Nepalese Food Quiz Answers

Breakfast with a view of Mt Everest

Breakfast with a view of Mt Everest

Winners are grinners and losers are boozers. (I couldn’t find anything else to rhyme with losers. And let’s face it, they probably need to drown their sorrows.)

Here are the results of “Best Black Tea – A Nepalese Food Quiz” posted a couple of weeks ago. Check out the answers along with a few tidbits about my experiences and then the winners will be revealed.

D

1. Tato Dudh – Hot Milk (or as one of our Sherpas called it, Hot Millick). Powdered milk never tasted so good. Offered at breakfast (into which one could mix instant coffee powder – shudder – or hot chocolate powder – that’s more like it) and also after dinner for that last warming drink before beddy-byes.

I

2. Anda Tarkari – Egg Curry. Admittedly, probably my least favourite of all the curries we were offered but still highly edible.

B

3. Saag – Spinach. But like no spinach you’ve ever tasted. Usually plucked fresh from one of the village gardens, I could eat this by the plateful (and occasionally needed to as my inherent low iron levels struggled with the lack of red meat on offer).

H

4. Alu Paratha – Flat bread stuffed with potato. One member of the group reckoned this tasted just like her Irish grandmother’s potato bread. I guess some food is universal.

E

5. Suji Ko Haluwa – Semolina Pudding. We were constantly spoilt with dessert after our evening meals – pineapple slices, chocolate pudding, apple pie – but the semolina pudding was the most Nepalese offering. One member of the group couldn’t bring herself to eat it as she was force-fed semolina pudding at boarding school as a child. Food has memories.

G

6. Chayote – Spiky Gourd. Our meals were a vegetarian’s delight (luckily for the one vegetarian in our group) with a multitude of different vegetables, most of them familiar but with the occasional new introduction. Chayote tastes a bit like zucchini (courgette).

J

7. Dal Bhat – Lentil Soup with Rice. This is Nepal’s national dish and is eaten in copious quantities. My absolute favourite dish of the trip. For our meals, the dal was poured onto the rice. One member of the group got most distressed when one of the Sherpas put some vegetable curry on top of her rice so there was no room for the dal. One must eat dal bhat as it is meant to be eaten.

F

8. Phini Roti – Fried Roti (also known as Tibetan Bread). We ate many different versions of bread but I think this would be my favourite. It is soft and slightly chewy with a hint of sweetness.

A

9. Rajma Tarkari – Kidney Bean Curry. Probably my favourite curry, this was absolutely delicious. And yes, we all know what happens when you eat a lot of beans but we were all in it together. Sharing is caring.

C

10. Momo – Dumpling. We were always served vegetable momos but they can also contain chicken. The first night these were offered, I was not feeling well and so was able to eat only one. I had to wait more than a week for them to reappear on the menu. (I was beginning to despair that they would not reappear at all.) I ate six.

So, how did you go? Here’s the results:

15 Points to Lynn at Life After 50 for being the first to provide all correct answers. However, she loses 5 points for not answering in numeric-alpha format (Rule #1). “But you said nothing would happen if we broke the rules!”  Yeah. I lied. Don’t upset my system.

10 Points each to Joanne at My Life Lived Full, Cynthia at littleoldladywho.net and Sue at Travel Tales of Life who all managed to correctly identify every food item in the correct format.

5 Points to Bun at Bun Karyudo for providing answers to every item and getting two correct.

5 Points to Barbara at Barbara Pyett for her very creative answers. However, she loses 2 points for listing Dal Bhat as her least favourite.

1 Point each to all those who had a crack at identifying at least one dish and also to all those who commented at all because you know I love to hear from you even if you don’t want to play.

Congratulations to the winners. As soon as we’re all located in the same city, I will present you with your very large, very shiny trophies at an elaborate awards ceremony.

Now, I must leave you all to go and make suji ko haluwa for a family dinner this evening.

Namaste!

