Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Colors of Aruba

Sitting at dinner the first night on a girlfriend trip, this colorful hut is sitting right in front of me..and made me start thinking....What a cool do a quilt with the "Colors of Aruba"...Good guess Ruth! yep, that's where I was last week. Had no chance to do my you are just going to get a glimpse of what we saw while we were there.....
these iguanas were the coolest colors ever! when they were little ones, they were mostly brown with a few small turquoise dots on their sides and turquoise stripes down the center of their back. As they got older, it turned into more turquoise dots and when they were really big, they were almost all turquoise..but they were very shy..I spent half my time chasing those little buggers! Ask my friends...they'll tell you more than you'd like to know!
Aruba, as a desert island, is not in itself all that pretty...the water is pretty, but the land isn't that colorful, but the natives sure had a way of bringing lots of color to their world...and in the most unusual color combinations. It was so inspiring..most of my pictures are of the colored homes and businesses. I can tell a quilt is brewing.....which is a good thing because I did diddly squat on my hand sewing! At least I was getting inspired.
walking along the beach, I thought this almost looked like a postcard...
we were all wearing colorful outfits to fit the island, although you can't see my hot pink skirt..but it fit the mood!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

China, it is

Shanghai, to be exact is where we were. We've got some great guessers! I was really nervous going to China with my husband, but he really wanted me to go and see where he has been going for the last 5 or 6 years. It turned out that it wasn't so bad after all. But, we did stay downtown Shanghai, which in reality is just another large city--okay, REALLY large, but very modern. We stayed in a western hotel, so we had food that we could recognize!
a common form of transportation? maybe on the way to KFC...yes, they have KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut and McD's. No Wendys'...maybe because someone would ask..."where's the beef"?
The last day in China and I got all my Scotties done...albeit the one who got away in Bora Bora.
We were in an ancient city, about 1 1/2 hours outside Shanghai, about 1000 years old. We walked down tiny corridors along the river in the town of Xi Tong. Tom Cruise filmed one of his Mission Impossible movies here. Above is a picture of someone washing their clothes in the dirty river. Below is an old rescue boat they used for emergencies and the building behind it is kind of like the fire/rescue station.
Okay, I'm ready to go home....but I have one more trip to go on and this time it's with girlfriends. I have one day to do laundry, see the grandkids, my own kids, pay bills, repack and hit the road again. And this time I'll be where:
*the Dutch meet the Spanish
*their 50 cent coin is square
*the official language is papiamento
*it's known as the 'happy island'
where am I going?

Friday, March 16, 2007

back to business

for Kirt, not me. It was a LONG way away from Tahiti..15+ hours plane ride...we left our hotel at 1:00 AM on Friday morning for a 3:30 AM flight....we arrived at our final destination (we had one layover) at 4:30 PM on Saturday. Where on earth did we go?


*I don't speak the language
*it was a lot colder! bring on the jackets! and just two days ago I had sweat running down my legs!

*there are 19 MILLION people in the city alone, not counting the couple of million of people in EACH "suberb"

* it is a HUGE contrast to where we just were, from the culture....fewer trees....LOTS of cement....1000's of skyscapers for as far as you can see.......busy food.......everything from modern buildings to ancient villages......and more apartment buildings than I have ever seen, EVER! I think I saw where all 19 million people live!
Sewing on a treadle on the street...get your clothes repaired on the spot! We saw 3 treadle machines in one street block. Maybe that's the street to get repairs done?

A main form of transportation here, although I will have to admit I saw more cars than I imagined I would. The gas is very similar in price as the US, about $2.50/gallon. Most of the cars right now are taxis or private drivers. More and more people are learning to drive, as the economy keeps improving. Could be a BIG problem if ALL the people get cars here!How ON EARTH do you use this toilet? I was shown the restrooms and when I opened the door, there were two stalls with doors, both about chest much for privacy! And then when I opened the door to the stall--this is what I saw! I wanted to ask the gal for a demonstration on how to use it--but thought that would be in poor taste! I'm not a outdoorsy type gal--we go to the Hotel 6 when we want to 'camp'. So, I'm not the greatest one to pull down my pants and go to the bathroom--I end up with my pants all wet and my shoes full! I wasn't even sure which way to face using this! After a few minutes evaluating my options, I chose to remove my shoes, pants and underwear completely and squat down and prayed it all went in the porcelain bowl! I'm sure they would have had a kick out of seeing an American trying to use their toilets! Hope there were no cameras around watching!

Leave it to me to find a fabric shop! My escort (I was given an escort and a driver to show me around while Kirt had his business meetings) told me it was just all cotton--not silk. She kind of thumbed her nose at the notion this fabric didn't have silk, but yay! just what I wanted! However, at closer look at the fabric, it was all cotton, but they apparently hadn't heard of quilt shop quality in that little shop! Hmm, is this where Wal Mart shops for their fabric? and no, I didn't buy the fabric!

