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May 2007 Archives

May 28, 2007

Please do this

Please Do This

Save Our Old Town

You can help, even if you don't live in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is like my home, it's the place I've asked to be taken back to should I die suddenly, it's where I've left my heart, and Old Town, the Royal Mile, is one of my favourite places there. I can't describe it to you, what it's like to walk down the street there and just soak up the history and the importance of it.

And they want to tear parts of it down.

It will take only a few minutes of your time to voice an objection to this historic area being torn down, and I ask, sincerely, that you find the time.


The deadline for voicing objections to 'Caltongate' has been extended (pdf, bottom of page 4) to the 8th of June.

Caltongateis the proposed "bold and contemporary" new development which involvesdemolishing parts of the Old Town, including tenements and listedbuildings. Please click here to find out what we stand to lose.

If the council are allowed to get away with this who knows what they'll sell off next.

Thenew development will include a 7 storey hotel, offices, almost 200flats and 100 serviced apartments, a conference centre complete with afour storey bridge and a large new public square, and not only won't bein keeping with it's surroundings but will destroy part of Edinburgh'shistory. Once it's gone we can't get it back. We may lose our WorldHeritage status.

If you can spare a few minutes, please consider objecting to the plans - anyone of any age, nationality or location can do it. You can also sign the online petition.

Thanks.

Also Under Threat

The Grade A-listed Haymarket Station and Ryries Bar are set to be demolished to make way for a bigger train station, flats and offices.

May 27, 2007

Photos


Shades of Red
Originally uploaded by Anna Overseas
I'm currently having some issues with my internet, which is especially frustrating being that I have much to say. Instead, I managed to upload a bunch of photos of the wine tour I went on last weekend. I had sips of 44 glasses of wine, and decided that there were too many words to remember. The entire set of pics is here, and I am especially fond of the butterfly one and the one of me with the waterfall.

Port is really the best wine in the whole world. Although obviously now I must go on MORE wine tours to prove this.... Luckily, I will be in Spain for my birthday, and I'm sure people there will not object to me drinking lots and lots of wine.

May 13, 2007

Heading West

It's easy to forget how big Australia actually is. I know, that sounds a bit odd - I'm Canadian, Canada's even bigger (and we have a song about that), but travelling in your home country is different than travelling someplace else. In Canada, I expect everything 'interesting' to be a long ways away, but here? Everything should be like the UK - a daytrip is always possible.

What really brought home for me how big Western Australia (just one state!) actually is wasn't that it took two days of driving to get out to Monkey Mia, but how different everything was by sunset of that second day.

On the first evening, everything was dark as pitch by the time we got to the hostel. We'd made a brief stop to look at some cliffs, but the sun was rapidly setting and there wasn't a lot of time to spend enjoying them. We hurried off to the hostel, leaving behind the crashing waves and looking forward to good food and a long sleep far away from the bus.

Sinking Like A SunsetBut the second evening, though, we'd travelled far enough west to make a different in how late the sun was out. We drove much later, and caught a spectacular sunset over the ocean.

I sat down and looked out over the water, watching the breeze blow through the trees, fluttering the sails on the boats, and thought about how easy it would be to get used to this.

Later, when we got to Monkey Mia, I lay down on the beach and looked up at the stars, and wondered at how easy it is to be overwhelmed by natural beauty. There were dolphins in the water, but I couldn't see them, only hear them, and I couldn't imagine a more peaceful moment in my life.

In many ways, being in Australia has made me very eager to go back and look at Canada and see how differently I view it now. I loved Scotland for castles and crags and men in kilts, but mostly for the ruins and the history behind them. As I've said before, I love Australia because it's beautiful here - from the ocean and the sand to the desert and the wind, so much of Australia is beautiful and overwhelming because of where it is. I keep being caught off-guard for it.

People say to me all the time "Oh, Canada! It's very beautiful there!", and I've always just smiled and nodded. I've loved the Rocky Mountains, but I don't really think about the majority of my country and if it's actually a beautiful place to be. I lament that Canada has so little history, so few ruins that talk about what happened "before", without thinking about how lovely it is to walk through old growth forests or stand on the edge of a crystal clear river. These are, quite frankly, things I grew up with. Things I don't notice.

I've been gone a long time. I'll be in Canada for two weeks this summer, and I wonder how different Alberta will look, now that I've been here.

May 6, 2007

Till Human Voices Wake Us

Shell Beach - From The WaterWhen I was a little girl, my mother always used to tease me all summer long that she couldn't tell what was dirt and what was tan. I spent entire days, from dawn till dusk, outside, running around and playing in the dirt and being rowdy, before puberty and a sudden interest in books turned me into a pasty white girl with a fear of the bright ball of light in the sky.

I was thinking about this as I floated in the Indian Ocean, looking at my feet. They were tanned and dirty and covered in sand, even though I'd been splashing in the water for a while. The dirt from Australia had ground in, and I could barely see the pale lines of where my sandals blocked the sun.

The place I was swimming is called "Shell Beach" for obvious reasons - the entire beach is made of shells, the bottom of the ocean is made of shells, white, brown, purple, all sorts of colours. The water isn't very deep there - I walked far out and it never got above my hips - and it was easy to pick up shell after shell as I floated. I lay back and let my hair drift, and wondered how far the waves and the wind and the sea would pull me away from land, if only I'd let it.

It was so warm, with just enough of a breeze to keep things comfortable. The rest of the tour group had walked back to land, complaining about cold and salty water, while I felt more relaxed than I had the entire trip. I closed my eyes and pretended I couldn't hear them.

I listened for mermaids instead.

I thought about Australia, about the deserts and the oceans and the short trees and red dust everywhere. I thought about how nice it would be to just lie in the water and see how far I could float away. I wondered how long it would take me to get lonely.

Shell Beach - Mermaid HuntingEventually I lifted my head and looked back at the beach. I'd floated quite a ways, I guess. I saw everyone on land beginning to pack up, waving to me to return so we could get back on the hot and cramped bus, get closer to the furthest point west in all of Western Australia.

I put my ears back under the water for just another moment, but I couldn't hear the mermaids singing.

Instead, I slowly started back towards the beach.

Maybe next time.

{photos of shell beach}

About May 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Anna Overseas in May 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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