Going up the west coast of Namibia

I have come down with a sore throat and a cold so no energy at the end of the day to write anything. So I am doing some highlights from the last couple of days. This trip is full on. Up at 5 or 6 am, in the truck and moving about 60 to 90 minutes later after breakfast.  The days are long, the activities are interesting and we fall into our beds at night after showering off all of the dust. Here are the highlights of the last two days.

Sundowner. We drove across the desert to a spot near rocks to watch the sun set over the desert. We passed a springbok.

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Our shadow across the desert floor._N3A9406

Our guide sets up a table with bubbly and nibbles. We toast the sunset. The rocks are beautiful in the light._N3A9416

The next day we get our first blown out tyre in the absolute middle of nowhere. The three guys on board helped change it. Then a couple of hours later the spare blew out. Fortunately we were close enough to our destination where a tyre supply shop was called and they sent someone to put a new tire on the bus and also give us two new spare ones. Thank goodness we weren’t in the remote desert area when the second one happened. We travelled about six hours through the desert yesterday.

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This is where we were when the tire blew out. A couple of ladies decided to take a walk. _N3A9440

Changing the tire.

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One of our stops was at a cheetah sanctuary.  When cheetahs attack cattle or sheep the farmers like to shoot them. There is a movement under way to trap and relocate them that is helping to save these beautiful animals.  These animals were a family to a cheetah who had been injured and now lives in the sanctuary._N3A9515_N3A9532

We continue our rattly, bone shaking journey through the desert. They have not had rain here since 2010.

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Today saw us on a harbour cruise in the Atlantic ocean on the west coast of Namibia. I would tell you the name of the city but I can’t pronounce it and I’m too tired to look it up. On the west coast towards the north of the country.

This is lucky.  A few seals jump up onto the boat as we leave the harbour. He is a young seal who does not appear to have a mother and the crew see him regularly and help him out a bit.  He hangs around the harbour but he is also able to cope in the wild.

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This pelican also landed on our boat. He came out of nowhere and startled all of us on the boat. There were only 8 guests on the boat and 3 crew.
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Coming back into port. We saw cormorants (landed on the boat), gulls, dolphins and thousands of seals.

Passing by flocks of flamingos along the lagoon that leads to the Atlantic Ocean.

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After 3 hours on board the boat, more champagne, raw oysters, nibbles and small pastries we transferred to the dune rides. Modern SUV’s took us through incredibly high dunes. We travelled about 120 kms along the beach and sand dunes. Again stopped and were watered and fed with incredible  food.

The national park- remote and so much sand._N3A9795

 

 

 

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We saw Ostriches going up and over the sand dunes. We saw quite a few animals in the sand dune area.

Well that is a quick summary of the past couple of days. Having a cold, long hours in the heat and more activities in two days than I do in two months have us resting as much as possible in the evenings. Tomorrow we are off again. I need to consult our paperwork and map to see where. Snip20160609_6

Africa- Day 2: Namibia

Today we travelled from Windhoek west through the Namib Desert to Sossusvlei. This amazing desert has been in existence for some 43 million years and its current landscape has remained unchanged for the last two million years. We were in the 4 wheel drive bus for about 6 hours. The road was mostly dirt, full of potholes and had we not been belted in, would probably have hit our heads on the ceiling. What a rough ride. The land is harsh. I saw a meerkat running along a dusty roadside carrying dead prey in its mouth. Not sure what it was. We saw a jackal running as a solitary figure across the stark land. We stopped under a few trees to have a lunch that we put together ourselves. Our guide’s wife baked a lovely spaghetti lasagna type dish and we had baked beans, salad, tea and coffee and a large pack of biscuits for dessert. As we ate our lunch in the welcome shade of the trees we faced a fairly large hillside of rocks. At the top of the rocks we could see baboons sitting across the skyline and we could hear them barking. Angry barking sounds. Nearby there was a skeleton head of a baboon. All teeth were still intact.
Travellers along the road ranged from small cars through to four wheel tour buses. We also passed a donkey cart with a singular man and three little donkeys pulling it. One would not want to get lost in such a place. Hot, dusty, mountainous, eerie, stark with dangerous animals behind every rock. It was always good to get going again.
We arrived at our lodge at 3:30 and the cool showers were a welcome relief. Enjoy that photos. Try not to sweat onto your keyboard.