Tahitian fabric and quilts

Okay--I know this picture is a bit blurry, but I think THIS is the "franjepan" (or something like that) flower. The other one is a form of plumeria, I believe. I'm a quilter, not a gardener. :) Am I right Jenni? Thanks for giving me the correct name.
The "Scotties" that were done by the end of the Bora Bora portion of our trip. The lei is what we received when we arrived. I had a little memorial for the "Scottie that got away". I'm still not sure whether he hid on purpose or really did blow away, we will remember him and wish we were with him! :)
This was an appliqued quilt on the hotel wall in Tahiti. It was hanging too high to see how well it was done, but found it interesting that it was framed behind glass!
This was another appliqued quilt, again too high to see details, but still quite nice.
Okay, I admit it, I fell off the wagon! Now it is bad when you have new friends that you meet on vacation looking for fabric for you! Our friends asked us AFTER we came back from town (which was a 3 hour venture including a boat ride,and a bus ride to a very tiny village) if we had seen the fabric in one of the little stores? Fabric???? I was sick, we missed the last boat across to the main island that day, so that meant another trip back! And 3 more hours out of the sun! But hubby was good, he offered to go with me to hunt down this fabric. How on earth did we miss it? The town had one gas station (about $8 per gallon), a tiny grocery store (that had empty shelves by 6 PM), 5 Pearl shops (Tahitian Black Pearls are from these islands--beautiful!), a little burger joint, a few souvenier shops and a fancy dress shop and that's pretty much it. So, off we went again. It turned out after searching every store, it was on the other side of the grocery store, named Chin Lee that carried cheap clothes, souveneirs AND fabric! 100% cotton! From Tahitian designers! I was thrilled to find local fabric--the selvedge said "designed in Tahiti". When I asked if it were made there, she sadly shook her head and said "no, in China". But it was designed by Tahitians. So, I bought a couple yards of each one. There were so many tropical prints from which to choose, it was hard to narrow it down. Remembering that I am part of the SABLE club (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy), I chose only 5 prints. I have some ideas already, and some of them include non-quilty things. I hope to have it all used by the year end, then I'll feel better about my purchase! But, how often would I ever be able to buy fabric from there? Am I justified? maybe not, but I don't feel guilty at all. :)

Interesting facts about Bora Bora/Tahiti:
* the main road around the main island of Bora Bora, along with the airport and the schools were all built by the American GI's during WWII. We took over the island thinking it was going to be targeted like Hawaii. It never was invaded, but the Americans did a lot for the islands while they were there.
*Ma-tu is the name given to the transvestites that are part of the culture in French Polynesia. At one time, it was common for a family that was full of boys to choose one son to be "the daughter" of the family. To dress them like girls and raise them with feminine qualities. At adulthood, they had a choice whether to continue in the feminine manner or revert to manhood. They are not gay--but some can be. They are very much part of the culture here, as they are employed in all sorts of occupations, including the service staff of the nicest hotels. It is a little disconcerting to be waited on by someone who is built like a man but with breasts, has the voice of a man but has better make up than you! We were a little surprised at first, but came to enjoy the diversity that this world is made. The custom is not done so much anymore, although many men decide at adulthood to become a "ma-tu".
*Black pearls are harvested here--they use a special oyster with a black shell (nacre) that creates the black pearls. It is one of the largest industries in the islands, with pearl farms everywhere.
* The French own the islands and a lot of the goods are from France. The food is French (mmm, love the baguettes and croissants!), the language is French (although they have their own dialect) but the currency is uniquely their own, the Polynesian Franc. They would like to be their own country, but they rely too much on the subsidies of the motherland to break away.
* Bora Bora is comprised of one main island and many other mini islands (motu) ALL surrounded by a large reef of coral. There is a small passage way into the lagoon where all the islands are. It made for some stunningly blue/green waters, tropical fish that were numerous and gentle waters.
*the airport is on it's own island (motu)..the building is open and can accomodate only one plane at a time. The only way to get to your hotel is by boat. All the main hotels have their own boat shuttle that whisks you to your destination. Our hotel was on it's own little island. So we had to take boat shuttles if we wanted to go to the little village on the main island.

1. New friends that join in my quilting enthusiasm!
2. Seeing quilts in foreign places and given a place of honor
3.the diversity of people that inhabit the world and the chance to meet them

French Polynesia

Tahiti and Bora Bora to be exact.....we spent the quickest 6 days of our lives there....oh what a place! It was a nice relaxing getaway for hubby and me. Our trip to Hawaii was business for him and the week after is all business. But in the meantime, he was forced to relax-his Crackberry, oops, I meant his Blackberry did not work! Internet was sketchy at best in the business office, so what else to do but enjoy the natural beauty around us. I took in so many images in my mind--the camera is a poor substitute sometimes when the sites you see are beyond comprehension. It was quite inspiring, from the shades of blue and blue green of the sea, the sand, the buildings, the mountains. And designs could be found in everything from flowers to the ceiling of bamboo to the carved molding around the ceiling. My mind was on overload thinking of all the possible quilts I could create.

