From Our Own Correspondent, 2013

(131 Posts)
Salbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 06:33:57

If I may? Loads of us seem keen. Idea is to post a little about your daily life overseas or a particular trip, event etc of interest, modelled on the R4 programme.

Got the school run but shall think of something to post later.

Salbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 09:21:03

Ok, shall i start? Desperately trying to think of something penetrating and insightful to say

Pondering "Men by the side of the road" situation here. First thing when I drove to school this morning, I spotted the usual gaggles of men, sitting on the kerbside, relaxing and chatting but with one eye on the road in the hope that someone would pick them up for ad hoc work. Quite a tall order with 28% unemployment rate. Too easy to blank them out as I drive passed but hard to know how best to help. My kids used to be curious about them when we first arrived, now they never comment.

Meanwhile, Spring is in the air, the sun shines and for some here life is good.

chloeb2002 Mon 09-Sep-13 15:18:59

Meanwhile in sunny Australia we gained a new government. The leader of which my mother confidently announced is Russ Abbot. Never a better description made wink

Salbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 15:24:20

Oh dear. Not a good result then?

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 09-Sep-13 15:31:48

Today I had the misfortune to get not one, but two 'Kowloon side' taxi drivers who had no clue where they were going. Although in Hk red taxi drivers can legally drive on both hk island and Kowloon, in practice they rarely do so by choice, so if a trip takes them across the harbour they try desperately to get back, in the meantime grudgingly doing 'wrong side' journeys, forcing their passengers to navigate for them, and sighing heavily.

Salbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 15:35:46

Sorry, Richer, but couldn't help wry smile, remember it well, seemed to happen to me on the stickiest of summer days, too! Bit like south of the river in London, only worse.

TanteRose Mon 09-Sep-13 16:00:53

Thanks for starting this thread, Salbertina smile
The one a few years ago was fun!

So Tokyo won its bid to host the 2020 first reaction, honestly, was "oh FFS" confused
I mean, yes, London did it and it all worked out in the end, but London was not sitting on top of a seismic fault line that literally, and I mean LITERALLY, could cause a massive earthquake at any time. Mt. Fuji is also due for some volcanic action. There is the site of a nuclear accident not a million miles away, and although it is true that Fukushima does not really pose that much of a danger to Tokyo at the moment, the fact is, money needs to be channelled up north to fund the clean-up and decontamination work. There are so many people who are still living in temporary housing, facing another long, cold winter.
But, yeah, let's have a sports' party in Tokyo - that'll solve everything <cynical>

And breathe... grin

znaika Mon 09-Sep-13 19:26:36

On the metro on the way home from work, a youngish guy was passed out drunk lying across a whole metro bench, taking up maybe 5 seats or more at rush hour.nobody went near him for ages, just let him sleep it off, until one bloke shoved his feet off, so he could sit down, and he awoke with a start and rolled on to the floor. He jumped right up dazed and confused.

After a few minutes he started patting down his pockets and he was obviously robbed while he slept. He looked gutted sad. I gave him 100 rubles (all I had on me) He fell over 4 more times on the way top his stop. Noone laughed/helped him/ looked at him even. Stuff like this happens everyday. I live in Moscow.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Tue 10-Sep-13 03:06:29

Znaika that's awful. We rarely see drunken disorderly behavior here in Asia but human frailty is visible everywhere.
What drives me insane here is to see 70-80 year olds working very physical menial jobs such as clearing food canteens, making deliveries etc…..In both Singapore and HK which are small, very affluent and have able governments, its just so unethical that they don't have a system to take care of the aging population.

The Tokyo win made me wonder along the same lines TanteRose.
Lots of valid points in the article below but its very Asia/Pacific centric.

Tokyo win a sign of the time?

The same argument could have worked for Madrid….. goes to show that Europe is still deep in trouble as our "special relationship" with the US has moved miles from the Marshall plan and firmly away from the Atlantic.

On a prosaic note, must do yet another trip to Ikea. I hate to think of how many bits and pieces I've bought and chucked out over the many moves….still nothing beats their expedit storage/bookcases.

Isthiscorrect Tue 10-Sep-13 03:39:42

Over here in the ME, the sky this morning is a washed out white colour. Last night a huge sandstorm blew up. Driving here is difficult enough (the sense of entitlement to always be first off the lights or the fastest, etc is felt very keenly by all drivers) but throw dusk and 30 yard visibility into the mix and its pretty much taking your life into your own hands. Back to this morning, the good news is the sand has cleared to a much higher level hence the washed out sky, the air is clear to breathe but everything is covered in sand, the roads, making for dangerous driving, the cars, the outside furniture, and inside as it seeped through any tiny crack. I the resting to see the labourers and gardeners wearing towels over their faces to avoid breathing the sand. It's just a shame that the ubiquitous face masks from the Far East haven't made their way over here.

Salbertina Tue 10-Sep-13 10:50:46

Gosh, Is, sounds full on! We have sandstorms sometimes but nothing like as bad.

The South African love of the dog knows no bounds - I can think of only one family without one. What would be a huge dog back in the UK is normal here- on today's walk we saw several huskies, ridgebacks, Alsatians and labs.. And only two little poodles. I used to find all these large hounds bounding about rather unnerving, but now with my own am part of this club.

All is quiet on the Mandela front, nothing much in national media. Instead it's ANC corruption, strikes and shack protests as well as a v good news story, Africa's "lion" economies and their rapidly growing GDP.

Barbie1 Tue 10-Sep-13 13:33:42

Signing in from South Korea, too late to post bit marking my spot

thanksamillion Tue 10-Sep-13 20:51:15

From Moldova:

Today we visited an 87 year old lady in our neighbourhood who can barely walk. She still tends her garden, often by shuffling around on her bottom. If she doesn't grow things to eat she'd have almost nothing to eat. When we went to visit she was sitting soaking her feet in a bowl of cold water and in the time we were talking the water almost all drained away because the tub was tin and had corroded away.

We went back later in the day with a plastic bowl, some warm water, soap and moisturising cream and washed her feet, cut her nails and then massaged them and her hands. When we left she wanted to walk to the gate with us so we helped her there and said goodbye. A neighbour saw us with her and said that it would probably take her until dark to walk back again to the house.

I think I may have got fleas from her house hmm

Good afternoon in pleasant heat from the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles.

The late summer has finally blossomed with an excruciating heat wave after months of the marine layer stretching all the way east of the 405 freeway, which continues to be as fucked up as the Victoria Line circa 2007-2011

Chia Seeds are the current go to food for all vegan, lentil weaving, competitive yogis in the city; schools returned from their summer vacation shock horror before labour day hit at least it got the pesky tourists off our beaches and out of Beverly Hills.

Celebrity Spot for the day - Gael Garcia Bernal sipping a rose water almond latte and eating a vegan walnut and coconut macaroon while discussing his next film venture in Bob Dylan's "18th Street Coffee Shop" cafe in Santa Monica.

<<LA Correspondent will return in a month after a sabbatical to the motherland>>

Sibble Wed 11-Sep-13 05:17:59

While rugby is New Zealand's national sport, kiwis are passionate about most sports and New Zealand is currently gripped by America's Cup Fever. The 34th America's cup is currently taking place in San Fransisco. The race is highly topical in NZ: Russell Coutts CEO of Oracle (Team NZs opposition) is himself a kiwi, he 'defected' several years ago and NZ never quite got over the 'betrayal'; Oracle were penalised two points in a cheating scandal before the race began; if NZ win the race will next be hosted here in NZ bringing with it economic opportunities.

