Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Best Made Plans of Mice and Travellers - When Things Go Wrong

We had a good morning leaving the Mondi Grundlsee Resort. Everything worked according to plan: we arose early, showered, I shaved, we dressed, packed, cleaned up our studio apartment and then headed for our last breakfast.

Chris had muesli and a pancake with jam. I had a piece of toast with cheese and ham topping and a plate of fruit. It was supposed to keep us going for most of what was left of the day. And it did, as our minds were elsewhere.
We managed to share a taxi to Bad Aussie train station with another couple, so our fare was half what it would have been. Doing good so far. Then it happened ... it all turned to shit at Salzburg.
When we arrived at Salzburg, for some reason better known to someone else, we got on the wrong train. Yes, you read that correctly. In a panic to change trains, we got on a train returning to near where we had come from and not the train to Innesbruck. So we unneedlessly loaded our baggage onto a train taking us the wrong way. After about five minutes, we realised that we had erred. Needless to say, the train's first stop was an hour out of the starting point, at Linz.

We enjoyed viewing all the Austrian countryside that we had now seen three times, as we discussed how anyone as intelligent, well educated and travelled as we are could be so bloody stupid. Then we realised that shit happens and we would just go with the flow. What else could we do?

Things got better at Linz. We had time to scratch ourselves and grab a snack and drink and when Christina told our sorry tale to the ticketing people, they put us on a train direct to Innesbruck meaning we didn't have to return to Salzburg.

We loaded our considerable amount of luggage onto the Innesbruck train and thought we were cooking with gas. That is until we got to Belzano with only five minutes to change trains for the remainder of the trip to Merano. We could do it, especially since the nice ticket conductor had told us it was leaving from platform one.

We quickly offloaded our gear and headed for platform one using two lifts (elevators), both of which were the slowest we have ever seen. But we made it to platform one with two minutes to spare only to find the train closed down.

After we heard an announcement in Italian which we deciphered to mean the Merano train would now be leaving from platform five, we rushed to the lift and headed for platform five. Guess what? We missed the bloody train by about 10 seconds. It drove off as we headed to the doors with our bags.

Shortly after I finished my display of indecent and obscene language (thank goodness nobody was nearby), we trudged back to the main station area to see if there were any later trains. There was ... exactly one hour later and I'm sitting on it while I type this blog.

I've regained my composure, gotten over my guilt about my childish outburst of bad language, and regret that we couldn't advise our resort that we will be arriving late because we don't have the phone number, can't read an Italian telephone book, and really don't give a rat's bootlace anyway.

It can only get better from here.


Robin


Traveller's rule one: Never carry more than one small suitcase and a backpack

Traveller's rule two: Never carry more than one small suitcase unless you can't avoid it

Traveller's rule three: Never carry more than a backpack unless it's absolutely essential

Traveller's rule four: Always record every telephone number you think you could possibly need in your mobile phone. I'ts much easier than trying to read phone books in foreign languages.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Grundlsee in Beautiful Austria

It's absolutely stunningly beautiful with tall, snow-capped mountains, cool, fresh water in its lake, and quaint little houses all similar in design and structure. It's Grundlsee (Lake Grundl) a small village surrounding a lake near Bad Aussee east of Salzburg in Austria. (See two photos at bottom of collage - double click photo to enlarge)

Our time share at Beach House, Coolangatta in Australia is a six berth time share which allows us a number of "points" that we can use at any other time share anywhere on planet earth. We've never stayed at Beach House, but we've used it extensively elsewhere and when we stay in a place with fewer than six berths, our points go further.

At Grundlsee we stayed for a week at the Mondi Holiday Resort in a double bed studio which had a small kitchen and all the comforts one could want.

While at Grundlsee we did a lot of walking (see photo of Christina walking along a leaf strewn track). We took a bus to Bad Aussee and bought a few things including haircuts, some shoes, and a few other odds and ends including a nice lunch.

Accompanied by two lovely German ladies, with whom we had difficulty communicating, (but never the less enjoyed each others company), we did a horse and buggy tour of Bad Mittendorf a few kilometres away from Grundlsee. The photo above shows Christina with the two horses who did the hard work pulling us around town.

Part way on our journey, which was quite cheap at 24 Euros per head, we were handed some schnapps glasses and a bottle of schnapps to do a bit of quaffing. It warmed up the whole inner being and was lovely given that it was around 4 degrees C. We also stopped at a lovely little restaurant for lunch and of course, more schnapps. I had quite a glow by the time we got back onto the buggy as did the two German ladies.

