||06/08/2005 - 07:41AM
|Location: United Kingdom|
and the home stretch|
|6 months. Yes, way too short, but the manifest says Chicago and Chicago it is. We are looking forward to returning home. As a family, we have friends and families that we miss
We have 6 days in England and Scotland
so look out
A couple of thoughts
and maybe just maybe closing statements for now
.the real story of the J
has been the unparallel opportunity to spend time together as a family among a bigger family
the world. When we first started this adventure
I mentioned to many people that 80 per cent of what happens on the J we dont even know about and remaining 20 per cent we planned for or sort of knew it would happen. Wrong. Make that 95/5
..the people, the places
seeing the 400 families waiting in front of the Cambodian hospital with sick kids
you dont anticipate.
The homeless everywhere. Throughout the entire world. It is so sad
but reality. We live in a very wealthy nation where materialism and an addiction to money and such isnt even a dream for most people
people we have seen and met..throughout the world. And we didnt even touch Africa and South American and parts of the Middle East.
But we move on with a new framework of reference about our family and our lives and our health and our home and on and on
.we have been told by many people that we are going to be shocked when we return to The States on Saturday
.I am beginning to really understand what they
all of them
are talking about
.and I suspect the city and country that we left will never been the same
in our eyes. That is good.
But we have had some great opportunities even in recent weeks to continue to experience this amazing big world
.to take my daughter to the Beatles experience in Liverpool and relive real, live memories of their beginning is a treat
.to get lost in London driving
I forgot a map
is the only way to see that town
was in hindsight a trip
..to travel along the highways of England and Scotland and NOT see ugly billboards everywhere was just a soothing treat for my eyes
.and other Americans that have taken the time to travel through these countries
.to climb 12 or 13 towers/cathedrals all along the J and see the perspectives of cities that are 500 years old
.to meet new friends all along the way
both Americans and locals is invigorating
and very special
.and even the French were nice
.with or without shorts..
.a breath of air..many times filthy in Asia
would be the opportunity to enjoy media from all over the world
and thank God for The Herald Tribune and the Financial Times.
.for Marla and T just putting up with my travel idiosyncrasies
and my persistence of getting photos that work
to support a book or two post J
.the world and its people and its places are one big anecdote
and folks everywhere are people
.even with different languages, political affiliation or traditions. How we as a family and as three individuals experienced this adventure and opportunity will be forever a story or two to tell and share.
My journals are done. I have had the pleasure of celebrating with this same family a very special milestone and this will also contribute to the rewards of The J
.I will look around the neighborhood a bit differently after June 11
.see ya soon.
and good health
||05/29/2005 - 17:01PM
|Location: United Kingdom|
|Sunday in London|
|I really like this town, and we
Marla, Tricia and I have really seen and enjoyed a handful of nifty towns, but London gets our vote...even for the 2012 Olympics
over Paris and Madrid. But lets get back to the current turf.|
After a trip to Brussels and Bruges in Belgium, a train ride back to Paris and a quick trip over the channel, we have reentered the English speaking world and really enjoying it. But the fun and entertainment has arrived
even in London. Marla has done a great job of scoping out this place. Both city and country. She even got tickets...somehow to The Producers and...And Billy Elliot
the night before we return to the US
contacts all over the place.
Anyhow. Things just happen. We got to Buckingham Palace
changing of the guard thing
the Queen is in
and they decide to practice for her birthday parade. Right there. The pageantry was incredible
.colorful and great photos. A beautiful day. One of many for us during the J.
Why even the dollar has improved against the English pound
.in just a matter of weeks. Lets see. Back to pageantry. The tube or underground (our subway concept) is marvelous
after driving in McHenry County and the like for awhile, I am amazed how we just move and careen through this orchestrated people mover
maybe just maybe mass transit needs a new home at home
visit here and youll see.