Team New Zealand currently are leading 4 races to 1. The first team to win 9 races wins. As Oracle were penalised two points before the race began the current score is 4/-1. Oracle have just used their wildcard that allows them to defer the next race.

The government are already working out finances for hosting the next cup. Heaven help the nation if we lose!

Salbertina Wed 11-Sep-13 10:17:10

Keep 'em coming, these are great!

So far, roll-call is NZ, Australia, LA, Hong Kong, Moldova, S Korea, ME, Moscow, S Africa...hope i haven't missed anyone out?!

Salbertina Wed 11-Sep-13 10:18:02

And Japan- Tokyo?!

mirai Wed 11-Sep-13 15:26:47

Good evening, this is your second Japanese correspondent reporting for duty! I live a good few hours south of Tokyo, in a tiny village, so hopefully my reports will complement Tante's!

I had the exact same thought about the Olympics going to Tokyo. Of course it is a cause for celebration, but given our taxes went up earlier this year "to support the rebuilding", I couldn't help but be a bit hmm that they have magically found all these billions to stage the Olympics. That said, the first thing DH and I said was that we were going to try and get tickets for it!

On a more local level, everyone is getting very excited here for the yearly 'matsuri', or festival, which is takin place this weekend. (It even has its own Wikipedia entry!) Very conveniently placed too as we have a public holiday on Monday to sleep off the hangovers! DH and I have persuaded quite a few other English teachers to make the long trek up so I am looking forward to being able to talk to people other than my husband! wink

Its football season here in the US and Texans take their sport very seriously. Supplies for tailgating parties (barbecuing in the parking lot before the game) and Texans merchandise are everywhere but while I try to work out the intricacies of stoppages and fouls, I've been keeping an eye on the local Houston Chronicle.

The Chron carried a great story that particularly appealed to my newbie-incredulousness of firearms laws here in Texas. Apparently a man was dropping a rental DVD back to a rental kiosk in a mcDonalds parking lot late one night this week. He was allegedly approached by several carjackers who were unaware (not for long) that he carried a licensed concealed weapon. Our DVD viewer fatally shot one would-be carjacker and another two fled the scene, leaving their weapons behind.

The punch line ......? Police said the fatal shooting appears to be justified. You don't mess with Texas.....

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 12-Sep-13 14:31:18

It's netball season here, and I just went for a social with my new netball team. They are all hard-bodied and 25 and I am flabby-bodied and 38 grin. Netball is MASSIVE here, probably due to a lot of Aussies, Kiwis, Safas and Brits. We met at 6.30pm. There were 8 of us. We were 6 bottles of wine down by 8pm. I'm not sure I can survive the season!!

thanksamillion Thu 12-Sep-13 14:55:09

Ooh I love playing netball but no one has even heard of it here sad

MasterOfTheYoniverse Thu 12-Sep-13 14:55:34

Lol Richman, sounds like more fun than hiking!
Seems like for everything the "seaon" has begun in HK.
It runs about until chinese new year. Very odd and old fashioned.

Salbertina Thu 12-Sep-13 15:12:39

Is (female) tag rugby still popular on HK? Was among the people i knew

Beautiful, beautiful day here but tranquility of the weather disturbed by the manic pile drivers on the various building sites around, reopened after winter. Lots of developers desperate to finish and cash in during the coming holiday season.

Dc trying to understand the regional accents on BBC bitesize - chuck any SA accent at them and they'll understand, but Geordie, N Irish? Confused faces all round. Took me a while to realise not due to the mathematical concepts!

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 13-Sep-13 00:24:50

sal not sure about tag rugby- full contact is quite popular amongst women now but netball and hockey still the front runners. The hiking is lovely on HK, it must be said but agree re the pile driving. That's why Lantau is a good bet if you can be bothered to go over there.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Fri 13-Sep-13 02:12:47

free day!!!
Going for my favorite "local" tradition: Foot massage.
With the current pollution levels, nothing like a good flush.
Its a thin line between pain and pleasure and leaves you all floppy but intensely re-energised. Perfect Yin in Yang.
reflexogy chart

Love reflexology MasteroftheYoniverse and you are right about the thin line. I used to go to a place in Singapore staffed by blind reflexologists and I knew they could feel me wincing even though they couldn't see it! Enjoy grin

BillyGoatintheBuff Fri 13-Sep-13 02:40:55

I'd love to join in, this is such an interesting thread so far! But I have been stick in our unit for a whole week with two ill LO's. Argh! It feels like we're on lock down, meanwhile in the outside world a new PM has been voted in and all sorts of other things, but who knows because I haven't been outside so it all feels totally unreal!

thanksamillion Fri 13-Sep-13 10:04:29

Today it's raining. This morning when I left with DD to go to kindergarten it was raining a little but by the time I got there it was pouring. Out of 18 children only 6 turned up and one of them is the son of the teacher!

I can understand it - there are no paved roads/paths and most of the soil is clay so very slippy. The village is split half up and half at the bottom of a very steep hill (kindergarten at the top, our house at the base) and most people don't have suitable footwear.

But I still can't get over children having a day off for rain!

Shanghaidiva Sun 15-Sep-13 08:43:43

Two "uniquely China" experiences to report.
Was in Auchan supermarket this week and turned around to find a local lady having a good rummage through my shopping trolley. No doubt part of her research on what do those strange foreigners eat. What meals can you make with 6 bars of dairy milk...?
Popped out to the local supermarket today and crossing the street outside by compound observed a guy driving a fork lift truck across a 5 lane road!

Salbertina Sun 15-Sep-13 09:01:17

So a poor strike-breaking petrol pump attendant got shot dead for turning up to his £47 a week job. Most petrol stations closed. This country would disintegrate without petrol- very poor public transport network. People wondering whether to panic or if it'll all blow over. And will the companies up their paltry set wage?

TheRunawayTrain Sun 15-Sep-13 15:13:54

Hi. I'm in the US at the moment- lived in Ecuador for fourteen years, then Hawaii for the last year for work, and we are moving back to Ecuador soon. Currently here though, for work arrangements etc; for a month.

It was good today. Went by small plane (they're very cheap trips because of island hopping) to San Cristobal island. We lived/will live on Isabela island (Galapagos) so it was an interesting change. Everyone knows everyone. I asked the taxi (well, a pickup truck) driver to take me to xx street and he laughed hmm I could have said the name of the person I wanted to go to, and he'd have happily taken me and known who I was talking about. Been away for too long! A sea lion chased two children up the beach (they were messing around) which was scary, they're a bit smaller than Californian sessions but they bark loudly and can be quite vicious.

And I can kick off my shoes and walk down the streets bare foot thanks to sand roads. Best place ever smile

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sun 15-Sep-13 15:40:07

Runaway that certainly is a showstopper!
Tell us more?