Life in a town like Grundlsee and the many other similar towns in this part of Austria must be wonderful. Locals told us the snow was late this year, but should arrive soon. It had arrived on some of the tall hills surrounding the town, but not yet fallen in the town itself. We would have loved to have seen the snow fall ... next time.

Robin

Thursday, November 04, 2010

From Rome to Palermo in Eight Days

Our tour of Sicily began in Rome and over 10 days took us down the west coat of Italy through the Bay of Naples, Sorrento, Isle of Capri, and Salerno to Taormina on the eastern tip of Sicily.


In Rome, we took some private time to walk around the Vatican which was only a few hundred metres from where we were staying. It has an ancient security wall around its perimeter and although aged, is still very impressive. Inside, it is spacious with lovely gardens and multiple buildings. (Photo of Chris at Vatican main entry - second left)

As part of our tour, we visited the Vatican Museum which is chock full of religious artifacts going back thousands of years. Most notable are the dozens of embroidered carpets representing decades, if not lifetimes of work for their artists. Truly beautiful works, like much of the work done throughout history in the belief that they were being done in the service of one or other gods. Zeuss for example; ancient Romans slaughtered 400 oxen per year to keep Zeus on side. It seems that Zeuss didn't reciprocate, so eventually he went the way of all gods ... into the wastebin of rationality. I wonder how long it will be before the current gods are seen for what they are and also discarded.


As part of our tour, We dined in a few nice restaurants experiencing the Italian/Sicilian cuisine, walked the local streets looking into the large number of high range fashion shops and more, scurried out of the way of Italian drivers, and (Robin) noticed that there are so many lean, shapely women who jam themselves into tight, tight jeans and wear long leather boots. Delightful!


The Isle of Capri is beautiful with lovely views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Clearly a tourist destination, it has numerous old, stately hotels and charming shops (Photo of Robin in cake shop). We visited the "famous gardens" and Faraglioni Rocks and a funicular ride was included (inclined railway).


Taormina, Enna, Erice, Agrigento, and Palermo were all worth visiting, but Taormina was our favourite. It exists on different levels up the hillside.


At Palermo we did a guided tour of the Valley of Temples, considered the finest Greek sanctuary in Sicily and rivaling those of Athens in their grandeur. (see photo). Our Sicilian tourist guides had an annoying language characteristic that seems to be universal among Sicilian tour guides (who taught them English?). They seem to add a after everything so a sentence in Sicilian English could sound like: "The Romans-a came here-a about 2,500 years ago-a. I have no idea where this peculiarity of speech comes from, but it seemed that they were adding it intentionally to emphasise its existence. Very peculiar.


Italian cities are obviously overcrowded with thousands and thousands of small cars crammed into everything that looks like a parking space. There are literally thousands of SMART cars (Mercedes Benz) and they park everywhere ... perfect for that type of environment and no doubt run on the smell of an oily rag. (see photo) I'd love one to drive about Alice Springs. The lack of car parking space and density of population in high-rise buildings has also created cities that are absolutely filthy, mor like some of the Arab countries we have visited than like Germany, which is quite the opposite.


We flew from Palermo to Munich and after staying overnight in a ridiculously expensive hotel (conveniently situated near the airport), we took a train from Munich to Bad Aussee and thence a taxi to the Mondi Resort at nearby Grundlsee.


More about Grundlsee next post.






Robin

Friday, October 22, 2010

Touring Turkey a Country of Differences

Turkey is a lovely country of differences not found elsewhere.

For example, it is populated by an almost majority muslim population, but has managed to remain democratic and secular thanks to it's greatest leader, Mustaffa Kamel Attaturk and those who have followed.

Sharia Law hasn't taken over in Turkey as it has elsewhere, much to the detriment of those countries like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.

Some areas, particularly in the less advanced, traditional country areas are more Islamic than the more modern parts such as Ankara and Istanbul. There, women wear the typical head scarves and dress more modestly than those in the more enlightened areas. The enlightened population wears Western dress and conducts itself very much as we do, however, I did note that almost everyone smokes. The health message about smoking has obviously not been delivered in Turkish society.

Noted Islamic historian, Daniel Pipes discusses Turkish Islamism and why Turkey is a modern, advanced society (unlike most other muslim countries) in his excellent address at Perth, Australia in August 2010.

