February 2009


It is almost nine years since I was last in Australia. It was the year 2000 in fact, when we went for the OS’s mother’s 100th birthday party.

Today we take the long flight, 15 hours, from Vancouver to Sydney. That I am not looking forward to at all and I only wish they would make the cost of business class travel less outrageous for I would willing pay double, maybe even four times, as they charge to fly to Europe, but eight times! I’m afraid I just can’t bring myself to spring for that. To add insult to injury they charge a $350 fuel surcharge which seems incredible given that the price of crude oil had dropped to around US $40 a barrel again. It seems like just another money grab by Air Canada, who even so managed to lose $2 billion dollars in the last fiscal year. In fact I hope they don’t go bankrupt before we return in early April which has been bandied about.

Now the flight is direct, with no stopovers at all. When we first went back to Sydney from here, in 1963, the flight was 22 hours, with stopovers at Honolulu and Fiji. Sometimes, over the years, we took the opportunity to break the journey for a few days at one or other place on the way. Now that is no longer an option. I am hoping to sleep for most of the trip, since it leaves just before midnight. On the other hand I am petrified of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), sometimes charmingly known as Economy Class Syndrome and knew someone who died from it in the Glasgow airport after a flight from Vancouver, so I have to make sure I keep the circulation in the legs moving.

The other problem is that you arrive in Sydney at 9 am and check in time at the hotel is 2 pm. I like to get onto local time immediately but that means a whole day ahead of us after we land. Still, while Sydney is officially 19 hours ahead of us, in practical terms it is just a five hour time difference, so I have always adjusted relatively easily. However it’s been a while and I’m not getting any younger. We shall see.

We have no relatives in Sydney now since they all have moved away, so we will be staying for two nights at a small boutique hotel, The Rendezvous Stafford, before we leave on a 17 day cruise on the Volendam, seen above, from Sydney, down the east coast of Australia and across to and around New Zealand and back to Sydney. My favourite area of Sydney is the Rocks, the original settlement area of Sydney and which is right on the harbour, close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I am willing to pay a premium to stay there. It is right downtown, on the harbour front near Circular Quay, the ferry terminal, opposite the Sydney Opera House and within walking distance of the central business area, but relatively quiet. Above you can see a view from the hotel penthouse, which we will not be occupying but there is a rooftop viewing area.

After the cruise we will stay with several different relatives and make our first visit to Perth, to spend a few days with the friends we made when they spent a sabbatical in Vancouver last year.

Naturally I will be taking my computer and will have online access most of the time so hopefully I can share with you some of the highlights of this trip to the land of my birth and of my heart. After all, Once an Aussie always an Aussie.

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It is almost nine years since I was last in Australia. It was the year 2000 in fact, when we went for the OS’s mother’s 100th birthday party.

Today we take the long flight, 15 hours, from Vancouver to Sydney. That I am not looking forward to at all and I only wish they would make the cost of business class travel less outrageous for I would willing pay double, maybe even four times, as they charge to fly to Europe, but eight times! I’m afraid I just can’t bring myself to spring for that. To add insult to injury they charge a $350 fuel surcharge which seems incredible given that the price of crude oil had dropped to around US $40 a barrel again. It seems like just another money grab by Air Canada, who even so managed to lose $2 billion dollars in the last fiscal year. In fact I hope they don’t go bankrupt before we return in early April which has been bandied about.

Now the flight is direct, with no stopovers at all. When we first went back to Sydney from here, in 1963, the flight was 22 hours, with stopovers at Honolulu and Fiji. Sometimes, over the years, we took the opportunity to break the journey for a few days at one or other place on the way. Now that is no longer an option. I am hoping to sleep for most of the trip, since it leaves just before midnight. On the other hand I am petrified of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), sometimes charmingly known as Economy Class Syndrome and knew someone who died from it in the Glasgow airport after a flight from Vancouver, so I have to make sure I keep the circulation in the legs moving.

The other problem is that you arrive in Sydney at 9 am and check in time at the hotel is 2 pm. I like to get onto local time immediately but that means a whole day ahead of us after we land. Still, while Sydney is officially 19 hours ahead of us, in practical terms it is just a five hour time difference, so I have always adjusted relatively easily. However it’s been a while and I’m not getting any younger. We shall see.

