Friday, April 04, 2014

A couple of fibs, from Australians

A guy on a show about advertisements said that Australia was the premier vacation destination for Americans. I hadn't heard many people I know talk about Australia. Marty would. Keith used to want to visit New Zealand. I know half a dozen people who've visited Australia, and I'm 60. My guess would have been Europe—UK, Italy.

Turns out it's Hawaii, then Europe, then Australia. Or it was recently, and it was in 2008.

Hawaii Tops List of Dream Vacation Destinations (report of a Gallup Poll in 2006)

And the first link I found is why I knew there WAS such a Gallup poll.
Where Americans Want To Travel And Why
(2013)

It's not where Americans DO go, internationally. One of those would be Mexican resorts, or Caribbean cruises, because there are specials and packages offered all the time. Lately, cruises on European rivers, because they're advertised all the time, and people who have been on them say good things.

The question the Gallup poll asks is if money were no object, where would one like to go.

Part of what that second article says is "3. Australia – This answer surprised me. Not because I disagree, I love Australia. It surprised me because it’s not a trip to be taken lightly. It’s far away, on the expensive side and requires at least a couple of weeks to visit. Americans don’t typically travel that far away and we definitely don’t have multiple weeks of vacation to spare."

True about vacation. People who are old enough to afford that sort of vacation probably have three or four weeks of vacation in a year. Not like Germans with six weeks from a young age. People in their 20's *might* have two weeks' vacation in a year if they have great jobs.

So people can tell the Gallup poll "Australia," but it doesn't mean they can get there, so the claim baffled me. But it sounded good, in its context, I guess.

The other claim was that Australia's school system is exemplary and other nations look to Australia. I had never heard a peep about Australian schools in my life, outside of knowledge of "school of the air" for kids on remote cattle stations, when I was little. Public school by radio. That's been a while. The remote-school still exists, but it's online now.

Friends and strangers were all friendly in Australia. They reminded me of people in the southwestern U.S.—talkative and generous with time and knowledge. These two claims of "premier" status both seemed bravado, and maybe each speaker believed what he was saying as he said it, but I don't think either is nearly true.

Australia has commissions or organizations to promote education (studying in Australia) and maybe that's where the propaganda originates. If "propaganda" is too strong a word, perhaps there is rhetoric that is spoken and heard and sounds like truth.
http://www.austrade.gov.au/Education/Home
http://www.innovation.gov.au/internationaleducation/Pages/default.aspx
http://australia.gov.au/topics/education-and-training/international-education


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Windmilk, windmild...

I have no explanation.





Friday, March 14, 2014

Bush Stone-curlew and Hills Hoist

In Kuranda, I was called out of the building afterwards to see some birds. I took photos.


They looked at first glance like road runners. Not that I thought they were, but that's the first bird they reminded me of. Not their posture, and not their eyes, but something about their shape and movement and coloring. But that's probably mostly because I'm not a bird person, so all of you who see the 45 ways in which they are NOTHING like road runners, feel free to know how very little I know about birds.

But guess what I know about now?

I showed the photos to Caroline, of my host family in Mount Molloy. I pointed at the pipe with a crank and asked if it was a water pump of some sort. I was picturing some sort of rotary wankle hand pump. She said it was a clothesline called a Hills Hoist. You can put the clothes on it while it's lowered and then crank it up higher. To get more sun and air, I guess.

In Scotland I saw clotheslines in the houses that people load up and then hoist with cord and pulleys and then hook it so the clothes are up in the high ceiling where the heat is. My granny had a quilt frame that could be hung from the ceiling with cord and pullies—lifted up for meals, and lowered again for quilting. Lanterns and chandeliers that held candles used to be lowered to light, lifted hight up to burn.

So. Maybe it's a Scottish thing. Maybe it's just a thing.

I was telling Jo, my Adelaide hostess, by chance on the way from the airport. She said she has a clothesline but it doesn't crank up.

So I did my laundry and she went to show me her clothesline and though she hadn't noticed before, it was *one of those*!




I looked them up. They're still manufactured, in different sizes, and cost between $450 and $600 but they certainly last a long time, and work well. This one Jo didn't know had a mechanism worked fine. The first turn of the crank was about as hard as an outside water faucet that's been shut hard on the washer all winter. One hard turn and then it turned very freely. There's a little hole above the crank that says "oil here." It didn't need any, but if it had, there it would go.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

More lorikeets

This is normal, at Schuyler's house, for birds to be at the feeder—usually two at a time. There are some photos of different kinds of birds here: http://sandradodd.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/schuylers-bird-feeder.html


Over the mountains

Tuesday, March 4, we went here:
Murwillumbah

Murwillumbah is a town located in far north-eastern New South Wales, Australia in the Tweed Shire. It lies on the Tweed River, 848 km north-east of Sydney, 13 km south of the Queensland border and 132 km south of Brisbane. Wikipedia

We went to an op shop, and a shop selling importa and local artist' things, and books.
We ate in an interesting little restaurant on the old main street. The salads had something none of us recognized, and we were guessing it to be a kind of cucumber, maybe. The waitress said they are "mouse melon," and she had never known herself until that day. They were new.
 photo DSC00334.jpg

(Schuyler looked them up and said they're from Mexico.)

On the way we stopped at a closed fruitstand, and later at a scenic viewing place (you had to walk down to it a bit), and to look at an old house.




The real destination was Tropical Fruit World, to get miracle fruit—kind of berries, that coat your mouth with sweetener. You can eat lime after that and it tastes sweet. Or any really sour candy. Nothing can taste sour or bitter.


We also got a "fruit salad fruit," which is odd to eat, but tastes like fruit salad. :-)



After all that, we took the non-scenic quicker route back.

I didn't get a picture, but early in the trip a monitor lizard came out onto the road, to cross. David stopped and went around him and signalled the oncoming car to slow down. He would've taken a whole lane, at least, if he'd been all the way out in the roadway, but I saw him enter and for half of him to be on the road. His head was long and he was dark.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Butcher Bird



The voices in the background are Schuyler and David.

Here's more about butcher birds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butcherbird

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Staghorn Fern

I saw one of these, and then some more. David and Schuyler knew the name. They didn't know how small a range it has:
http://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/interns-2006/platycerium-superbum.html

The first one I saw was in that round space in the middle, hanging down. "WHAT IS THAT!?" I said:

 photo DSC00302.jpg

We went around and saw the whole plant, and some others on that big, old tree.

 photo DSC00303.jpg

Above right and below the sunshine:
 photo DSC00304.jpg

There's a part sticking up, and some hanging down, and a fatness in the middle.
 photo DSC00305.jpg

They grow on trees, but they're not parasites. They can grow on rocks, or when people buy them to grow at home, they're glued onto boards, to be hung on a wall, for starters.

Later that day we saw a big one, low, at the tropical fruit station:

 photo DSC00368.jpg
It looks like it has had several "staghorns" come and go.

 photo DSC00369.jpg