Even The Food Shop
across an adjacent park provides the most amazing presentation of fresh and specialty foods at a reasonable price has been a real find
for all of us. While the Hyatt serves up good fare
this place is a must see and visit and taste if you are ever here. Nothing like it anywhere in the US
Even a highly regarded Chelsea flower show
presented some gorgeous gardens and what seemed like 200,000 people in our back yard. M & T went on their way to a ride on The Thames. I stuck it out for 3 hours
periodically some great shots but way too many people and too hot. People when not visiting the show were laying under trees...bushes
anywhere to cool off
of all ages. Like human lawn ornaments I guess.
St. Pauls Cathedral
700 years of history
530 steps to the top
provided some great aerials of this city. I am guessing we have captured 12 -15 aerial type images from cities on the J
a very revealing perspective of the cities. Interesting to see these side by side. One of the real HIGHlights
Liverpool wins the EU crown and the entire city
300,000 turns out to party and party. Nothing like a World Series or Rose Bowl or EU championship to create a party event!
like other cities with water in the middle
is very polluted
real polluted. No fish
just brown and lots of raw sewage
a lesson that maybe Ken the Mayor can learn from Chicago But maybe not. What a presentation of architecture along the brown water highway though.
The Tower of London Bridge
a real gem...except dont try to stick your head through the small windows on the bridge to take photos through a small window. Bang. Mouth and lip
but great shots
.for the gipper eh.
we move on. What a great city. So much you read and hear about for years
and you finally see or hear it. Even Big Ben malfunctioned while we are here. Just doesnt get better than that.
A note to Julie and Adam and Judith and friends at The Svalander Dance Studio and family of John Perry on his very untimely death last week.
Peace to my friends and family
||05/25/2005 - 12:52PM
|We're really in Brussels now even though this journal is from France |
Sunday in Paris
We knew the last four weeks of the J would be hectic, but this is crazy
and what a way to see Europe. And even the chance to catch up with family and friends in Madrid was the best
but that late night dinner time
just doesnt work. Anyhow, we survived
the architecture of Madrid is spectacular
but a city with a real estate market that challenges Las Vegas. Lost of low interest money. And they are working diligently to grab the 2012 Olympics!
Then on to Barcelona and another Olympic City. This was primarily a chance to see first hand the amazing if not recalcitrant architecture of Gaudi...La Sagrada Familia Church ....the photos will tell it all
somewhat bizarre flowing architecture...out of place
.even a cathedral currently being finished in his style which was started in 1903 is just out there. As a city
but a nice stop in route to France and a chance to experience and see.
The Barcelona train station is like a botanical garden...a bit of a contrast
.but on to France
a car and actually an exceptional road system and we moved in to our small French community for some wonderful rest, side trips and fun with the natives. Ill let Marla and T detail this adventure, but my new found friends at the local café loved the American stories and my commentary through a student interpreter of the International Herald Tribune news. Just good ol American fun
A new friend in Georgia
from Salt Lake City.
My sister during her visit with us in Madrid put us in touch with a former Salt Lake City resident now managing and creating a wonderful and sedating B&B east of Avignon
a wonderful walk through the property
even meeting Utah her dog was a delightful change of pace. Georgia is a true transplant from Utah and for two years has created a wonderful change of pace escape in Southern France.
And it gets better. During mid-June/July 2006 we will be conducting a photo seminar for 8-10 folks
.on this property and wonderful locale in France. What an opportunity and with such a dynamic person. More to follow.
..the bullet train and on to Paris. Yes Paris. As we arrive at our hotel, the street is blocked
armed police, what did I do now? Apparently we were across the street from a judicial court or something and a judge was being escorted from the building. Seriously folks. I dont even own a gun ( no comments).
So why not. Lets get to the English version of Star Wars
.then off to climb the Eiffel tower at dusk
just keep going and what a view. Youve got to love the Parisian mass transit
.you can go and go anywhere
.even the next day we headed down to Notre Dame
.and yes tower #8
.up 437 stairs...straight up to the bell
no hunchback but met some recent graduates of the Notre Dame in South Bend and we caught up on a little of everything for 30 minutes or so at the TOP of Notre Dame. Thanks Jen and Allison.
