Our trip down under there!

24 juillet 2009

The END!

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one of Geraldton beaches

We are now in Geraldton, city 450 kms north of Perth. It is the main port of Western Australia and with 25 000 hab is the second largest city on this coast after Perth. Our first impression is very positive even though there is no wind here in winter. The beaches are simply stunning with turquoise water and white sand. People are vey friendly and welcoming, and there is a lovely laid back vibe. The weather is very sunny with few showers, it is hard to believe this is winter!

We have found a house to rent for 3 months, enough time to settle down and buy a house to move into. We are very excited to now settle down and feel right at home here, even though we have just arrived.

It has been such a fantastic year, so unique, so enriching in many different ways.

Dreams are beautiful and powerful, dreams are just wonderful. Believe in them even if.. believe in them with all your soul and heart, and you might be very surprise soon!

In the meantime, come and visit us, you will always be welcome!

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Posté par cathbib à 12:18 - Commentaires [3] - Permalien [#]

Outback

La vie sur une ferme australienne est vraiment une experience a part. Tout est immense, tellement vide de vies humaines. Ici les oiseaux divers et nombreux donnent envie de passer des heures a les observer. La nature est sublime, la lumiere irreelle et la vie a un rythme doux et chaleureux comme les soirees au coin du poele a bois qui rechauffe apres une journee au grand air.
L’activite favorite d’Elena a sans aucun doute ete de faire du Quad (appelle moto tracteur par Tahlia qui prefere marcher avec maman plutot que devoir aller dessus)

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Ce dernier stop avant notre destination finale a ete l’occasion de faire un bilan sur notre voyage et d’imaginer notre futur des prochains mois.

La bouffe!*

Tout au long de cette annee nous avons decouvert des plats, des specialites, des petits delices que l’on aimerait refaire. Pour s’en rappeller voici une liste en vrac mais par pays...

Australie:
les legumes au bbq
Le vin rouge Shiraz
les marshmallows au feu
la cuisine directement au feu de bois avec de l’alu

Nouvelle Zelande
le muesli maison, le meilleur sans aucun doute!
le pain au levain de Luc
la simplicite des lunch chez Catherine & Luc
la polenta et les mille facon de l’accomoder
les feuilles de menthe de citronelle ou autre pour faire les meilleurs tisanes
les cookies maison du cinema de Wanaka

Vietnam
le poisson grille lemon grass and chilli ou ginger and onion
les mixed fruit shake
les fresh coconut
vegetarian fried rice
un pic nique n‘est pas forcement des sandwich chips
homemade peanut butter
la salade verte sauce echalotes et ail

Cambodge
les meilleurs curry

Thailande
green curry
masman curry
panang curry
coconut soup
tom yum
papaya salad
Pad Thai

Laos
sticky rice

maman ca veut dire quoi ‘bouffe’? (parfois je m’inquiete du peu de vocabulaire familier que possede Elena a 6 ans...)

Posté par cathbib à 11:47 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
15 juillet 2009

Back home!!

After Krabi we went back to Bangkok to fetch the luggage we left there and also to do some clothes shopping has everything seemed to suddenly be too small, too dirty, too yucky to be worn.
Two days in manic shopping malls with 3 excited little girls who absolutely love shopping was enough for us both who really do not enjoy shopping!

Then we flew to Perth where we have been for 5 days staying at Mike and Monica's house. They have welcomed us so well that it was very hard to leave. What to say? The girls have had such a wicked time, I think pictures might speak better than words.
(unfortunately, I cannot download any picture atm, but believe me the chaos they manage in less than 10 minutes was really impressive)
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It was wonderful to stay in a real house, so spacious and well equipped, to share yummy home made meals, to enjoy spending time together and just to watch the kids playing pretend games.
We also have made the most of Australian playgrounds which are really great especially after being in asia for so long. It is somehow hard to believe it is winter here even though it is much cooler than Thailand.
Anyway it was a real treat to be there for nearly a week, we have now bought a car (well more a minibus actually to be able to fit in all the visitors who are soon going to come!) and are off tomorrow morning. We are heading North and will spend a week in a ranch. I hope the animals and the farm life will compensate for leaving this super house....but I doubt of it...

cannot resist showing gaetan climbing with the monkeys!
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Posté par cathbib à 15:03 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
03 juillet 2009

et puis un beau jour....

Nous sommes arrives a Railay beach, pres de Krabi au sud de la Thailande..

Apres 48h de voyage en tuk-tuk, avion, taxi, bus, re tuk-tuk, train de nuit, taxi, re-avion, re-bus et bateau (si si un etit avec des vachement grosses vagues...) nous avons poses nos valises pour nos 2 semaines restante avant de nous envoler pour Perth.