Turkey is a geographically large country with a population of around 73 million. Most people seem to live in apartments and very few stand-alone houses were visible during our extensive trip of about 3,000 km. The cities were much cleaner than those in Egypt, Syria, or Jordan, but less clean than most Australian cities.

The food in Turkey was excellent and plentiful and the Turkish beer, Efes, was also nice once I became accustomed to it.

When you live in a "new" Western country like Australia, it's humbling to visit a country with a history as long and complex as Turkey's.

At Cappadocia (see photo one) there are thousands of sandstone mounds which ancient peoples have carved into to make dwellings. Mosques are plentiful, as would be expected and the Blue Mosque at Istanbul is one of the more historic mosques. Christina is seen entering the Blue Mosque in photo two. I had seen enough mosques and didn't want to take my shoes off yet again, so I remained outside to take the photo.

We made some new friends during our tour which included several other Australians, some Americans and Canadians. The photo of me (Robin) with Alec, a police officer from the USA, was taken at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, another excellent historical site that is huge.

Overall, the tour of Turkey was excellent. Our Turkish guide was well organised, very personable and humorous and had an in-depth knowledge of Islam, Turkish society and history. Our coach driver was miraculous being able to zoom between cars, park in spots just a tad bigger than the coach, and remain safe while taking us from place to place.

Of all the places, the Ataturk Memorial at Ankara was my favourite. It's huge with hundreds of artifacts and of beautiful stone construction. It demonstrates the love Turkish people have for their great leader who was obviously not only a leader, but a visionary. We need more people like him today.

We visited Gallipoli while here and remembered all the Australian and NZ men who had died defending the British Empire during the First World War. So many graves. So much wasted potential on both sides. It was a bit sad, but the saddest thing is that we haven't learnt from our mistakes. It seems that we are destined to keep creating the same mistakes over and over ... man's inhumanity to man seems to have no bounds.

Now of course, Australia and most other Western countries have a new enemy, one that works from within and without and must be defeated if we are not to lose our freedom and democracy.

I wonder what historians will have to say about those of us who live in the 20th Century once we have all returned to the dust from whence we came? Sadly, you and I will never know.

Robin

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Egypt and the wow! Factor

Everyone has learnt something about Egypt, but it's not until you do the tour that you realise the impact the Egyptians made on this part of the planet. Most of the days we spent here were around 44 degrees Celsius. And it's approaching their winter!

The number of temples and structures devoted to the dozens of gods, is overwhelming. The fact that it's difficult to find a flat surface without heiroglyphs is also overwhelming. It seems that the Egyptians, whoever they were and wherever they came from, did nothing else but build massive stone structures and then write all over them.

Their engineering and mathematics must have been outstanding, but they didn't leave evidence of much else.At one stage it crossed my mind that we had paid a lot of money to see a lot of broken down old rocks. But every cent was worth it. It's something everyone needs to do once.


Our guide, Osama is an Egyptologist who knows his subject inside out and is also very passionate about it. Of course he is, he's Egyptian. How could anyone live here and not be interested in the history? Osama provided extensive overviews of each and every antiquity as well as held the group of about 34 together from a logistical point.


The townships we saw in Egypt are almost identical with other poor muslim Arab countries; run-down, dirty places with rubbish everywhere. Most muslim countries don't seem to work well. Author Ayan Hirsi Ali in her recently released book "Nomad" attributed this to the lack of critical thinking ability and a lack of motivation found in Islam that attributes everything that happens as the "will of god" (Inshállah) and waits for him, her or it to do the heavy lifting. Despite thousands of years, they still don't seem to have learnt that depending on someone else to do things, even Allah, is risky and the result shows in the lack of societal progress.


What I find most remarkable is that the Egyptians were obviously excellent civil engineers but believed so strongly in the supernatural as to spend most of their time, effort and resources building and preparing for an afterlife not founded on rationale or evidence ... humankind's continuing need to find a purpose for being and an explanation for the universe that has perpetuated throughout recorded history and resulted in thousands, if not tens of thousands of religous myths, even by today's enlightened masses.


The question foremost on my mind is why, after the Egyptian civilization crumbled and after the Roman era, why has this great country become a second-rate country? Maybe if I read the book on Egypt that Christina bought, I'll find out, although I feel I already know at least part of the answer.


At the time of writing, we have spent our first day at Istanbul ... an apparently much more civilised, clean and functional place than Egypt.



Robin

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our End of Week Get-together

The last day of the week at this end of the planet is Thursday. Our hosts and friends had arranged a social get-together for us Thursday evening, one of many we had held over the years in the same pleasant venue.


