Avondale Market II

Avondale market is one of the largest outdoor markets I have ever seen. It opens at 10:00 on a Sunday morning and shortly thereater it is teeming with people Pakhia (Europeans) come with their children in tow. People from all over the South Pacific – Tahiti, Samoa, Niue, Christsmas Island,  Vanautu and, o fcourse, local Maori come for vegetables and fruits that speak to them of home. But its not all about fresh veg. Men selling tools, pots and pans, car parts and trainers share space with fortune tellers, musicians and stands selling hot food from all over the Asian Pacific. The best part is they are mostly too busy to p[ay any attention to an elderly Pakahia poking around with her camera.

Lady in a Hat

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Avondale Market

Auckland’s Avondale Market is an exciting, multicultural experience available every Sunday morning at the Avondale Racetrack. Stalls of vegetables, fish, and meats dvie for shoppers attention with t-shits, shoes, household goods new and used and food stands serving food from all over the South Pacific. It is a photographer’s paradise. Shoppers from all over the Asian Pacific are loading up so candid shooting is simple.

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In June I was in Greece on a small archaeological tour of ancient sites and medieval monasteries. We climbed a lot, walked through a gorge where Zeus was supposed to have been hidden by his mother so his father wouldn’t eat him and visited monasteries where signs warned women they were not allowed wearing trousers, shorts or tank tops. I wore trousers and got no grief from anyone.  We met fascinating people, had wonderful food and walked where Greeks from Plato and Socrates to the Homeric heroes had been.

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I spent two weeks in Iceland in April. Although I was expecting a bleak and deserted countryside, it has become a major tourist destination and the area around Rekjavik, the capital, was heaving with people. Still, we went further north and found mountains, waterfalls and snowy villages.

Iceland1 (37 of 442)continental rift (382 of 533)

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We were up on the Isle of Mull in the Hebrides right off the West coast of Scotland. You take a ferry over from Oban and drive to the main town, Tobermory which is the trading center for the island. But if you want to see puffins, and we did, you have to take another boat to the Isle of Lunga where they gather in the hundreds to claim their burrows and hatch their chicks.


On the way to the boat to Lunga you can see Ben Nevis, one of the highest points in Scotland.Mull 3 (2 of 225).jpgAnd for a little shopping, great coffee or oatcakes you can go to Tobermory.Mull 3 (183 of 225)

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Rapa Nui

The place is better known as Easter Island, but the native people call it by the Polynesian name, Rapa Nui. It is one of the most isolated, occupied places on the planet. No Starbucks or Marriot hotels, but loads of wonderful people and a fascinating society combining Spanish and Polynesian into a vibrant mix. The moai are the big attraction. It is often said that no one knows how or why they were toppled, but the people there seem quite certain that it as the result of social unrest. An elite class erected the moai to honour themselves and their spirits. The people who excavated and created the statues were a despised lower class who finally revolted and toppled the statues, removing their coral eyes thus killing the spirits within.  The people of Rapa Nui repeat these stories with pride, as they should. They are reforesting their island making it both green and productive. We can only wish them well and hope that nature and history are kind to them.

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Th3 Antarctic is one of those places we see on nature shows where we exclaim that we’re glad not to be there or sigh wishing we were. I was always in the latter so last month I tok the trip. We flew to Santiago, then on to Punto Arenas in Patgonia to meet our ship, the Midnasol from the Hutigruten line. For two days we poked around the Chilean fjords and Caope Horn, then crossed the Drake Straits and there we were. It is as forbidding as you might imagine of a place not really made for human habitation. It was our privilege to spend time with the creatures who have evolved to live there – penguins and a host of seabirds, seals and whales. They treated us with tolerance and rarely betrayed a desire to see us move on. The seas were rough, the views icy and beautiful. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

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