Friday, 27 August 2010

GapBreak Testimonials - What did these young travellers think of their three month abroad?

Jess - Tanzania GapBreak Three Months -
"I was the first Australian to leave today and it was so sad saying goodbye. Yesterdays travelling from Zanzibar was a very long day was we were told we had to leave at 5 am but didnt leave till 7.30 - taking Tanzania time to a whole new level! It is crazy to think that we have only known each other for three months and have made such an amazing bond. Everyone is really proud of the work we have achieved as a group."

Lexi - Kenya GapBreak Three Months -

"It's our last day in Kenya, it's so strange! Three months went by so quick; I don't want to leave yet but im excited to keep travelling. More than anything I'll miss Muhaka i think, my favourite village, where we built an entire mud hut for one of the mama's in the village. The weekends were amazing as well, the beach is so beautiful here and 40's is so good on a Saturday night! Everyone has been so friendly here, I've felt welcomed in every village I've been to. The camp staff, especially the camp managers, have been so helpful and accommodating as well. It will be strange going home and not waving to every kid we drive past, that's a big difference I've noticed between here and home, in Africa everyone wants to stop and chat. It will be sad saying goodbye to all my friends from camp, and weird not living with them as I keep travelling. It's been such a great experience; I'm so glad i took the year off studying to see a bit of the world, i definitely recommend it."

Monday, 23 August 2010

Happy Land School - Tyler's last week in Beijing.

Apologies prospectively for any sentimentality.

So, it has been a while since I last wrote about my adventures in the People’s Republic of China, here it goes.
Most importantly, the news of where I will reside for the next 5 months has been revealed, and it shall be a town in North East China, entitled Shenyang. It’s geography means that I will experience snow for the first time, and consequently a white Christmas- this excites me infinitely! I will be teaching at a kindergarten, which again is quite exciting, I forget the name of the school itself, but the website is truly unforgettable-! If it is not the most happiest place in all the land I will be devastated, but just knowing they have a room called ‘the Naughty Palace’ makes it all okay.

I leave for my new home next Saturday, exactly a week from today. We shall be transported there via train. It should be lovely, and quite short at 4 hours or so directly from Beijing. The concept of home is a funny one. My friend Anna believes it is anywhere her room can have fairy lights. Bless. I guess for me it’s a little more liberal in meaning, it’s anywhere I wake up the next morning.
I have been galavanting around Beijing, mainly to locations of either a consumeristic or historic interest. The Summer Palace last Friday was dazzling, and huge! I walked along the largest hallway in the entire world, stretching 728 metres. Pretty impressive. Although the weather possessed a lot of mist, seeing the landscapes and architecture and views and gardens was simply lush. What bewildered me was that all of this was simply for one human being. Bit greedy.

Another cultural activity was my daylight visit to Tianneman Square and then into the Forbidden City. It was a quite a warm day when we went which did mean I almost collapsed from heat exhaustion but I powered on through! It’s absolutely crazy just how many people are everywhere in this county at any one point in time. The Forbidden City was immensely large, cannot really exaggerate how much. At least 5 courtyards the size of Sweden. Temples, beautiful temple everywhere. Ahhh, it’s good to be Tyler.

On Friday evening last week all of us (the cool 75ish TTC people doing the teaching course) went to an Acrobatics show. It was menacing. The outlandish things these people do is ridiculous. I didn’t take any pictorial evidence, which is unfortunate, but just as an example for one stunt- note the word stunt here- at least 20 human beings, all of the female variety gradually jumped on relatively small bike.

On Monday of this week in celebration of all those whom are having birthdays in the month of August a water fight was had. There were 3 teams, and the basis of the game was once water touches you, you freeze! I got hit, after much suaveness and slyness of not being tainted by any liquid force. It was a sad moment, especially upon Anna Brooks discovering my ailment (aka, being stationary), so she decided to throw a water balloon directly at my crutch. Rude really. So I decided it was a war, Monarchist vs. Republican. Anna vs. Tyler. I snuch behind trees, crept over hills and smack bang landed a giant water balloon on Anna’s head. Most satisfying moment of my life, thus far. It was not until the water fight concluded that Anna retaliated by asking to have a sip of my 1.5 litre water, when in actuality she just wanted to pour it on me.