Our Vehicle_N3A9286

Six hours on these roads.

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The donkey cart we passed_N3A9271

These birds are weavers_N3A9255

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Having lunch under the trees_N3A9218

A rock agana (lizard)_N3A9206

This is a Weaver’s nest. The weavers fly into it from below. More than 1000 birds can be in it. They build the next so eagles will roost above the next. When the snake climbs into the weaver’s next they all make a lot of noise. The eagle hears the weaver’s alarm calls and catches the snake. HE then lifts the snake high into the air, dropping it, catching it, dropping it, catching it until it dies. He then brings it back to earth when he eats it. Clever eh?

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More beautiful scenery. _N3A9181

 

The view from our hotel room now we have stopped. We will be here two nights.

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Wildlife Sanctuary- Namibia

We had an extremely long hot day today and I am really tired tonight. We have an early start so I won’t write a great deal today but I will share some basic photos I took. Haven’t had time to touch any of them up in Lightroom or Photoshop but you’ll get the point.

We visited N/a’an ku sê Activity Centre today. It is a wildlife sanctuary for injured and orphaned animals that can no longer live in the wild. There are strict rules around visiting these animals. You must be on  a tour. You can’t take selfies with them. You must follow the directions of the guide and they remove you from the tour. The compounds the animals are in are huge. You can’t see but only a tiny part. They are fed according to how they would eat in the wild. They only give them treats when the tour does the rounds. They are treated as wild animals with all the respect that involves. We felt privileged to spend time with such magnificent animals that have had a rough time in life. They are now happy and comfortable. I hope you enjoy the photos.

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You can see here how massive this wildlife sanctuary is._N3A8979This is the vehicle we rode in.

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These wild dogs were beautiful. Their coats were very colourful._N3A8984

 

These wild cats are solitary animals. There were only two in the compound. This one got upset when the second one sauntered up to see what treats were on offer._N3A9018

 

This beautiful cheetah only had three legs. Caught in a trap years ago, she was rescued and brought to the sanctuary. She is very old now. _N3A9044

The baboons were very funny.  They loved their treats and spending time with us. They looked us over pretty good.

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There were three babies playing king of the mountain on this stump, knocking each other off, playing like kittens do. Jumping into the air, running then climbing back on the stump._N3A9066

 

There were two leopards in this compound and both came up to see us. The guide threw it a piece of chicken and this guy caught it with his paws._N3A9101

 

We weren’t allowed to get out of the truck with the lions as they have been relocated here recently and are very wild and dangerous.  They were relocated when the farmer decided that should happen rather than shooting them after they attacked domestic stock (cattle).  Very dangerous the farmer thought a sanctuary was a better place for them and allows them to live their lives out in this very large area safely. They have a couple of miles of area to room in the compounds.  We stayed in the truck as they get upset if people are on the ground walking near them. _N3A9131

This was her partner.  A beautiful guy. He was so laid back. Wasn’t even interested in eating much of the chicken treats.

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The Penguin enjoying a bit of lunch.

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(All photos taken by PSParks-The Travellin Penguin- copyright)

South Africa-The Journey Begins

Snip20180309_1.pngThe Penguin sends his apologies. He is asleep in my backpack and won’t be moving for awhile. IN fact we are still in transit.  We have been travelling since yesterday, 11:00 am Australia time. That is about 30 hours ago.

We arrived at the Hobart airport, boarded our Virgin airline flight to Melbourne only to be  told after half an hour of waiting the plane was leaking hydraulic fluid. Only a one in a million chance that would be a problem but would we mind disembarking until the the problem could be sorted.  Into the airport we went. To make a long story short, amidst chaos at this small airport with the bad food and no Virgin lounge for Business class, a new plane was sent from somewhere in Australia with a crew who came in on their day off to fly to Hobart. Our flight from Melbourne to Perth was lost and we feared we’d miss the connection to Johannesburg. Virgin, to their credit did get us booked on another flight out of Melbourne to Perth. We arrived in Melbourne at 8:30 pm instead of 2:30 pm and had less than an hour to catch the flight to Perth, which we made. It was a very pleasant flight with good entertainment and food and staff were lovely. I watched the film LBJ which I really enjoyed and Mr. Penguin caught up with Three Billboards which I had seen before and loved.

