Canberra, the next day

Spend a wonderfully pleasant day in Canberra. Mailed off a box of books back home; for the record, it's A$60 to mail a 16kg box of printed material to the US.

Then a bit of more shopping at the clearance racks at Katmandhu, a block away from the apartment. I needed a few more hiking shirts, as my old North Face 100% nylon shirt has got a bit too stinky. Walked by a park with some 'garden sculptures' of huge casuarina seedpods--must get a picture of myself sitting on them tomorrow morning.

Then we drove over to the ...

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Tired Phrase

One heard three times today: "Australia is a young nation, so... [insert some whinging here]."

Puleeze. California's a young place, settled from the 1820's, but I don't hear that in California. Nor do I hear Singaporeans (founded 1965) or even New Zealanders (independence 1949) use this useless phrase.


April 22 2002, 06:01:22

Canada uses it all the time. :)

April 22 2002, 07:37:02

I would say more that some Canadians use it all the time.

April 22 2002, 23:39:13

I just thinnk that Californians consider about two centuries ...

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Well, yesterday (Sunday) we had one thing to do: go to the Buchan Caves in eastern Victoria. It's one of the few nature thingies you can do regardless of the weather--and good for that, as it has just been pissing down rain on Saturday since we left the Prom. Fields were all flooded, rivers were surging, and potholes were sprouting.

Buchan Caves were fairly interesting; we did the Royal Cave tour. With six inches of rain in the past few days, they were wet as well--the water had percolated the 30m or so into the cave system, with dripping ...

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Invisible sizzle.

Yes, that's what I think I did to my modem when I plugged it into the lovely phone line at the St George Motor Inn in north Melbourne last week.

But all is better now; an quasi-cheapo PCMCIA modem now does the work. Still, I still think the old modem could be OK, and perhaps it's the phone system here in the past three hotels. They all emit an odd warbling tone for the dial tone--and then just go silent while you dial. Even now, I can't dial my very national ISP, Telstra BigPond, on this particular ...

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Wilsons Prom

Wonderful day hiking around at the Prom (Wilson's Promotory NP).

We rented a cabin in the park for tomorrow night, at the very southern tip of the park--and the Australian mainland! Should be fun, though it is a 19km hike in.

Yet another Strange Wildlife Sighting today: while waiting in the parking lot, Chris got a jump from a rosella that landed on the radio aerial! The rosella--a kind of parrot--then hopped onto the rear view mirror on my door. I snapped a few pics, then it flew off. It wasn't more than two feet away.

That's ...

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How many oceans are there?

How many oceans are there? Really?

The US says four: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic
Australia says four: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Southern

And where are the Seven Seas?


April 13 2002, 05:01:00

North and South Atlantic, North and South Pacific, the Indian, Arctic and Great Southern oceans.

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Great Ocean Road

More pictures from our trip:

This is from Tuesday, when we took a day trip down the Great Ocean Road southwest of Melbourne.


April 17 2002, 06:53:47

Great pictures! Especially the one of Bear and Marmot!! You both look great! JMP

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Muzak Non Stop

I am amused. The Muzak that plays in the Melbourne train/subway stations anything, it seems from the Priscilla soundtrack--with a smattering of 70's of other disco hits.

"Let us Groove" (?) by Kool and the Gang(?) was this evening's selection at Melbourne Central, along with "Finally" by CeCe-whoever that was. Wednesday at the Parliament station was "I Love the Nightlife".



April 13 2002, 08:53:16

That's so much better than the smooth jazz and pan-flute instrumentals you get in most places around here!

April 13 2002, 10:16:15

Hee! We have ...

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Why I don't like Indian food.


April 12 2002, 09:31:23

I don't say this lightly... but...

Would you marry me?

April 12 2002, 17:05:52

Sure. What number wife do you want to be?

April 12 2002, 17:33:52

Oh, I've been crushed by life, you can give me a high number...

April 14 2002, 00:17:34

Take a number, bub!

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More pictures from Thursday.