Done a bit of shopping of late. To a district called Xidan, it is lovely there, very bright, tall buildings. Lots of western clothing, which I took full advantage of. There is this place called H&M which is amazing, Australia really needs to get onto that. Also went to some Chinese markets, which were excruciatingly cheap and namely, IKEA. It was amazing to be on Swedish soil. I indulged in meatballs and bought a hand puppet called Max, who is a moose J I’ve also been sick for a week now, which is slightly annoying but it could be much worse and is a constant reminder that I will return to full health and love life a touch more.

This one is a bit lengthy, it’s raining outside so I am just having a relaxing day. VOTED YESTERDAY. It was really nice to do so, the embassy was aesthetically pleasing. It was really welcoming to see some Australians. Voted below the line in the Senate, took a while and a few spoiled ballot papers. Okay, I hope Adelaide is being lovely. I look forward to hearing from you all soon.

Love Tyler.

Meeting my Spanish Family - Zoe's 2nd Update from Peru

And so it begins...

I brought with me a 32GB memory card for my camera. I don´t think it will last.The flight here is a distant memory and yet it feels like we´ve only been a couple of days in Peru.

Two weeks ago Peruvian families and gappies stood outside the Antipodeans office separated like the boys and girls at a junior school dance eagerly awaiting to be picked out of the crowd. After much nervous anticipation Anna (now to be known as Annita) and I, the last pair, were handed over to the loving hug of our Peruvian mother. She took us home, showed us our room and introduced us to our four new brothers and cousin. Coming from a primarily female family this was a shock, even more of a shock, however, was that none of them spoke a word of English!

We sat around the lunch table smiling sheepishly at each other and devouring a large chicken soup. As it turns out lunch is the main meal of the day in Peru and our new mother had assumed we eat the same amount as her 5 teenage boys. We struggled our way to the end and our plate was immediately replaced by a MAIN course of rice and chicken. A two course lunch! After this Annita and I had to retire to our room to unbutton our jeans and lie down for a while. We definitely won´t go hungry in this household!
Although the lack of English means that we always need a dictionary on hand it has also led to a rather entertaining series of games of charades. The other day we were ripping into skewers of rich red meat with rice when our mum pointed to the skewers and then made horns of her head saying ´vaca´ meaning cow. She then tapped her chest a few times saying ´tick, tick, tick – corazon´.
Mid-chew I realised I was crunching down on cow heart... and it was delicious! By the time we went to bed I worked out I had eaten a heart and a half that day.

Another time our mum asked (with her dictionary in hand) if we would like to go for a ´stroll´. We meandered downstairs to find out that this meant a family trip, with eight in the car (the older brothers in the boot) 45 minutes out of Cuzco to visit ruins, a small museum and climb an old aqueduct. It was quite an adventure, we spent the whole day laughing and looking like gringos with our cameras constantly flashing. I may be biased but I truly have the most amazing, caring and sweet family with a great pair of jokester older brothers.
After a day of settling in with the family it was time to meet the children that would be in our care for approximately three days a week for the next three months. We took a bus to the school and admired the previous group’s restaurant built from scratch. Led by teachers to the basketball court a few of us were put through a series of games like ´pin the tail on the donkey´ and ´find the shoes´ before we introduced ourselves to the children. Each class then presented their teachers with flowers, put confetti through their hair and held their arms wide for a hug. We knew that the next day these sweet little children could turn into anarchistic terrors but for the moment we were happy to imagine them as perfect angels. Since then teaching has been both stressful and invigorating. Izzy and I were blessed with the year threes, who are very inquisitive and really want to learn. Their teacher has been a great help keeping the quiet and making sure we have everything we need to make the class run smoothly. There is no greater a feeling than seeing the amazement on the kids faces when they realise the dot to dot they have been completing is a cat and watching them race to colour it in. We are teaching Computer, PE, English and art and so far every lesson has been an adventure.