Isthiscorrect Sun 15-Sep-13 16:23:15

Thanks a million, a few years ago all schools here were closed for a rain day. To be fair it only rains 2 or 3 days a YEAR, so when it does the downpour is a full on deluge. Roundabouts disappear, street corners disappear, whole roads disappear. Cars disappear right up over the running boards of all the 4x4's. The water just can't drain away, either there are no drains or they are full of sand. It's just too dangerous to go to school with drains and sanitation flooding, and the electrics aren't exactly the standard you would hope for so standing in water is not what you'd want to do, although watching all the littlies who have never seen rain playing outside is very cute.

Marking place from Gaborone, Botswana, where on Friday night we too had our first rain. Even if I never set foot in Africa again I will always miss & be never forget that smell. We need more, though, last three years have been drought & whole country is facing serious water shortages sad

cariboo Mon 16-Sep-13 09:56:11

Mouth agape at the idea of rain falling only two or three days a year: Here in Vancouver it rains... and rains... and rains.

Salbertina Mon 16-Sep-13 10:01:19

Lots of rain here too! Know what you mean about that African smell, very evocative! Less so in suburban SA though.

Wintery walk with dog- gloomy and tempestuous, no one else, perfect!

Managed to get petrol from un-uniformed attendants (so not targeted for attack) Meanwhile in the shops all is summery clothes and early Christmas goods, somewhat incongruously for me.

Inthesleeplessnightgarden Mon 16-Sep-13 20:20:07

Reading this thread has inspired me to share a few highlights of today in sweaty sunny Lagos, Nigeria.
Coaxed DS1 (3)into car at 0745 for run to preschool with promise to count tankers and that we'd see ladies with bread on their heads. Thanked lucky stars for housekeeper who meant DS2 (4 months) could be left snoozing. Saw no fewer than 17 tankers, 4 cranes and 2 diggers on 20 minute drive. Also ladies with various carefully balanced loads on heads. And a man fixing a razor wire fence wearing neither gloves nor shoes.
Home to get DS2 and coffee only to find no power as generator 'being serviced' so headed to shops for bread (and air conditioning) before visiting a friend and then collecting DS1. To make my day, shop had had a recent chocolate order including mint chunky kitkats! So, one happy lady here, especially as power was back when I got home so chocolate safely chilling in fridge. Now just hoping it doesn't rain and make the telly go off as I want to watch master chef Australia tonight. Simple things...

bubbleandbubble Tue 17-Sep-13 03:29:08

Not as exciting but made me smile: on our notice board in the complex in HK is a big sign warning all residents that the "waterfall is closed for cleaning today". Not sure what I was meant to do but it's always good to have a clean waterfall...

glastocat Tue 17-Sep-13 03:48:20

Checking in from Perth, WA here! It's the start of spring but we are still getting lots of rain, wish the sunshine would hurry up. I have been told off by an Aussie friend for daring to say that, the Aussies all love the rain, and many seem to hate the hot weather, but I tell them I am from Ireland and have seen enough rain to last me a life time. On the plus side I have been invited to a pool party as soon as its warm enough, also planning a visit to see the fairy penguins on nearby Penguin Island.

As for out new glorious leader russ Abbott, I have no idea how he one as absolutely everyone seems to loathe him!

KalevalaForMePlease Tue 17-Sep-13 04:36:46

Haha glastocat, I'm in Queensland and I agree re Abbott, I think in a few months time no one will admit to voting for him! He named his cabinet yesterday, only one woman on it. Hmmm, an interesting three years I think...

deXavia Tue 17-Sep-13 04:51:16

A beautiful day in HK - great breeze (although this may be helped as we just moved to a new apartment on the 41st Floor). Kids are back in school, so I can work from home with peace and quiet.
But marking my place to report back after Mid Autumn Festival and spending the weekend in Macau - the Las Vegas of China....

glastocat Tue 17-Sep-13 05:11:22

One? Won obv!

somuchtosortout Tue 17-Sep-13 07:37:05


somuchtosortout Tue 17-Sep-13 07:46:31

Well that was concise!
Malawi here. Beautiful, enormous Jacaranda trees in full bloom everywhere. Driving around in big 4x4 and keep passing women walking, walking, walking, sometimes with no shoes, always with a baby on their back and a load on their head. Sometimes want to stop and offer them a lift, but never do.
A toothless oldish man turned up at my door asking for a job, who should by all rights be enjoying a more leisurely retirement age. So much dignified resignation, it is an impenetrable wall and it makes it almost impossible to connect on a personal level with people, which makes me a bit sad if I dwell on it, but lots of positives too, of course!

PeriPathetic Tue 17-Sep-13 07:56:51

Morning! Checking in, but now totally green at Runaway being in Ecuador and Galapagos. My favourite places ever!

Anyway, I'm learning a little about some African frustrations. Phones work only intermittently and the wifi wouldn't work last night either. All a bit worrying when my DD is 6000 miles away and wanting to chat.

Found an amazing garden centre at the weekend so bought some Jasmine and a lemon tree to make my teeny garden a bit more mine. Was thrilled to see so many fruit trees I can only dream of having - no point buying them as we are not here long enough for them to mature.

I really think I'd like to live her forever.

somuchtosoetout where in Malawi are you?

Sibble Tue 17-Sep-13 19:51:01

Drug driving in NZ is a hot topic with TV and radio adverts as frequent (if not more) than drink driving ads. This is a fantastic and is a reflection on the situation some children find themselves in.

justonemorethread Wed 18-Sep-13 06:42:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Salbertina Thu 19-Sep-13 08:13:17

Despite being the house of bling, we have a leaky roof- our third house in a row with such a flaw. At least we're not in a leaky shack like the 50,000 people in the nearest township acme 15km away. South Africa is still a gruelling place to live if - like half the population - you're poor.

glastocat Thu 19-Sep-13 08:58:46

The schools here are on strike today ( against proposed cuts) so we went to the local pool instead ( our house has no pool, our next one will!) anyway we had the outdoor pool to ourselves it was fab and so much nicer than going swimming back home in the smelly noisy indoor pool. It really is the little things. grin

Yonihadtoask Thu 19-Sep-13 09:03:09

I have nothing to post, being in boring old UK.

However I am really enjoying this thread.

I'm holidaying in the UK ATM but just had an email from a friend of a friend looking to move to LA so sent on my various bits of advice, it's nice having been there long enough now I can be of use to new expats!

Starting to miss my SoCal weather though

MasterOfTheYoniverse Thu 19-Sep-13 09:47:21

Its the Mid-autumn festival here and we'll be descending on the beach this evening.
Its like a giant neon lit summer picnic. Children running wild and decorating the whole beach & parents enjoying the wine.

Hopefully next year we'll do this.
DD still a bit young to last the evening, but it is quite spectacular. Fire and fury for the dragon dance. The dragon is more than 50m long!

And we exchange mooncakes

Voila! tomorrow is a bank holiday so all looking forward to a lazy morning.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 21-Sep-13 04:28:14

this is coming our way.

Its hard to believe because the weather is just glorious today.

We had a signal 10 last summer (which is the highest warning level and means we actually are in they eye of the storm). It was pretty scary for a few hours. The main danger is from falling/flying debris and glass shattering. Since The city is pretty much all high tech glass (and oddly, traditional bamboo scaffolding around it if they need to do repairs/maintenance)
It does make for a dangerous mixture.