I tease a swan and stand in front of a huge grass tree. We eat the yummy smoked trout salad. We do errands in northern suburbs, and admire the public art on the private CityLink freeway.


April 11 2002, 22:27:39

The Aussies already own 50% of the 407 here in Toronto and they're bloody ripping us off!!

The 407 is quite easily the most expensive toll road in North America.

April 11 2002, 23:00:35

That's very curious, because ...

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OK. I've decided to post more pictures. I'm getting rather slow... making sure each picture is perfect.

So I'm now aiming for speed: grab a few interesting pictures, do batch editing on all of them so they look sorta decent, then doing a thumbnail sheet of them all with minimal captioning.

Yesterday's pics are at . We went to the Melbourne Garden and Flower Show and the Melbourne Museum, and there are a couple of pictures of what streets look like here. Enjoy!

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Boy flower/girl flowers?

"Not enough boy flowers at the Melbourne Flower Show for you, Dan?"

You decide--here's one of the floral exhibits:

[for the techincally literate, this 82kb file was almost impossible to encode without lots of JPEG artifacts!]


April 11 2002, 01:23:24

Ow. Do you have to do that?

Dons sunglasses for the second time today

Question: If you're going to San Francisco, what kind of flowers should you be sure to wear in your hair? - "I'm having a bad Banksia day"???



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Haircut 2002

A great day in Melbourne--first to the Garden and Flower Show, then to the new Melbourne Museum behind it, then to Prahan Market for foodie stuff.

It was a nice warm day--maybe 25c; we took the train to the flower show, which is a big big major deal. It's $17 to get in, and thousands of people were going. Browsing the retail stands you can certainly tell this is a nominally British country: it's all about daffs and tulips and various bulbs and English cottage garden plants. The Queen would be proud! Does Melbourne have the same climate ...

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Odometer Log

I've finally made web pages for a project on our trip. The idea is to make a visual log of where we've been, so every time the odometer rolls over another 1000km I've taken a picture. Plus it helps me remember all the places we've been.

The log can be seen at Enjoy!

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Melbourne is just like...

... Chicago, with a little bit of London, and some parts of Toronto, and a twist here and there of Brooklyn, and a small slice of Sacramento, and a dash of Spokane.

Screw it. Melbourne is like Melbourne.

And on that note, Sydney is like Sydney--it's not 'the San Francisco of the South Pacific' like so many Americans like to think. Sydney would have to be a lot filthier and get a lot more homeless to look like San Francisco--you just don't hear the San Francisco greeting 'Spare change?' in Sydney!


April 7 2002, 23:33:56 ...
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Just for reference...

In case anyone asks...
I walked down Chapel Street in Melbourne tonight...
And passed no more than six Mexican restaurants...

Most of them had potatoes on the menu, if that's a hint. One had noodles.


April 7 2002, 22:38:38

And the quest continues around the world! I saw an advert yesterday for 'Mexican Food Made to Perfection' at the Arizona bar and restaurant in Camden Town. It features 'special family roast' on Saturday and Sunday. Sure sounds Mexican! Loved talking to you yesterday! Party ON!

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Fast and slick

OK... I'm on the fastest net connection I've ever had in Australia.

Give you one guess where I've found it. Hint: It's not an Internet cafe.


April 7 2002, 14:31:04

Kiosk? Library? GPRS?

April 7 2002, 16:19:56

Sex club.

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Mexican food report

Report on Mexican food: bad.

For the record, Chinese food is often not Chinese food here (or anywhee else for that matter). We had the most curious food in Burnie (Tasmania). Chicken satay. (yes, in a Chinese restaurant). It was breaded and deep fried chicken in a sweet peanut sauce. Beef with plum sauce... and mango. The list goes on...


April 4 2002, 14:03:07

Well, now you know.

My problem is an inability to have any sense AT ALL as to whether a restaurant will be good or sucky. I have learned to ignore the little ...

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Why not Mexican food for dinner?

Why not Mexican food for dinner?


