Archive | March, 2012

Getting naked in public

Hamam. Onsen. Sauna. Bath. To some, they are words associated with indulgence and luxury. To others though, they are reason for white-knuckled panic. For one main reason. You have to get naked. In public. Most Westerners freak out at the very thought of parading around in nothing but a birthday suit, myself initially included. The [...]

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Learning the local lingo

I have a bit of a thing for learning new languages. In my twenty-six years, I have learnt Italian, Japanese, Spanish, AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language) and Dutch. Sound impressive? It’s not at all. Although  I love learning new languages, I’ve found myself at a slight disadvantage in that I’m not particularly good at them. Italian [...]

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A country in a photo – China

China’s an incredibly intriguing country, to the point where I’ve spent more time here than the nearby country whose language I spent an incredible ten years learning; Japan. Its development, politics, bureaucracy, history and of course food fascinate me. I’m not done with China, not even close. China’s such a massive country with so many [...]

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The quest for the perfect dumpling

You can take the girl out of Melbourne, but you can’t take Melbourne out of this girl – that’s probably the main reason why I was reading this article in the Age the other day about the best dumplings in Melbourne. Frankly, I think this list is pretty lazy. Although I used to be a [...]

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The grand old duke of York

Sometimes I love being a cheesy tourist. Therefore, last week you would have found me marching down the main street in York singing the local nursery rhyme. However, after he marched his men to the top of the hill and marched them down again, I knew nothing of their further exploits. Paul of course was [...]

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Jolly ol’ England

It’s quite a strange thing these days for me to go from the Netherlands to England. All of a sudden, I’m in a place that sells OK! Magazine, has an abundant supply of Twirls and Crunchies, and collectively screws up its noses to bikes, yet I’ve travelled less than four hundred kilometres. It’s unnerving. Paul [...]

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The curious case of Baarle-Hertog

I love travelling curiosities. And, to quote Alice in Wonderland, they don’t come much more curiouser and curiouser than the ‘siamese-twin town’ of Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau. I first heard about the Baarles from Paul when we visited Drielandenpunt last year, the point at which the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium meet in the one spot. I [...]

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Swapping the Beast for the Satchel

For the last six weeks, I have been toting a satchel. Just like me, the Satchel (for lack of a better name) is quite the traveller. We found each other in a quirky little shop in Shibuya 109, a funky shopping mall in Tokyo. Unlike with the Beast, here it was love at first sight. [...]

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A country in a photo – Ireland

Back in the day, when there was a bit of a shortage of potatoes in a land called Eire, my great, great (and probably a few more greats) grandparents joined hundreds of thousands of their countrymen and women in leaving their home forever. My name is Caitlyn O’Dowd, as much as an Irish name as [...]

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The internationalist

So, for the past month, I have been spending my days buried in books. I am a uni student again. I finished by bachelor’s degree back in 2008; a three-year degree which took me five years. Originally I was going to keep going, as we all know that a Bachelor of Arts doesn’t exactly create [...]

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