Archive for December, 2008

Party in Sydney

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

I really should know better than to drink seven glasses of champagne in a row–even if it’s good champagne. I should, but I don’t. So for all you people out there killing time ’til you go to the party or hanging out and getting drunk this very instant, consider your ways people. Tomorrow is a headache.

Since I can’t think very clearly, I thought I’d upload some more Sydney pictures. New Years here was a blast. We were at a friend’s apartment with a lovely balcony overlooking the harbor, the bridge and downtown. People partied on all sides and the apartment high rises were filled with revelers hooting and hollering. Sydney has two fireworks showings: one at 9 p.m. for the families and then one at midnight for the n’er do wells–which would be everyone. We watched both. The 9 p.m. was merely a teaser. The midnight blasts were far cooler with incredible fireworks coming off the sides of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The theme was creativity (last year was love) and there were fireworks that looked like flowers blooming. It was all synchronized. Plus, there were launchers off the top of four or five Sydney sky scrapers that added to the display. Impressive.

The day before we were at the beach. It was gorgeous. It’s beautiful today, but no one is out and about. If they’re like me, they’re trying to not move too much or look at bright lights, either. I have an urge to take a nap and just might do that. I’m still in my p.j.s and it’s the afternoon, so why not?

Most of these pictures are taken with a very old Sony Cybershot 7.2 MP. I still like the camera even though the newer ones have better control. My camera ran out of batteries halfway through the New Years party and so I used the iPhone Night Camera app. It works remarkably well. I’d highly recommend downloading it for your iPhone.

Road to Cairn

Cliff

McDonalds Is Everywhere
There is no sense of being far away in Australia. McDonald’s and Burger Kings are everywhere. Since I ate at both, the food is remarkable–it tastes exactly as nasty as it does in America. Their standards are amazing. They even hire the same pimply kids here.
Burger King

Path

Parasurfing?

91

Flags

Burquini

Round House in Hill

Picnickers Waiting For Sunset

Disembark

Golden

Almost Twilight

Sydney at Dusk

Creator

Sydney is a notoriously agnostic city by all accounts. So some enterprising Christian decided to take the fireworks theme and remind everyone about who the Creator really is. It was fun guessing what the sky-writer was trying to say. The phrase was “The Creator Is Jesus”.

Jesus

Finale

It’s not a night of fireworks without sparklers! Taken with the iPhone.
Sparkler



Intolerant San Francisco

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Intolerant San Francisco
Black flight from a liberal city.



George Bush Liberator

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

George Bush Liberator
Free people. Think of that.



Happiness Is…

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Happiness Is….
A colored wedding dress.



Obama Exercises Greatness

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Obama Exercises Greatness
The Anchoress notes the press’ tongue bath. Meanwhile, I’m figuring they’re covering for Obama’s smoking. They excessively adore his fitness routine.



Back From Tribulation Point

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

I’ve been through Hell, Michigan. Now, I can say I went to Tribulation Point. It was a lot more beautiful than one would imagine. Lush forests, the ocean, sandy beach and a coral reef out there somewhere combines to make a fairly lovely trial, if one must have one.

That was two days ago. Today, after getting some LED light therapy (more about that in another post some time), we drove an hour to Long Beach, NSW, Australia. I’ve been struggling to decide which American city Sydney most reminds me of and have finally concluded that Sydney is most like San Diego, California. It has the city and the harbor, but it also has these steep foothills and mountains with homes built up the sides. There are relaxed little border beach towns and then big skyscrapers representing the biggest businesses you can think of downtown in the city. Where San Diego has the perfect weather–warm during the day, dry, and cool at night. Sydney has humidity and a cold, dreary winter. Otherwise, Sydney is a lot like San Diego and San Diego is one of my favorite American cities.

The weather turned out perfect today. We’ve felt a bit Eeyorish–with clouds seemingly following us wherever we go. The same thing happened today, momentarily, and I looked at the gathering clouds with suspicion, thinking that maybe the Sydney landscape viewed us much like the White Mountain viewed Gandalf. Alas, no. The clouds passed and a breezy, lovely beach day ensued.

I saw a real, live burquini today. Yes. I. Did. I took a picture of the woman who swam in a carefree manner even if she labored under layers of clothing in the surf. The menfolk arrived later, surrounded by Western, sinful women in real, live bikinis. Very difficult to be a strict Muslim and do something as simple as going swimming in the ocean. For that reason alone, Islam could not be my religion nor Amishness.

Speaking of conservative religions… I have never gone on the record about this before, but I will now: I’m glad for my Puritanical heritage. Puritans and their whole “cleanliness is next to godliness” obsession were sooooo right. One great thing about Americans is their nearly universal compulsion to be clean. Personal hygiene is imperative. Most days, while walking through my American life, I take clean people for granted. Not anymore. Sharing public transportation–like say tour buses and say, plane cabins–with people from Europe, Asia, and Australia has taught me to have an attitude of gratitude for my American compatriots. It is a problem, fellow world travelers, when you stink at 9:00 a.m. while getting ON the bus before hiking the jungle. If you’re not going to shower, at least wear some deodorant.

Stinky people would not dissuade me from loving this part of the world, though. Port Douglas and Cairn, Australia are a couple of my favorite places. I’m reminded of Key West and Florida in general there. The vibe is laid back and optimistic and friendly. I really wish we had longer in the area. It was so beautiful. I’ll put up some pictures tomorrow.