April 4 2002, 00:03:44

these folks learned how to cook from the british. do you really want a boiled burrito?!? :)

April 4 2002, 00:09:02

You're there to experience the country, right? I say go for it! Take a dive. It may suck but you'll have stories!

April 4 2002, 06:17:07

If I can go to a Thai place in Lima, Ohio, as I did yesterday...

You can try Mexican in Tasmania.

[Oh, and the Thai place in Lima, was actually pretty good ...

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Nice warm Indian summer day in Launceston. We like this city a lot. Wandered around the Queen Victoria Museum; it was rather interesting. Saw a couple of more stuffed thalycines!


April 4 2002, 15:49:44


just cuz :)

April 4 2002, 23:52:41

La la la!

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Strahan, Tasmania

Wet and cool. Chris and I took a cruise up the Gordon River into the rainforest. It was misty and mountainous; reminded me of pictures of China's Three Gorges. Cruise was OK, but at 5 1/2 hours it was about 1 1/2 hours too long.

The best part of the cruise was right at the beginning: when we went out of Macquarie Harbour into the ocean through the 60m gap called Devil's Gate. The tide was going out, and we glided out. into the Southern Ocean. Out in the Southern Ocean a couple of miles, a ...

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Oatlands to Strahan, Tasmania

Breakfast at the Oatlands Lodge was quick, we then headed out on the road across the Central Highlands, following a route described in the big "Explore Australia by Four Wheel Drive", a big bible of a book we picked up somewhere in Sydney.

Interlaken was our first stop; it looked like a town between two lakes and I had vague visions of a Swiss like village. Sorry, no. It was in high grazing country, with sparse eucalypts and fields, the village was no more than a few sheds and some battered weatherboard houses. What's more is that one of ...

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New Caledonia in a month

Going to New Caledonia for a week in late April.

Gotta leave the country (for visa reasons) every six months... this was the cheapest option, as all the good deals to Bali were all taken up since it's school holidays in New South Wales... and with our road trips to Cape York and the Kimberly, it'd be rough to do it in May or June.

We want to see Bali anyway; figure we'll do that in October from Perth. For some curious reason, it's cheaper to fly to Bali from Perth than it is from Sydney ...

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Very Random Notes

A collection of stuff I've found interesting.

- People here tend not to clean their tables--even at places like McDonald's, only a few people will actually throw away their trash. Most folks just leave it on the table behind them.
- Recycling bins are few and far between--almost everything ends up in one bin.
- Restaurant service can be interesting--often you'll have one person take the order, some one else serve your food, and some one else ask you if you'd like another drink with your meal. Sometimes you pay the server, but most of the time you just ...

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Cute Little Devils

Fighting over a scrap of roadkill!


March 21 2002, 14:46:36

We take you now, LIVE!, to the arrival of the new muscle bear in town at the Eagle...

March 21 2002, 14:57:37

(click) "Here we are at the San Francisco Gift Center as the doors open for the International Bear Rendezvous buffet" (click)

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Carnal Pleasure

One surprising thing about Tasmania is the amount of roadkill. Traveling at a nominal 80kph/50mph, you pass one dead mammal about every 20 to 30 seconds on any of the highways here--anything from the size of a cat (possums, quolls, pademelons) up to dog sized (wombats) and big dog sized (wallabies). What makes it all the more interesting is that Tasmanian devils come out at night to scavenge the road kill. They're carnivore scavengers, and often four or six of them fight over the carcass at once, though you never see it since it's usually really late ...

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She'll be alright, mate

I’m not sure I like it here. Sure, there’s the landscape, and the wonderful animals and plants, but the overall culture is very odd. There are three attributes that just don’t feel right to me. This has been kicking around for a few weeks in my head; here they are.

Tentativeness: Aussies are always comparing themselves to others; you get the feeling that most of the country would live somewhere else, like Tuscany or California or London. They don’t have any connection to the physical country; most of those whom I’ve met can’t figure ...

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In Launceston

In Launceston, Tasmania. Finding that Tasmania is not just home to a Warner Brothers cartoon character.

