my thing but it did give ne something to do during the days of waiting. And the restaurants were really good. The airport even had a lounge that you could pay for during the day. I took advantage of it my last day there. I was so tired from sleeping on the floor a recliner sure was inviting.

 

Language Barrier

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Language Barrier

Before I ever do a trip like this again, I shall try much more to learn the language. Although a lot of my words are because I do need to use them on a daily basis. Right now I am on the trans-siberian to Novosibirsk and so far I have found no one who speaks English. My roommate knows no English but we do sign pretty well. I started this journey as a tourist and if I really want to understand my father’s journey I cannot be a tourist.

 

 

Chinese visa

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Chinese visa

I ended up getting a Chinese transit visa at the airport. Because all my travel arrangements had to be changed, I ended up travelling through China. I got in after midnight and the police stamped my passport. So I spent the night at a very run-down hotel. Of course, I didn’t get a chance to see much except a very poor part Shanghai. My flight left early the next morning.

 

May 30

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Yesterday I first went to see if I could find my camera. No luck! So my pictures will have to come from my cell phone or tablet. Maybe in Bangkok I can find a cheap camera. Not sure if my cards are working yet. I shall try them this morning when I go out. I did try uploading pictures from my phone to my website but it was slow so I am not sure it took.

The afternoon I spent at Olympic Park where the convention is being held. I had lunch with Pierre Weill from Marseille, France and Thomas Talley from Wilmington Delaware. Eva, if you are reading this, Tom is a VP of Investments at Raymond James. I volunteered to help out at the convention, so I received my assignments. I really believe I have a problem with nit being able to say no. All my assignments are first thing in the morning which means I miss church services. On the other hand when you always say yes you never know what opportunities might come your way because of it. It leaves everything to chance. So needless to say I am on my way to Olympic Park at 6 am this morning.

 

 

May 29

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Thursday May 29

I woke up this morning about 4:30 am. I am still not quite on the Australian schedule. I had to call my bank because my cards again stopped working. The cards only worked once yesterday. I sure hope the bank gets this fixed. Supposedly the bank is protecting you by not allowing any suspicious activity. Problem is it also stops actual activity. But I also got a chance to Skype Phaedra and Kaitlin.

Yesterday, I went to the Capitol Theater to see Lion King. It was a sold-out show but I was lucky to get a ticket that had been returned. I had forgotten how thought-provoking the message of the story was. I can’t get “the Circle of Life” out of my head. One bad note, I lost my new camera at the theater. I think it might have fallen out while I was looking for something. I will go back to the theater today to see if they found it. After the show I went to Paddy’s Market. Again a very interesting place for anything you might want.

Last night I went to Darling Harbour for dinner and to watch the light show upon the water. The entire downtown area shows different light shows (called Vivid) each night so I have not seen the same one twice. I think I shall try Circular Quay tonight.

 

May 28

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

May 28 was a day for exploring the city of Sydney. As T.S. Elliott stated: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know it for the first time.” This is where I hope to be when I come back at Christmas. I started out trying to find Olympic Park where I found the convention is being held. I thought it couldn’t be too far from the city. Wrong! It is about 15 miles outside the city. The city of Sydney is providing free transportation during the event. In the afternoon, I took a walking tour of the city. I met another Rotarian, mike from Columbus, Georgia. His club has over 300 members, all Paul Harris and all 100% attendance. I was quite impressed. The walking tour was completely free. All you had to do was tip. A 20 something girl started the free tours a few years ago and about 30 people attend. I assume they might get some money from the businesses that they point out, but I am not sure. I was so impressed with the day tour that I went on the night tour which explored the seamier side of Sydney. Sydney had been used as a storage place for convicts and many lived in The Rocks. At the time it was considered the slums, but now is quite the place to live being close to the water. Many of the homes in the area are actually council houses (public housing) and the government is trying to move the tenants out because it is prime property. There is a great controversy about the planned move. By 5:30 it is getting dark here. It is their winter but the weather is not that much different from Florida at this time of the year. At 6 pm a light show takes place across the city. All the buildings and statues are lit up and many play music.

I realized yesterday that Sydney is not all that English. I had a sausage roll for breakfast but the shopkeeper had no idea what HP sauce was. For lunch, I went to a Vietnamese restaurant and ordered teriyaki fish. I decided I must practice what is preached to our exchange students, ‘Don’t ask, just eat!” So I asked no questions until I finished my meal. The waitress didn’t know what fish it was saying it changed every day. When she asked the cook for me, he said it was chicken. I guess I’ll never know what I ate unless I come across it again. For dinner I had fish and chips but the waitress had no idea what malt vinegar was, so she brought me balsamic vinegar instead.

I finally got my charge cards straightened out. I spent a half hour on the phone with the bank last night. As of this morning, my card was working. Many of the people staying here are actually on work visas. My roommate Mirna is from Serbia. Australia provides year-long work visas. There are even programs to work for food and lodging while you are on holiday. Yesterday morning I met a guy from Iran who is coming back in a couple months to work here full-time. For many of these students, this is a land of opportunity.

 

jULY 9

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 17, 2014 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Walked around town with the group. Stalin and Lenin seem alive and well in this part of Russia. We took a bus to the Mammoth MUseum, a Yakult cultural center and Transfiguration cathedral. The women were required to wear headscarves including me, Afterwards we went to the Permafrost Museum. The museum was inside a mountain. I got some great pictures there. We had to wear insulated coats and shoes. This would be where I left the group. I was ready to be on my own finding the places I needed to find. Company is fine for a while but too restrictive for me.

jULY 8

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 17, 2014 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Rain again. But I am used to rain from all my years camping with my children. We took buses to the airport. We flew on Polar Air. There is no bag service so we placed our own bags on and took them off when we left. At least we didn't have to wait for our bags. As I got on the plane, I noticed the emergency exit. The sign above the exit says "turn the handle upward till stop. Jerk emergency door open by handle". THE PROBLEM I SAW WAS THAT THERE WERE NO AGE RESTRICTIONS FOR THE SEAT. The occupant of the seat was a 3-year-old with her 9 year-old sister sitting byeaisle. I am not sure when the plane was made, but certainly before airbags.

We landed at YAKUTSK, the first real city we had seen. We stayed at the Hotel LENA. It actually had hot water that wasn't grey. The weather was beautiful. Ellie and I walked around the town. A FAMILY DAY PERFORmance was taking place in the square. As we walked back, we met some of the men going to a YAKUTSK restaurant. We joined in. This is a place I followed my precept: Don't ask, just eat! We had reindeer, horse, tongue ND TRIPE.

July 7

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 17, 2014 at 2:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Drove to UST Nera about 8 am. I had spent the night in Kadykchan with 4 of the others. I was not going to let disorganization interfere with what I had planned to do. Plus I couldn't complain if I mutinied. I could not stomach another meal of bologna. When we reached Artic, saw sun for the first time. We ate at a Chinese restaurant. I definitely was craving real food. Artic is 2 degrees south of the Arctic Circle so it pretty much stays light all night.


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