Vignettes Revisited: K-O

K is for Komodo Dragon

I’ve had a travel list – mostly in my head – for a long as I can remember.   Like all meaningful travel lists,  its constantly evolving and never shortens.   There are destinations on it now that literally did not exist for me as a traveler even a decade ago.  In particular,  I’m now looking forward to visiting some of the ‘Stans’,  Ethiopia and Persepolis in Iran over the next few years.

But doors also close.  Sometimes an opportunity  is missed.   It may be due to natural disasters- hurricanes,  tsunamis,  etc.  or medical warnings – Zika,  measles….  And of course,  there is civil unrest and political upheaval.   Being ever mindful and respectful of the residents of such places who are left dealing with terrible situations,  it’s disappointing when somewhere you dreamed of visiting is no longer accessible.   For me,  it’s happened twice in recent years.   We were considering visiting Aleppo and Palmyra in Syria when the war began in March,  2011.   Myanmar was at an advanced planning stage when news of the Rohingya crisis broke.

Of all the animals on earth,  the one I most want to see in the ‘wild’ is the Komodo Dragon.   I really want to go to Komodo Island.   Now it seems that authorities are going to close the island to visitors for at least a year.  Compared to Syria and Myanmar,  this is trivial stuff – this is not a humanitarian crisis and nothing has been destroyed.   It seems to be part of the tourism backlash – too many visitors – which coincided with the bust up of a smuggling ring.   Not all of the 6000 dragons living in the wild are on Komodo Island itself – they are also found on other islands that make up the national park …. but that’s not the same thing is it!!!

I hope its only for a year – I can wait a year!

(K – first published June 5th, 2019)

L is for Landscape

So what do Morocco,  Jordan,  Oman,  Namibia,  Utah,  Arizona and  Mexico have in common?

Answer – I love them!

And why do I love them?

Answer – Because they’re not exactly very green!

Don’t get me wrong – I love green.  I’m surrounded by it.  Ireland is famous in poetry and song for its 40 shades of green.  Well I’m looking out my window as I type ( I know – so skilled!) and I reckon I can see about 38 of them – and I live in a housing estate!!

When travelling,  its semi arid regions that appeal to me the most.   I love the landscape itself – rock formations,  dry river beds,  salt flats,  cracked earth.  I love the colours – the browns,  yellows,  pinks,  greys.   I love the scrub vegetation that has adapted to the harsh environment.   And I love the dry heat (within reason!).

Of course,  its said that we travel so that we can come back and see our own place with fresh eyes and extra colours.   Who knows what lies outside my window – maybe I’ll have a shade of green called after me one day!!!

(L – first published June 12th, 2019)

M is for Matinee

Yesterday,  I went to a Wednesday matinee in London.   Not exactly an earth shattering announcement I know but I went with 3 pals as a day trip from Dublin.   It had never occurred to us before but was easily done:  Ryanair €44 return to Gatwick –  top up the Oyster cards and get the train to Victoria – tube to Convent Garden for a perfect Prosecco lunch – walk to Wyndhams Theatre and spend a few hours with Matthew Broderick and Elizabeth McGovern in Starry Messenger  – back to Convent Garden for coffee and cake in a lovely tea room – back to Victoria and on to Gatwick for the 9.35pm flight to Dublin.

How’s that for a day out!

So doable and perfect for a special birthday or celebration.

(I’d better not spoil the moment by telling you all that we arrived back to Gatwick’s beautifully designated ‘gold emergency’.  Chaos!  To cut a long airport ‘story’ short,  we were the lucky ones and were eventually bussed to Stansted (1 hr 50 mins!) and put on a plane that departed at  1.10am.!)

(Happy Days!)

(M – first published July 11th, 2019)

N is for NYC

New York has to be my favourite city (after Dublin of course!).   My first visit was in the height of summer,  1983.   As a teacher,  living in temperate climes,  I remember totally glamorising and envying those office workers sitting with their packed lunches in Central Park.  I’ve had the privilege of visiting the city on many summers since then and I still love getting something from a food truck or deli and finding a bench or piece of grass – no NYC lunchtime restaurants for me!

I’ve just recently realised that I always visit NYC in extreme weather.   If not dealing with August heat then its the mid winter challenge of freezing temperatures at best and probably snow.  Yes,  its a wonderful city at holiday time – checking Macy’s window,  making a show of myself on the ice-skating rink in Central Park and squeezing into Time Square to ring in a new year.   But there’s little pleasure to be reaped on Brooklyn Bridge at -10℃ in January or heading off to Jersey Gardens in the snow,  knowing we won’t get back if they pull the buses off the streets. 

Then there’s the clothes thing!   I always seem to be laden with something.   In summer,  I’m in the lightest of clothes but freezing when I go into air conditioned buildings – so I have to leave the hotel in the morning prepared for that.   In winter I’m wrapped up when outdoors and practically melt as soon as I go inside,  peeling off layers and dropping hats,  scarves and gloves in my haste to avoid passing out!   New Yorkers seem to manage OK …I guess practice makes perfect.