A cosy group of friends and colleagues was able to attend arriving at around 8 pm. It was great to be able to spend a little time with each updating on what they had been doing and what we had done during our two years since leaving. We felt as though we hadn't really been gone for two years. What had we done in all that time, other than gotten a tad older?


The bottom right photo of the collage is a pre-arrival photo of one of two large rooms in our hosts' house that are used for entertainment. By Australian standards, the house is a mansion. It has three large bedrooms each with complete ensuites, a large kitchen, servant's quarters, two large entertainment areas and another large area used as a television room. The ceilings are perhaps 13 or 14 feet and the entrance has a paved, garden area that is quite large also. Nothing is done small in the United Arab Emirates where there is so much wealth it's unbelievable.


Serge's bar shown at left is the same as the one Christina bought me for my last birthday in the UAE. The difference between Serge's and mine is that mine bad a couple of borers included at no extra expense. They did the long trip to Australia and died in our loungeroom after we heard them boring away inside and sprayed the cabinet. Fortunately, my bar is still standing.


Tonight we are having dinner at the Bawadi Mall with some friends who couldn't make the Thursday night bash. Tomorrow we drive out to Abu Dhabi airport around 0530 h for our flight to Cairo and subsequent tour of Egypt. It's a tough life, but someone has to do it.


Robin

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Little Like Coming Home

Arriving at Abu Dhabi airport was a little like coming home ... the home we had left two years ago. Had we been residents of the Emirates living in Australia for two years or residents of Australia living in the Emirates? Although the answer is clear, sometimes it felt like a bit of a jumble.

The flight over was terrible. Thirteen hours travelling cattle class with a young man nearby who vomited at regular intervals or made loud choking noises. An apparent Downs Syndrome boy, it was hard not to feel sorry for him and his parents while at the same time having to put up with the noises while eating, trying to sleep and fill in time with the hope that the journey would be over soon. We realised that being parents of a hearing impaired son at times it had been difficult enough for us, but it could have been much worse.

After months of rain and cold weather at Alice Springs, it was lovely to arrive at Abu Dhabi with 30 degree heat and rain free. Although the sky was full of sand dust, it was still very pleasant.

We took a taxi to Al Ain to our friends'place which is, by Australian standards, almost a palace for two people. A property like theirs in Sydney would be worth millions. When we saw it again, memories of the many dinners and parties we had attended at this fine edifice ... Canadian Thanks-Givings, Christmas Dinners, and a few just to say goodbye to friends who were departing or ad hoc events with just one or two couples.

After cleaning up and getting a change of clothes we took a taxi to Al Ain Mall where Christina wanted to visit one of our favourite restaurants, the Beirut, to see if their humous and Lebanese bread was still as nice as it had been. To our delight it was.

There's more to do today and on the weekend we hear that one of our friends is having a party for us. How fortunate can one be? What a great start to our holiday.

If only one could live at Al Ain and not have to work, we'd be here in a flash.

Robin



Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Difficulty Deciding What to Take ...

No matter how you do it, deciding what to take and what to leave behind when you travel is a difficult task.

I like to lay out in front of me, usually on our bed, all those things I think I need to take. Then I rationalise between what I want to take and what I really need, bearing in mind that I will buy something while away ... a few souvenirs and presents for family and friends. A new shirt or pair of boots.

When you are going to both hot and cold climates, it's even a greater challenge. Because we are spending the first half of our holiday in the Middle East where it will be warmish, we have decided not to take too many heavy winter clothes. We'll buy what we need during the second half of our journey in the Italian and Austrian Alps, the UK and Scotland where it will be colder. If we are really lucky and those countries are having heatwaves (oh, yeah?) then we won't have to buy anything.

Buying new clothes means you are able to discard some of the worn-out stuff you've been carrying about but are too attached to to ditch. Well, I get attached to my clothes and stuff, don't you?

It's very hard to turf out something that has kept you warm winter after winter ... an old faithful ... and to recruit something untried and untested.

So, the packing continues. As we leave tomorrow, decisions need to be made, rationalising needs to be done. We need to fit our stuff into our new Delsey suit cases and by some miracle be less than the allocated weight.

Tomorrow it's Alice Springs to Adelaide to Melbourne and then to Abu Dhabi. It will be a little like going home.