Am glad we live in a low rise! But its still all glass so we'll spend our sunday putting sticky tape on the windows.

bubbleandbubble Sat 21-Sep-13 05:58:56

Master, I'm getting a little concerned about the typhoon tomorrow. Am off shopping to stock up, have brought inside everything from our tiny balcony, what else should I be doing? Do I need to put tape on the windows? We are on second floor down in Tai Tam? And how do I do said tape?

MuffinTumMum Sat 21-Sep-13 09:23:38

Hi bubble. You need masking tape and make a big "X" with it from each corner of the window. Stock up on basic food. Have a torch and candles handy. Some towels/ bucket at hand in case of leaks through windows/ doors that you never knew you had!
Keep electronics away from windows in case of said leaks. Remember to bring in plant pots and balcony furniture. Keep safe!

Salbertina Sat 21-Sep-13 09:38:28

All the best to you all in HK, Taiwan or around. I remember the typhoon 8s when i was there so am thinking of you this weekend.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sat 21-Sep-13 11:19:47

Apparently the typhoon is now going further north so may not be a direct hit. Is it wrong to feel a little cheated?? It seems crazy that its going to be lashing with wind and rain tomorrow- today has been scorchio. I went hiking on Lantau. Too damn hot. Didn't make the Peak.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 21-Sep-13 12:04:08

Lol Richman was thinking the same.
Hilarious scene at the supermarkets today. Everybody there to by masking tape but of course they ran out of supplies this morning. So appart from the obvious fresh milk/ bread/ eggs, most trolleys were randomly filled up with treats and lots and lots of booze.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 21-Sep-13 13:26:20

bubble have asked our management and they kind of politely sneered and handed me some sticky tape and offered to come help tomorrow if the husband is not around!

Salbertina To be honest its a bit like christmas really, the kids are up on stools "decorating" the windows with giant crosses and we'll do a fair amount of drinking baking with neighbors tomorrow if we are all stuck indoors with little children to entertain.

Salbertina Sat 21-Sep-13 13:35:57

Karaoke and mooncakes? grin

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 21-Sep-13 13:47:27

Yes! mooncake fest!
They're going quite cheap now its the tail end of the festival!

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 21-Sep-13 13:49:21

Wooohoooo the emmys are on tomorrow night grin

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sat 21-Sep-13 16:34:36

It is so hot and so still tonight. No wind. About 33 degrees at 11.30 pm. Makes you realise where the expression' the calm before the storm' comes from.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 21-Sep-13 16:41:31

Yes. Also thought that its eerily dry for a day before the storm...

bubbleandbubble Sun 22-Sep-13 13:03:45

Thanks master. All ready to go here. Seems like the storm has set in, the wind is whistling through our balcony door but strangely the sea still looks calm. Kids are all hoping for a day off school tomorrow! Baking supplies at the ready!

deXavia Sun 22-Sep-13 13:11:24

Hope all the other HK folk are safe, sound and stockedup.
Up on the 41st floor it sounds like a hurricane straight through the living room (that will be the wonderful HK building standards!). Likewise our kids are praying for a day off school - as someone who works from home this doesn't quite hold the same appeal for me hmm

Salbertina Sun 22-Sep-13 13:12:25

Cross fingers for you guys.

Am hoping that today, World rhino Day is unusual in that 2 S African rhinos are NOT slaughtered by poachers hmm They're set to be extinct in the wild within 7 years such is the escalation in killings, 620 just here this year alone.

onelittlepiglet Sun 22-Sep-13 14:51:05

This week we had our monthly visit from the pest control man. Unusually chatty, he grinned at me flashing his good tooth as he sprayed around each room talking about the bugs he encountered in his work. I told him about the pests we have in the UK. Later, he told me how the mongooses here were introduced to rid the island of snakes and how he and his friends liked to fight them with dogs: 'salmon top retrievers' or mongrels as we would call them. The mongooses always win apparently. Seeing my worried face he assured me it was not to the death, it it was just lots of fun and a good laugh. I'm not sure the dogs or mongooses would agree!

MasterOfTheYoniverse Mon 23-Sep-13 04:43:03

So we had some rain and gale force winds but overall it was not too bad.

Anyone following what's happening in Nairobi? pretty shocking sad

SunshineandShandy Mon 23-Sep-13 09:26:42

Today I am filling in school applications for places next September. It's utterly mad. I fear I may already be too late for one of them. My DD is 3.5 and we decided not to put her into a school for FS1 (pre-school) as we don't want her in a school environment yet - most of the schools here go until the age of 18, so they are huge, not a small village school where everyone knows everyone else, so she is still at a nursery. Most people however put their children into FS1, so now we are going to be very lucky to find her a place for next year.

I have completed online one application and as well as the application form, had to submit the following:

4 passport photos
Copy or DD's passport and visa
Copy of DD's ID card
Copy of nursery report from last year
Copy of vaccination record
A medical form
Copy of DD's medical insurance card
Copy of a bill with proof of our address
Copy of DD's birth certificate
Copy of DH's passport and visa
AND - the equivalent of about 100 pounds that is non-refundable!

And this is before they will even assess her!! She is 3.5 yrs old and we may find ourselves number 112 or something on the wait list.

It's not that we are being trying to apply for an exclusive private school, all the schools here operate like this.

Education really is a business here...

Salbertina Tue 24-Sep-13 06:51:51

So today is heritage day, otherwise known as "braai (bbq) day", the sun is shining so ideal for people to enjoy the public holiday. Supermarkets in a selling frenzy of tongs, grids and all sorts of kit deemed essential for the SA male to be able to braai proficiently.

ChickenLickenSticken Tue 24-Sep-13 07:04:49

Reading with interest from the Essex riviera!

I look after expats for a living and loved my stints overseas traveling, studying and working... Thinking that we might give somewhere else ago after dc2 is a toddler (not even conceived yet mind) ignores the fact we've just bought dream forever home

Salbertina Tue 24-Sep-13 07:24:54

Hi chicken, buying your forever home need be no deterrent! speaking from experience
Whats your job with expats, relocation agent?

ChickenLickenSticken Tue 24-Sep-13 20:50:04

International hr for a big blue chip.

I know re the house, but we have only been here for a few months and its been a long time coming.

Just back from a lovely holiday which is when my wanderlust is at its peak! I shall live vicariously through you lot for the time-being!

TheRealMBJ Tue 24-Sep-13 21:02:42

Oh, can I join in here? I am an expat. But in Britain. A South African living in North Yorkshire possibly moving to Northern Ireland.

Flight from Liverpool to Belfast today, surprised at how much warmer it was in Norn Iron compared to our corner of the North Yorkshire Moors, and how Belfast (provincial to most) seems like Cosmopolitan to us. Looking forward to exploring the countryside tomorrow.

Inthesleeplessnightgarden Tue 24-Sep-13 21:38:43

Felt totally out of my cultural depth today as DS brought home letter from preschool informing me that he needs to wear Nigerian national dress on Friday for Independence Day party and I need to bring a Nigerian dish, a list of those to choose from was attached. Cue trip to market with truculent toddler, baby and nanny ( in cultural adviser capacity) to find appropriate outfit. Blond DCs drew a crowd and we weren't short of advice as to what to wear. DS1 is now proud owner of a very garish jolly shirt and shorts combo which he will no doubt flatly refuse to wear on Friday as they don't do a fireman Sam version. (super) Nanny has agreed to cook traditional jollof rice and fried plantain (and let me watch help) so I don't let the side down. Am quite looking forward to the masterclass!