The cathedral itself is massive
the choir and organ were doing their thing during a knighthood ceremony
.and the eccentrics were out and entertaining around The Dome as we departed
.for T to see and climb both the Eiffel and The Dome
what an experience
So we are back to Sunday morning
and Paris. Yes they...the Parisans. are still rude at times, but their attempt to grab the Olympics for 2012 has mellowed some of the folks I think
.the waiter that unsuccessfully tried to give us 2 bills for dinner
.I just looked at him
.the millions of people in the subway that dont smile
.the elevator operator at the Eiffel Tower was a scream
just having a good time
and it goes on and on. Paris is very special
on to Brussels and Belgium
a return for me after 20 years. Get that heart healthy chocolate ready!!!
Condolences to good friend Lisa and her family on the passing of her father.
And friend Bill
take care of the hip
bike riding soon.
Five months have gone by so fast
..a life-changing experience to say the very least
changes I look forward to.
..Happy Sunday from Paris!
||05/13/2005 - 05:22AM
|Italy and the Roberto |
|That would be me. Quite a nice transition from Asia, but in a way a new, clearly eye-opening way. For years you hear about Italy. You are always able to identify the boot on the 4th grade geography tests. The coliseum is there. The cradle of civilization. The city.|
my God what is going on in Rome? Graffiti everywhere. Even on the 2000 year-old remnants of early civiulatioin. The traffic. The smoking. But yes this is Rome/Roma. Fascinating. But the Vatican and the Vatican museum and the Sistine chapel were really beyond belief. Just getting in to the Sistine with the thousands of tourists was worth the short wait. And yes I did get some remarkable
But getting tossed out of the Vatican in a very definitive anti-American statement was part of the trip. The shorts
now known as the Papal shorts
soon to be auctioned off on e-bay
.was even more interesting after watching 11 folks walk out of the Vatican in shorts and one fellow in shorts and with a dog!!!!! Love those Americans.
Now on to Florence and Sienna and Lucca. A different world. Almost a different country.
The Ufizzi art museum was just incredible. Just to stand in front of the classic works of Leonardo da Vinci
and others was a very special event. Just to get to Florence ands away from Rome was special. And the train ride to Pisa and Lucca
one big panorama picture. Pisa..the leaning tower kind
just 300+ steps
at an angle
and what a view. Fortunately. while there were thousands in the square only a few actually make the trek up the tower
and what a view. A little different than Niles, Illinois !!!!
But back to Florence and the real opportunity of a lifetime. Marla, T and I were in pursuit of a newly located daVinci gallery of student Frescos. Article in hand from the Chicago Tribune
to a monatsray north of Flornece and really off the beaten path. T o make a long
.l o n g
we found a new friend in Carmelina
a poet with works in the Boston Univresity library
who somehow got the three of us in to a very special and privlidged position to tour the ancient military geography museum in Flornece.
Here were the archives of hundred of years of original mapmaking and books that literally covered Italian and world history and documents from
the original maps that were used by Napoleon during his war activities. NOT copies but the actual maps...right there
.the big event
.the colonel, our host
was talking about the library and its 18,000 original maps and I mentioned our quest to find within the monastery what we had read about
..he says follow me
Through the reference area, past more maps, people, security, and to a room situated back there. Through a door and there they were original frescos from some of the advances students
an area they never had been visited other than individuals documenting this find
. How very special
And another treat
.Jenna from Crystal Lake and sister Holly
the birthday girl
and husband Lynn
in front of the Nebraska restaurant
on to Madrid
||05/05/2005 - 03:48AM
|memories of vietnam...changed|
30 years later|
The end of the Asian experience. Four countries. 7 or 8 cities. Some real insight in to the alleged new world order. The new world capitalism. The continued effort to collaborate communism and all of the autocractic constraints that affect human rights while participating in the new world.
As you read in previous journals, Honk ( Hong ) Kongs environment both water and air is probably beyond repair. Beijing is not too far behind in spite of the arrival of the 2008 Olympic and a building boon that can only be classified as frightening. And on.