 

 

 

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Finding Happiness In Bhutan

Paro

The one thing that most people will tell you they know about Bhutan is that it is the country of Gross National Happiness.

In 1972, Bhutan’s Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, declared that the country would no longer measure its success by the standard Gross National Product but by a measure of Gross National Happiness. There are four pillars to the GNH –  Good Governance, Sustainable Socio-economic Development, Preservation and Promotion of Culture, and Environmental Conservation.

For more information and the latest report on the GNH Index, visit The Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH Research website here.

Good Governance

Bhutan has two kings. In 2006, the Fourth King decided his son was old enough to become king so he abdicated the throne and Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck became the Fifth King of Bhutan. (I can think of another royal family that could take a lesson from that.) The Fourth King still retains some power (I guess the Fifth King became a King-in-Training) and is still greatly loved as evidenced by the year-long celebrations of his 60th birthday in 2015. The Fifth King appears equally revered so I guess he isn’t looking over his shoulder either.

Poverty is still evident but for that part of the world, there is very little of it in Bhutan.

Bhutan is tiny. Approximately 755,000 people live in a country 38,394 km² in area. The capital, Thimphu, has a population of 50,000. I live in what is classed a “regional city” in my country and even we have five times that number of people.

Bhutan Map

Thimphu, Capital of Bhutan

Thimphu, Capital of Bhutan

Being able to cross the road easily makes me happy.

Sustainable socio-economic development

Bhutan has a thriving handicrafts industry which is actively supported and protected from cheap imports by the government. Textiles, pottery and handmade paper are popular choices.

Home-based workers (predominantly women) are encouraged to start businesses promoting traditional handicrafts. One craft market in Thimphu will have you wondering just how much room and weight you have available in your suitcase. (Can I possibly get that magnificent teapot home?)

Handicrafts Market, Thimphu

Handicrafts Market, Thimphu

Buying beautiful handmade souvenirs makes me happy.

Preservation and Promotion of Culture

The first step Bhutan takes to preserve its culture is to make it difficult to visit. With the exception of Indian nationals, foreigners are not permitted to wander about the country willy-nilly. To be granted a visa for Bhutan, you must book through an approved travel company and your trip must meet a minimum daily cost. (A portion of this is allocated to health and education programs.) Therefore all accommodation and meals are pre-booked and your itinerary will be included in your visa as an approved route.

Bhutan Visa

In case you thought I was joking

You will also be allocated a guide and a driver who will accompany you for the entire stay. (Although, once I did manage to escape them in Paro to have a coffee in solitary peace.)

My driver Aita and guide Chab Tshering

Once you experience some of the roads, you’ll be glad of the driver. Trust me.

IMAG0620

One of the better sections

The advantage of this approach is that Bhutan is not a very busy place to visit. You can also sit back and relax because everything is taken care of for you.

Lunch in Thimphu

The disadvantage is that there is no flexibility to stop longer somewhere or change your route. It can also be difficult for those of us of a shy, introverted nature to be in the constant company of a guide (even while trying to shop).

You also have a tendency to bump into the same people at various points as most visitors are taken to similar places. This can be either an advantage or disadvantage depending on the people you keep bumping into.

But it works. From the moment you land in Bhutan, there is no question as to the nature of its culture. Almost everyone wears national dress (it is expected for work and school) and the buildings have a distinctive style.

Experiencing an untainted Bhutanese culture makes me happy.

Environmental Conservation

Bhutan got on board the environment movement before there was one. Clean water and energy were seen as important parts of promoting happiness but it was also recognised that a beautiful landscape could in itself provide well-being. The country is more than 70% covered in trees and there are reminders everywhere to care for the environment.

Spending time in a stunning natural environment makes me happy.

Should I visit Bhutan?

Are you kidding? Sorry, yes, yes, go to Bhutan. You won’t regret it. And although it may seem an expensive place to put on the itinerary, the flight into Paro will more than justify the expense before you even get there.