We have no relatives in Sydney now since they all have moved away, so we will be staying for two nights at a small boutique hotel, The Rendezvous Stafford, before we leave on a 17 day cruise on the Volendam, seen above, from Sydney, down the east coast of Australia and across to and around New Zealand and back to Sydney. My favourite area of Sydney is the Rocks, the original settlement area of Sydney and which is right on the harbour, close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I am willing to pay a premium to stay there. It is right downtown, on the harbour front near Circular Quay, the ferry terminal, opposite the Sydney Opera House and within walking distance of the central business area, but relatively quiet. Above you can see a view from the hotel penthouse, which we will not be occupying but there is a rooftop viewing area.

After the cruise we will stay with several different relatives and make our first visit to Perth, to spend a few days with the friends we made when they spent a sabbatical in Vancouver last year.

Naturally I will be taking my computer and will have online access most of the time so hopefully I can share with you some of the highlights of this trip to the land of my birth and of my heart. After all, Once an Aussie always an Aussie.

Early last Fall, the Old Scientist went to Australia to visit his sister who has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and is well past the expected two year survival rate for this illness. She gave him a couple of old photos of their grandmother and somehow that started him on a genealogy search of his family.

Now he has a quite rare surname and since his father came as an immigrant from New Zealand to Australia he was not likely to find any of the dreaded convicts that Australians might fear in their murky past. Although I can imagine that Australians could well be delighted to have such ancestors nowadays. A reverse sort of pride.

Being the lazy person that he is, sitting at a computer and tracking down all the hard work that others have done before him is right up his alley.

The first I heard about it was when he came downstairs and said, I want to sign up for a website, ancestry.com. It costs $29.99 US. Why are you asking me? I queried. Oh, you want to use my credit card, the one I keep especially for online purposes. OK. And that was the beginning of it all.

For the last several months he has been building up his family tree, with information he garnered there, on some free program called Legacy which he downloaded for the purpose. Not only that, he has contacted various people who had members of his family in their trees and has begun an email correspondence with assorted people around the globe. They are all sharing whatever information they have and correcting their various charts. He has also found some relatives he never knew about before, one a second cousin in Portland, Oregon and some assorted cousins in New Zealand. Funnily enough, in some cases, he is not corresponding with the relatives themselves, but the wife in one case and the partner in another, since they are the “genealogists” of the family. So now, like me, he has all these online correspondents that he has never met, but has become quite friendly with.

So far he has traced his family back to the fifteen hundreds, to Jersey, where apparently some still live.

One of the amusing things he has discovered is that you cannot count on the information being correct, not even straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. His own father always said his name was C… V… B…. and his birthday was 24th March, 1900. But on his marriage certificate and the birth certificates of his children, he seems to have used various birth dates. From his actual birth certificate, it turns out he was V…. C…. B….. and he was born in 1901.

Even the date of his death was incorrect in some trees. Two of his sisters , when asked, said 1970 and that’s what the OS had in his tree. But I said no, that’s not right, it was 1975, as I recall. Finally one sister found his death certificate. 1974!

So the fact that an ancestor in the 1500s has a birthday in May on one tree and in September on another, albeit at least the same year, is not the least surprising.

As is his usual style, he treats it like a scientific project. I don’t think he is quite so interested in the people themselves as much as making nice diagrams and making sure the information is correct and complete.

This week we are off to Australia and as well we are taking a cruise around New Zealand. So we have arranged to meet some of these “relatives”. Actually he just got word that one of them died this week, which is a shame.

He has been sending his “results” to all of his family members who are on computer and one of his nieces is very interested. So we are to meet up with her too while we are in Australia. She actually plans to go to Jersey in October when she will be in England for a wedding. I wonder if we will be visiting there any time soon. That would not surprise me, although this passionate interest in the B family certainly has.


Once we were in France, in Normandy, not far from St Malo, where one crosses by ferry to Jersey from France. We came across a tiny village with the name of his surname. My daughter was with us and we have this photo of the OS and my daughter with the sign. Did a B… go there from Jersey, way back in the mists of time or did someone from the village of B….. go to Jersey? Interesting to speculate.