Our group has fundraised and elected to build a stronger perimeter wall around the school and construct a greenhouse so that the kids can grow vegetables to eat and sell for money for rice and other necessities.
So far construction has been brilliant, many of us swinging pick-axes and sledgehammers with gusto.
After the first week we have knocked down around twenty meters of the existing wall, however when we arrived back on the Monday fifty local parents and friends of students had quite outdone our effort and annihilated the remaining wall! Currently we are cleaning the area and digging a trench in preparation for the foundations of the wall. Thankfully Alex lends us the use of her IPods and speakers for long days of construction and Katherine (self- appointed project manager and DJ) keeps us motivated with Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and the old favourite Blink 182. We seem to be a novelty to the cars passing by who beep their horns and slow down to view us as if we were a flock of highly unusual birds building a nest.

It is still hard to get used to waking up, brushing your teeth and washing your clothes with a view of the majestic mountain just a few hundred meters away. Just yesterday I spent ten minutes hanging four pairs of socks on the washing line, although I did come back with some amazing photos!

Until next time, Zoe.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Bedla Daycare - Emily on teaching English in India

We are at the two month mark as of tomorrow so I thought I'd delve a little into what we do 50% of the time here in Udaipur - Teaching.
Sarah and I teach at Bedla Daycare - a local daycare in our community. We teach 2-6/7 year olds (we dont really know their ages - half of them don't even know their age) and its lots and lots of fun. There is lots of games and songs, with a little content (we have to teach them something!).
The content is really basic - the alphabet, numbers 1-10, colours, body parts and we try to make it as interesting as possible with colouring ins, songs with heaps of actions and lots and lots of games. The kids' attention span is collectively about 5 mins so we constantly are changing what we do - a challenge for us. We also usually have to do a lot of spontaneous teaching as our lesson plan can very quickly go out the window - sometimes only 5 kids turn up, 2 of whom can talk or the kids are really distracted, meaning doing any kind of content is useless. The most rewarding part of the experience is definitely seeing the improvements with the kids. We have kids who when we started didn't talk and just sat on the wall. Two months in and they are talking, albeit slowly. It's a slow process and it took weeks to see but hearing "My name is" come out of their mouths is music to our ears. One special case was Mohit, a three year old who previously had never spoken. One day, about 6 weeks in, he suddenly said "My". That was all we needed. Sarah and I looked at each other like we had just won the lottery. He's now moved onto "I am fine" and "two" - we are making progress! It's the best feeling in the world!

Lauren and Shelby teach at Sonariya Daycare and although I cannot speak for them directly, their experience sounds like it has been much the same. Their kids are slightly older (3-8) but they have the same challenges and rewards as us, making it a fantastic experience. It's going to be heartbreaking when we leave in a month!

We also teach at orphange in the evening for an hour. I teach the first graders, consisting of 6 boys. I did have one more, but unforetunately, we found out this week that he had actually run away from the orphanage and could not be found. It's really sad to think of a 7 year old by himself out in Udaipur so we are hoping he comes back soon. First grade is a challenge because they are so young and hence have little discipline. But even in the month I have been teaching them, I have seen improvement in their behaviour and their response to verbal discipline. Unforetunately, in their environment, they are punished with violence and so react with violence. Hence, verbal punishment falls on deaf ears, especially in English, a language they barely understand. It's been a struggle, but seeing the improvements makes it worth while. I teach similar things as in Daycare - colours, alphabet, animals, numbers, but also spend a large amount of time on writing. The boys are really cute and lots of fun (most of the time).
Again, I cannot speak for the others, but I am pretty sure their experiences have been equally rewarding at Orphanage. Sarah teaches 2nd grade - which is also rather challenging in terms of discipline whilst Lauren and Shelby teach fourth grade - a completely different challenge altogether.
So far, we've been having lots of fun teaching and am learning just as much about ourselves as the kids are learning about English! It will be extremely tough leaving them!