Arriving in Perth we had one hour to get the flight to Johannesburg. Virgin staff in both Hobart and somewhere else along the line, I forget, told us to pick up our baggage in Johannesburg because it is the first point of call into Africa.  We arrived. We went to baggage claim and after waiting for everyone else on the plane to get their bags ours were nowhere to be seen.  A ground crew woman told us go here, here, do a you turn, end of hallway, by carousel 13.  No such place. Finally found an office for baggage enquiries with no one there but rounded up some people who came to help us and a few others in the same predicament.

Turns out as we are only transiting through South Africa we do not claim our baggage. Our cases were checked to Windhoek, Namibia and that is where they probably are.

Now 30 hours into this journey we still have another hour before going to board our 2.5 hour flight to Windhoek.

On the bright side the airport here is easy to navigate and everyone is so friendly.  I went into an electronics shop to get an adapter and three people were dying to serve me.  We don’t see this in Hobart, so I was impressed. Staff everywhere and everyone wanting to help while smiling at the same time.

Hopefully our bags will be in Windhoek when we arrive. The tour only has 12 people on it and the guide will meet our plane.  We have managed to get some Rand and found the South African Lounge. I know, I know…we’re spoiled by flying business class, but hey, we never had children and we both worked 40 years.  You save a lot of money that way for things you want to do once retired. No school fees for cats and dogs.

I might add we also have a welcome dinner tonight to attend after a few hours rest in our hotel.  I’m going to use this blog as a bit of a travel journal for us.  If you’re interested, please feel free to follow along. If you’re not interested, that’s okay and I’ll be back to talking about books and other things in April.  Stay tuned…. or not….Snip20180309_2

 

New Books this Week

Snip20160609_6New books, even if one is second hand, are always a joy to receive and hold. I thought I would share these three with you. I have also included a couple of magazines that are published here in Tasmania that I find interesting.

Here they are:

I saw this, I think, on Simon’s blog (Stuck in a Book) blog. It was published in 1956 and I’m interested to see what books are talked about at that time. Most books I find, that are about books are published closer to the current date. It grabbed my fancy, so to speak. Also it will fill a slot in the Century of Books challenge.

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I also read about this book on somebody’s blog. Sorry, but I can never remember where the book reviews I read come from because I read too many.

This book is described as one of the longest running, in print children’s book in Brazil and looks charming. The dust jacket blurb states, ” Meet Zezé – Brazil’s naughtiest and most loveable boy, his talent for mischief matched only by his great kindness.”

This should be fun. I also love the cover of this little book.

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The third book is a book I won, in 25 words or less, from the Tasmanian Writer’s Centre and I picked it up yesterday.  I read about it in their newsletter I receive and most likely I was the only person who responded. I have won several books from them this way.

“As children, Ida loves looking after her younger sister, Nora, but when their beloved father dies in 1926, everything changes. The two young girls move in with their grandmother who is particularly encouraging of Nora’s musical talent. Nora eventually follows her dream of a brilliant musical career, while Ida takes a job as a nanny and their lives become quite separate.”

This story interests me because it takes place after 1926, the year my mother was born, and in the Tasmanian bush. It will count towards the Australian Women’s Author challenge.

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The final two are Tasmanian published magazines. Island Magazine has been in existence for quite awhile and features many short stories, essays and poetry from writers of this region.

Womankind is locally published and is a ‘new to me’ magazine. It has stories in many different categories. Literature, philosophy, religion, science, etc.  I am not short of any reading material this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon

Snip20180205_1Jupiter’s Travels has been on my shelf for a very long time.  There are many motorcycle “around the world” travel books out there but this is the bible of all of them.

From Wikipedia:

“Ted Simon (born 1931) is a German-born British journalist noted for circumnavigating the world twice by motorcycle.[1] He was raised in London by a German mother and a Romanian father.