Cette plage paradisiaque nous a tout de suite paru ideale pour finir notre voyage en beaute, a profiter de 'vraies' vacances dans un chouette hotel, avec rien a faire a part se faire dorer entre les doigts de pied. Enfin ca c'etait sans compter sur notre rencontre avec une famille de Tignard qui nous a entraine dans leur passion d'escalade.

Du coup notre troupe de 6 filles se sont super bien amuses pendant que les grands grimpaient avec plus ou moins brio mais beaucoup de plaisir.

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Elena qui descend en rappel sur 15m

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Pas mal la vue?

Au milieu du sejour nous avons fait un petit tour dans un parc national maritime tout bonnement splendide. On s'en souviendra vu les legers problemes technique du bateau au retour ...

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Tahlia qui tire ses soeurs avec grand plaisir.

Et puis voila l'anniversaire des 6 ans d'elena qu'elle a pu feter avec une vraie Birthday party!
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L'anniversaire d'Elena, 6 ans!

Posté par cathbib à 12:20 - Commentaires [4] - Permalien [#]
21 juin 2009

Luang Prabang

Our week here had been great. This little town is a real jewel, beautiful architecture everywhere, reminding us of a french little town mixed with nice wooden houses. With more than 30 Buddhist temples, there is monks everywhere which are so much part of the beauty of this place. Cycling everywhere we enjoyed the local cuisine even though communication was sometimes really funny.

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Lorelie avec ses 2 copines Lao qui l'adorent
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One lunch time we ordered a fried rice with vegetable saying we did not want any meat- no pork-no beef- egg ok (very elaborate english..). The rice arrived with....chicken.... So the following time we ordered in the same place a fried rice with vegetable (favorite choice of the girls since we are in Asia) we again asked it with no meat AND no chicken. it came with pork...
What is the chef salad? It is a salad and a chef mixed together....
After that week unwinding and discovering the surrounding we decided to take a 2 days trek in the mountain to stay in a typical tribe village. Our guide tried to disuade us to do the 4 hours trek but we convince him that the girls will be able to do it
Not only they did but it took us only 4 and an half hours to make it. It was a very up and down walk and the girls loved running down pushing our guide to go faster, with him shouting to them to ‘stop, it is slippery’, which makes Tahlia wondering why our guide wanted to sleep (slight confusion between sleeping and slippery) , it was all very funny. The scenery was absolutely stunning and you will have to take my word for it as we compromise on weight in the backpack by not taking a camera with us.
Elena’s dream to sleep in a real Lao’s house in bambou and palm leaves was fullfilled that night. It was a real experience to stay in one of those traditional villages, I still wonder who was observing whom, as children and adults alike were very intrigued by our family, especially our blond girls. They do have foreigners to stay there often, but rarely family with young children. So there was constantly a group of them observing us.
The next day we had a shorter walk to go back to the river where kayaks where waiting to slide us back to Luang Prabang.

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J'ai enfin une robe!! Peut etre que l'on va arrete de dire que je suis un garcon?

Today we celebrated Tahlia’s birthday,as we have decided to celebrate it six month earlier to avoid having christmas and birthday only 4 days apart. It was a really fun and exciting birthday party with lots of balloon, home made party hats and even a chocolate cake with fresh mango as she wanted! They had a lovely day playing with her presents but really the fun was also to prepare everything, create the decoration, talk about it daysssss before, and fantasizing about the presents.

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Posté par cathbib à 14:52 - Commentaires [5] - Permalien [#]

14 juin 2009

Slow boat along the Mekong

Nous avons pendant deux jours descendus le mekong sur une longue barge. Ce trajet restera sans aucun doute un souvenir merveilleux. Des paysages sauvages, montagneux tres verts, ponctues de village en bambou et palmes.
Un bateau bonde de touriste et locaux qui vont d'un village a l'autre avec toute sorte de bagages, des poules, des branches, des bebes en echarpe, des fruits

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Il y a un rythme doux et sauvage le long du Mekong. Le temps semble etre suspendu.

Appreciant le paysage, debout! Lorelie a beaucoup progresse dans la marche, le roulis rendant les choses plus challenging!

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Lorelie et son copain

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Au Laos les moines sont tres nombreux et les habitant tres buddhistes, cla nous a permis d'apprendre a mieux comprendre cette religion.

Tahlia a la sieste sur un tas de sacs

Posté par cathbib à 05:27 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]
09 juin 2009

Northern Thailand

To be back in Thailand is absolutely delightful. The Thais are wonderful, so smiley, laid back and welcoming, communication is easy and fun. The food is yummy always fresh and tasty. And everything is simple and run smoothly. They absolutely love children which makes the travelling even easier for us. Where else do you meet on the street people spontaneously offering to look after your lugage whilst you go for lunch? Or guest house rushing to buy a double matress to cater for the whole family and fit us in one room? Or restaurant where they laugh when seing children spilling food on the floor? (I would not mke any comment on our girls table manner, it does get on my nerves at the moment...)