Salbertina Tue 24-Sep-13 22:16:45

Howzit, The Big? What do you miss about SA then to make me feel better wink ? Climate, people, landscapes, home pool, cheap childcare, biltong?!

Salbertina Tue 24-Sep-13 22:18:31

Sorry, TheReal i meant
Night garden, good luck on Fri grin sounds quite an event, hope ds does himself (and Nigeria!) proud. .

thanksamillion Wed 25-Sep-13 07:46:11

I just got all excited because a job ad for House of Fraser popped up on my facebook.

Wow I thought, we're going to get a HoF here!

But then I read the comments and realised the job is in Abu Dhabi sad. But I find it interesting that they're recruiting from here.

Salbertina Wed 25-Sep-13 10:35:04

So my kids are learning Japanese on top of Afrikaans (slightly more useful!) thanks to karate class..
Hanging out in a local cafe, MNing
studying. Without exception, all the staff are black, all the customers, white. Sigh, 19 years on, rainbow nation not so evident where i live.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 25-Sep-13 12:29:44

My helper is trying to potty train my 13mo daughter. Apparently DD is super-advanced and can tell her when she needs the toilet. Three puddles on the floor point to the contrary but yaya is unbowed. She's psyched for another attempt tomorrow. Ah well, at least we have hard floors.

meerkate Wed 25-Sep-13 12:54:07

Loving this thread - as a UK dweller with previous expat form (Brussels until age 17; NZ and Australia at various times since then) and an urge to go forth and travel again! As other UK peeps have said, living vicariously through you expat girls for now though grin Sometimes it's not clear where you're posting from though, so it would be really helpful if you could say - thanks smile

MasterOfTheYoniverse Wed 25-Sep-13 13:05:36

Wow Salbertina! Japanese? This language thing always cracks me up. The kids pick sooooo much.
We had a short spell of Brazilian Portuguese doing capoeira in Singapore!
My kids can immediately identify pretty much ANY Asian language and get by with basic civilities better than us in most.
I think my son is well set to become a comedian "a la" Russell Peters!

So no one commenting on the west gate massacre in Nairobi?

SunshineandShandy Wed 25-Sep-13 13:41:56

Well that's good news for me thanksamillion. I live in AD and look forward to the opening!

juniperinNZ Thu 26-Sep-13 03:27:10

Well, we lost the Americas Cup this morning here in New Zealand... Most of the country didn't bother going to school/work until it had finished - we left for school after it became clear what was going to happen and I never got there so quickly, and we were the first ones to the classroom despite only arriving at the bell! Perfectly acceptable here though, if NZ is competing in something it is alright for the country to become obsessed smile I do love the way here there is a very balanced sports news, if NZ is competing in it, it gets shown grin

My drives around are very interesting at the moment, as they have managed to shut off most of my means of driving anywhere with roadworks... Totally necessary as this is Christchurch post earthquake (DH is involved in the infrastructure rebuild and keeps telling me so... ) but it does make finding a route somewhere quite amusing, and there are some bizarre diversions around! Woe betide anyone who relies on a SatNav grin. I have taken to cycling to school as I often find it easier (3 kids, 1 bike = thighs of steel grin ) but that does also have it's own perils - very big potholes... I am now off on my bumpy ride for school pickup smile

MooseBeTimeForSnow Thu 26-Sep-13 04:19:36

Greetings from Nothern Alberta, Canada. I live in a city with a population of around 130,000. It is a 5 hour drive to the next city, with nothing much in between except for trees, water and wildlife.

Autumn is very short here. I do mean like 3 weeks. We go from blazing hot summers to freezing winter pretty quickly. We had snow on the ground for Halloween last year.

We've just come back from a two week trip to England. It was nice to see family, but I couldn't wait to get back. This is home now smile

glastocat Thu 26-Sep-13 04:57:28

Funny you saying about languages, my son was learning Irish in school six months ago, now he's learning Indonesian! He can switch to Japanese in Senior school though, rather him than me, but might be more useful than Irish or Indonesian! grin

MangoTiramisu Fri 27-Sep-13 00:50:19

Good morning from Singapore. I just packed the kids off to school on their 0645 bus (early!!!) and now I am procrastinating. The apartment is a mess and there is no food in the house. My youngest just started school so it's get fit time and I recently joined a tennis and swimming group. However, the rainy season has just started (along with thunder and lightening) so that's not really getting off the ground grin I have a lovely breeze coming through my window and it looks like it is going to rain. I love it when it rains here, except of course when I am trying to get a bit of exercise.

I am an ex HK'er too. I still have rolls and rolls of masking tape. I have different types as it took a while to find the right kind that doesn't leave a nasty mess on your windows. I never understood why people had to stock up on stuff though aside from a bit of milk and bread. Usually it passed in 12-24 hours.

prissyenglisharriviste Fri 27-Sep-13 01:18:13

Bear jam on the way to work, and it's snowing. grin 43 days until the ski hills open.

bubbleandbubble Fri 27-Sep-13 07:18:11

It's Friday afternoon here in HK, and I am recovering from one too many glasses of bubbles from last night. Not meaning to show off in any way, but we went to a big corporate bash last night, out in the wilds of Tseung Kwan O, and the entertainment was Kylie! Sparkly costumes and everything. She was fab and even played 'I should be so lucky' and 'Locomotion'.

Mango I had no idea about the different types of masking tape required, will investigate more when we have another typhoon, which one works the best?

Juniper we were in ChCh last year and loved it, what's the verdict on the cathedral? Does it have to come down?

veiledsentiments Fri 27-Sep-13 07:24:22

Wow. House of Fraser in Abu?? It's at least ten degrees cooler than it was in August. Have only had a couple of humid days. Looking forward to perfect weather for the next five months or so.

thanksamillion Fri 27-Sep-13 07:33:16

You heard it here first veiled grin. These are the details of the ad I saw

Last minute Vacancy- Sales Executive
Company: "House Of Fraser"
Salary: 1226 $ ( Minimal Medical Insurance will be provided accommodation for the first 3 months).
Moldavian, Ukrainian, Romanian, and from Belarus are welcomed to apply.

prissy snowing already shock I thought we had it bad with cold winters (in Moldova) but at least it's still sunny at the moment.

veiledsentiments Fri 27-Sep-13 08:10:20

What with Lakeland plastic AND HOF I see no reason ever to step foot in England again.

Salbertina Fri 27-Sep-13 08:18:59

Kylie, masking tape and bear jam, all in the last few posts?! grin

Reporting from SA where it's Spring-time, apparently, despite the lashing rain and thermal-wearing hordes.

Possible SA link to Kenya situation was the main story yesterday. Don't know whether just an angle on the story or not.

GertBySea Fri 27-Sep-13 09:10:26

Good evening from Sydney. Middle of school holidays here and 28 degrees today, so the DCs and I spent the afternoon at the beach. Then queued around the block for fish and chips to take back home with us. Not entirely sure why that is a culinary requirement for all after beach time here, but it does seem to be.

Laughed my head off at the Russ Abbott reference above after the recent election.

Lovely to read everyone's experiences. Will hope for something more Australian to happen and to report tomorrow.

veiledsentiments Fri 27-Sep-13 09:40:00

I can't get my car off the drive. The street is rammed with mosque goers for Friday prayers.