After studying chemical engineering at Imperial College he began his newspaper career in Paris with the Continental Daily Mail. Back in England, whilst undertaking National Service with the RAF he founded Scramble, a magazine for recruits, which caught the attention of Arthur Christiansen, redoubtable editor of the Daily Express, and worked in Fleet Street for ten years. He eventually became Features Editor of the Daily Sketch, and shortly before that paper was amalgamated with the Daily Mail in 1964 he left to found and edit a man’s magazine, King, which survived for three years. He moved to France and contributed to various English newspapers and magazines, including The Observer and Nova.

Snip20180205_3In late 1973, sponsored by The Sunday Times, Simon began travelling around the world on a 500 cc Triumph Tiger 100 motorcycle. For four years he travelled over 64,000 miles (103,000 km) through 45 countries. Most accounts from his trip are detailed in his book, Jupiter’s Travels,[2]while some of the book’s gaps are filled in its second part, the book Riding High.[3]

His books and long distance riding inspired the actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman in their 2004 journey from London to New York on motorcycles (Long Way Round), during which they arranged to meet Simon in Mongolia.”

The Book:

I listened to the audio version of this book as well as reading the hard copy. I enjoyed the narration of this book (Ted Simon and Rupert Degas) very much. He started with the African Continent going from north to south. The roads were rugged, the water crossings were fast and deep and he wasn’t probably as prepared as what Charley Borman and Ewan McGregor were. No support vehicles.

From South Africa he took a transport ship to Brazil and immediately was detained by the police for almost two weeks. The. minds games he had to endure were frustrating to read. He was never arrested but you wouldn’t know it.  His bike had all kinds of things go wrong with it but he always managed to fix what it needed and ride on.  Sometimes when he ran out of petrol there was none to be had and he had to ride a bus to a small town just to get a litre.

He then rode to Chili, Peru and Colombia. Colombia was very dangerous in the 1970’s but he managed to get through it in one piece. He made it to the Panama Canal and then didn’t write too much more until he hit California having traversed through Mexico.

He was in California, north of San Francisco in a commune for three months where he worked on the land and had a relationship with a woman.

From San Francisco he took another ship to Sydney, Australia. He went north to Port Douglas and then south to Melbourne and west to Perth, across the Nullarbor.

He wanted to go to Indonesia but because Cyclone Tracy had just devastated the city of Darwin there was no transport. The only transport he could get was from Fremantle to Singapore.

From Singapore to Malaysia and then he went to India. Much of the last third of the book talked about India. Once he left India to head back to Europe he didn’t describe as much in his book.

Snip20180205_8There are many gaps in this book but as Wikipedia explains above he did a follow up book, filling in those gaps, called Riding High.

Mind you for a 64,000 mile journey over four years, it is hard to limit oneself to 460 pages. There was a lot that was left out.

He philosophises a great deal and at times that felt tedious.  It made the overall book quite uneven but it always got back on track. He didn’t describe much of his accommodation but rather focused heavily on the people he met and their lifestyles. It was truly a life changing adventure and I probably don’t do the whole story justice.

I really enjoyed this book. I read a lot of travel writing and this is right up at the top. Every time I got in the car I would listen to more of it. When I woke in the night I would turn it on for the 30 minute sleep timer and listen to more. I was sad when it ended.

Snip20180205_6I must mention the narrators of this story did a brilliant job of the African, Portuguese and Spanish accents. When describing the Australians, the accents were amazingly good. I have lived here 30 years now and still can’t pronounce Australian vowels.  It was good to hear him read his own book and I am not sure how the two men shared the role because I thought there was only one narrator until I looked at the book’s description on Audible.

Snip20180205_4As I started to research more about Ted Simon on google I was pleasantly surprised to see that he did the same journey again 30 years later as a 70 year old man. I have found and ordered the book on Abe Books for $4.00! I don’t think I’ll read Riding High as I have had enough of his first trip. But who knows.

Can’t wait to get Dreaming of Jupiter. He has also recently published another book of his photos. In the 70’s the quality of the photos wasn’t good enough to print but current technology now allows it. The cheapest copy I could find though is $110.00. It is obviously quite collectable.  I won’t be looking at that anytime soon.

If you like travel writing then this wonderful writer (I forgot to mention he is a brilliant writer) tells an excellent tale. No google maps, no mobile phones- travel the old fashioned way.