MOSY travelled to Bhutan with World Expeditions (Essence of Bhutan trip) courtesy of her own bank account. She has no reason to lie.

 

 

 

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Best Black Tea – A Nepalese Food Quiz

One thing you will do when you travel in Nepal is drink a lot of tea.

The teapot first arrives around 6am outside your tent with a cheery “Black tea!”. You struggle out of your sleeping bag or, more often, struggle in your sleeping bag to unzip the tent flap and grasp that boiling hot tin cup of tea either sweetened with three large teaspoons of sugar (the Nepali way) or not.

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Early Morning Cup of Tea

One of our Sherpas often called out “Best black tea!” We thought he was proud of his tea until we returned to Kathmandu and realised the stock in the supermarket was called just that – Best Black Tea.

The teapot will appear again at breakfast, then at lunch, then afternoon tea and lastly as a final note to the day after dinner. (While we were working in the village, the pot also appeared at morning tea time but in this case it would have ‘juice’ in it (otherwise known as hot cordial).)

Another thing you will do when you travel in Nepal is eat. A lot. Provided you’ve chosen your trekking company well, you will be suitably nourished in order to lift that hammer, shift that rock or climb that mountain.

Breakfast in the Sunshine

My friend Sue over at Travel Tales of Life likes to conduct a food quiz of the unusual delicacies she experiences on her travels. With her permission, I have pinched the idea for a Nepalese Food Quiz.

There’s just one teensy problem.

Sue is a highly regarded and experienced travel blogger and as such knows to take photographs of the food she eats just in case it comes in useful for a blog post. (Like this one.)

My first instinct when presented with a delicious plate of food is to eat it.

Sue also appears to travel in a slightly higher economic category than I and often has beautifully presented restaurant-standard single-named dishes with which to conduct her quiz.

My meals were presented on metal plates in a tent with up to eight different dishes on the one plate.

Like this one:

Food Plate

Actually, you’ll notice I had started to eat this one too.

That’s it. That’s the only photo I’ve got. (Well, that’s not strictly true. There’s one more I took when we picnicked beside a river during the trek. But I’ve already used that one in another post.) And you only got this one because I happened to have my phone in my pocket.

So I’m having to improvise.

Most of the images in the quiz are sourced from the Nepalese Cook Book I purchased in Kathmandu but am yet to tackle in an attempt to replicate in my own kitchen what our cook achieved over a two-burner kerosene stove in a tent.

Culinary delights await

But however the images have been sourced, I promise you I ate every single one in Nepal.

So. Rules.

  1. Each food name has been assigned a number and each photograph has been assigned a letter. Please list all answers in numeric-alpha format. This is to sooth my OCD Mathematician tendencies. Danke.
  2. Googling is permitted within reason. You may also Yahoo or Bing if you want to add an extra challenge. If you’re feeling radical, try DuckDuckGo.
  3. If you break rules 1 and 2, nothing will happen. We’re not playing for sheep stations, people.

I will publish the winners in a couple of weeks. Or, you know, when I feel like it. Get in early to avoid disappointment.

Ready?

Food Names

  1. Tato Dudh
  2. Anda Tarkari
  3. Saag
  4. Alu Paratha
  5. Suji Ko Haluwa
  6. Chayote
  7. Dal Bhat
  8. Phini Roti
  9. Rajma Tarkari
  10. Momo

Food Photographs

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

 

Good luck and remember it’s supposed to be fun.

 

 

 

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Dear Father Christmas

Dear Father Christmas,

I know that I’m probably too old to sit on your knee now (unless you are that kind of Santa in which case I have to tell you I’m not that kind of girl) but I hope it’s not too late in life to write you a letter asking you for what I want for Christmas.

My Christmas Wish List

1. My own bed. No, not a new one. There’s nothing wrong with the old one. No, I just want to sleep in the one I already have. Because I think I’ve done enough training for sleeping in a Business Class airline seat. Especially considering I’ll never get the chance to use it anyway.

