After working as a kindergarten teacher in Dubai for 10 months (Sept. 2004 - July 2005), I'm sorry that school will be starting again in 2 weeks and I won't be there. My class of 23 kids aged 4 and 5 and of different nationalities - Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, Palestinian, Egyptian, Russian, Chinese and African. Admittedly some were naughty buggers, but most were gorgeous and I miss them all. Teaching them 5 days a week from 7.30-12.30 was an experience I never imagined I'd have and one that I'm really grateful for having. As for Dubai, I miss the beaches, food, the Honda City and of course my Writers Group (http://writers.meetup.com/293). I started it in January and left with 150 members (there are now 168). Much fun was had during our meet-ups in the month - the BBQ, coffee meets, and of course Tim's imfamous party. Siddarth and Diela - VTers - are also members of the DWG and in the photo to the right. Siddarth in blue shirt, Diela behind him. You can just about see my head 4th on the right behind them. Good times, good times.
I'm moving to LA!!!!!!!!! From the 1st October I'll be living in Silver Lake, interning. Tea anyone?? At the moment I'm under the impression that LA's fanastic, but that might very well change when I actually spend more than a day there. We'll see. What I do know is that I love movies and am sad to say anything celebrity related (I'm willing to be a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' phone a friend). So me thinks this will be a good place to live. Plus it doesn't get cold in winter. Fantastico. And there are Jamba Juices galore. Bring it on.
CEANSIDE is 30 miles north of San Diego, situated in San Diego county, and approx. 1 1/2 hours south of L.A. As the name suggests, it is indeed by the ocean, which is where I spent most of my time off as a nanny, working on my Donatella Versace tan. I spent 6 months here in 2004, looking after Olivia - 7, Sammy -5, Charlie - 3, and Avery 1. We all had too much fun at the beach, cycling to the park or Blockbuster, playing in the garden, playing FloGo cards on the computer or spending time in the car farting.
Oceanside is being re-developed right now, so there's lots of building going on and they're also trying to develop the beach front area. For suburbia, it's an average town, but if you're after any type of cultural stimulation, decent food or nightlife, then you'll want to head to nearby San Diego. I took the 'Coaster' train, which is not run by Amtrak and is thus very cheap ($9.50 round-trip which includes bus to and from the train station and 2 tram/bus rides in SD. It takes an hour, runs from Oceanside-SD and back, and stops 6 times en-route. Whenever I had a day off, I headed to SD, and managed to visit many places of interest, including the Maritime Museum, Seaport Village, Balboa Park, a Harbour Cruise and the Old Town Trolley Tour. It's certainly one of my favourite cities; clean, excellent public transport, friendly, so much to visit and see, good food and beautiful harbour. I would recommend San Diego to anyone.
The Universities; markets; parks and gardens - Jesus Green, Midsommer Common; tasty places to eat. So much to do and explore, I really don't think people who live here appreciate Cambridge as much as they should or take enough advantage of the architecture and history. If it's too hot or cold outside, or the throngs of tourists are getting in your way, head to the Fitzwilliam Museum. Or head out of the centre up Castle Hill, walk along the Backs, or head down Mill Road for alternative shops. Rent a bike and avoid the traffic and driving restrictions around the centre of the city. There are tons of bike lanes and fellow bikers, from student and locals to tourists. Just remember your bike lock. Bike theft is rife and my sister got her bike stolen twice this summer. Naughty thieves.
"It must be the freak weather conditions. This summer has seen an outbreak of retro madness in a dozen areas of human life. The arrival of the oxymoronic "Mrs Thatcher chic". Caravan manufacturers reported a hike in sales unseen in a decade. Russell Crowe, the furious hellraiser, confessed to a guilty passion for bingo. What on earth is happening? Everywhere you look, young fogeys are back in town, a new race of sensible, bike-riding, old-fashioned young people keen on manners, sensible shoes and spoonfuls of cod-liver oil. You may think them eccentric or simply misguided. On the other hand, you may secretly crave to be one of them - to nurse a passion for chintz, Cluedo and Vince Hill records. Perhaps you're halfway there already. Do you think that teabags are the work of Satan? Do you think that Hush Puppies are a bit racy? Perhaps you yearn for simpler, kinder, more innocent world. Welcome to the Retro Fogeys." (The Independent. 02/09/04)
Books and Places
I've been reading Bill Bryson's books for around 3 yrs now and I instantly fell in love with his style of writing. He's not afraid to say what he thinks and has a very dry, British sense of humour, despite being an American. After leaving 'Notes from a Big Country' in NY, and reading to death 'Notes from a Small Island', I devoured 'Walk in the Woods'. I would love to hear from any other Bill Bryson fans!
Discovered Rolf Potts in NY and his book 'Vagabonding' was a faithful companion of mine on subway trips. Great for info, inc. websites on every topic and a must read or any traveller.
Here are the places I've been to in the past 5 years.
2000: Colorado, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Texas, Athens - Greece, Edinburgh
2001: Colorado, Rome, Greece (Chalkidiki), New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Jersey (British)
2004: Louisiana, California, Oregon, Louisiana, back to CA, England, Dubai.
2005: Dubai, England, Virginia, Washington D.C., Rhode Island, Boston, NYC, Cape Cod, Vermont, Montreal, Louisiana, Los Angeles.
Serial Retirement - 'Why not choose your next 10 retirement locations, put the remainding names in a hat each year, and on December 1st pull out your next address?'
Royal Tenenbaum house - Harlem, NY
Royal Tenenbaum house - Harlem, NY
New York Film Sights
Being somewhat obsessed with movies, on my last trip to NYC, I checked out a number of locations used in some of my fav movies. One of them was the house from 'The Royal Tenenbaums (see picture at right). T'was a very emotional moment when I finally saw the buildng after walking around Harlem for a good 40 minutes.Thanks Wes Anderson!
Other current obsessions include 'The Comeback' with Lisa Kudrow and Larry David. 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' is fantastic and 'Krazee Eyed Killa' has to be one of my fav. episodes. Woody Allen - nuff said. Lastly, my obsession with VW Camper Vans is growing, so if any of you out there travel in one, I would love to hear from you (especially if it's orange). Bought an orange cool box in anticipation of the van but left it in Dubai. Noooo. Had accumulated too much crap to be able to take it back but it will be lovingly cared for by my good friend Swarana who's going back to Dubai for another year.