Drove from Sydney to Melbourne with an overnight stop in Wangaratta, Victoria. It's about a nine hour drive straight through. Wangaratta was a nice, neat, country town, in a wine and ranching region near Milawa. There were very good restaurants there, but we ate at the doner kebab place.

Melbourne, on Friday, was a quick blow through--though we stopped at 'the biggest Kmart in the Southern Hemisphere' in Campbellfield on the north side of Melbourne. It was... well, big. Note to North Americans ...

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When I told my Mom I was coming to Australia, she said 'oh, you have to look up when and where your great-great-grandfather was born--it was Melbourne, but I don't know exactly where or on what date' She's a genealogy nut. So after five hours or so in the New South Wales state library, I found out he was born in Singleton in December 1848 to one Samuel Bassett and Mary Malloy, married three years earlier in west Maitland. Not anywhere near Melbourne, which wasn't really a viable settlement in the 1840's anyway!

Hm... so I ...

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The Three R's

There are three R's you never want to bring up in conversation with Australians. Consider these lose-lose topics if you're not Australian!

- Republicanism: Should the Queen of England continue to be the head of state of Australia?
- Refugees: Should Australia admit refugees? (generally couched in the guise of 'what should the immigration policy in this country be?)
- Reparations: How should Australia deal with Aborigines?


March 3 2002, 19:39:09

Not as bad but still sketchy:

"Retarded Aussie Stereotypes": Foster's Beer commercials and Paul Hogan. Some Australians have a good sense of humor about them ...

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Fox alert

Well, good thing we're going to Tasmania when we are--a small population of red foxes has recently been found on the island.

So much for the last best refuge for native Australian mammals... if the foxes get loose, there won't be many left to see.


March 3 2002, 00:03:54

I want to know you too much now!

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Yet another cloudy overcast day. In the twelve days we've spent in Sydney so far this month, we've had a day and a half of sun. This is not my idea of summer.

Went to the Bear Essentials Evening Lapse. Strangely enough... I got bored, and told Chris--"this is a great setting; there's free drinks and finger foods... but... I'm bored. This is the third night with this same group of people."

Maybe I should've drunk more (I had a single beer when I arrived). Maybe I should've just made more effort. Blech ...

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Went shopping today. After a quick check of mail, the first stop was the Virgin store, for Chris' mobile phone.

Second was Gowing's. Oh, my, this is the store for guys. It's guy stuff, just stuffed with stuff. If guys could do department stores, this would be it. Clothing, and adventure books, and gadgets, and camping gear, and etc etc etc. It's like Men's Health magazine come to life (without the Chivas ads). "All the gear you need to raft down the Amazon in drip-dry style, and still enjoy a cuppa tea in the morn and ...

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Aussie Alps Pics

Just updated the website with pictures from last week's trip to the Australian Alps. Enjoy!


February 25 2002, 09:05:33

gets all dreamy Neville.... Chris.... Dan.... UNGH!

February 25 2002, 10:49:04

Any plans to try Alpine Celery here at home? Also, were those bees or flies pollinating the blue, star-shaped flowers? I'm sure Neville knew.

Hey, while I'm at it, what sort of tree is hiding behind the orange tree in the backyard? It's the one with the clumps of delicate blue flowers. I've ...

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Today's festivities

I wish Sydney weather would make up its mind about what season it is! Yesterday at 10am it was cloudy and drizzly, yet still 20C/68F. It cleared up in the afternoon for the pool party, though :-). Alan and Bill threw a great party, I enjoyed myself quite a bit just hanging out and chatting.

This morning, though, it was cloudy and grey. After a bit of dithering, we finally decided to get Mardi Gras tickets today, so we called the Mardi Gras folks, then hopped a train to their headquarters in Erskineville where a very woofy redbear named Ross ...