Broken Ribs Sleeping

How one sleeps with six broken ribs.

2. A Business Class airline ticket to my chosen destination.

Business Class

Business Class passengers actually sleep better than I do.

3. The ability to drive. No, I don’t mean a voucher for driving lessons. I already have my licence. No, I don’t need a car either. I’ve got one. I just want to be able to physically drive it. Because being stuck at home is tedious.

Freedom

Freedom

4. A trip in the TARDIS with the Doctor. Because every list should have something impossible on it.

"Come with me."

“You. Come with me.”

5. A Lego Death Star kit. Because every list should have something possible on it.

Lego Death Star

6. Free unlimited postage between here and Lura, Nepal. So I can send whatever I want to the children of Lura who have so little but deserve so much.

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7. Pride in my country. I lost the other one sometime in the past few years and I haven’t been able to find it. It might help if you put a large box of compassion under the Christmas tree for every politician.

8. My last one is not really just for myself. If I’m allowed to put in a bid for something on behalf of others, can I please have some peace? Five minutes peace for frazzled mothers, half an hour of peace in the fresh air for stressed office workers, an hour of peace from pain for the sick and, most of all, as much peace as you can rustle up for those who haven’t seen any for many years.

Peace Dove

Thanking you in anticipation.

Not-So-Little MOSY

 

 

 

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The Children of Lura, Nepal

By the children of Lura, Nepal….

On the last day of our community project, we spent the morning playing with the children at Manju Shree Primary School. They loved having their photos taken and were fascinated by my camera so I slung the camera around the first child’s neck, showed him how to push the button to take a photo and let him go. And then child after child after child.

These are the photos they took of their friends crowding around to have their photos taken. They’re better than mine! Enjoy the slideshow.

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It Takes A Village

“It takes a whole village to raise a child.” ~ Nigerian proverb

Manju Shree Primary School students

Manju Shree Primary School students

The village may be physically located in a poor area of Nepal but the residents now include people from Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.

I’ve just recently returned from a Community Project trip to Nepal with World Expeditions. It was an opportunity to help in the post-earthquake rebuilding of one small corner of Nepal unlikely to receive government help.

Seven Aussies, one Kiwi and a couple of resident Scots (actually, Sheila is Irish and John is English but they live in Aberdeen) dug, picked, shovelled, carried, hammered, pulled, shaped, bent, chipped, cut and ran their hearts out for nine whole days to provide a solid foundation to a new school building in the village of Lura, Lower Solukhumbu, Nepal.

The Lura School Project Team - Sheila, Emma, Pic, Jenny, John, Simon, David, Heather, Judy & Carolyn.

The Lura School Project Team – Sheila, Emma, Pic, Jenny, John, Simon, David, Heather, Judy & Carolyn.

 

An Experience in Gratitude:

For the warm welcome we received from the school and wider community.

For sunny days and the satisfaction of hard work.

For the things we take for granted back home.

Like a truck full of gravel.

Or a cement mixer.

Or a wheelbarrow.

Or for the easy availability of supplies.

For the smiles and fun of children.

For new friendships.

New friends - Project members and school teachers

New friends – Project members and school teachers

For the fulfillment of achieving more than expected.

Solid foundations

Solid foundations

A Story

Based on my previous Community Project experience, I was expecting a lack of access to electricity and mobile phone reception while working in the village so imagine my surprise to have access to both of these luxuries. (What I hadn’t counted on and much worse was the lack of access to chocolate. Tough days…)

Our trekking crew successfully jerry-rigged a powerboard and electric light in the dining tent, feeding off a line from a nearby house.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. As were we. I’m getting to that.

One night, Sheila asked our guide the question that had been on all our minds. “Shouldn’t we pay someone for the electricity?”

Bikash shook his head and explained. “Everyone in this village is so grateful you are here. They are so thankful that you have come to help them. They ask all the time, ‘What can we do? What can we offer them?’ They want to do whatever they can to say thank you for what you are doing.”