There is a famous French semiotician with the same name and everyone always asks my daughter if she is related to him since she has a PhD in seventeenth century French Literature. She always laughs and says no, I wish. But who knows? Maybe his family tree crosses hers somewhere. I guess we will never know.

However this has kept the OS happily occupied for hours on end and luckily I have my own computer(s) for I would not have been able to get a look in at the main desktop computer these past months. All in all, a harmless enough pastime and quite cheap.

Early last Fall, the Old Scientist went to Australia to visit his sister who has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and is well past the expected two year survival rate for this illness. She gave him a couple of old photos of their grandmother and somehow that started him on a genealogy search of his family.

Now he has a quite rare surname and since his father came as an immigrant from New Zealand to Australia he was not likely to find any of the dreaded convicts that Australians might fear in their murky past. Although I can imagine that Australians could well be delighted to have such ancestors nowadays. A reverse sort of pride.

Being the lazy person that he is, sitting at a computer and tracking down all the hard work that others have done before him is right up his alley.

The first I heard about it was when he came downstairs and said, I want to sign up for a website, ancestry.com. It costs $29.99 US. Why are you asking me? I queried. Oh, you want to use my credit card, the one I keep especially for online purposes. OK. And that was the beginning of it all.

For the last several months he has been building up his family tree, with information he garnered there, on some free program called Legacy which he downloaded for the purpose. Not only that, he has contacted various people who had members of his family in their trees and has begun an email correspondence with assorted people around the globe. They are all sharing whatever information they have and correcting their various charts. He has also found some relatives he never knew about before, one a second cousin in Portland, Oregon and some assorted cousins in New Zealand. Funnily enough, in some cases, he is not corresponding with the relatives themselves, but the wife in one case and the partner in another, since they are the “genealogists” of the family. So now, like me, he has all these online correspondents that he has never met, but has become quite friendly with.

So far he has traced his family back to the fifteen hundreds, to Jersey, where apparently some still live.

One of the amusing things he has discovered is that you cannot count on the information being correct, not even straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. His own father always said his name was C… V… B…. and his birthday was 24th March, 1900. But on his marriage certificate and the birth certificates of his children, he seems to have used various birth dates. From his actual birth certificate, it turns out he was V…. C…. B….. and he was born in 1901.

Even the date of his death was incorrect in some trees. Two of his sisters , when asked, said 1970 and that’s what the OS had in his tree. But I said no, that’s not right, it was 1975, as I recall. Finally one sister found his death certificate. 1974!

So the fact that an ancestor in the 1500s has a birthday in May on one tree and in September on another, albeit at least the same year, is not the least surprising.

As is his usual style, he treats it like a scientific project. I don’t think he is quite so interested in the people themselves as much as making nice diagrams and making sure the information is correct and complete.

This week we are off to Australia and as well we are taking a cruise around New Zealand. So we have arranged to meet some of these “relatives”. Actually he just got word that one of them died this week, which is a shame.

He has been sending his “results” to all of his family members who are on computer and one of his nieces is very interested. So we are to meet up with her too while we are in Australia. She actually plans to go to Jersey in October when she will be in England for a wedding. I wonder if we will be visiting there any time soon. That would not surprise me, although this passionate interest in the B family certainly has.


Once we were in France, in Normandy, not far from St Malo, where one crosses by ferry to Jersey from France. We came across a tiny village with the name of his surname. My daughter was with us and we have this photo of the OS and my daughter with the sign. Did a B… go there from Jersey, way back in the mists of time or did someone from the village of B….. go to Jersey? Interesting to speculate.

There is a famous French semiotician with the same name and everyone always asks my daughter if she is related to him since she has a PhD in seventeenth century French Literature. She always laughs and says no, I wish. But who knows? Maybe his family tree crosses hers somewhere. I guess we will never know.

However this has kept the OS happily occupied for hours on end and luckily I have my own computer(s) for I would not have been able to get a look in at the main desktop computer these past months. All in all, a harmless enough pastime and quite cheap.

Does anyone remember the movie Tron? I think it is maybe the first time the word “rez” first entered every day vocabulary. Though I think De-Rez was used more when the Characters got “killed” Rez and De-Rez are short for resolve and de resolve. That is to do with computers displaying things where they resolve on the display.

In Second Life (SL) the term Rez means much the same. You “Rez” or create objects. You Rez at a new location and the location rezzes for you.