Only an hour ahead of UK time here in southern Germany where I am sitting down with a cup of coffee just ahead of ds coming home from his second week at school.

Getting to grips with the variable daily start and finishing times of the German Grundschule has been interesting. Looking on the positive side, all those 11.20am finishes mean that I get to spend lots more time with my lovely ds smile

The recent election results here mean things are still not very settled politically. On the radio this morning they reported that when surveyed most Germans were for a grand coalition of the CDU and SPD; then they pondered whether the survey had actually asked any SPD members grin

It's a bit grey and cloudy outside, but not raining, unlike yesterday when the dogs and I got caught in an unexpected downpour and got soaked to the skin. There's nothing like the smell of Wet Dog in the morning to remind you that autumn is here grin grin

MangoTiramisu Fri 27-Sep-13 15:19:47

Not all masking tape is created equal. Some leaves a very nasty residue on the window. You need a good quality paper based masking tape that lifts strait off in one piece without tearing or leaving any sticky bits.

You can tell I do not have a helper!

I miss HK. I much prefer it to Singapore. The expats I met in HK were brilliant and they are still very much my best mates, despite moving on.

juniperinNZ Sat 28-Sep-13 00:06:39

Bubble, the controversy continues with the Cathedral! The Anglican diocese (who owns it and the land) have decided to knock it down and build a modern replacement - they released 3 options earlier in the year; restoration, modernising the existing building, or replacing it with a modern interpretation and the public were allowed to vote on it. However, the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust are challenging them in court as they want the cathedral restored, a high court decision went in favour of the Anglican diocese, so now the GCBT have taken it to the Supreme court....

It is a really sensitive subject here as many see it as the heart of the city, but if you see it, it really has been destroyed, and is just being held up by massive scaffolding - they can't send anyone into it as it's too dangerous. There were people who were killed in the Feb earthquake that had been sent into a church, due for demolition, to remove an organ and the church collapsed on them, so no one is going to risk sending people in to the Cathedral. I love old buildings (I have a history and archaeology degree) but I think it should come down. There were buildings that collapsed onto people into the quake that were going to be demolished after the first September quake, but some heritage groups fought to delay this...

Don't be worried by all this for anyone visiting Christchurch though, anything that was deemed as even a slight risk of collapse after the Feb quake has been cordoned off and has (or will be) either pulled down or repaired. I would say Christchurch is probably the safest place in New Zealand to be if there is an earthquake! There are some fantastic things going on here and it is still a great place. The Gapfiller project is great and have built all kinds of things such as art installations on empty plots around the city - we were playing the crazy golf course that has been built around the city the other day (built out of cones etc - great fun!). At the moment we have a Cardboard Cathedral as a temporary replacement for the doomed one - it is built out of massive cardboard tubes, it was fascinating watching it being built! You can see it here

ifink Sat 28-Sep-13 02:40:34

Hello, reporting in from holiday in Thailand but we live in Brisbane....we have taken a different holiday approach for these school hols and met up with family in Asia rather than us flying over to the UK or them coming to us for endless weeks in Oz....this method of holidaying has been an one has to 'entertain', we all had to fly long or v long haul, kids getting to see GPs without it all getting too much, GPs can escape young kids into sanctity of their own rooms, brothers and husbands have beer has all worked out well, so relieved as the first 3 years since moving to oz have been hard work in terms of visits etc....anyone got any suggestions for other family get together type destinations then let me know!

Salbertina Sat 28-Sep-13 11:02:02

Ifink- what an ingenious and simple solution! No other ideas am afraid, our visitors want to come to where we actually are which is lovely, save for the fact that they want to see "everything" in only a week or 2 in what is a rather large country with no rail network to speak of. Plus we still have the daily school-work thing to fit in round their holiday. Tricky!

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 28-Sep-13 14:26:55

Hi Mango glad you found us!
Oh I still love Singapore but I"m also one that loves HK much more! A very different experience. Its amazing how many of us say so.
The 2 bring such different things out of a same person.
Yin and Yang again!

ifink sounds ideal. Our 2 sets of grand parents are just too tired to travel now!
my dad is refusing to retire at 70 and thinks he will die of boredom if he does. He's in the foreign service an I can see what he means…he says leaving this last posting and going back "home" is like putting the nail on a coffin. I think that I would feel like that too if we had to put an end to this peripatetic life.
I would really love it if they could come over!
As far as holidays are concerned, Singapore would really be a great place for this sort of get together. Try and book a serviced appartment. better value. And do this well in advance, local expats get a lot of visitors around school holidays (al school hols, Europe & Australia).
You can also build in a few days in an island resort a short ferry hop away (or drive 3 hours into malaysia & Ferry 30mn).

Flights into KL may be good value and you can combine with a beach holiday in Langkawi which is beautiful and relatively unspoilt or Penang to combine a bit of peranakan history.

If you all wanted to see a bit more culture then a visit to Siem Raep/Angkor wat and a phnom penh/sianhoukville beach holiday would work well.
Again, the key is finding cheap flights to Phnom Penhm and building from there.

Vietnam is pretty good too if you find cheap flights connecting in Hanoi or Ho chi Minh. Both cities are fab (mix of brash 21st century capitalism but at the pace and decor of a Graham Greene novel. Then on to NA Thrang (from HCM) or Hanoi/Danag (from Hanoi)

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 28-Sep-13 14:27:44

Salbertina I hear you!

Sibble Sun 29-Sep-13 01:55:36

ifink We have been talking about doing the same for the past few years. After 11 years in NZ and going back to the UK each year with only one visit from 1 family member in all that time I decided that if they wanted to see us we would meet somewhere in the middle. We have yet to do it (long story but partly as my sis thinks the East is too hot, too dirty, too far on a plane etc etc...for babies hmm don't even get me started. Let alone the fact I have done it with 2 pre-schoolers, babies on my own over the years. Anyway, we have looked at Hawaii and San Fran (fly direct from NZ) as well as the usuals Singapore, into KL and out to a resort, HK. We have also looked at Dubai - further for us I know but ticks all the boxes.

Jacksmania Sun 29-Sep-13 02:38:03

Wow, you're all in such exotic locales!
Is just outside Vancouver too boring or could I join in?

Nothing much to report except that autumn has officially started with a massive weather change. A couple of weeks ago we had a huge heat wave - it was still 28 degrees (85F) at 8 pm. To say it was unusual would be the understatement of understatements, however, we had the driest summer in a very long time. All that changed so rapidly that almost every second person I know suddenly has a cold. Today was as cold, dark and stormy as November. The streets we literally running with water.
And right now, the sky in the east is dark with storm clouds, but there is a break in the clouds to the west, and the sun is shining on the trees, lighting them up as pure bright gold, against that backdrop of grey-blue clouds. I wish I could paint it.

omuwalamulungi Sun 29-Sep-13 02:46:26

Love this thread! Marking place, more of you in Africa than I expected - will join in from Uganda in a few weeks if its still going!

omuwalamulungi Sun 29-Sep-13 02:47:25

Thats the thread... Not Uganda...

