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Ramzan, Roadies and Raikhot

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It’s hot and dry and you know... dusty and desert like… and its Ramzan. Riding the deadly section of the amazing Karakoram Highway on a motorcycle in the middle of Ramzan has a couple of interesting masochistic kind of factors. I was so thirsty, so hot. There’s no place to break in the shade and nowhere descreet to drink water. But it’s these kind of experiences that make you appreciate how we are just mere specs on this earth. There is a much greater good out there than what we take for granted in our day to day grind.

So we focus on the road… I sit on the bike, still and silent like a tree, my hair the leaves blowing in the wind, absorbing the ruggedly beautiful landscape that is Pakistan. Letting the connection that one experiences of being on a bike in such a place cosume me… there’s no option but to feel.

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Security check points one after the other, filling out entry log books. Police escort us on part of the route. There are no security issues in this area at this time and the police assure me its more of a welcoming gesture for foreigners, to make us feel comfortable in their homeland. Unfortunately this often creates the perception that there must be some security issue otherwise why would we need an escort? It’s only for a small part of the road and it really is that they believe it’s a courteous and kindly gesture. So no fear foreign traveller, you’re main risk in Pakistan is being terrorised by kindness!

Eventually we reach Chilas, one of the larger towns along the KKH. We throw caution to the wind and buy some drinks, apparently travellers during Ramzan can be excused form the strict no food or drink in sunlight hours but still it’s good to be respectful and discreet. It’s at this break point that we see a group of biker men, who look like they mean business, bikes loaded with camping gear and bags, nice looking action cameras, bike engines rumbling. We get talking… Turns out they’re a biker group from Lahore enroute to Skardu… We join up and share the road for part of the way. There’s something amazing about connecting with ppl on the road, an instant bond that bikes and road trips bring. I miss this part of the trip a lot and can’t wait to share future adventures with THE ROADIES :)

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We had planned to head up to Fairy Meadows immediately after reaching raikot bridge… the point at which one must leave the KKH to head up via the insanely bumpy and precarious jeep track to the land of meadows and fairy. However as with many things, plans change and one must be fluid. We had no cash to pay the 6500 rupees for the jeep. Turns out my visa card is only able to withdraw cash from one or two international banks… a fact I had not thought about before… I recommend finding out in advance where there are Alfalah Bank ATMs along your journey in Pakisitan!! So instead we stay the night at Raikot with plans to head to Gilgit in the morning to sort out the fact I now have no money and apparently no means of getting any…

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Welcome to Pakistan - Proud, Passionate and Pure - Frothy Betty in Pakistan

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Photo by Syed Hamza Mobeen

And so I arrive with a smile on my face and a skip in my step, excited to be seeing for myself the true Pakistan. Exiting the airport I wave off multiple offers for taxis and I’m followed most persistently by one taxi driver… "No thank you I’m being picked up by my friend”. I’d received a message from my biker buddy saying I had to walk out of the airport grounds past the main gate as bikes were not allowed into the compound. Sure no problem I say… lone blonde, white woman venturing into a sea of men and past armed forces. I can do this no worries… No friend to be seen near main gate, ummm, hmmm… Cool no worries… I walk a bit further to a different gate… Ohhhh you mean the other main gate…Big smiles,as I see my friend walking towards me. Safe and well met in Pakistan :)

islamabad

Islamabad is a lot like Canberra, for those who have ever been to Australia’s capital city you’ll know what I mean. Islamabad is a quiet capital full of diplomats, government officials and upwardly educated people. It lacks the seething chaotic buzz that other cities such as Lahore have. Sleepy in a Canberra kind of way. That night we ventured out into the market to purchase local attire that I’m to wear for the first couple of days of our bike trip. I’m told its best if I wear local clothes for the deadly hot and dusty section of the Karakoram Highway between Abbottabad to Chilas. Stepping foot in a new country with a completely different culture from my own is very exciting but respecting the local customs is a basic common courtesy. No point in drawing unnecessary attention and making others feel uncomfortable and no there was no immediate danger from Allah’s wrath. Anyway the clothes are beautiful and elegant for women and so I was more than happy to acquiesce.

My first action in Pakistan is a meeting with the Head of Red Crescent in this region. We chat for about an hour and I am blown away by the knowledge, passion and dedication that is flowing from this man. I learn a lot about the political, cultural and social situations in Pakistan and am given many points into which I will investigate further. The history is incredibibly interesting, with regards to tribal areas, governing Princes, how Pakistan has been used and left to clean up the mess by various world powers. Pakistan faces environmental disasters of grand proportion with regards to flooding and earthquakes. There is great need in this country and so very much to do. He spoke lovingly and warmly about the Pakistani people. How they are some of the most caring people on the planet, a sentiment I agree with. They really do want peace and to change the perception that mass media has dumped upon them. I leave the meeting feeling empowered to make a change for the better. There is a place for Frothy Betty in Pakistan.

