What a treat. Ever since I was a little kid and learned about Australia, I've been fascinated with the culture, geography, and people of Australia. I took my first trip to Sydney in July of 1999. Just before the 2000 Olympics. I toured some of the Olympic venues as they were being constructed and learned my way around the city. Over the past 9 years, I've traveled back and forth numerous times and managed to make some friends and find some great eateries and places to hang out. I've spent time at the beach and even played a few rounds of golf. I've traveled to the city of Melbourne, Australia a few times but that's been the extent of my travel around the continent. I do look forward to seeing more of the country at some point.
Just recently, I made it back down under. While there, we met up with some folks from the "Bush." What a trip that was! Let me start by saying that the "Aussies" love their booze. I didn't even try to keep up. It was a no-contest event. And I've been down that road before. Trust me, hangovers and jet lag don't mix very well. So instead of over-indulging in spirits, I asked lots of questions of my hosts. In the process I learned quite a bit about New South Wales, and Queensland. Seems to me like they've got lots of critters down there that can make your life miserable if not end it. Snakes, crocodiles, spiders, jellyfish, sharks, and more. (See a list of Australia's 10 most dangerous animals by clicking here) Just chatting with these folks put me in the mindset of the movie Crocodile Dundee. It was funny listening to these ladies describe how they routinely kill one of the most dangerous snakes in the world, the brown snake, with an instrument they called a waddy. Silly me, I thought the word "waddy" was some made up name for this weapon which in their case was a lengthy piece of PVC pipe that they used to "whack" the snake. Turns out that the word -waddy- is another name for an Australian Aboriginal war club. Check it out - I looked it up:
"A waddy is a heavy club constructed of carved timber. Waddies have been used in hand to hand combat, and were capable of splitting a shield, and killing or stunning food. In addition to this they could be employed as a projectile as well as used to make fire and make ochre. They found further use in punishing those who broke Aboriginal law."
These "Bush" people possessed a rugged but simple spirit which included a strong nationalistic undertone. While they seemed to admire America and Americans, they expressed a healthy opposition to our commercialism and pace of life. They all lived on and owned large plots of land, anywhere from 25 to 300 acres and enjoyed passing the time by working in the yard, sitting by a big bonfire, and staring at the stars in the sky for hours. Sounds like being on vacation huh?
I must say - they earned my eternal admiration!
So in addition to socializing, I was able to snap some nice photos of Sydney and the Opera House from the air.
A shot of the Harbour Bridge from my hotel room
And a shot of some contrails, clouds and an airplane as the sun rose coming home
Served with 'Callebaut' warm chocolate sauce, mixed berry coulis and vanilla bean ice-cream