From Austin to Oz. I'm planning to flee the country for 7 months - working for 4 and traveling for 3.
Departure = 03 Sep 2003 / Re-entry = 03 Apr 2004

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Pair of Rainbow Lorikeets

(click on photo to view)

Rainbow lorikeets are everywhere along the Queensland coast. A very social bird, they gather in huge numbers akin to the bats of the Congress Ave bridge in Austin (but the lorikeet packs don't number in the millions as do the bats). Whole trees are heavily seasoned with crayon blues, greens, reds, yellows, and oranges of lorikeets at rest. In flight, imagine an undulating rainbow flying overhead with colours so bright that they hurt your eyes. And, yes, they are loud. Very loud. Very, very loud.

Once again, to my surprise, the San Antonio Zoo houses about 50 lorikeets.


Originally uploaded by Broken Piggy Bank.
When I lived in Australia, our apartment was 3 blocks away from the Brisbane River which winds its way thru the heart of Brisbane. Along the south bank of the river is a spectacular promenade with shops, a cinema, restaurants, a Griffith University satellite campus, the convention centre, and theatres. This locale is called "Southbank", in true Aussie "straight-to-the-point" style. Well, a constant "pest" of Southbank is the ibis.

There are hundreds of ibis that hover around the Southbank restaurants for discarded scraps of food. Think grackles, seagulls, and pigeons. In fact, there are "Please do not feed the ibis" signs posted all around Southbank. I, on the other hand, find them beautiful. Fast forward from when I left Australia (Apr 2004) to five months later. Much to my surprise while visiting the San Antonio Zoo last September, I found heaps of ibis in the aviary.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What English Speaking Country Do You Belong In?

I just took this quiz to determine in which anglophone country I belong. Results are surprising?

You Belong in Australia


Sunny, upbeat, and cute

You make the perfect surf bum

Now stop hogging the vegemite!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Aussie snaps up - oi! oi! oi!

It's time.
It's time to show.
It's time to show you a small snippet of my 6 months in The Land Down Under:

Australia photos

Most don't have captions or descriptions, yet. I'm working on that. Most importantly, they are now up for viewing. I know that you've been waiting for them.


Friday, May 13, 2005

Classic Aussie Understatement

(The last line of this story exemplifies how Australians will downplay a situation instead of blowing up and adding high drama like Americans are apt to do.)

Red faces over Perth danger alert

Australia's foreign ministry has apologised for an e-mailed advisory warning of the dangers of travelling to the Western Australian capital, Perth.

The foreign ministry said the message was mistakenly sent out by an outside contractor, as a test.

Variously described as the "friendly city", "laid back", and the "most isolated city in the world", Perth is not usually known for its risks.

The president of the Tourism Council of Western Australia said he was furious.

"Perth is one of the safest cities in the world at the present time as far as we are concerned. It's quite alarming that [the department of foreign affairs] doesn't have these advisories checked by senior management before they are released to the wider audience," said Ron Buckley.
"It makes Australia look absolutely stupid," he said.

The message was sent out to media, travel agencies, and subscribers to the Australian government's travel warning service.

"This is a message to let you know that Perth is dangerous at this time of year," it read.
The foreign affairs department said it was following up the email with the contractor who sent it.
"The message was in poor taste and showed a clear lack of judgement," a spokesman said.
But the City of Perth Council was less concerned.

"The weather is a bit dodgy," a spokesman commented.

Things you want to know about Australia but were too afraid to ask

(This list was sent to me by my friend Christie. Altho I rarely believe what I read from a forwarded e-mail msg, it provides another example of Aussie cheekiness & understatement. Enjoy!)

Subject: Australian Tourism

These were posted on an Australian Tourism Website, and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials, who obviously have a sense of humor.

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK).
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not... oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every tuesday night in Kings Cross [the red light district of Sydney -- Julian]. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is... oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? (UK)
A: You are a British politician, right?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets. [Seven of the 10 deadliest snakes in the world are in Australia -- Julian.]

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Do you have perfume in Australia? (France)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R+R, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross. Can you help? (USA)
A: Yes, and you will still have to pay her by the hour.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.