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Odd Sayings

Odd sayings and pronunciation

"She didn't twig it was for her" means "She didn't think it was for her"
"Get yer gear on" means "get your shirt/other clothing on"
Unprecedented is "un-pree-sa-dented"
"Chook" means "chicken", and is used often
Filet (as in chook filet) is pronunced "fill-it"
"Truck" means "truck"... it's not a lorry
"Spanner" means "wrench"
"Smash experts" means "auto-repair shop"

I think I'll collect more over the next week.


February 24 2002, 17:44:20

Twig is more like "realise", as in, "She didn't realise it was for her."

But ...

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Sydney Leather

Russel sez: "Sydney leather is all about swapping potato recipies and who's really good in the ballet this year"


February 24 2002, 18:22:02

this sounds exactly like a conversation i had in the thunderthighs club (or whatever it was called) in boston in the late 1980's ...

February 24 2002, 19:09:45

Scratch a leatherman, find a sequin. In Toronto it's all about exchanging cake recipes. :)

February 24 2002, 20:35:13

You can only be "hyper-masculine" so many hours of the day..

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Food galore

The apartment we're renting for two weeks in Sydney is smack in the middle of restaurant central. For some curious reason, the block the hotel is on is full of Spanish restaurants. Tapas galore! And it's not just a few--it's every restaurant!

Around the corner on George Street is fast food central. McDonald's . KFC. Burger King. I'm amused that across the street from Burger King is a Hungry Jack's--which is Burger King with a different name. It looks like they're renaming the Hungry Jack's in Australia as they update the logo.

I ...

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Stayed in ~~Epcot South~~ Canberra today. I liked it--a weird mix of Soviet and DisneyWorld.

Off to the Bear's Night in a few minutes! What am I doing online?


February 22 2002, 07:09:30

Well if that is 9:30pm Friday, Bears night really doesn't get started until 10:30pm from what I hear. ;)

My mate, Grace, from work should have arrived in Sydney. She's going to be there for Mardi Gras. I told her to make a fool of herself when the bears go by, cheering, etc. ;)

February 22 2002, 10:25 ...
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Yes, I've stood on the highest point in Australia, at 2228m tall. Whooo hoo!

Now only six continents to go, ha ha ha.

Feel good and achy. It was a 12km walk to the top; we took the ski lift chairs, then hiked up from there. Lots and lots of wildflowers, and copper skinks, and biting flies. Yuck!

Now enjoying a Toohey's Dark and watching Neville try to catch moths on the balcony; with the curtains closed for the sunlight it looks like some silly Japanese shadow puppetry.


February 19 2002, 04:32:40

Its a ...

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In Threadbo

In Thredbo, Australia. Cool, cloudy. Nice change from the hot and humid Sydney!

Going to go hiking tomorrow--maybe to the top of Australia's highest mountain tomorrow!


February 18 2002, 17:53:47

hey you! i tried emailing you twice danm (at) and it didn't work. dangit, i'm missing something. email me when you read this ;D

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On Sydney

Just had an odd thought: how would I describe Sydney to someone who's never been? Here are some bullet points, somewhere there should be some cohesive threads. Or maybe not.

First, Sydney looks like a North American city.

Topographically, it's most reminiscent of Seattle, or perhaps Vancouver. Not San Francisco; while Sydney sits on a harbor like SF it doesn't have the huge inclines that San Francisco has--it has more moderate hills, and none of them are very large like Twin Peaks, or offer the sweeping views you often get in San Francisco. The many inlets of ...

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Cars I've owned

In order of ownership, and date purchased.
High school: 1972 Plymouth Scamp (1980) Too powerful for a 16 year old. college car 1: 1980 Chevy Citation (1984). Too dangerous for a Domino's delivery boy (me)... I crashed it.
college car 2: 1979 Subaru station wagon (1985). Biggest defect: wouldn't die
first real car: 1987 Acura Integra (1987) Not suited to off-road travel as I found
next car: 1988 Nissan Pathfinder (1990). Not suited for San Francisco.
next car: None for six months.
next car: 1990 Nissan Pathfinder (1992). Biggest defect: wouldn't die.
next car: 2000 Nissan Xterra ...

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