Yes, Australia's Great Barrier Reef is every bit as colorful as you thought it would be, and well deserves its Unesco World Heritage site designation. Get there before it's ruined. There's a great [...]
Cradle Mountain from a distance [NOTE: We traveled in Australia and Tasmania back in early 2012, using a rental car and our own devices to get around. Recently, World Expeditions asked us to [...]
McNomads Peter and Tracy McDermott and their credo: Why Stay Home If You Can Roam? We were introduced to Peter and Tracy McDermott through a mutual acquaintance, and suddenly the four of us [...]
Yes, it really was that blurry. And this was only 10 minutes into the ride. Sometimes it just happens. You are just innocently sitting at home wondering where to go next and you get [...]
The roof of the Sydney Opera House turns gold in the Australian summer sunset. I'm always amazed at what lovely shots I can get with my phone when I was too lazy to carry my [...]
Pretty during the day, Sydney Harbor Bridge is even more striking at night.
First of all, there's a lot more to love about Australia than to hate. In fact, I really can't think of anything I truly hate about Australia. Mild disapproval, in the true tradition of Anglo temperament, is about as strong as it gets. Loves 1) The people. The friendliest people ever encountered in all our travels. And, although they're as disgusted with American foreign policy as the next guys, they don't make it the basis for all conversations. They're usually more interested in where we come from, how we can live in such cold, and why we drink such weak ass beer. Then there's the ubiquitous, "mate." Love it.
To me, one of the oddest things about my recent traveling jag is how much I am enjoying the outdoors. Those who know me well know that I vastly prefer going to a city rather than the country and sitting at a poker table rather than subjecting my delicate complexion to the harsh sun. But lately, that seems to be changing. In the past couple of years we've tromped around the Grand Tetons, hiked along mountain paths in the Andes, walked across Spain, and last week even climbed a mountain that actually involved climbing rather than walking. Those who know me also know I hate boats. I once got off a boat while it was docked in Seattle Harbor even though they were giving away free drinks. I sometimes sit on the dock and wave to my friends as they head off on a pontoon boat with drinks in hand--even on a calm day.
We stumbled upon Melbourne, as is usual for our travels, during what must be it's most exciting week of the year. There was the Australian Open tennis tournament, the Aussie Millions poker tournament, and a big Chinese Festival along the River Walk. Of course, being me, I gravitated towards the poker. We arrived on Day 3 of the "Main Event." The field by that time was down from the original 659 to about 26 and we got to watch a table with poker legend Phil Ivey for a couple of hours. Now, you may think watching other people play poker is about as exciting as watching the proverbial drying paint, and you'd be right. At the final tables of a tournament of this level (the winner got AU$1.5 million), everyone is so "tight" in poker terms that there's not a lot of action.
Australia, as some know, was founded as a penal colony. Unlike the United States, the first people to come here were not colonists or people fleeing oppression in Britain. They were people bringing oppression from Britain. The Port Arthur convict site is a memorial to misery.