Isthiscorrect Sun 29-Sep-13 03:47:55

Checking in from Dubai to talk medicine, the good and the bad. Firstly medical insurance is compulsory, however different companies have different policies, generally, but not always, the company pays. Our company is pretty good, the policy includes orthodontics and Physio etc.
This last week ds 18 yrs, has been putting the card to a pretty battering. Basically he has had a headache enough to cause him to cry with pain since a week ago. The bad news, we couldn't get into our gp until Wednesday (from Sunday) and ds was desperate and couldn't wait, good news the hospital has a 24 hour walking clinic. So off we go after I finish work and then parents evening (yep ds came to that). Firstly the hospital do valet parking! I love valet parking, whilst it's not so hot here - about 38- it still is really quite humid so getting out at the front door with out having to circle to find a parking space is great. Next, 5 checkin desks so no queue, that's great, very painless (haha). Called straight away for triage and then into doc within 2 mins. Hmm, maybe the way they can keep to timings is the speed of assessment, doc didn't even touch ds except to listen to his heart for maybe one breathe. Pills prescribed and we were out. Done and dusted in less than 15 mins from parking the car including paying at a cost of 50dhs to us (just under GBP 10).
By Wednesday ds still not well, medication not working, unable to sleep we see our gp. What a difference, full consultation, different medicine prescribed, we leave after 45 mins at a cost of 300dhs to be reclaimed by us from insurance company and an appointment for Saturday. On Saturday we are straight in full reassessment, more blood tests, new script for controlled drugs and a promise to call with the results today.
I love the NHS, there really is nothing in the world to beat it, but seeing a gp in the UK is really difficult, appointments for a week away. I'm pleased we can get the level of service that that we do and just sad that it should be available to everyone everywhere :-(

Inthesleeplessnightgarden Mon 30-Sep-13 09:48:08

Just reporting back in Friday's show at nursery. Was so gorgeous to see DS and all his classmates done up in their traditional outfits, and the teachers too. Wow, there were some amazing headdresses going on! I was fascinated to see and hear the songs and dances DS has obviously been practicing at school but that I didn't recognise at all when he 'sang' them at home. Now I realise I don't know the words because they were sung in Yoruba! I love that DS is having a really international experience but it does make me sad that he won't really remember any of this when he grows up. It's spurred me in to finish of this year's photo book so we have a visual record at least.

PeriPathetic Mon 30-Sep-13 18:23:16

I've finally finished unpacking! Well, apart from the picture which require a little thought.

Absolutely loving this country so far, even after a rather terrifying personal security course last week.

A question for other SA dwellers: can I buy paracetamol and codeine over the counter in Clicks? If so, what do I ask for? My back is killing me after shifting so many boxes!

Salbertina Mon 30-Sep-13 18:54:12

Well, welcome Peri smile It really helps that it's spring. Hope sun is shining where you are. Sure you can get paracetamol in clicks or wherever- ask the in store pharmacist. Never asked for codeine, don't know. Oh and worth getting their clubcard. Apparently. I applied for mine 1 year ago and never arrived- never sent, lost in post? Who knows. Have learnt to pick my battles!

PeriPathetic Mon 30-Sep-13 19:38:35

Thank you. Yeah, it's the codeine I need. Don't want to get into trouble by asking for it if it isn't allowed. It's 'illegal' in quite a few countries, but not the UK...
I applied for their club card a few weeks ago. It's not arrived!

Finding it weird getting my head around the back to front seasons. Spring again, yay!

ifink Tue 01-Oct-13 04:00:05

Thanks so much MasteroftheY, we're back now and family are already talking over email about what we do for our next trip together - so lovely that everyone (for once) was happy and enjoyed themselves - even my dad who is the world's fussiest man I think. Great ideas, I will check them out.

GertBySea Wed 02-Oct-13 07:00:08

ifink I've always wanted to do a holiday like that. Might have to put it on the list for next year. We have done a few holidays with the family, but not halfway - always in Europe. That is still better than them or us staying with the other for weeks at a time, though - everyone's cheerful and, as you say, can escape one another.

We are off on a short break tomorrow - typical Australian self catering place - check in at 3pm, check out at 9am and take your own linen. So odd. We are considering paying for an extra night so that we don't have to get out at the crack of dawn on a public holiday Monday.

wakemeupnow Wed 02-Oct-13 07:19:43

This morning i took my ds to the school bus at 7am. The local primary school already had its doors open as sleepy eyed children went into the guarderie. The parents leaving them wearing old work clothes, piling into battered vans to head off for the days vendange.

Grape picking has started and every 10 minutes a huge lorry loaded with grapes rumbles past our house. It's a tiny gorge road and for the next month I'll run the gauntlet with these vehicules that take no prisoners, or be stuck behind tractors crawling along the windy route.

thanksamillion Wed 02-Oct-13 10:01:43

It's grape season here too wakemeup but where we live it's all on a very small scale. Almost everyone makes their own wine and the morning air has had a very heady aroma for the last few weeks grin.

This week people are focused on harvesting the corn. They collect it in from the fields then sit around separating the husks, stalks and scraping off the actual corn. The corn is mainly used for animal feed, the stalks for temporary shelters for animals etc and also for fodder, and the husks are used to burn to heat the houses. Nothing is wasted but it's very time consuming.

BillyGoatintheBuff Thu 03-Oct-13 05:25:45

Near Manly, NSW, Australia.

It was pretty hot and humid (sweaty) here yesterday so I took the girls to the beach and it was lovley. Today we had to dash home from the park as fast as we could because it started to rain and then hail! I don't remember the last time I saw hail over here and it's coming up to summer so I was totally baffled! We sought shelter for a few moments under a shop awning and everyone was saying 'it's hailing!'. It continued to bucket it down for about 20 mins but has stopped now and it is feel very cool and wintery. You get a small of hot tarmac when it rains.

Last night we were all kept awake from the noise of a nearby road being worked on, we're in the suburbs.

It's school holidays and everywhere has been unbearable busy for the last week and a bit, it made me dread summer a little bit, but I am sure we will figure out some nice places to go that are npt too crazy busy all the time. I used to live in Cornwall and all anyone moans about in the summer is the tourists, and we have itr similar here! But of course I'm grateful really as we get it all to ourselves for the cooler months over autumn and winter.

Most people have got a long weekend coming up this weekend, Manly holds an annual Jazz festival and out of the 4 years we have been it has rained for every single one of them! I like that the town makes the effort to put things on though it does make it feel like there is always something happening and it suits me as I never plan ahead but can always go along to things happening locally and enjoy them smile

ifink thailand holiday sounds like good idea!! I have found the last three visits from my parents mostly awful and the last one especially bad :S

GertBySea Thu 03-Oct-13 05:30:25

Hi billy I'm also near Manly. Loved the hail as I won't need to water the garden now!! Poor brown lawn doesn't stand a hope of making it through the summer!!

Inthesleeplessnightgarden Fri 04-Oct-13 09:42:57

Thinking of building an ark here in Lagos. The rain started at 3am and hasn't stopped. Roads totally flooded and traffic at a standstill. No sign of it letting up. Thank goodness our house is solid, I saw stalls floating down the road earlier so thinking of those whose livelihoods are on the line.

BillyGoatintheBuff Fri 04-Oct-13 12:03:16

Hi gertbysea smile

It's the jazz festival this weekend, it always rains for that!! I wonder if it will this year?!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sat 05-Oct-13 17:43:48

Hi all, great idea for a thread. I'm in Washington DC and have been for the past year or so. Moved here for DH's job and am just about to give birth to DC2, who will become a dual national.