The weather is hot… too hot to be content with. We meet with a friend of The Karakoram Club, (a wonderful group of like minds connecting people for the love of mountains), who very generously offers paying for a night at a hotel in a mountain hill resort so we can escape the city heat. I’m moved by this lovely gesture, an example of the generosity of locals.

So off we head to Murree. Bye for now Islamabad.



Long Haul Flight, Stopovers and Time to Think - Frothy Betty In Pakistan

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Flying in to Abu Dhabi airport as the golden globe of the sun bursts across the horizon, the radiant glow illumintating the earth, a question floats in my mind. Why Pakistan? Leading up to this trip when I told people I am going to Pakistan… the response was always Why Pakistan? We are used to the image that gives us many many reasons why not to go to Pakistan… mainstream media visions of terrorism and taliban permeates our perception, so for many it’s a struggle to find even one good reason to go there. People wonder about the safety and assume I’m going to my early death. I had a seven hour stop over in United Arab Emirates to ponder this question and contemplate my imminent early demise.

Why Pakistan? It is home to the world’s highest mountain ranges, Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindukush with 5 of the 8 thousanders including K2, Nanga Parbat and Gasherbrum… I love mountains and would take any opportunity to be close to these. Surrounding these mountain ranges is truly spectactular scenery. Pakistan has one of the most beautiful road trips on the planet, the Karakoram Highway, and to have the opportunity to travel this with my local friend on motorbike makes my heart sing. The mighty Indus river which runs from Tibet through India then flows the length of Pakistan has some of the oldest civilisations on earth. Pakistan has been sorely used and its image tainted unfairly. Pakistan's people are welcoming, happy and eager to please. They want peace, and are incredibly hospitable, despite what mass media would have us believe. They are very proud of the natural beauty that they have been blessed with. It’s my duty to help change perceptions, to build and connect communities. I will not be deterred by blinkered views of the muslim faith, by warped misconceptions and fear mongering and I refuse to perpetuate the same. Open hearts and open minds, here’s to a better world!

Walking into the international Abu Dhabi terminal the announcement calls "You are entering this country during the holy month of Ramzan, there is no eating or drinking in public during sunlight hours”, a man lays his rug on the terminal floor and prays. I smile for the love of international airports where all people of all cultures meet. I’d love to see a world where such open displays of culture and acceptance of these is a part of every nation and every day life. I want my kids to grow up with love in their hearts for humanity… Now to find a place where I can hide and fill my rumbling stomach :p

I was invited to visit Pakistan “the land of the pure” to see for myself its peace, passion and beauty. I see the world in technicolor and I embrace the journey I am on. So I smile and rejoice as I board the flight to Islamabad. Pakistan here I come.

Frothy Betty - Connecting Communities

Friendship community garden has begun


In 2015 Frothy Betty supported the creating of a new community garden at the Tibetan Old Peoples home in Chauntra village Himachal Pradesh India. We were lucky enough to visit this garden and see the progress first hand, expeiencing the wonderful impact of communities helping communities.


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See updates on this project here.http://www.pozible.com/project/196755#updates

The old me welcomes the new me.

This is what my home page used to say… I have decided to keep the text as it is part of what motivates me. It is such a wonderful thing to be able to grow and learn and explore.

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Frothy Betty is born of the creative mind of Liz Norman. Many moons ago in the sleepy old town of Brisbane Australia Lizzy liked her Lattes frothy and a friend liked the name Betty and so it began. Frothy Betty travelled slowly south leaving the scattered breadcrumbs of an artistic trail behind and settled in the not so sleepy and not so warm town of Melbourne.

Liz is a visual artist with skills crossing many genres. She has worked in Theatre, Animation, Illustration, Film and Television as well as producing art for solo and group exhibitions in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. After completing a Visual Arts degree majoring in Illustration at Queensland College of Art, Liz helped create several children's television productions with ABC Television in Brisbane. Liz has also completed training in directing and post production through the Australian Film and Television and Radio School in Sydney. Her own films have appeared in the Brisbane International Film Festival, Canberra Film Festival and Splendour In the Grass. While all this has been going on Liz has maintained her passion for creating art. She loves textures, things that shine, things that ooze, things that fill a person with wonder and intrigue and make you think even a little bit about stuff... oh and she likes constructing things to create 3-Dimensional art. She now also designs and constructs small and large scale outdoor installations. She loves spending time in the great outdoors creating.

We create things that shine, things that ooze, things that fill a person with wonder and intrigue, things that make you think even a little bit about stuff. From tiny aceo art cards to giant 3dimensional totems, from iPad apps to animation, from market art to christmas cards, from bottle top people to collage and all things recycled art in between. If it's art we'll create it.