Yes, I know about Israel and the war. No, I don’t want to think about it. That’s wrong, I know. The whole Middle East is suffering. Here’s my nutshell opinion: Israel needs to deal, once and for all, with the Palestinians. A decisive winner and loser needs to be named. The winner should be Israel. They should stop pulling punches and utterly defeat their enemies. That means it will be messy because the Palestinians fight among families, put rocket launchers in neighborhoods, and don’t care if their own children die–except to use as propaganda. They are cowards and tools of the greater Arab world and they are too stupid to realize that the only way the rest of the Muslim world loves them is as a way to torment Israel. Nothing more. It needs to stop. I hope a decisive Israeli victory will end this. The chronic misery produced by the terrorism and pot shots makes life a perpetual trauma.

Okay, gotta get to bed. I’ll work on more pictures tomorrow. Tomorrow night, we’ll be watching the fireworks ringing in the New Year over Sydney. From what I’ve been told, they are the best in the world. We’ll just see about that. America knows her some fireworks. Fourth of July has always been my spectacle to judge all other spectacles. The Chinese did their over-the-top Olympics ceremony deal, but that was more than a little creepy–what with the million robots I mean people working together as the Borg. I’m all for teamwork, but it’s a fine line before you’re the collective. But I digress. The Sydney fireworks will be something to behold, no doubt, and no tribulation at that.



Enlightened Redneck Of The Year

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

Enlightened Redneck Of The Year
Give yeh one guess, ya’ll.



Australian Rain Forest And Mossman Gorge

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

I kept expecting the gorillas to emerge from the mist but they never did. Wrong continent. Australia has crocodiles, not gorillas. It also has, like it’s allies the Americans, red necks. In this case, these Australian red neck people decided to frolic in the river next to the sign warning against frolicking lest one get eaten by a crocodile. Pondering such stupidity, I wondered out loud, “What do you say about people who get eaten by crocodiles next to the sign saying ‘don’t swim with the crocodiles’ at their funeral?” You certainly don’t feel sorry for them. My sister joked, “You say, ‘She died doing what she loved’.” And what’s that? Being stupid? So, we cross one little tributary on our way to the Denaine Rain Forest and I see a crocodile sitting near the edge. We cross the next one and Red Neck Ma and Pa and puppy are hanging out in the water splashing around.

Rain Forests are, generally, overrated. That is to say, once you’ve been one foot into one, you’ve seen what it looks like one yard or one hundred yards into one. Basically, there are ferns, trees, palms, more trees, more palms, birds that are singing, and butterflies, and loads and loads of bugs. My college biology teacher would be chagrined at my nonchalance. It was beautiful. That’s true. Lush, steamy, buggy, and dangerous looking, rain forests seem best enjoyed with copious netting and a machete. (Notice I didn’t mention bringing a 6, 9, and 11 year old who whined “how long until we go?” and “where are the tigers?” Seriously. These three things are extraneous to rain forest enjoyment.)

The novel thing about this rain forest is its proximity to the beach. According to my sister, this is the only place in the world where the rainforest goes all the way to the beach and ocean. And it does. I got great pictures which I’ll share with you at risk of being like that relative we all tolerate. How boring is it to look at other people’s pictures? Too bad. Besides, you should thank me. You could be looking at Blogojevich’s hair. I should get some sort of prize.

After getting carsick riding in the back seat to and through the rain forest, we came back and hiked into the Mossman Gorge. Now that’s something you need to see, if you come this direction. It is Aborigine territory. The Mossman River runs through the Gorge. There are huge boulders, a set of rapids, and soft shelled, very huge turtles that are shy. They didn’t come out. Still, it was beautiful. Next time, I’ll bring a picnic lunch.

Today we were supposed to go out on the Great Barrier Reef. 25 knot winds and my queasy stomach said no. Tomorrow should be better. I’ll let you know.



Australia In Pictures, Well, Parts of Sydney, Anyway

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Hi All! Well, I’ve figured out this much: my WordPress problem must be a Firefox problem, because the back end of my blog works fine in Safari. Go figure.

Today, we’re in Port Douglas. Flew up here yesterday. I’m finally sleeping better and used to the time change–although it’s been okay. The weather here is balmy and hot. Possibly tropical, certainly at least sub-Tropical. There is a rainforest that we might visit and huge hills–I’m not sure if they qualify as mountains. The beaches are gorgeous with tan, fine sand. It’s surreal, though. There are vast stretches of these gorgeous beaches with no one swimming. Sharks.

Tonight we went to a restaurant called the Pizza Shack and the food was excellent. I highly recommend the place if you’re in town. Get the garlic bread and the peking duck roles.

Tomorrow, we’ll be going to see the Great Barrier Reef. I’ll take pictures. It will be an all day affair with 400 people on one boat. Should be smelly considering the heat.

Hope you like the pictures!

Blokes

A whole store dedicated to “blokes”.

Obama Garage Sale

Barack Obama is hugely popular and being invoked to sell stuff people don’t need. Hmmmm…..

Christmizzle

Nerd chic is hawt in Australian. Actually, everyone is cool and relaxed from what I can see.

Climate Action NOW!

Lots of signs encouraging protecting the environment and protesting just about everything.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

Very beautiful punctuation to the harbor.

Sydney Opera House

I thought this looked like a sailing ship.

Sydney Opera House 2

Iconic Sydney.



Australia: Off To The Gold Coast!

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Hi all! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and joy-filled family time!

We’re on our way to Australia’s Gold Coast. That’s the Great Barrier Reef. If I can, I’ll report from there. Still can’t figure out pictures to my great frustration.