Safari in Tanzania as our Gappers say goodbye

We arrived home from Safari yesterday which was the most magical four days! The four of us girls were in a car together and Oli was in the all boys car. Heading out to the Serengetti was amazing, driving through Ngorongora National Park and watching the scenery change multiple times along the way was quite surreal. There were so many other Safari cars out but that never seemed to ruin the view (just sometimes the visibility from the dust!)
We took a little detour to visit Oldupai Gorge which has human remains dating back over 2 million years. We had stunning views from the musuem. Once we entered the Serengetti and neared the campsite we had no idea where to look - Annie was very good at spotting animals and got us up close to two very beautiful lionesses! The sunset was absolutely incredible - everytime we looked at it, the colours and scenery changed dramatically. Arrived at the campsite in the dark and had to pitch tents into rock hard ground which was testing for all after a very long day!!
Woke up early again the next morning and headed out on a game drive during which we saw a pride of lions, many gazelles, zebra and a family of elephants with 7 month old baby!
We also were lucky enough to spot a leopard up in a tree just off the track. This all happened in the first few hours of the day!! So so lucky, none of us could believe our luck. We also saw hippos which smelt quite disgusting but as we watched them, three lions strolled past the cars (probably just about a metre away from where we were sitting) before stalking a poor gazelle, we were again fortunate enough to see the kill.

We headed back to the campsite and packed up before heading off to the Ngorongoro site. We arrived in the late afternoon to a very different scene. It was absolutely freezing as we were right in the clouds but the views into the crater were amazing. When we woke up the next day it was very misty and poor visibility but we could see the five zebras that were playing around our tent - completely oblivious to us. It was so surreal. Heading down into the crater was a bit scary as even though our driver has had 15 years experience we could see NOTHING in front of us and the road wasn't the best. Down in the crater we saw many flamingos, hundreds of zebra and wilderbeast and were so lucky that we got to see two little lion cubs. On our way out we spotted four rhinos which meant we had seen the BIG FIVE!! As we drove around a corner to head out of the crater we spotted a hug male elephant on the side of the track. Stopping to take pictures and watch it was almost a bad idea as it was not happy and we could hear it rumbling and its ears were flapping. Luckily there was another car in front of us which scared it back to get past!! A huge sigh of relief was had by all as we drove off. Our last night was spent in Mosquito River before we headed back to camp yesterday.

The dining hall is looking good, we have plastered the floor, built a stage, meshed windows and cemented the outside walls, as well as trying some teaching and drawing pictures for the teachers to use. We said goodbye to the kids and school this morning which was quite sad as we have made a real connection with them. None of us are ready to come home just yet except i think we are all looking forward to a proper shower and being completely clean again!

We cannot believe that we are going to Zanzibar on Sunday as this marks the end of our trip - it is crazy how quickly it has gone. We have all bonded really well, with each other and the other three-monthers, it will be very sad ssaying goodbye in a few weeks.

Thats all from Moshi!!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Emily uncovers the real India

The last week and a half has seen many adventures, revealing to us the true India!
We had a near scare last weekend when in a rush to see the light and sound show at City Palace, the main palace in Udaipur, I left my purse at a restaurant in which we had just had dinner! Sarah and I then ran the kilometre back to retrieve my money, which thankfully was all there! We made it in time for the light show too! With 10 mins to go, it starts to rain. And by raining, i mean pouring. We were soaked within seconds and ran down to the covered area to watch the rest of the show. Skip ahead again and we needed to catch a private rickshaw to Bedla, the suburb we are in. It's still raining pretty heavily but Lauren, Sarah and I start walking towards the city centre, hoping we'll see one along the way. Finally we find one that offers a reasonable price (nothing is fixed price around this area) and hop in. Our driver then proceeds to nearly run over two girls, nearly crash into a motorcycle, try make us pay for petrol, has an arguement with the petrol-man about how much he has paid and finally tries to drop us off at the edge of the suburb, not near where we live. Finally, we got home, after paying him a little bit extra to take us that little bit further.

Sunday also presented a bit of drama. We went to The Whispering Teal for dinner, a nice ambient place that has both Indian and Western food. On the way home, we encountered two weddings (very cool!) and some heavy rain, doubling the time it took. When we did get home, we discovered a window had broken upstairs, meaning the top level had started to flood and dripped down to the other two levels. The terrace on level two also had a substantial amount of water on it. We had also lost all power. So what do four Australians do at 10pm, with no power and lots of water? A water fight of course! needless to say, we were drenched by the end. But lots of fun.

In terms of the rest of the week, Tuesday was the other highlight. There was a festival on for Lord Vishnu so we got the day off school for kite flying. There were heaps of kites about and the aim of the game was to cut the string of another person's kite using your own. Whoever retrieves the fallen kite first gets to keep it.
It was heaps of fun and definitely worth it.