There was silence around the table. I think all of us were deeply moved and felt both proud and humbled. The people of Lura have so little and we were the ones to be thankful for the opportunity to do such a simple thing to help them.

Changing the World

In a physical sense, we have changed the world of the community of Lura and the children of Manju Shree Primary School, helping them on their way to a new and sturdy school building.

More importantly, however, our own worlds have changed in ways we are still discovering. We may never see our lives in quite the same light again. And a part of us will always be living in a small village in Nepal.

 

 

 

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Going Off The Air

NEWSFLASH: MASTER OF SOMETHING I’M YET TO DISCOVER WILL GO OFF THE AIR FOR FOUR WEEKS

The MOSY Network apologises for this break in transmission. We will resume regular broadcasting at the end of November. In the meantime, reruns are available via our Blog-Post-On-Demand service. (The BPOD service can be accessed via the ‘The Old Trades’ dropdown box.)

Image courtesy World Expeditions

Image courtesy of World Expeditions

The Background Story

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I will board a Flying Metal Bird for parts unknown. Well, unknown to me. I’ll be gone four weeks – three in Nepal and one in Bhutan.

I will not be gracing the blogosphere for much of the journey (if at all). For the ten days I will spend in the village of Lura followed by the six days of trekking in the Lower Solukhumbu region, I anticipate a lack of access to electricity. Forget about internet. The week in Bhutan will be on a more civilised standing (in that I’ll be sleeping in a bed rather than on the ground and the toilet won’t be a hole in the ground) but I suspect I will have better things to do with my time than surf the WordPress wave (no offence).

Lura, Nepal

Here’s where I’ll be working for ten days with nine others from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to help rebuild the village school:

(All images courtesy of World Expeditions)

Lura Talk 1

Lura Talk 2

Lura Talk 3

Lura Talk 4

Lura Talk 5

The school has been demolished and work has begun on the new building. The first group from World Expeditions has already started on the foundations and we will pick up where they leave off and groups will come after us to continue the work until it is done.

Bhutan

Bhutan? Well, that’s just for me. It’s been top of my bucket list for years so when The Husband told me to take more time if there was something else I wanted to do while I was in the area, I took him seriously. Called “The Essence of Bhutan” this private tour will be just a taste of this fascinating country. It’s not private by choice but no one else booked for that date. I will have my own one-on-one guide and driver for the eight days I am there. Introvert Me is hunched in the corner breathing into a paper bag.

*******

I am nervously excited for the adventure ahead. Traveller Me can’t wait to get there but Shy Me – whom I usually manage to keep busy in the kitchen during parties – keeps sticking her head out the door with questions like, “What if they don’t like you?”. I’m trying to ignore her.

See you all on the other side.

NOTE: If you can’t wait four weeks, fairly regular updates on the project are available here. You might even be able to spot me in a photograph if you’re really lucky.

 

 

 

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Voluntourism – Helpful Aid Or Just A Warm Fuzzie?

(Source: Google images)

There has been something of an explosion in the travel industry of a new form of travel dubbed “voluntourism”. Part community service, part holiday, participants agree to help out as volunteers as part of their holiday package. The range of opportunities on offer and the number of companies getting in on the action has expanded dramatically over the last ten years.

But is it a good thing?

Most of us would react positively to the idea of helping our fellow members of the human race in some capacity and if we can combine it with a holiday, all the better. And the community we work in benefits from our efforts. It’s a win-win, right?

Except that not all volunteering is created equal. Some offerings are more about providing that “warm fuzzie” moment for the traveller than of providing any lasting benefit to the recipient. Spending a week playing with orphans in Africa may make you feel good but what does it do to the children if you bond with them and then disappear forever?

“But surely they would be grateful for whatever we offered?” Someone actually said that to me once when I was voicing my concerns about some voluntourism organisations.