“I have not rezzed yet” can mean I have not yet appeared properly, or maybe also that the site is not rezzed for a person yet after their arrival, and they cant see anything, or anyone fully yet.

The first time you ever appear within SL is the first time you ever rezzed. Your Rez Day.

The anniversary is your Rez Day, like a birthday is in Real Life (RL).

Except that SL is quite fluid in some ways. Much can change. So time seems to go faster, like cat and dog years maybe ^_^

Something else to remember here. SL is an international sort of place and “suffers” (if you can call it that) from day stretching/scrunching.

Like you can’t be sure that the person you are speaking to is living in the same day as you. Because of time zones it might be yesterday for them, while it is today for you, or tomorrow for them, when it is today for you. Go figure.

So to the main point of this post. It was my Rezday the other day. Now I had completely forgotten because of the cat years ^_^

The first I knew of it was when a SL “pen pal” IM’d me to wish me a happy Rezday. I was touched he remembered. I met him just after I joined SL, he was new too and we have kept in touch by IM, though very seldom see each other. He was out dancing with a lady friend when he called as he noticed I was in SL.

That is a good thing about SL, you can have multiple conversations, once you learn to do it it is great. A better, wider, more versatile way of communicating. it has benefits in RL too.

So back to the thread, I figured he was a bit early, but the thought is what counts.

I didn’t think much more of it or that anyone else would know, but yesterday my very best SL friend “P” sprung a surprise party on me. She got me a lovely pink cake with candles and a dress and new skin and all.

She went to some trouble. It was so thoughtful. We had a lovely time. I still feel good about it. *grinzzz*

Does anyone remember the movie Tron? I think it is maybe the first time the word “rez” first entered every day vocabulary. Though I think De-Rez was used more when the Characters got “killed” Rez and De-Rez are short for resolve and de resolve. That is to do with computers displaying things where they resolve on the display.

In Second Life (SL) the term Rez means much the same. You “Rez” or create objects. You Rez at a new location and the location rezzes for you.

“I have not rezzed yet” can mean I have not yet appeared properly, or maybe also that the site is not rezzed for a person yet after their arrival, and they cant see anything, or anyone fully yet.

The first time you ever appear within SL is the first time you ever rezzed. Your Rez Day.

The anniversary is your Rez Day, like a birthday is in Real Life (RL).

Except that SL is quite fluid in some ways. Much can change. So time seems to go faster, like cat and dog years maybe ^_^

Something else to remember here. SL is an international sort of place and “suffers” (if you can call it that) from day stretching/scrunching.

Like you can’t be sure that the person you are speaking to is living in the same day as you. Because of time zones it might be yesterday for them, while it is today for you, or tomorrow for them, when it is today for you. Go figure.

So to the main point of this post. It was my Rezday the other day. Now I had completely forgotten because of the cat years ^_^

The first I knew of it was when a SL “pen pal” IM’d me to wish me a happy Rezday. I was touched he remembered. I met him just after I joined SL, he was new too and we have kept in touch by IM, though very seldom see each other. He was out dancing with a lady friend when he called as he noticed I was in SL.

That is a good thing about SL, you can have multiple conversations, once you learn to do it it is great. A better, wider, more versatile way of communicating. it has benefits in RL too.

So back to the thread, I figured he was a bit early, but the thought is what counts.

I didn’t think much more of it or that anyone else would know, but yesterday my very best SL friend “P” sprung a surprise party on me. She got me a lovely pink cake with candles and a dress and new skin and all.

She went to some trouble. It was so thoughtful. We had a lovely time. I still feel good about it. *grinzzz*

WARM

Warm……….. The first thing to spring to my mind for this theme is warm sunny days at the beach. The golden sands, the blue sky above, the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. So here are a few photos from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a frequent destination for Canadians seeking some warmth from the long winters.

So warm that many sat under these palm frond umbrellas

Not just ordinary sand here, but sand sculptures. This was part of
a life sized depiction of the Last Supper.

Some young children found it too warm and decided to
cool off in a nearby shallow stream, clothes and all.

I’ll be travelling in Australia/New Zealand for the next month and not likely doing Photo Hunt. So I’ll join you all again for sure at the beginning of April. I will be blogging but probably not doing Photo Hunt.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE


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