Friday, 30 March 2012

Search Keywords

Flamingo kisses in 2011, Lesvos Greece

I have a very good friend who has recently started a blog all about stamps and her love for post, it is called i heart post and I am loving her work, but it has made me realise that I have no idea what my blog is actually about. My flamingo exploring has been a little thin on the ground of late and I don't seem to have any found any new overarching theme. I have explored, elucidated, postulated, pompously prosed on about hippos, garbage, Mr Darcy, art, skiing, life, the universe and ice creams on my little blog, but I have no nice little niche to bracket everything into.

Mine is a rather grass -roots following: ie I meet people I tell them about the blog and sometimes they read it. As well as my loyal and beloved readers I have discovered that sometimes people randomly stumble across my writing while searching for that particular something or other that their life is in need of.
I often while away perfectly good writing, eating and knitting time checking out the statistics that appear at the back end of the blog. So I know that people have found my blog by searching for:  
Sculpture, Venice, Italy

Naked boy rat Venice biennale 2011
Rogers Arena Canucks
Flamingos Lesvos
I was sorting out my possessions
The outside things of rogers arena hockey
Dennis Oppenheim Engagement
Flamingo packing tape
Where to see naked men in Venice
Bridge Harry Potter Scotland
English bay symbol
Flamingo habitat
Any restrictions on canoeing on a lake in Ayvalik Turkey with Flamingos

Glenfinnan Viaduct, AKA Harry Potter bridge, Scotland

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, Canada

 I don't know if their searches ended with my blog, I like to think that it sent them off in a totally new direction.  It is fun maybe being a part of someone else’s world exploring and hopefully inspiring them to get out and explore some place new. I love the different quirks, connections and pathways that make up a life, and I know that some of the avenues this flamingo adventuress has travelled down have been due to typing a few words into a search engine, following the words and pictures and packing my bag for the next adventure. So I like the idea that my little online bubble might participate in other peoples adventures.

 I also like to dream that they come back to visit Flamingo Rover of their own free will- but I haven't figured stalk my readership that well yet.

The things that people have typed into their search engine of choice and then clicked through to Flamingo Rover don't give me much help when it comes to figuring out which box my blog lives in, but pondering other peoples keywords has helped me imagine my blog as part of that larger online universe. 

Maybe my mission should be to make Flamingo Rover all about what it was in the beginning... maybe it could be synonymous with random adventuring to see what you can see. 

Then again perhaps it is Seinfeldian and about nothing at all.  

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ice Crash

It has been twenty days or so now and I am still having issues sitting down. Well the sitting down itself is ok, for brief periods, but the process of getting in and out of a seated position is unpleasant. It is not quite so bad as it was, but having to struggle with it does make you appreciate the simple things in life.

My self diagnosis is a bruised coccyx – and the cause is one or more of my spectacular crashes whilst cross country skiing in Hallingdal, Norway.

Early February in Scotland my downhill skiing had progressed to the point where I had more speed than skill and crashed a lot. Apparently this is quite a natural stage to get to. I hurtle past people, trying my best not to go too fast and hoping to hold on until the bottom, and invariably end up in a laughing tangle of skis, legs and poles trying to get myself upright again. It is fun at the start of the day and exhausting by the end.

Until we went to Norway at the end of February I had never done any cross country skiing.
Cross country skis are much lighter than downhill and you are only attached by your toes, with your heels loose to allow... well the crossing of country.

On-Piste there are ski sized grooves cut out for you by nifty plough type machines and the theory is that you coast along them smoothly on the flat, glide down on minor slopes, snow plough on more serious inclines and fishtail walk uphill. That's the theory. Like the theory of how you stay in control downhill the reality is a little tougher.

On Piste - Hallingdal

When I said we were going to Norway in late February the main question was why. And when the temperature at the start of February was minus 20-25 I had to wonder myself.

So it was a relief to have relatively warm conditions and sunny days- but it was bad as well because by the end of our week the nice fluffy snow I was quite happy to crash into had turned to ice and the experience of hurtling along out of control and then crashing spectacularly got a little scary, the results have left me just a little sore.

Traditional Norwegian mountain Hytte

You might think that sauna, roll in the snow, sauna (repeat until dinner is ready) therapy would help, and it did for some of our injuries, but not my very bruised bottom. 

Luckily as well as that rather unfortunate souvenir I came home from Norway with some lovely Norwegian wool to knit myself a balaclava- and it is all knitted up and set for the next adventure.

Norwegian wool balaclava at use on Glen Feshie walk, Scotland.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Why Ice Creams?

I don't exactly have a sweet tooth, I am much more of a salty savouries girl. But that does not mean that when J buys a six pack of Cornettos and goes away for a week he will be a full pack awaiting him on his return. Like so many others I like to eat ice cream, and perhaps unlike many others I also like to collect photos of kitschy ice cream cones advertisements.

A classic Vanilla cone, Ireland.

The question of why is a bit like the question of Why Flamingos? I don't have a good solid answer. Just little answers.

Because the colours are pretty.

a multi-flavour stack from the
 seaside town of Ayvalik, Turkey. 
Because you can find them all over the world- an amazing reminder of our interconnectedness- we may live far apart and have different cultures but:

Roadside near Jambiani, Zanzibar- Made my taxi driver
stop so I could take this picture on the way to the airport.
I scream
you scream
we all scream
for ice cream.