If my local childcare centre announced they were getting in a bunch of twenty-somethings from overseas to play with the children and that a different group would turn up each week, there would be an outcry. “Who are these people?” we would ask. “What checks have there been to guarantee my child’s safety?” we would demand. “It can’t be good for the children to have such a high turnover of carers,” we would mutter.

So if it’s not good enough for us, why must it be good enough for the poor?

It is also an industry open to exploitation. Cambodia, for example, has seen a massive increase in the number of orphanages being established in the last ten years despite there being no real reason for an increase in orphaned children. Foreigners seeking volunteer opportunities in Cambodia – and willing to pay large sums for the privilege – are actually fuelling the establishment of ‘orphanages’ that are often filled with children who are not orphans. There are no checks and balances and the money often doesn’t go to the care of the children. (Reference)

I am not against voluntourism. In fact, I am a participant myself. In 2009, I travelled to Peru as part of a World Expeditions Community Project. You can read about the experience here.

The bridge we built. (It’s concrete. That’s just the wooden frame.)

I did my research. I read extensively about the pros and cons, what to look for in an organisation, what to avoid and I must have read the prospectus of almost every company offering volunteer opportunities at the time. I was clear on what an organisation should be offering and what was most likely to be beneficial.

Interested in voluntourism? Here’s what to look for:

◊ Is the company offering the project a reputable, well-established company? Check out what they are about, what their beliefs are and how they rank on ethical tourism standards.

◊ Has the project been established in consultation with the local community? In other words, will you be working on something that the community actually needs and wants?

◊ Is the project of lasting benefit? Playing with orphans may make you feel good but what lasting benefit does it provide to the children? Better projects involve building or renovating something the community needs such as a school or community building, sanitation, etc.

◊ Is the project sustainable? In my research, I came across the story of an organisation that built a school for a village. When they visited the following year, the building was being used to house animals. There was no point in building a school for a community that didn’t have the money for furniture, books or the wages of a teacher. So choose a project that does not have ongoing costs and can stand alone once finished. Otherwise, check that the organisation is continuing to support the community to provide what is needed to sustain the project.

◊ Does the project employ local people? The last thing you want to do is take jobs away from other people. Check that the project has employed a local foreman and/or employs local trades people. It’s okay to be the grunt or muscle to get a job done.

◊ Where is your money going? Make sure you are clear on what you are paying for and where the money is allocated.

I would recommend a volunteering trip to anyone, if chosen carefully. It had an enormous impact on my life and is an experience I will never forget. Just make sure you are providing helpful aid to the community and not just a warm fuzzie to yourself.

In October, I will be participating in another World Expeditions Community Project. As part of their Rebuild Nepal program, I will spend ten days in the village of Lura with a team of volunteers and local people working to rebuild the local school that was damaged in the earthquake last April. More information here.

 

 

 

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The Paper Clip Price Report

Paper clip price surges past $US60 per tonne

Paper Clip Mining

Paper clips have gained more than 29 per cent since early April when it was trading as low as $US47.08. [Photo: MOSY]

Paper clips have rebounded above $US60 a tonne for the first time since early March, after logging a nearly 4 per cent gain on Wednesday.

In continuing good news for the beleaguered stationery sector, paper clips delivered to the Port of Qingdao rose $US2.19, or 3.7 per cent, to $US60.89.

The jump consolidated several days of smaller gains that have seen the commodity recover from a fall to $US56.18 on April 30, ahead of China’s May Day holiday break.

Paper Clip Report

However, UBS has suggested prices could resume their fall and plumb the depths of $US45 per tonne in the second half of the year.

Paper clips have now gained more than 29 per cent since early April when they were trading as low as $US47.08.

The dramatic turnaround has been fuelled in recent weeks by BPP Clipiton’s decision to slow its rate of production growth.

BPP’s and Rio Clippo’s strategy of ramping up production and squeezing the price of paper clips has led to a war of words between the two miners and Clipescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Formrest.

Mr Formrest has attracted support from political leaders in his criticism of the strategy. However, investors have shown little sympathy for the billionaire’s plight.