Saturday Squawk

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As one crosses the foot bridge across the Brown River to the dog part of the beach. 

Saturday Squawk is a mish-mash of bits and pieces of the week.  Today after my 8:00 am Aqua Fit class I came home, had breakfast and then the dogs to the dog beach.  Since I always take photos of my own dogs there I decided I would take photos of something else.

Mr. Penguin and I are going to Botswana, Namibia and the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls for 25 days in March.  I wanted to practise taking photos of wildlife with my Canon I own. It has so many settings and I am using the manual settings more and more. I have been in the Hobart Photography Club for two years now.  I thought as we don’t have gazelles or hippos in the area I would practise on some active dogs at the beach.

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Dog Beach

I came across an 18 month old Boxer named Rupert who is lovely and extremely energetic.  His kind owners let me use him as a model so I got to practise on the “Tasmania Veldt”.

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This guy loved the water.

There were some other interesting things happening there as well so I am here today to share them with you.

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A beautiful lurcher. I hardly ever see this breed here.

Enjoy the sunny summer weather of Tasmania.

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She was trying to read her book but the dogs were a bit distracting.

 

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Beautiful Rupert the Boxer. Love the ears.

 

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Rupert is very stately here.

Wandering on a Wednesday

Molly
What are YOU looking at?

This morning I have to take Molly to the doctor for her elbow. It pops out sometime. This is following another day when I book her into the hairdresser.  Grizzy has been the one that keeps me busy with the doctor but he seems to be doing okay now.  Grizzy is our black cat. He is only two years old.

No, Molly is not human.  She is our little silky terrier cross, madam of the house.  She is undergoing a series of anti inflammatory injections (once a week for a month, than once a month for—well, forever probably.) The hairdresser is really Woofer’s of Hobart and she will have a bath and a haircut. But she can’t get in until after mid February.  She will come home with a pink bow attached to her collar and she will think she is pretty special.

Odie
All I need is here.

She will put our Odie into the corner after the vet appointment this morning.  Everything is always Odie’s fault. She is 13 and after several years of being second in command she is now the Queen Bee, in charge of one other dog and three cats.  There are few signs of slowing down.  She is a terrible manager. She is a bully, a disrespectful, narcissistic tomboy at times who blames everyone else in the household for anything she doesn’t like.  She will turn up at the vet’s office, be sweet as pie. Butter wouldn’t melt……  “What a sweet dog you have” the nurses will coo. What an act. She can really turn it on.  But once home, she will run in the house, find Odie, who is at least 4 time her size and

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Best Friends Even if Everything is Odie’s fault.

put him in the corner with lip raised. It is his fault she had to go to the vet’s. Everything in life is his fault.  Odie almost rolls his eyes and gets on with life. He knows how to ignore her. After a sideways glance at me, as though to say, “Do you believe her?”   Then she will jump into Mr. Penguin’s lap and give him kisses. She is a daddy’s girl. He lets her get away with murder. I make her behave. I tell her things she must do. She looks at me, walks over to him, and jumps in his lap….then looks at me. “What are you going to do about it?” she challenges.  What a laugh.

I started this post, ready to write a quick “what did I think about” the book Extinctions by Josephine Wilson. When I put my fingers to the keyboard, Molly popped into my head. By the way, we call her Monkey.  That is her nickname and she responds better to that than Molly.  For 13 years she has been our Monkey. I will write about Extinctions soon.  But the sun is shining, it looks to be a beautiful day. I have a meet up later in the morning for a coffee with a friend in the city.  It is too nice a day to write about a book about a grouchy old man and the regrets he has as he looks back on his life. He realised the truths of his life way too late. As much as I enjoyed this book, and I really did, today is too nice of a day to not pay attention to what is going on around me.  So this morning I am appreciating my little monkey and I am grateful she lives with us.

MollyOdie DruPt
Always so much to explore.

Deal Me In Challenge – 3 of Diamonds

Snip20180118_4Brother Long Spring Day

This week’s short story came from the book Stories From Beyond the Clouds, An Anthology of Tibetan Folk Tales. It is a book of Tibetan folk tales and an easy and enjoyable read.

