Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Archive for September 2009

Marvelling about in Changi

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Changi Airport

Changi Airport

190909Changi10This is when I really marvel over technology. Here I am in Changi airport in

Singapore – a marvel in itself, for being the most civilised airport I’ve come across. they really cater for travellers here… including six hours of free wireless Internet (how did they know I have a 6 hour layover? It’s simply fun being here, no matter what time of day or where you are in your travels. Free movies, nap lounges, foot massage machines, a butterfly garden, orchid garden. Since I am on my way to travel,  I must resist the shopping, though I did buy a few small electronic accessories for a small fraction of what I’d pay at home.

Found this display in a men’s shop… not the sort of men’s shop one finds in Auckland or most American cities… this is some kind of metro-sexual men’s shop – where men are proud to buy lotions and serums and potions, brushes and buffers, toners and soothers.

Bobby is a bit bemused, but I have the feeling it’s rather recent that these kind of shops have fallen out of favour in the west – our men have to be so very macho – maybe because the women are, too? Asia is much less macho, though it is undoubtedly more sexist. I like the idea that there’s no conflict in a dude who rides a Harley using lotion to keep his face smooth and moist.

190909Changi22A bit to eat – we had breakfast on the plane, but I’ve been on a low-carb diet for the last few months and everything they gave us seemed to be white flour, white sugar, previously forbidden fruit. My blood sugar spiked and like the stereo-type I inevitably turn out to be – I was starving when it dropped. I courageously had a grande bowl of Boston seafood chowder. Quite tasty. Bobby played it safe with a Mango Snapple and a bagel (funny  how we revert to the comfort foods of old).

OK – he IS giving me the evils, but he ended up feeling a bit green around the gills.

190909Changi15I like this sign indicating departures. We are on the 12.50 via Dubai flight. We’re heading for Dubai – but it carries on to Riyadh. Not sure I’ll ever get to  Riyadh, but I might – I get more curious about the world every day and find it’s less and  less resistable. There’s a few destinations up there I wouldn’t mind going, but Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, both of which I have been to before are on the this trip as well. Looking foorward to snorkeling with monkeys in Phuket. (No, they don’t get in – they really don’t handle the equipment well – but they like to watch…) Not sure what I’ll do in KL this time… I like not knowing.

190909Changi24The orchid garden is really the highlight of terminal 3. Neither Bobby or I have ever seen orchids like these – and in such abundance!

Every colour and variety imaginable. It draws everyone – all ages and cultures. I love watching the other picture takers – those who will wait and wait for their fried to come and stand in front of these perfect flowers so they can get a photo – and those who wait and wait for the people to leave, so the flowers have no competition.

190909Changi32Me, I love the both – the people and the flowers and especially the beautiful goldfish. You don’t mind if I while away the next hour pondering them before the next flight… It’s just such a beautiful  way to start a trip!

Next – Dubai! Opulence, extravagance, indulgence, excess… and all the things I don’t expect soon to be discovered!

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

19/09/2009 at 3:09 pm

Dubai, Bombay, Goa and Cochin!

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Can you imagine these are real?

Dubai Towers at night. Can you imagine these are real?

Damn! It’s been so long since I’ve been on a proper trip – I’ve sorta forgotten just how to get appropriately excited about it. Heading off in ten days – no sign of packing started. Got my visa for India ($160! Crikey!) Got my leave sorted at work. Housesitter organised.

A couple of scarves for Dubai, camera gear, laptop and extra hard drive – I’m good to go!

I’ve been told not to eat in public in Dubai or I will be arrested. I can not do that. I think Ramadan is possibly a more interesting time to be there – a bit more spiritual – though I am told that at sundown it turns into a huge party.  To be honest – the flash and dazzle of Dubai doesn’t lure me on its own – but as a launching pad for a 25 night cruise, I will enjoy it to the fullest.

a picture that says virtually nothing....It’s India that intrigues me most – though I will only have three short days… I plan on getting the most out of them and hopefully lure the spouse into returning for a longer stay next time. I mean – how can you go to India and not go to the Taj Mahal? It just seems silly.

But we shall begin in Bombay. This picture says virtually nothing about the place…

Then it’s on to Goa, Mormugao port, followed by Cochin in southern India. I am deeply aware of how little I know…

Yes, I will be eating these, probably in Mormugao

Yes, I will be eating these, probably in Mormugao

Fishing nets in Cochin

Fishing nets in Cochin

And I truly look forward to taking some brilliant photos when I am there…

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

08/09/2009 at 11:16 pm

Posted in holiday, Photography, travel, Writing

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But let us not forget…

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Written by Titirangi Storyteller

06/09/2009 at 11:02 pm

Posted in Writing

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Spring has sprung a crossroads…

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One of the things I’ve never quite adjusted to living down under is having the seasons arrive three weeks earlier than the solstice or equinox generally associated with them. It wouldn’t be so bad if we actually lost three weeks of miserable cold and rain, which is the Auckland winter. But it runs on at least until the first of November and occasionally refuses to depart until the beginning of January, which is already the second month of summer. It can be silly down here. I don’t mind. Except that today was wintry.

But in the spirit of spring and new growth and earth worms busying themselves etc, I’ve begun to feel a bit restless. Ideas are earthworms, working their way to the surface. Pardon the poetic licence (and general indecency) but I suppose this means I should be plowing the furrows of my garden – blah, well, you know…

So here’s a photo of the winter.

Crossroads traffic jam

Crossroads traffic jam

This is taken from the bus series I did throughout August (in future referred to as the 2009 Bus Photos) and while it’s not a very good photo technically – not sharp enough, the car is chopped off, the bus is blocking the interesting bit of the train – it rather nicely conveys a melange of unappealing choices, with the crane in the background reminding you that no matter what you choose, there is a roadblock up ahead. You have no control over how long they’ll make you wait. But someday there’ll be a nice new something there to travel on…

This photo captures my position – waiting around with unappealing choices is kind of where I am, and reflects my attitude toward this past winter. I work in transport, so it’s not surprising I would find my metaphors there. It’s been the winter of our discontent.

Auckland is merging from 4 small cities, plus two rural districts into one SuperCity of over 1 million people. Yes, New York may have 16 million, Chongqing 32 million – but Auckland is the SuperCity. (Somewhere I there I’ve already commented on the silliness of this place… Just because I love it does not mean it’s not surreal.)

The politics around creating a SuperCity and their effect on the staff are simply deranged. I’ve watched leaders turn into bullies, good people behave badly, loyal staff quit (without a job to go to), folks of questionable ability move into roles they can’t hope to fill adequately, mysterious resignations and the gossip mill churning at speeds previously unrecorded in the annals of contemporary corporate culture. Everything’s splattered with gossip juice.


I realise it’s making me tired. Tired of hearing it, pondering it, participating in it, working in and stepping around it. Tired of farewells and rumours of farewells to come. Tired of hearing friends slog through a stagnated job market looking to escape.

And suddenly finding I’m thinking of escaping myself! That’s one hell of an earthworm – I am famous for loving my job… and yet… it’s seems like a mighty one rumbling up – and he’s got friends. Time to look at this garden… Nothing glaringly wrong with it, but it’s tired, needs a refresh, a rethink, new blood.

I just gotta get me out of these miserable crossroads! If it ain’t fun – it ain’t worth doing, that’s all there is to it.

Feets don't fail me now!

Feets don’t fail me now!

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

01/09/2009 at 11:03 pm

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