BPP has also continued to stoke tensions with its paper clip president Jimmy Whatson accusing Clipescue of being “the world’s most prolific paper clip growth story” in a memo to more than 11,000 staff.

Rio chairman Jan du Paper, meanwhile, weighed into the debate on Thursday telling The Australian Financial Review that the miner “derives no enjoyment” from the pain being felt across the mining sector because of the paper clip’s price collapse.

Supply cuts ‘not sufficient’

A report by UBS suggests paper clip shipments from Australia are set to pick up in the second half of the year on mine expansions from the largest suppliers. UBS is forecasting prices might drop as a consequence to average $US45 a tonne between July and December.

While some higher-cost supply is being cut, including from Atlas Clips, growth in output will continue, the bank said in the report. Rio Clippo’s next 60 million tonnes a year might come on line from the second half, and BPP Clipiton is still moving toward capacity of 270 million tonnes a year from an estimated 260 million tonnes, according to the bank. The new Toy Hill mine may also start shipments, it said.

“We anticipate growth in export volumes through 2015, particularly in the second half, as new capacity from Rio Clippo, Pancake Toy Hill and ongoing asset optimisation from BPP Clipiton allow increased shipments,” UBS said in the report. “Recent cuts help, but the market is expected to remain in an albeit-smaller surplus over the medium term.”

Rio will meet shareholders in Perth on Thursday at its annual meeting.

Exports from Australia, the world’s biggest shipper, climbed about 5 per cent in March from February to 61.4 million tons, UBS said, citing figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Overseas sales surged to 716.7 million tons last year from 582.8 million in 2013, it said. The bank forecasts that the country’s exports may total 809 million tons in 2015.

“Supply cuts are not sufficient to drive higher prices when operators are cutting costs, and as demand remains weak,” UBS said.

Risks to consumption remained in China, where the office sector is under pressure, it said. The bank’s report covered an analysis of Australia’s bulk-commodity shipments in March and, separately, looked at paper clip supply and costs.

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This little piece of silliness is dedicated to my blogging friend M-J who so very kindly sent me a special stationery care package from her desk drawer to mine in thanks for some Aussie chocolate items I sent her from New York. Extra special because she didn’t even like the chocolate.

Stationery Thanks

M-J knows that stationery items make me go weak in the knees. Especially a shiny paper clip.

Oh, and thank you to Ben Woodhead at theage.com.au for letting me massacre his iron ore report. Actually, I didn’t ask. Sorry, Ben.

 

 

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I Am Not The Person You Are Looking For

Human beings are such complex and contradictory creatures. We can profess to want one thing and yet yearn for another.

We claim to be excited by the new but cling to the familiar. We seek the unexpected but baulk at its unpredictability.

And I’m not just talking about the latest smartphone or the changing face of our suburbs. The same seems to hold true in our relationships with each other.

What happens when the joking, life-of-the-party decides he has had enough of being entertaining and becomes introspective and serious?

What happens when the joiner of committees, participant in working bees and attendee of groups and classes decides to withdraw from all commitments and focus on herself?

What happens when the one who has always been available to provide a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on decides to distance himself to focus on his own life troubles?

What happens?

The world doesn’t cope.

The friends of the Joker, used to sitting back and being entertained, find it too hard to have a serious conversation and stop inviting him to social events.

The members of committees and working bees, the leaders of groups and teachers of classes, instead of inspiring new people to participate, bemoan the fact that things no longer get done and people no longer come now the Joiner is not involved.

The friends of the Carer resent his unavailability to them and withdraw their friendship just when he needs it most.

What does the one who has changed do now?

A. He reverts back to his previous persona, all the while resenting the role he must play to comply with expectations.

or

B. She persists in her new persona and suffers the barbs and the loneliness this attracts.

Both difficult choices.

or….

When others come looking for the person he or she used to be, there’s always the good old Jedi mind trick.

“I am not the person you are looking for.”