This was a really neat plant--the leaves look like small iris leaves, BUT they were green on one side and the coolest purple on the other side. I don't know what the name of that plant, but it sure was pretty. This was called "franjepan" or something like that. I have it written down somewhere! It was a little hard to understand them, although owned by the French, the Polynesians had a unique language of their own. It smelled wonderful and I can see a quilt border full of these beautiful flowers. Not only was this the coolest place to take a nap, we discovered that they are from our own Pawley's Island! We knew the hammock shop in SC (where we have a home) were the original hammock makers, it was fun to see them so far away!


1. For a wonderful, beautiful world God has created

2. the scent of tropical flowers

3. thankful for travel opportunities that may happen once in a lifetime

I have more pictures to post, but blogger decided it had enough, so more later...

Hats off to Hector

Hector is a former Marine that we recently met while we were on vacation. We noticed him and his wife as she gently lowered him to the steps to the lagoon from his wheelchair. He looked like a strapping young man (late 20's) and we thought perhaps an accident has rendered him paralyzed. We later met them in the pool and it turns out he was a Marine that had been injured in Iraq in 2003. He was thrown from his tank and then a truck fell on his lower legs and feet, crushing them. He spent the next year in the hospital and since 2003, has endured 17 surgeries, with a few more coming. His attitude was upbeat and positive. His wife was only his girlfriend of a few months at the time. And now they were on their honeymoon. He still works for the Marines, as a social worker working with soldiers who have post tramatic stress disorder. A few days later I remembered to ask him if he had received a quilt during his hospital stay from the Quilts of Valor, and he did. Not just one, but two. And he SO appreciated them. So, hats off to all those that contribute to this worthy cause--they are very much appreciated. What a small thing we can do for those that have suffered for our country. I hope to be able to start contributing to that group in the near future. I had thought about it before and this was the push that I needed. I donate to other groups, but this one just got bumped up the list. There are quite a few of our ring members that make quilts for this organization--thanks to all of you!

Friday, March 09, 2007

I'm on the run to ??

Very good guesses to all of you--and sorry Ruth to throw you off track! That was great you recognized the So. Africa penguins! We hit the road again and went so far that the internet was a novelty (well, almost), so had no opportunity to get on. But I had a great time! I'm on the run again but first, where was I?

*loved the baguettes and croissants

*this is where tattoos originated

* it is known at "the Pearl of the Pacific"

* we were on a 'motu'
This is what we saw off our deck on a daily basis--it's a sting ray and we saw 3 adults and 1 baby one every day. The last night we were there I saw a HUGE one that was the color of sand. My arm span wasn't as large as it was. I tried to rush in to grab my hubby to see it, but I forgot I closed the door and ran into it really hard! I about knocked myself out! Therefore, he missed it. And he also missed my sighting of a Lemon Shark--it was early in the morning and he swore I must have been hallucinating when I told him that I saw a yellow/ yellow green shark, about 5 foot long. Turns out I did see a Lemon Shark--he's sorry he missed that one too!

I'm still plugging away on those little Scottish Dogs. I have to report though that one of them must have loved the place so well, he hid before we left, so he is now a permament resident of this beautiful place! (actually, a huge storm blew through the middle of the night and we had the doors and windows open--and away it went!)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Happy Anniversary to us...

What a way to spend our 32nd anniversary....thanks Kirt. And yes, we are in Hawaii, in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. That's Diamond Head behind us and it was in the picture below the penguins. How lucky for us that he had to attend a trade show here during our Anniversary!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

more clues

Looking up from my chair.....feel the warm breezes? Boy, I sure wish I were in Cape Town, South Africa like some of you thought. I've never been there and sure would be nice! But you were on the right track, as the penguins WERE from South Africa, although they were just on display in one of the hotel complexes here. I just thought it unusual, because you sure don't expect to see penguins in a warm climate like this!
My early AM projects, I hope to have all 24 done by the end of this trip.....
A week or so before I left, I ran into a quilting friend of mine and she mentioned going on vacation and I told her that that was one of our stops on our trip! We exchanged schedules and hoped we could connect. It's so funny how things turn out..her and her husband have been on a number of islands and happened to be on the same island as we were. We arrived first and found out that their hotel was only 4 blocks from ours! We hooked up yesterday, and went quilt shopping! Amy-of Calico Cat--we found a quilt shop in your honor! It was the Calico Cat also. A very small and crowded store with outdated fabric, but the owner was very nice. We did find a few things to add to our bags. Then she told us about another fabric store and they carried a few bolts of cottons! She must not have been in the store in a while as a good part of this large store was all cottons! That's a picture of me and Brenda in front of some of the quilts.
Here is the great store we found....or were led, have a better idea of where I am? :)