Chiang Mai despite being the second largest city in Thailand is really small compare to Bankgog. I really enjoyed cycling everywhere back and forth, from our huge appartment to my thai massage course (I definitely recommend the training I did at www.sunshine-massage-school.com ) the traffic is not too bad and the city being flat, cycling is the best way to get around (quicker and more reliable than most tuk tuk)
While I was learning the traditional thai massage, Gaetan and the girls had lots of fun. They enjoyed staying at home to make craft, playing with their friends 4 storeys below us, going to see the elephant, going to the playground, going to the swimming pool, discovering the city, going to the market, cooking diner or watching DVD. It was great to watch the 4 of them enjoying themselves together. After the travelling of the previous month it was good for everyone to settle down again and having time to play, connect, bond and rest. What Elena really prefered whilst being with daddy is that, with Daddy She can always chose the activity!

Some pictures of our flat
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Lorelie prefered sitting place (in the cupboard next to the music, to be able to put the volume up up up)
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After those 2 weeks we head off towards the golden triangle. Stopped in Chiang Rai, visited the long neck tribes, had a hard time finding a decent place to stay in Chiang Sen, and then cross the Mekong to reach Laos.

More pics later!

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Tahlia who loves to dress up

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The best place to eat

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With the long neck tribe
First Tahlia was so impressed and scared she did not want to sit next to them, then she accepted

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Crossing the Mekong to go to Laos

And to finish the same place, the same girls but one year later
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Posté par cathbib à 06:27 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]
23 mai 2009

Angkor

Nous voila a Siem Reap (pres de Angkor) au Cambodge.
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Apres pres de 4 mois au Vietnam, nous savourons les differences de ces 2 pays. La population tout d’abord est beaucoup plus souriante, acceuillante, gentille et douce, sans omettre le fait non negligeable qu’elle est beaucoup plus bilingue voire trilingue. La communication est tellement simple, ca fait vraiment plaisir! Lorsque l’on commande au restaurant on a toujours ce que l’on attendait, plus simple aussi de negocier, surtout que nous sommes en saison basse (voire tres basse suite a la crise).

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La nourriture est bien plus savoureuse avec une palette de saveurs , d’epices et d’herbes que les Khmers savent mettre en valeur. Et bien sur le site incroyable, merveilleux, eblouissant, magique d’Ankgor. La splendeur de ces temples disperses dans la jungle aux bruits tropicaux (a la chaleur aussi...) est tout simplement indescriptible. Pour nous y rendre nous avons varies les plaisirs, parfois en tuk-tuk, avec le trailer accroche derriere le tuk-tuk, parfois en velo.

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Les filles ont adores jouer a Dora l'exploratrices dans les temples, se perdre dans les dedales et escalader les escaliers abruptes.
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Apres tous ces efforts, elena a pu gouter au massage des pieds par des petits poissons qui viennent manger les peaux mortes, fous rires assures!

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Posté par cathbib à 04:42 - Commentaires [5] - Permalien [#]
20 mai 2009

Vietnam!

We have left Mui Ne with the sleeping train. The girls had obviously a great time slleping in a train was such an exciting experience. As Elena pointed out to me, this year we have slept in all sorts of means of transport, the train was the last one we had to try, after the boat (in NZ) the campervan (in oz) the plane (many times) the sleeper-bus (in vietnam).

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We arrived in Hoi An very early in the morning which allowed us to walk around before the crowd. we immediately felt in love with the beautiful city, classified by the Unesco and so sweet, delicate and clean compare to what we had seen so far in Vietnam.
There is around 500 tailors in HoiAn, so we had to give it a go! The girls found it much fun to chose the materials, play in the silk rolls and run around with a sewing meter.
We had planned our trip with the monthly ful moon festival. On that evening, no vehicles at all are allowed in the historic centre, and all the lighting is done by candles. It was so beautiful and quiet!

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food street stall, where the food is often the best!

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Market food stall

After this delightful little city we went to Hue and the forbidden purple city, where we spent half a day wandering around. The following day we decided to enjoy a boat trip along the purple river on a dragon boat. The funniest part of the day was really to watch Gaetan and Rebecca (an aussie couple we met in HoiAn with whom we had such a ball) negotiating on the harbour and spending literally an hour going back and forth to have the best price.

On a number of occasion we realised how much Vietnamese people appreciate foreigner to speak vietnamese with them. We suddenly had much more room for negotiation as soon as Elena was singing one of the vietnamese songs she learned at school. Apparently there are 5 or 6 songs that everyone in vietnam know from school (one of which explain how you can kill your neighbourgh with different weapons...oups). Anyway, we did slightly abuse of the opportuniy by simply (but firmly..) encouraging Elena to show off at the right time...