And now we leave Vietnam 30 years after the completion of a war that is still discussed today. And only this weekend throughout the country a massive public relations party celebrating the 30 was completed. Where we stayed in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City was across the street from the infamous US Embassy and in front of the hotel was hours of spotlight/parades/loud speakers/bike races
you name it it happened. All part of selling communism.
But there is another sales tool.
The infamous tunnels north of Saigon/HCM City. The last day before departing Vietnam we were scheduled to visit these famous war time relics. Why not ? A war that has been over for 30 years.
After a grueling 1 hour ride ( I continued to have a case of food disruption) we arrived at the entry site
an area that looked more like a tourist Mecca than a war memorial of sorts A flagrant effort to merchandise the efforts of The Winning Team and a presentation of the booby traps that killed or maimed who knows how many military from many countries. A tour guide that demonstrated with an obvious sense of pride how each and every device worked and after activating would smile and EVEN laugh. There must have been 12 or 15 of these things
not to mention the ones on the ground or buried.
Then the firing range. Live rounds. Captured rifles and automatic weapons. Folks were paying to shoot the rifles at..who knows what ? Not us. It was rather interesting to actually see the tunnel network, but to observe. again
the cruelty that took place. We left.
Vietnam may be a participant in the new world economy, but communism is still very much a part of the culture, and the war very much a part of creating capital from hungry tourists. And now we move on.
Please understand that this is but a part of the Vietnam today story. For the sake of brevity we will hold it here and offer additional insight when we return.
And now. on to Rome.
||04/29/2005 - 19:57PM
|We were not invited... |
|to the morning events.|
It...the 30th anniversary celebration... started around 3am..music..and thousands of buses and Vietnamese from the countryside. The street in front of the hotel is shut down, and our access to"the party" (take it both ways) is restricted.
I headed out from the hotel at 6:30am.
Everyone inside the control zone has a credential, but not us..myself and a photographer from France.
I was up around 5 am..Marla and T are smart...they are still asleep..if the speeches haven't awakened them. But just mixing with the new, younger generation brought smiles and lots of "hellos"in spite of the military presence.
Back to the hotel...for now.
||04/28/2005 - 19:47PM
|A new country..a new economy but still the last in line of Asian tigers? There is a recent article in Newsweek that effectively capsulizes what this country..today..is all about. 80 million people and 60% are under the age of 29. You figure it out.|
Very distinct demographics age-wise to China. Corruption like Cambodia and Thailand and China is running rampant. But there is hope with the leadership of Prime Minister Phan Van Khai. And hope may be interesting way to view our four days here.
He knows as others that after oil, Vietnam's most important industry for export is garment production. Last night I had a lengthy conversation with a top executive from Nike..from Portland. Their growth in product consumption..tennis shoes...is just booming in China and Vietnam. Forget about exports. They are consuming the products they make.
Tonight and tomorrow begins the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon..now Ho Chi Minh City. What an amazing opportunity to just be here.
More to follow.
||04/27/2005 - 20:52PM
|Cambodia...open your eyes|
|Millions of commuters on bikes travel 15-20 miles to their work for poverty wages. But they work and they smile and they appreciate a kind word. What a change.|
We are so fortunate as a country, as a community, as a family and individuals to experience what we have and I personally feel an extreme sense of guilt over what we have seen in China, Camdodia and tonight Vietnam.
To have seen Tricia surrounded by little Camdodian kids is a picture worth 2000 words. It will be up shortly.
We move on to Vietnam this afternoon in time to celebrate the end of the Vietnam conflict 30 years ago. Ought to be quite an experience.
I suspect Marla will be able to load photos in Vietnam from Cambodia, China and Vietnam. Then on Monday night we are off to Europe and Rome.
Life changing experience...you bet.
||04/23/2005 - 19:34PM
|China is alive and well...sort of|
|Don't let anyone kid you. China is ready to take on the world and Japan and anything that gets in its way.|
Much like Hong Kong, the air pollution even in Beijing is out of sight...literally. Coal buring power plants...only six in China...tell it all. With 30 new plants on the way the air quality may change, but the desire to produce anything and everything for the world may prevent any real improvement.