This week has seen a lot more rain, as monsoon officially started on Thursday. Each night it has been pouring, and slowly the lakes are filling up. However, lots of rain means lots of power outages, frustrating when you're living in 38 degree heat with no fans.

On Monday, we had our last cooking class - we learnt how to make semolina! It's deliciously sweet and really easy to make. All in all, we have learnt to make chai, chappati, garlic naan, stuffed parantha, chickpeas and samosas. Monday also saw the arrival of three new volunteers from America - Allie, Ariana and Emily. They are all college students from Washington State and are truly lovely. It also happened to be Claire's (The British 2-weeker) last night, so we went to Happinezz, the greatest icecream parlour ever to celebrate the girls' arrival and her departure.

This week, we've shopped up a storm, checking out the local produce. On Thursday, we ventured into town and got some (more) genie pants. But the most exciting part - We got saris yesterday! We all got 2 each, in beautiful colours - pink, green, blue and fuschia. They are gorgeous! On Tuesday, we are going to the tailor to get our blouses made, so cool. We also went a little crazy in the bangle shop. I got 72 different bangles for just under $6 Australian. It was amazing. I now have blue, red, gold, purple, green and pink bangles.

Sunday presented a new adventure. We decided to frequent the rather famous City Palace that afternoon, to see it in daylight. We managed to fit 5 people in a 2 person rickshaw, with Sarah sitting crosslegged on top of Shelby and my legs out the side (a dangerous concept considering how close everyone gets, I nearly got hit by a cow)
When there, we took the services of a guide who showed us around, showering us with information, of which I remember little. It was interesting at the time though! We did get mobbed a few times by older people who heard we were from Australia - they get very excited! Our guide was so cool. Afterwards, he took us down these old alleyways to a little place for chai - his shout! We had a look around that area, and found some cool postcards and leather journals. At that point, it started to rain. Pour. Within 5 mins, the street was flooded and looked more like a river. Having no option but to catch a rickshaw, we flagged one down and stepped into the river/street, already soaked. The water was knee deep. Finally arrving at our destination, and even more wet, we hopped out and saw that some Indian guys were playing soccer in the rain by the lake. So the only thing we could do was join them! We played soccer for a good half hour, enjoying the pelting rain. Afterwards, we ran from restaurant to restaurant, trying to find a place that was open! Finally, the French bakery let us in and we tried to dry off (unsuccessfully). It was a good feed, with both Western and Indian food, though interestingly, no French food. Finally, the end of our adventure culminated in a private rickshaw ride back in which the puddles were so deep we got splashed everytime. All in all, a wet, but awesome Sunday night.

Today, there is a strike because of prices rising across the board. India is not open for 12 hours. School was therefore cancelled so we decided to have a cricket match with the locals. It started to sprinkle again but no fear! We played anyways.

India has started to reveal its true self to us and we love it!

Stay tuned :)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Sydney Uni student, Nicole return from Cambodia health placment

 I am back in Australia and it's cold!
I arrived yesterday and straight back to uni!

I had a really wonderful time in Cambodia.  I was very happy with my projects.  They both went really well and were finished on time.

I was expecting to be really sad leaving Cambodia, but I actually left on a happy note.  (ok maybe a bit sad).  I really enjoyed my time over there, soaking up Cambodian life-(culture, people, great food!!) and loved working with the kids!! I'm pretty confident the projects will be continued by the house mothers ( who are fantastic!!)

The tourism project was such a new (and fantastic) experience for me! Never done anything like this before so it was really great to get my hands into it.  The hotel managers were really open to the project and how they could make their facilities more accessible for tourists with disabilities.  Great to see!

Laos was very nice! Luang Prabang was a nice, quiet retreat from the busy life of Siem Reap!  I did some bike riding in the countryside, a boat to the caves, waterfalls, night markets (awesome!), and templing!

The wedding was amazing! So great to have the experience of a traditional Khmer wedding and get into the dancing, ceremonies and food for 2 days!  And the dressing up experience, haha one not to forget!  Pretty sure we became the talk of town!