Robin

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One Week Until Our Overseas Tour

There's only a week to go before we fly out of Central Australia to Melbourne and thence the world. Needless to say, we are excited about having a break from Alice Springs and visiting our many friends at Al Ain and elsewhere. Also, when you live at Alice Springs so far away from the coast and other cities, it's necessary to have a break at least annually as the place becomes too small.

Here is our itinerary. For security reasons, I have not provided local contact details or exact locations, but friends can email us to find those out if need be.


We are doing several tours, one nine day trip through Egypt that includes a boat trip up the Nile. We do a 14 day bus tour through the more historical parts of Turkey including Gallipoli, which all Australians need to visit at least once. There's also a nine day tour through Italy that includes Naples and Sicily.

We have a time share at the Gold Coast in Queensland (Australia) that is transferable to other countries. We will be using it to stay at locations in the Austrian Alps, the Italian Alps and the countryside somewhere in France. (wee, wee).

Unfortunately, we will need to carry winter and summer clothing, which increases the load. However, we've invested in two new travel bags that are sturdy but light and will take as little heavy stuff as possible.

While we are touring I will update this blog as often as possible. If you want to be advised of updates, why not follow the blog so you get notified that a new post has been made?

I've also been asked to be a guest blogger on a travel blog, but have yet to find out more about that.

Watch this space!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Long Cold Winter

As I write, it's been raining again overnight and golf for this morning is cancelled. With the rain, it's not as cold as it has been, but is still cold enough to have a heater on and the doors and windows closed.

This winter seems to have been colder than previous. In fact, we have had the coldest day ever recorded in Central Australia this month. The temperature never went about 6 degrees Celsius for the day. Now I know some of you who live in places where it gets really cold, will have a giggle at that. However, remember that Central Australia is an arid, dry environment that also gets very hot in summer. We're accustomed to it getting cold in winter, but not that cold for so long. I recall a minus 6 degrees once, but it usually occurs when one is wrapped up in bed ... or should be.

For only the second time in our 38 years together, Christina has been very sick with influenza and bronchitis having had about seven days of it. So much for the innoculations we had for swine flu and normal flu. I had a dose that kept me away from work for two days, but it wasn't anywhere near as severe as the dose Christina has ... probably one of the dubious benefits of working in a hospital.

Anyway, I'm off to Darwin for a few days next week where it will be warmer and I can soak in some sun beams and return home feeling all the better for it.

Robin

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Travels in Wonderlands

My dear wife Christina has been busy for the last couple of weeks booking hotels, air flights, and otherwise arranging our trip overseas for September to December. We will be visiting the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Turkey, France, Austria, Germany, the UK and Scotland and calling in to see some of our friends enroute.

As soon as we have everything finalised, I'll prepare an itinerary and post it online somewhere for friends to download. That way, if you are going to be home or near where we are, we may be able to get together.

There's a fair bit of arranging to do, but Chris is doing a top job as she does with everything she touches. She's one of those lucky people who seems to be able to do everything, also she does tell me occasionally that she can't make pavlova ... tough. Get over it I say.

This will probably be the last great trip we do and we will have a lovely house available for close friends who would like to spend three months at Alice Springs. All you'd have to do is make sure the watering system keeps going and the plants don't die. However, three months is a long time to spend at Alice Springs, you can see everything here in about two or three weeks. But, it would be a perfect opportunity to sit around and write your memoirs, recover from a broken heart, or something else that doesn't involve too much touring. Think about it.

Watch this space for the itinerary.

Robin

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Christina's 60th Birthday Party

On Saturday, 17th April 2010, my wife and best friend turned 60. It's just a number, but it is linked to a lot of other numbers like our meeting on 1 January 1972 at Hobart, Tasmania; our marriage on 17th February 1973, the birthdays of our children Dale and Meredith in 1975 and 1977 respectively, and finally, the 37 years we've spent together.

Cause and effect.

When I look back, the evening we met at a friend's party seems quite clear as does the chemistry. But since then, much has happened and somehow we've both reached the latter years of our lives.

Where did the time go? Why did it go so fast while we were focusing on the minutia of life?

As I searched for some photos of Christina for a PowerPoint display, I found numerous photos taken in the first years of our lives together. I was taken back by how very attractive my wife is and hoped that over the ensuing years I had taken time to tell her that ... as I'm sure I must have on numerous occasions.