It's been a crazy week here - government shutdown, the shootings on the Hill and then someone setting themselves on fire yesterday. Seriously, all week I've had family checking in to see if we're all ok. And that's not to mention the shootings a couple of weeks back... Honestly, sometimes I wonder how long I'll be able to stand it here.

On the plus side, the weather is still glorious, so despite leaves changing to a beautiful red everywhere, it is 90F this weekend (actually, not so good if you've outgrown your maternity shorts!). We (toddler DD and I) go to outdoor parks most afternoons until at least 6:30pm and four of my mum friends are all due the same week so we tend to sit on a bench and chat/moan whilst the little ones play.

Things are building up ready for Halloween - shops full of costumes and candy and lots of my neighbours have pumpkins outside their houses already. I think the first one we saw was at the beginning of September! That said, one of my neighbours also has Christmas lights up permanently so who knows?! Going to a Halloween costume swap event on Monday to trade in last year's outfit for another for DD.

Nice to meet you all - have a good rest of weekend!

thanksamillion Sun 06-Oct-13 17:39:20

Hope everyone has been having a good weekend.

We had a minor earthquake at 4.30am today. Enough to give the house a good shake and make me glad that I don't live in one of the ubiquitous soviet era apartment blocks. Our house is built of mud - literally just piled on top of itself and then with a thin skim of concrete. People still build like this here. We know a young couple and they have literally built their house by hand over the last two years. Quite an undertaking!

MasterOfTheYoniverse Mon 07-Oct-13 03:40:26

I've just learned from another thread that DC is actually not a "state" what does that mean? So appart from emergency services and Police you are "shutdown"? schools? trash collection etc? sounds unreal!

All quiet in our parts. Went to a fundraiser for syrian refugees last week. Its amazing to see so many people so removed from that situation get together here and do their bit. There are so many worthy causes much closer to us and its nice to see people still thinking laterally and stretching themselves to raise awareness and help.

BillyGoatintheBuff Tue 08-Oct-13 02:46:20

Washington dc! I have just watched 'house of cards', but afterwards read it wasn't even filmed in dc!!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Tue 08-Oct-13 15:12:59

It's not so bad! The schools here are open, the libraries are open and our rubbish was collected last week. Apparently there's some money to last a few weeks?!

House of Cards - loved it! And Kevin Spacey was in DC again a couple of weeks ago at a charity event my friend ran. I don't know about the filming, though the title sequence was definitely filmed here as every time it came on, we kept saying, ooh, it's X-place/street. I think they've left it open for another series - hope so!

MasterOfTheYoniverse Thu 10-Oct-13 10:34:33

Nothing new over here appart from the penis beaker threaded being posted on our local expat facebook group!
That was a bit odd!
Dont understand why it went so viral, there have been much funnier mumsnet classics before....

CherryLip Fri 11-Oct-13 17:51:57

Well I am newly arrived in HK and had a trip to the post office to send a card and a small package overseas. Got lots of lovely stamps and a green customs thingy for the package which I duly filled out but how do you attach to said package....tried sticking it on, asked someone else who tried same to no avail so resorted to Sellotape! Popped it in the post box in hope DD will receive it !

Back home in LA after a month in UK; it makes me sad that every time I go "home" it is easier to leave, anyone feel similar? I still miss everything and everyone but look more forward to coming back here again.

It is a lovely balmy 26degrees, after arriving in the middle of a freak rain cloud, and true to LA autumn form we spent a hot afternoon in a mid city pumpkin patch; surrounded by dusty busy streets, obligatory small petting zoo and bouncy castle and thousands upon thousands of pumpkins.

Pumpkins have also hit the shops - every single food item an now be found containing pumpkin: waffles, soup, cheese, pies, nuts (!!), pasta sauces, name it, there is a pumpkin flavored alternative.

Tomorrow we're decorating for Halloween then touring the neighborhood to Oooh and aaaah at our neighbours' decorated homes

Sibble Mon 28-Oct-13 02:31:58

Auckland, NZ
It is Labour Weekend, a public holiday that commemorates the struggle for an 8-hour working day, but for most people means the beginning of summer. Traditionally from Friday lunchtime onwards (although the holiday period does not officially start until 4pm on the Friday) cars, cars with trailers, boats, campervans and every other type of vehicle you can imagine start to head out of the major cities as people head to the beach. The police implement a 4km over the speed limit penalty (it's usually 10) and road blocks are set up for drink drivers and to check car registration, driving licenses etc...

We, like alot of other Aucklanders, have a bach (kiwi beach house). For the most part bach's lie dormant over the winter months. Our bach is on the West Coast, wild, known for it's fantastic surf beach, rugged landscape and with a population of under 300 beautifully quiet except for about a month over Christmas/January when the population probably doubles. Labour Weekend though feels like somebody has dusted off a cobweb and a sleepy town comes to life. The local clubs all hold musters, registrations for the summer months: sailing and yacht club, surf club, yoga, the fishing club and more.. The first festival takes place - Art at the Port - where local artists who have been creating through the winter months show and sell their work. Clubs hold sausage sizzles to fundraise for the coming season. Old friends are reacquainted. Shouts of 'hi how you doing', 'hi good to see you' 'hi hope the surf, fish, weather is good this year' etc.... Kids excitedly knock on friends houses, meet at the park, plan their summer adventures, excitedly go to checek whether last year's hut survived winter......Lawns are mown, hedges strimmed, bach's aired, boats are given an airing, quads a run. Bach's would have sold over winter and some would have been placed on the market, adults chat about the families who are no longer part of their summer lives and speculate about who the new occupants will be. On the Monday the cars join the queue and snake their way back to town, for one weekend a year the traffic doesn't seem to matter as families look forward to the next 6 months of summer.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Mon 28-Oct-13 12:28:17

Hey Sibble, sounds lovely! have been in Asia for a few years now and can't believe we have not yet made it to NZ yet!
The children are old enough now to traipse around for a couple of weeks so hopefully next winter!

We just spent 5 days in Seoul and its just shocking hearing, everywhere you go in Asia about what the Japanese did.
Thought I'd heard/read all about it but no. In Korea, the first rape of Seoul goes back to 1592! And it has been periodical and relentless until the capitulation after the 2nd world war. The war memorial is the best I've seen in the world.
The old palaces are made on the same blueprint as the imperial city in Beijing and the surrounding area is a bit like the old Kyoto. So well preserved and peaceful although surrounded by a futuristic landscape.
A great mix between China and Japan. And of course the Autumn leaves. All shades of yellow and red.

How delicate they are and such depth and beauty in Japan, its hard to understand the cruelty, the systematic brutality, the detachment and sense of superiority.
Which brings me to our ethnocentric approach as europeans. Why Is nazism still the ultimate standard of all evil when we refer to that period and subsequent genocides?

My 9 year old, who is learning about Sumer and Mesopotamia and the "invention" of cuneiform script stood still in front of a display at the museum.
It depicted on a timeline the advent of the first Korean settlements of people along a river, pictograms found in caves and the development of trade along the rivers and the start of irrigation, agriculture and cuneiform tablets as trade receipts.
The same things, on another continent and actually prior to mesopotamia.

Why aren't our children in the western world learning about relative values and ethnocentricity? In this age of globalization, isn't it about time?

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