Thanks for all of your support and giving me the opportunity to have such a wonderful experience!



Monday, 9 August 2010

Zoe's first Peru blog

A friend of mine uses the term `honeymoon phase´ to describe the niave awe, wonder and joy experienced when something is completely new and it may be this that I am feeling. I absolutly love this country! Casually strolling the cobblestone streets of Cusco there are many things that surprise you, children in traditional dress holding a goat and asking for a photo, stray dogs curled on the doormats of shops in the main square, evenstreets without traffic lights (athough after a week it becomes the streets WITH traffic lights that grab your attention), however where-ever you look you are greeted by the beautiful mountains in which this little city is embedded. Although some of Peru`s sights will take your breath away it is the small things that make you fall in love with Cusco. Just meters from the infamous 12 sided stone is an unassuming little road Anna has appropriately nicknamed "rainbow alley". It a street of pure vivid colour with clothes, bags, dolls and even woven hairbraids! We walk past it everyday and it never ceases to pull our attetion, so much so that during our recent treasure hunt through Cusco Katherine and I walked past the 12 sided stone four times before stopping and asking for directions - next to rainbow alley it had no chance (although I´ve heard that Tilly´s superior navagation skills had her in front of it in under a minute - unsurprisingly her team reigned victorious). This treasure hunt was a great way to get to know the history of Peru and force us to attempt to speak spanish, find our way around and grow closer as a group. With a self-mocking "Gap Yah in Perah" attitude our team (Lachlan,Katherine, Anna, Rachel and I) wore matching headbands and combed the city in search for the condor, Puma and serpant statue outside most markets said to represent the Gods (peace), the Living (power) and the dead (intelligence) and also the four layer traditional Andian cross with each layer a depiction of the four layers of existance. The hunt was just an amazing opportunity to learn the layout of the city and put our broken spanish into use.

It has surprised me that no-one has fallen ill yet - Toni fainted from altitude sickness and Nick was in bed for two days due to the same issue but there has been improbebly little illness or injury. however o the way to Saqsay Waman there was a small incident many of you may have already heard about. A stream of water was trickling through a large crack in the earth on the path we were following. Many of the Gappies took a running leap over it, that is until Bianca´s attempt. With one brave bound she landed with half a foot on the other side and toppled backwards into the muddy water. Arlich (our wonderful In-country-agent)was quick on the scene and helped Bianca emerge smiling. An immediate group effort provided her with fresh clothes and fantastic continuous-motion photos of her fall (which I hope Katherine will upload shortly). It´s strange that these are the sorts of problems that bothered me in Australia. Here thre positive and relaxed nature is infectious, every challange seems to be met with a level head and a smile. We can console ourselves with the thought that, if nothing else, it is a great memory and an even better story.

Write again soon!
- Zoe

Bright Lights of Beijing - Tyler's 2nd Update

I have quite a busy rest of the week ahead of me, so I thought now would be a great time to keep ya'll updated. Still alive, and well. I've had a mosquito bite, but yet to contract that Japanese Encephalitis thing (Ahahah) ANYHOW, I have seriously had the most amazing past 5 days in Beijing. It's such a frantic city, something is always happening and the pubic transport is so frequent.

I've been to markets galore and craving Western food ALL the time! So some British girls and myself endeavoured to a Western Supermarket called, 'Wu-Mart' and made quite a few friends there with the shop assistants, we tried practicing our Mandarin on them, buuuuut we sucked. We searched for maple syrup, without any luck; but found honey. So every morning for breakfast I have a dumpling, two pancake-type things (they're not very nice- dry and plain) but I know add honey, butter, chocolate sauce and bananas so they taste quite delicious. They have some strange crisp flavours here, as the attachments may show.

Dinner and lunch is much the same, all three meals are served at this cafeteria connected to the University which I am staying at. I try to be adventurous with my meal choices, but my boundary stops at starfish. We had a 'Welcome dinner' the other evening, twas quite fun. There was at least 20 meals brought out to each table, and I tried Peking Duck, which was slightly underwhelming. BAH, it's so hard to encapsulate how great everything is.