Getting older isn't all that bad. A day or two after her birthday, I reminded Chris to complete the application forms for her Seniors Card and Seniors Concession Card, both of which are available from the Northern Territory Government on production of various documentary evidence. The Seniors Card is available to anyone over 60 and enables one to get discounts when purchasing from businesses or government agencies that subscribe to the scheme of giving discounts to senior citizens. The card we all really want is the Seniors Concession Card (not available to men until 65 which I feel stinks).

When Christina gets her concession card, part of the cost of our utilities, car registration and insurance, house rates and a few other things will be discounted. That's good, because it frees up money we can now spend on prescription medicines that we will inevitably need as our bodies continue to age. Life has a way of looking after us with its checks and balances.

The next major event in our lives will hopefully be when we sell our house at Alice Springs, buy a new four wheel drive and a caravan and head off to travel all over this lovely country.

That sounds like the Great Australian Dream.

Robin

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Reason for Angry Old Men

With the rigours of work, a minimal social life, looking after house, car and body, I haven't posted here since Australia Day. For a person who loves English language, writing, and who is garrulous, it's totally out of character. So, here I am for an April ramble.


Now that I'm an old man (I prefer older) I know why people refer to "angry old men". Or more to the point, I know why older men get angry. It's because we've been around long enough to see the decay in society, the incompetence of governments, the disorder of organisations, and the absolute stupidity of our fellow human beings. Let me explain.

When one is 20 something our minds are filled with establishing our educational qualifications and careers; we hope that romance is in the air and everything around us is interesting, fresh and new.

Advance by 40 years and you've been there, done that. You know that:

  1. despite what anyone says, there is no such thing as a perfectly functional organisation. No matter what spin anyone tries to put on it, Board members, the press, the Chief Executive Officer, you know that every organisation you have experienced has a shit load of dead wood; managers that couldn't organise sex in a brothel, and only performing at a part of its capacity. Yes, some are better than others, but at a fundamental level, most organisations stumble along
  2. personal relationships, especially those of a romantic/intimate nature, are doomed to be difficult, heart-breaking and disappointing for you or others you know; there's no such thing as a perfect relationship. All you need do is look at domestic violence figures, divorce stats, and read the news
  3. otherwise smart people get knocked over by substance abuse. You wonder why increasing numbers of supposedly sensible, intelligent people sniff cocaine, stick needles full of junk in their arms, or smoke cannabis
  4. billions mindlessly allow religions to control their dress, reproduction, suppress half of their population because they aren't male, and brainwash their faithful followers with guilt and the fear of eternal damnation without a shred of evidence
  5. having a non-discriminatory immigration policy sounds very up-market and "nice", but is totally disasterous for a Western, liberal society being threatened with muslim immigrants who won't integrate and who agitate to impose their way of life on the rest of us
  6. governments never tackle the difficult issues, only those where they can score points and get re-elected into office
  7. the Keynesian system of economics doesn't work and is partially responsible for the irresponsible use of our natural resources and damage to our environment
In the end you get angry and decide that you will never vote again because when you do, you always get a politician; you decide that you will never again tick a box that asks if you are "Aboriginal or Non Aboriginal" because you don't feel like being classified by race; you begin agitating to governments to ban muslim immigration, solve aboriginal alcohol abuse by banning them from drinking, and you try to show people how religion is the most divisive force on the planet responsible for most of humanity's misery.

Although the change in attitude from subservient compliance to stubborn resistance looks like "angry", it's really that we have matured and see the world in a different light.

In the end, every day is a beautiful day. We can hopefully, live our lives with a sense of achievement and fulfillment. Occasionally we should reflect on how extremely rare was the probability of our birth and be thankful that our spermatozoon led the pack.

Now that was a different post.

Robin

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day 2010

Australia Day this year is a relatively quiet one for our family. Christina is on afternoon shift at the hospital and I'm home alone watching tennis and doing some tasks about the house, including monitoring some turkey legs getting cooked in our slow cooker.

Shortly I'm going over to our son, Dale's place for a beer (just one, since I'm driving) and to console him a bit as his car was set ablaze by some hoons recently and is a wipe off. What pleasure do these people get destroying someone's property?

My son's not a millionaire and, although the vehicle was insured, he'll not get back in cash what the utility value of it was.

On Saturday evening we have a late Australia Day celebration with friends which should compensate for the slowness of the actual day ... today.

My father was born on Australia Day and when I was a young fellow he told me we got a public holiday to celebrate it. For an hour or two, I'm sure I believed him. He would have been 92 today had he not died too early.

As the chorus our National Anthem states, "Advance Australia Fair."

Robin