Australia & New Zealand 2018

HI FROM SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustav Flaubert. It is Wednesday evening here, in Sydney, the largest city in Australia, the sixth continent. My cell phone reads 11:45 PM. My watch reads: 7:45 AM, at home. This is a 14-hour time difference with New York City, the capital of the world. Did I say Wednesday?  So, whatever happened to Tuesday? Indeed,

AUSTRALIA, TERRA AUSTRALIS

(Did you know that Cate Blanchet and Mel Gibson are Australians?) History says: In 1642, Abel Tasman discovered an island off the Southern coast of Australia; it called it Tasmania.  In 1770, James Cook took possession of the west coast of Australia in the name of the British Crown. Really!  Well, I can safely say that in 1998, I discovered France and the Riviera, rose my flag and took possession

A DAY IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

“It is not down in any map; true places never are.” – Herman Melville We had to order packed breakfasts.  No time to sit and savor. At 7:30 AM, three full buses left the Intercontinental Sydney heading toward the Blue Mountains. From Sydney, the Blue Mountains are the way to the Outback.  They are 10,000 square kilometers of vegetation, cliffs, and canyons.  The peak, Mount Werong, stands at 1215 meters

SYDNEY, THE HARBOUR CITY

“The best things about Sydney are free: the sunshine, the harbour and the beach are free.”  Russell Crowe The best things about Sydney may be free, but the city is one of the most expensive for tourists and visitors. It used to be cited as the second most expensive city in the world to live in, after Tokyo. Today, it is supplanted by Singapore, Paris, and all the major cities

VISITING THE ABORIGINES

“They came to our land with a Bible.  Now we have the Bible, they have our lands.” Unknown. The Aborigine narrative, all over the world, sounds pretty much like one size that fits all.  It is the repeat story of one nation with a higher level of organization, civilization, and peacemaking, falling prey to ferocious primitive unprincipled adventurers whose only goal is to amass the maximum wealth possible, in the

A PLAY AT SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

“The opera is to music what a bawdy house is to a cathedral.”  H. L. Mencken. On the belt of every potential world traveler, there is a spot reserved for a notch dedicated to the Sydney Opera House.  We took care of it today. An agitator was arrested.  During the interrogation, he casually fell to his death, from the precinct second-floor window into the passing street below.  Did he die

BONDI BEACH UNDER AT

“The beach is not a place to work; it is one to read, write or think.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh. This morning, Sydney woke up to a sunny sky.  It was the promise of a second straight dry day.  At the InterContinental, after breakfast, the conventioneers immediately initiated the last CME-CEU session.  An hour later, the other travelers went on to punch their admission tickets at the Sea Life Aquarium, at

THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIA

“We will be an early warning for the rest of the world.” Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia. Lately, Australia has been in the news, not for beating New Zealand on the rugby field, a feat yet to come, but for having had five heads of government in five years. How unstable is the parliamentary democracy under the constitutional monarchy of Australia, a member of the British Commonwealth? Is the

KISSING THE GROUND IN AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

“New Zealand is not a small country but a large village.” Peter Jackson After last night’s gala, we miraculously rose up at 4:00 AM, after a wakeup call from the hotel front desk. The three buses that assured our transport did not show up at 5:00 AM, they were late, “because of the rain” claimed the drivers. Notwithstanding, in less than an hour, all luggage was on board, the caravan

NEW ZEALAND: AREOTA (LAND OF WHITE CLOUDS)

“I got to say, God really outdid itself down here” Bob Harper. In a nutshell, New Zealand is glamorous, prosperous and progressive. How much better could it be? The country covers 268,838 sq. km, that is twice the size of Florida. Its population has reached 5.01 million. Contrarily to the Australians who eliminated all but a few of the Aborigines (now 0.5% of the population), the New Zealanders are 1/3