Time Management and how I grew another 3 of me...

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If only I could dig a little hole in the garden and plant a bit of me so up would pop another one of me. The truth is trying to do 3 jobs in one is actually physically impossible.

At the moment Frothy Betty is making outdoor musical instruments, totem poles, proposals for kinders and schools, developing ideas, volunteer playground development, and enriching the minds of childen whilst failing to - promote the business, blog and update a website. Hence the need for more of me. It could be that one needs to smile, take deep breaths and take it all step by step :)

I guess another option would be to steal Hermione’s time turner or develop some sort of time portal or walk an alternate plane. Mr Newton I love your mind dearly ( I wouldn’t have named my second child after you if I didn’t love your way of thinking) but I do sometimes wish that magic was real!

It's a Montage

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Up to my ears in plastic bottle tops

• "Montage -thetechniqueofproducinganewcompositewholefromfragments of pictures,text,ormusic"….

So this time I really should have updated sooner as there is so much to tell… but becasue I have been so busy creating I have had NOOO time for sharing my adventures. So here it is in Montage form :)

The low down of the past 2 and a half months in the life of Frothy Betty is this,

- Totem pole incursion at Gordon Street Preschool

- Market stall at Healesville, Craft Markets Victoria

- Market stall at BNPS Christmas Night Market

- my sketchbook project book featured at Brooklyn Night Market.

- and right now, Totem Pole incursion at Olympic Avenue kindergarten

- andalso right now, Bottle top mural incursion at Beaumaris North Primary School… pics to follow

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Gordon Street Preschool totem sections

Also I feel the need to provide a little bit of clarification with regards to the totems. Yes I originally developed the concept of a modular totem for use in schools and kinders and they work a treat for that purpose… however they are as versatile as our imagination. My background in illustration and model-making has lead me to become a super duper problem solver. I look at any request and am happy to come up with a new design or concept to fit. Totem poles can come in all shapes and sizes. I enjoy the challenge of sourcing different timbers and creating new visual parameters. I will do commission totems for your home or work place with your ideas and dreams in mind. I am not in the habit of providing blank canvas totems and walking away - rather to guide you in the creation of, or to create for you, an amazing work of art.

The First Totem Tea - an experiment into the social interconnectivity of doing...

On Saturday 15th September 2012 Frothy Betty held the first ever Totem Tea.

Goal - to see if getting together with a bunch of people to paint sections of totem poles is scintillating orstultifying - ie cool or naff.

The Process - Upon arrival you choose a totem pole section. These are all predrilled, sanded and undercoated in exterior white. Your name is written on the piece. After painting, the name is written where it can be clearly seen… it is important to take pride in your work. Then you eat, drink, chat, paint and be merry. The totem sections are later outlined by Frothy Betty in white or black paint where appropriate, this brings out the art and unifies the pieces. Finally the pieces are lacquered for extra sparkle and to protect them if exhibiting outside.

On this particular day everyone did truly seem to enjoy the opportunity to do something tangible. To hold a piece of wood and paint while chatting to friends and strangers is a rewarding experience. Even those who claimed to have absolutely no creative talent outshone themselves and professed it to be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!!

Outcomes and achievements - proven that it is also fun and extremely self satisfying for adults not just kinder kids and school children. Everyone can be creative and WILL feel empowered when allowed to express themselves. Sooo - SHINY NOT NAFF.

My idevice addiction saved my fingernails

This is the fact. All my life I have chewed my fingernails. The intense type of chewing that leaves you with gnawed bloody stumps. Even when you know it will hurt if you just rip this one last bit of nail… I would go ahead and do it anyway. Until recently that is.

A couple of years ago I got an iPhone. I had refused to buy into the mobile phone way of life - had a couple of hand me down phones that annoyed me and I could never remember my phone number. And then… I was converted by iPhone. It was the most awesome device I had ever owned (not sure if that is an exaggeration but it feels a bit like that). I quickly became enthralled by my calender and the unbelievable ease of use. And apps glorious apps. All of a sudden I wanted to remember my phone number.

Then in April this year my partner and I bought an iPad under the ruse that it would be useful for our overseas trip. Now I am a total iDevice junky. iPads are the bees knees. I spend hours doing app "research" and I love that I can do this anywhere. ("Why?" I hear you say, "apps don't have anything to do with Frothy Betty!"… not yet — watch this space).

A potential downside - my kids are addicted too. Is it time to cut back when a 4yr old child uses finger swipes to connect pictures in a paper book and refers to real life events as "in this level I did…" Hmmm perhaps…

Anyway the upshot is because my fingers are always tap tap tapping and swipe swipe swiping, I now have unchewed normal looking nails :)

Woo Hoo

It is very exciting to be selling art through my redbubble site… big thankyou :)