Friday, July 30, 2010

All creatures great and small and DEADLY

I read the BILL BRYSON book "IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY" years ago, before my upcoming AUSTRALIA trip was even a glimmer in my eye.
I am reading the book again, with less than a month to go before the trip.
I was always struck by his memorable, introductory paragraphs about the country, particularly about the dangerous animals found Down Under.
Bryson writes:
"It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world's 10 most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures -- the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick and stonefish -- are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you."
I seriously doubt
INGER and I will encounter any of Australia's dangerous creatures. Indeed, I probably run more risk of eating a PIE FLOATER and getting heartburn.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Aussies and alcohol

As my upcoming AUSTRALIA trip draws nearer (I leave Aug. 28), I have stepped up my background reading of the land DOWN UNDER.
This morning, I came upon this memorable passage by British-Canadian travel writer Ronald Wright, about the role alcohol plays in Australia:

"You cannot enjoy Australia without enjoying pubs. Australia drinks more alcohol per capita than any other English-speaking nation. In Sydney, I'd drunk at the Hero of Waterloo, which claims to be the oldest pub in the land. I was persuaded when I saw the cellar: a dungeon complete with iron shackles, where sturdy lads who got too pissed were held for sale to navy press gangs. To sit in the Hero's 19th-century drinking chairs -- like pews with arms -- was to understand the sacramental role of alcohol in Australia. It would be a formidable task to work out how many gallons of beer and rum, on that very spot, have been poured down the gizzard of Oz."
I'm certain my sister INGER and I will sink a schooner or two in the HERO OF WATERLOO -- the pub is located on Lower Fort Street in Millers Point, The Rocks, not far from our hotel.
I'll steer clear of the "dungeon," mind you.


About Me

My photo
I am a Bay Area native and former Oregon resident, now living in Iowa with my family. When it gets cold, I recall my high school days in Phoenix, Ariz. I am a music geek with a passion for funky jazz, obscure soul and early reggae. I love the Giants, the 49ers, Blazers and MY BELOVED OREGON DUCKS. I am also a soccer fanatic who adores Leyton Orient and Sheffield Wednesday. I love Japanese cinema, especially the films of Seijun Suzuki and Ko Nakahira's "Kurutta Kajitsu."