Sangay Khando was the lovely daughter of an old and cranky mother. The mother would never let Sangay ask questions so she didn’t know much.

They never had enough to eat although a lovely jar of rice was stored in the cupboard. She was told to never fix it. It was being saved for the “Brother Long Spring Day”.  One day while home alone a very old and tired monk came to the door telling her he had travelled far and was hungry.  He told her he was “Brother Long Spring Day”. She fed him the rice.

“Brother Long Spring Day” really meant the longest day of spring had arrived and was not a person at all. She fixed the rice for him, saved some for herself and her mother who she knew would be tired and hungry after work.  The monk seemed to know about her terrible mother and told her she could always find a home in the mountains with him. He knew a great deal about her.

You can figure the rest out.

Mother came home, was very angry and threw her daughter out of the house. She lived with the monk for several years, being taught Buddhist principles of kindness, mindfulness actions and the Buddhist scriptures. She was happy living with the monk and his pet rooster and cat.

One day, when she was fetching water she came upon the king’s men who spied her and followed her. They saw she left footprints in the snow shaped like lotus blossoms.  They knew she was special. She was a human Dhakini who was right up there with the faeries.

The monk knew these horsemen to be servants of the King and that they needed a Princess for his son to marry.  The monk explains she will one day marry the prince. She is covered in beautiful clothes and has more food than she has ever seen.

She sadly leaves the monk, marries the Prince and one day a poor beggar woman arrives at the castle. Yes, you guessed it, her mother.

She takes her in, she is dying and houses her for 7 days.  She cannot tell her history to the prince. It slips out though as she forgets to be mindful. The prince asks a lot of questions and she convinces him to leave her alone for 3 days. He agrees. With that, she secretly rides through the night to consult the monk. What should she do? She cannot tell him the history of her childhood and her mother. The monk organises for her to return home and come back with the prince. When they return there is a large castle, lots of servants and her mother has come back from the dead. It is really the monk in the form of the mother.  A good  deed done, they all go home happy. The monk is released from this life on earth to disappear into the ether, through the rainbow hued sky and join the Dakinis and faeries.  Every one is happy.

Snip20180121_1It finishes with: Sanghay Khando, the human Dakini, realised her mission in life. The wind was blowing through her hair, the birds were returning from their journey to foreign lands. She felt the sandalwood beads and was at peace with the world.

For a Sunday afternoon that is pleasantly warm, the windows are open and not much to do this was a pleasant read. I haven’t read fairy tales in many years and I think this little bit of escapism into the folklore of Tibet will be a bit of fun. There was even an gardnerillustration in this story.

 

Sha Ding: The Magnet

Snip20180118_1Deal Me In Challenge- The Six of Clubs

This short story book of Chinese tales was published back in the 1930’s. The stories are quite short.  I have had a look at several and they are fairly obscure and the themes are sparse.  I am not finding them to be of a depth of thought I am currently craving.  I am thinking as it is the beginning of the year I am going to swap this book out for another book of short stories.  The Magnet is a simple tale of a teenage boy during the 1930’s named Yuan who wants to leave home, leave school in winter and join the rebellion against the Japanese.  Not much is said about the actual revolution. The title refers to him being attracted to the new adventure “like a magnet”.  The magnet is a very obscure theme related to his attraction to do something he feels is important rather than his uncles telling him he will become a teacher, which he doesn’t want to do.

His mother doesn’t want him to go, he has no money to do so and he won’t accept money from anyone who might want to give him some. He feels angst about the whole situation and in the end he leaves home.  The story is only about 4 or 5 pages long and the conflict was simply stated.

I realise Japanese literature at times can be quite obscure but this was so obscure it almost doesn’t exist.  After reading this tale I read some other tales from this book and decided the overall book is not what I am looking for in a book of short stories. I want something that is a bit more applicable to my sometimes obtuse mind.

The book has already been consigned to the bag headed for the Tip Shop Book sale, where it came from in the first place.  Snip20160609_6

I doubt Yuan will spend many years in my mind as I continue through life.  What do you do with books you begin to read when they just don’t stack up (no pun intended) ?  Now, to go back to my shelves and find another book of short stories to replace the Ace to the King of clubs.