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Climbing trees (but still not walking...)

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In the boat

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We flew back to HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) where we arrived 4 months earlier, to visit the city. Despite our concern of finding it too busy/noisy/polluted or manic, we enjoyed spending a few days there. It made us realised how much we have adapted ourselves to the madness of Vietnam as we did not remember why we found it so difficult to cross the street when we came there from NZ. We stayed there with a french family we have met in Mui Ne, and their warm welcoming really made us feel at home and certainly was part of the reason why our stay was such a success.
It was lovely to have a social life again and to go out without the children (and to realise how Tahlia could be the perturbating element of the group and prevent anyone else to sleep thanks to her ease at entertaining everyone).
Anyway our last few days in Vietnam were really great and flew by very quickly.
We then flew to Siem Reap via Bankgog where we left 3/4 of our luggage. (still wondering why we have carried so much stuff around the world-hmmm blame the children car seat!)

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Enjoying a few sorbets...

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Posté par cathbib à 03:45 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
06 mai 2009

Bye-bye Mui Ne

Notre sejour s’acheve apres quasiment 4 mois ici.
Nous etions venus ameliorer notre niveau en planche a voile et finalement nous avons decouvert bien d’autres choses.

Elena a decouvert la lecture en francais et l’ecole vietnamienne. Elle a aussi ameliore ses technique de nage, surtout le dauphin (qui-qui ne connait pas la nage dauphin??)
La tooth fairy (fee des dents, qui a eu notre preference par rapport a la petite souris, c’est quand meme plus poetique une fee, non?) est venu 2 fois (dont une en retard, parait il a cause de la pluie, mon oeil hein!). Elena a ete tres patiente et malgre les nombreux conseils vietnamiens (dont celui de attacher un fil a la dent et claquer la porte pour la faire tomber) et les definitives ont deja bien poussees.

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Tahlia est allee pour la premiere fois a l’ecole avec plein de fierte et de joie de pouvoir faire comme son ainee.Cela lui a permis de constater que l’on peux aussi faire le clown a l’ecole, il y a plus de spectateur, ca promet!
Elle a pris confiance en ses capacites de nager, et se risque meme a des ploufs sans ses brassards.

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Tahlia que Gaetan ne trouve pas assez sociable....

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une des moues de Tahlia

Les filles ont decouvert de nouveaux jeux, et surtout on developpe leur capacite d’imagination. Elena a decide de creer un jeu de Memory a partir d’une boite vide de corn flakes.
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Elles ont aussi decouvert un jeu favori parmi les enfant vietnamien. Pendant longtemps j’ai cru que c’etait des scarabes en plastique qu’ils transportait dans leur poche pour faire peur au copain, comme les araignees enorme en plastique relie a un fil nylon. Mais non il prenent un vrai scarabee, bien gros et l’accroche a un fil nylon pour le faire tourner et voler en rond, ca fait comme un ventilo il parait...yeurk!(j’ai pas de photos, je trouvais ca trop yeurk....)

Elles ont aussi eu leur bapteme de body board sur le dos de papa et en solo pour Elena.

Enfin Lorelie a decouvert la position verticale mais pas tout a fait la position verticale-on the move. Elle a commence a developpe son language, et meme si son premier mot aura ete vietnamien, les suivants sont tous francais (maman, aurevoir, rega’de, viens, la, hmmm (oui)).
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Nous avons decouvert la vie vietnamienne a travers notre voisinage qui apres une periode de curiosite nous ont completmenet accepte dans leur vie quotidienne. Leur nombreux cadeaux et petites attentions, leur musique a tue tete(a partir de 6 h du mat..), leur jeux sur les terasses apres le diner, leur chiens, poules et oies (mais ou sont passees les oies maman, ca fait plusieurs jours que je n’ai pas vu les oies....), leur vie de pecheur rythmees par les sorties en mer, leur engueulades quasi publics ou tout le monde en profite (voir meme se rapproche de la maison pour voir se qui se passe...), leur joie de vivre et de rire, nous garderons toutes ces images colorees en memoire. Notre depart a ete emouvant, meme si on ne realise pas encore tout fait que nous ne reviendrons plus dans cette maison.(je note que les bagages ont fermes sans probleme, on a meme un sac qui s’est vide entre notre arrivee et notre depart....)

Nous avons aussi appris a apprecier la nourriture Vitenamienne, meme appris a faire la soupe Pho Rau (soupe de legumes croustillants aux nouille de riz) et recupere les recettes du gateau a la banane et de la tarte a la noix de coco.

Nous avons chacun debute le Kitesurf, meme si ca ne nous a pas convaincu de changer, c’est chouette d’avoir eu un bapteme. Et puis ameliore aussi notre niveau de surf vu que le vent est parti depuis quelques semaines nous nous sommes convertis!

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Posté par cathbib à 07:19 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]