I think NYC should go back on my wish list – twice!

It must be an amazing city in Springtime and Autumn!

Picture 194

(N – first published July 27th, 2019)

O is for Omelette Man!

So what do you fancy? – Spanish,  Masala,  Ali Baba or just plain cheese?    Open since 1974,  The Omelette Shop is an institution in Jodhpur and the man himself has been joined by his sons in the business of producing about 400 omelettes every day!

He’s not hard to find – just inside the main gate,  close to the clock tower.  All you have to do is look for a place with stacks of eggs and a Lonely Planet sign!  Make your choice,  grab a stool and sit in the street.  Your omelette is served in bread as a sandwich and,  as you sip your chai,  you can watch the pandemonium around you while chatting with fellow travellers.

(I bet I know what’s going through your mind – hygiene,  eggs,  heat,  street ….. well,  I broke a lot of travel rules on this one too.   If it helps – and I have to say I must have one of the worst holiday tummies on the planet – the omelette was fresh,  delicious and  incident free!!)

If you’re looking for an escape from the chaos of the city  – perhaps an elegant premises with plush seating and controlled temperatures – well this mightn’t be the place for you.   Oh – and yes – you’d probably need to like eggs!!


(O – first published Aug 11th, 2019)


Joanofarctan on Visualhunt/CC BY-NC

Travel Aficionado on Visualhunt/CC BY-NC

18 thoughts on “Vignettes Revisited: K-O

  1. Hi Marie: love these again. We always find, with street food, that as long as you can see the food being cooked fresh, and they’re selling plenty and have fast moving custom, then the food will most likely be safe, even if at first glance the hygiene level looks low – as it always does in India!

    1. You have to try these things don’t you …. I’m happy to sample most street food when I’m away. … as you say, if they are busy then it’s a good sign…

  2. I’m realising how much we have in common when it comes to travel ‘likes’ – NYC is my favourite city too (unless it’s Paris, I can never decide) and deserts my favourite landscape 😀 We too missed out on seeing Myanmar – we had a trip all booked and were due to go in just over a week when my father fell ill and we had to cancel. By the time we were ready to consider it again the Rohinga crisis had started. But at least we did manage Syria, way back in 1996! Oh, and I would love to see a Komodo Dragon too!! Meanwhile your photo of the Wyndham made me yearn for our usual regular visits to central London – only 30 minutes away for us but impossible under lockdown rules 🙁

    1. mmmmm…. I wonder if our paths ever crossed!!!
      We’re looking forward here to getting back to London also. Himself reckons that’s the first place we’ll head to .. but more to catch up with family and friends. Meanwhile,, I’d be delighted to head in to Dublin city centre – also 30 minutes away!

  3. No city compares to London for me. It has everything I love about a place, history like no other, alleyways and hidden courtyards to discover, architecture, the Thames, and oh, where do I stop? And if I had to chose a second, it would be Sydney, for its sense of freedom, great food and drink, beautiful harbour and lovely people.
    Great post and I hope you manage to fulfil your dreams but ….. I get more despondent as the days go by and the news just keeps repeating itself. Still, hope is always there.

    1. I know I’ve mentioned it before – many times – but we visited Sydney in ’04 and despite horrendous weather, I remember thinking that if I were 20 something and going to head off for a few years, I’d love Sydney. It was a complete surprise to us….
      Groundhog Day it is Mari…. but it’ll have to change some time….. won’t it!!!???

      1. I was fortunate to live in a Sydney suburb during Primary years. Started off at Bondi Junction, so Bondi was the local beach, and in the last year we lived in NSW my High School was in Sydney looking out towards the Bridge. We lived in what is currently the flood warning area, and I’ve a photo of me standing on the footbridge at Warragamba Dam.
        It was indeed magical for a child, but I prefer Adelaide and its suburbs now. Red Centre ain’t so shabby either!
        Thanks so much for posts. Looking forward to normal travel services resuming.

      2. Terrible scenes from Sydney – I’m sure you know people affected by the floods…..
        We’ve been to the Red Centre – hired a caper van in Alice Sp and went out to Uluru before heading up the Stuart Highway to Darwin – great trip…..

      3. It is a nightmare scenario. My best friend and my family now live in South Australia. Alice is a one-off place. Still mention River Todd (usually dry!) and we were there 12-15 years ago. Our son travelled in Oz, China, HK, Bali for his gap year and did get to the Kakadu National Park. Now have great images of your ‘caper’ van. Mind boggles. x

      4. 😖😖…. I can assure you that if the mind is boggling then your fantasy is far more exciting than the reality – certainly as I remember it!!!!😅 😂 🤣

    1. Thanks Barry… nice to be able to reuse stuff…
      While I have ya here…. I’m writing about Jordan at the moment – I might stick in some of the photos you sent me way back if that’s ok??

  4. Great idea for packing up travel images. Love the eggs shot. That’s one to tuck behind the ear for a Dr B challenge.😉😀

  5. Part of photography is learning to ‘develop’ an eye for a great image. So you borrowed it! You can take credit for knowing it was. 😉😊

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