I went to Tienanmen Square last night, it was amazing! And packed. So many locals wanted pictures with us, attached is one I took. Tomorrow I am going to karaoke, which will be interesting, particularly because I have no tune. AHHH WELL. Then Friday is the Great Wall and the Birds Nest Stadium or summin. Then perhaps I shall check on the Beijing rock scene, which will be.. interesting? OHH, there are squat toilets in our teaching building. It's hilarious, I don't use them, but I am intrigued.

Saturday is the Forbidden City and the Beijing Botanic Gardens. This city is filled with culture, and a lot of people that spit. I just relish it. It's been raining all day today, and my teachers scared me into thinking it was acidic, but I braved it anyway and I may face is not distorted. I will try to keep you all updated as much as possible, but juggling a social life here, exploring, doing homework and attending lessons leaves very little time left. I do hope Australia is being lovely! Tell me things. I read every word you type, even if I don't reply.

OHHHH, I nearly forgot to say how amazing this TEFL course is, I have learnt so much about the English language and my Canadian teacher is hilarious! Got some good anecdotes that man. Auxillary verbs, the 12 different types of tenses, intonation. It's good. Feel free to ask me any questions, lots of love,

Tyler Gleason

Friday, 6 August 2010

Tyler arrives in China!

Hello All!
I have safely landed in the land that is China, I did so at about 11.30pm last night, in Australia I think that is like 2.30am.

I have made quite a few friends already, an American girl at the international flight transfer, a Chinese girl on the flight to Beijing, she was helping me with my Mandarin on the lovely 12 or so hour plane flight- she has offered to show me around Beijing, even going so far as to invite me over for dinner. Upon arriving at my accomodation for the next month I have met many great peoples from all over the world, my roomate is this nice Swedish gentleman, I am converting him into a lover of the Lisa Mitchell (an Australian singer for those curious).
We did an orientation course today, explaining the timetable for the next month, it is going to be a blast! Karaoke next Thursday, the Great Wall on Friday, Thai Chi lessons among many other things.

I am really quite tired, after exploring the streets this afternoon :) Went to this amazing marketplace with some Swedish and British girls and my roomate. It was great fun haggling. The people here are great!

I had Subway for dinner, as I have been craving cucumber all day. It's very different. ANYWHO, I'ma stop my ramblin', hope it all makes sense and Australia is treating you all well. I'm swell :d


P.S, the weather is intense! I got off the plane last night at 11.30pm and it was a sauna outside, humid, foggy. It's just so humid. I cannot express that enough, and hot. Like 35 degrees.

Breathing the Cuszco Air - August Gappers Arrive in Peru

It´s taken a while to get to a internet cafe, but that´s because we´ve been so busy!! We´re doing 4 our lessons of Spanish every day, plus travelling from the guest rooms we´re staying in to central Cuzco every day. Also because, well... things seem to take longer in Peru. As we say Hora Peruana (Peru time).

We haven´t met our families yet, that´ll be on Saturday. The altitude was pretty intense for the first few days! As soon as we stepped off the plane you could feel how thin the air was, and for about 3 days i was headachey and lightheaded, not to mention needing to stop for a rest after climbing up like 4 steps!! I´ve acclimatised a bit now, but can still feel how little oxygen there is in the air, especially when going uphill (which you go CONSTANTLY in and around Cuzco).

This city is beautiful, no, beyond beautiful. It´s like something from a story book. Narrow cobbled, rolling alleyways criss cross their way through the central city, and all the buildings are made of beautiful old rock and stones. Colours are everywhere, as are people, both Peruvian and foreign.

The weather here is weird... FREEZING at night... like AS SOON as the sun sets. Yet very hot during the day, but only in the sun... shade is still cool.
Today we all took the bus up towards Pisac, and got off at Christo Blanco, a giant white statue of jesus that looms over Cuzco. From there we walked accross to some Inca ruins called Sexa Women (or something along those lines), and most of us went in.

It was still good as we went and sat in the shade, and walked around admiring the views. After meeting the others after they´d looked around the ruins we walked down a steep cobbled road into Cuzco and through some incredibly winding streets until we got to San Blas, the area where we do the spanish lessons.

I´ll blog again when i get the time, maybe a few days.
Lots of love, Clancy

ps. Apparently tomorrow we´re doing a treasure hunt around Cuzco!