Iced confectionery is inherently linked to Stackhats, Milk Bars, bikes and childhood in my mind. One of the pieces of fiction I have had bubbling away for a while has the two main characters- 12 year old girls meeting under the shadow of a giant rooftop ice cream cone outside their local Milk Bar. 
They are an icon of the past and the present as well- so often associated with one of my other favourite things- fish and chips. Sadly the sculptural attempts at fish and chips I have seen thus far are not nearly as attractive as the ice creams.

getting it right in Comrie, Scotland

so wrong in Dingle, Co.Kerry, Ireland

Because in a

world of so many known unknowns ice cream is a good solid known.

Because even when they are truly hideous they are still cool.

Granville Island, Vancouver

Covent Garden, London


Because they make me smile.

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

street view- Venice, Italy

close up- Venice, Italy

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Scotland vs. France

Anyone who read my very first blog will recall that France was one of my original Flamingo destinations. Because life is topsy-turvy I have not been to France yet, but in February France came to Edinburgh for the Six Nations Rugby tournament - and because life is topsy-turvy I wound up spending a weekend with a bunch of French Rugby enthusiasts on their once a year wife free jaunt across the Channel.

Most Six Nations tourism is about drinking and laddish behaviour, the group I spent the weekend with embodied that perfectly- but they also came to play Rugby. 

The Six Nations France v's Scotland game was due to be played on Sunday afternoon, and on Friday night the Currie Rugby Football Club agreed to host the visiting Frenchmen for a friendly game under lights.
Everyone I spoke to in the lead up said that in the official tournament France would walk all over Scotland, because of that, and possibly because of other Channel rivalries that a colonial like me could not possibly understand, the Scotts did not want to loose to the French at the beginning of the weekend.

The Frenchmen were not exactly an intimidating opposition- they first played together in the early 90's and along with their football boots they travelled with a lot of wine and and a lot of pork. The Currie team fielded some token older generation players amongst the forwards, but the backs had skill, speed and youth on their side.

six packs vs. beer bellies would not be an inappropriate description.

Having grown up watching Aussie Rules I am a long way off understanding the ins and outs of Rugby, but I love to watch a local game and Friday night fitted my yearnings for a home game nicely.
Supporters at a local Aussie Rules game

There was a good crowd, I had a drink in my hand and there were men running about after a ball in front of me. So far so good. Even without having a clue why there were so many group hugs on the field and why they don't kick the ball more often I could easily tell which team was superior: the Scott's are lithe, fit, strong and co-ordinated and the Frenchmen were worn out by the end of the warm up.

The Scrum  (or so I am told) 
This is entertaining for a little while, but nobody likes a total walk over- not even the winning side, so at half time the locals did some jumper swapping, lending some young blood to the Frenchmen to even things up and really gave the French spectators something to sing about.

Thankfully, although the scores did not even out the joie de vivre of both sides was evident throughout and the happy mud splattered faces in the joint team photo showed why sport is so often the thing that obliterates borders and brings people together.

Back in the rooms after the game things were a little different from a post-game gathering in country Victoria- the French players knew not to keep the red wine in the fridge and had BYO'd their own butcher, prosciutto and sausage, and the Scots had a bagpiper to entertain the crowd.  Despite the many differences the atmosphere had familiar elements as well: there were very few females, everyone made a beeline for the bar and the two teams started the evening out on different sides of the room and were gradually induced to mingle by the sharing of wine and food and tales of the game just passed. I felt quite at home.

the French butcher, his produce and wine
Currie Piper

Friday left memories of on field heroics, new comrades and sore bodies- but Sunday was the reason for it all. We did the long slow walk to Murryfield Stadium with all the other supporters and arrived early enough to picnic outside the ground- cue more meat and wine and some French bread sticks to soak up the alcohol and grease. Drinking red wine out of a plastic cup and trying a slab of Foi Gras for the first time at a French picnic in Edinburgh is not easily forgotten- nor is the Foi Gras itself as it repeats on you throughout the afternoon.
For a Scottish February day it was pretty mild and when the sun came out briefly I turned my face to the warm glow and wondered how on earth I had come to be right here right now.

Foi Gras by the slab

This was my first large scale European game and going into the grounds with Scottish drums and pipes blaring, fancy dress raging, crowds thronging and excitement building felt a little similar to arriving at the Quidditch World Cup- at least that was the closest parallel my brain could draw.

Flamingo Rover and the men with cockerels on their heads

Despite what many had predicted the game was a close one, with Scotland leading much of the game. This unprecedented occurrence made for a highly watch-able game, and even with my lack of Rugby nous I happily cheered myself hoarse. In the end the French were victorious- but the Scotts could stand proud - the game was no walkover.

The weekend the French came to town was filled with rugby, wine, meat, smoking, singing and speeches. Being a solo girl amongst a group of French men meant that I got rather bombarded with French chivalry, seeing as how the Australian form of chivalry is to let the girl go to the bar for you, this was quite a pleasant change.

I definitely still have France on my rover list.

With thanks to the Frenchmen and Walkabout Scotland for letting me tag along on this boys own adventure.