But for now we...me and my sinuses...live with the air and the engaging folks particularly in Xi'an south of Beijing. And yes the Terra Cotta soldiers are marvelous.Tricia will fill you in and photos to follow.
Now comes the 2008 Olympics. What a pr coup for this country and are they getting ready. Notwithstanding the air, the building that is taking place is also incredible. I will predict, however, that air quality will be an issue in 2008 for athletes and visitors alike. Stay tuned here.
As an aside, when we arrived in Xi'an, Marla and T headed to the markets and I walked over to the square in from of the Provincial Government Headquarters. Lots of people, lots of smiles for the newly arrived American and then...two soldiers came running up and everyone falls in to "line"....readying for the lowering of the flag..everyday...at 7 pm. Then 30-40 soldiers come marching down the now closed street...music from somewhere...quiet...down comes the flag...I didn't move or say a word ( no comments please). Impressive just to see the degree of respect or intimidation.
Marla and Tricia, by the way, are great travelers. Great companions. What a growing experience for us all.
||04/21/2005 - 18:20PM
|Passing through the harbor...|
|Except you can't see it.|
Hong Kong while just full of actvity and the hub and all that stuff... is polluted and getting worse. Marla and I were both disappointed with how the world's busiest city or fastest growing or something is just enveloped in bad air.
I hope China figures out pretty soon that clean air... much like what the US has achieved in many parts of the country...is really critical to the survival of its new breed of capitalism. We'll see.
Our stay in HK with some of the visits to the outer islands was really an eye opener. Macau will be the NEW Las Vegas adding casinos and all that goes along with it in the next five years.
All this and more. The real estate costs and sales are out of control...people here are frenetic...stand to the side or you will be run over...but...still a wonderful, learning experience.
Unlike our neck of the woods the HK folks have really learned how to move folks around. Roads...boats...five international airports, but at the expense of what ?
||04/16/2005 - 08:58AM
|Location: Hong Kong|
|Bangkok and beyond
.and early Viet Nam visit|
|Another long leg from Sydney to Bangkok, and a wonderful two day/three night visit to this wonderful city. Marla and I hadnt been here in 16 years, but a real treat to be with such wonderful, gracious folks. And thanks to friend Fred Kao we really had a chance to see a new part pf the city, an extraordinary dining experience
fresh/fresh seafood and just a chance to catch up with Fred.|
And lets not forget that we arrived at the beginning of the Thai New Year
Songkran. It falls every year o n April 13 and is the Thai word for moveorchange place because this is when the sun changes places in the zodiac. Notwithstanding the zodiac stuff, part of the three day event encompasses in mass
thats everyone throwing/squirting/using any available vehicle to pour or toss water
at each other
at anything. Fun beyond belief and I fit in just fine as you can imagine.
Somewhere along the way we made to most remarkable meeting of locals from Moline and Crystal Lake in Bangkok en route to a wonderful philanthropic mission in Viet Nam. Molineites( from Illinois) Melbert and Betty Peterson, Miki Cunat and Julia Cado from Crystal Lake ( thats about five minutes from Bull Valley ) were on the way to Viet Nam to dedicate a childrens hospital in Hue about 2 hours north of Ho Chi Minh City. Visit the web site to get the whole story
but Miki in concert with Kiwanis folks from Illinois have been involved in the fund raising and getting the project done. An amazing feat by some wonderful folks
Anyhow, accolades to these folks and we hope to catch dinner with them in Hong Kong on Wednesday night. Great folks, and Julia and I talked non stop about all
.a wonderful experience for all. And they are neighbors to boot!!!!!
Lets see. The flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong. No big deal but
here you go
when we received our gourmet food tray and the bag of goodies
much to my surprise was a real knife
not plastic. I picked it up
waived it in the air to show Marla behind me and folks around me just stared
and thought for a moment
terrorist Robin was at work. I hadnt seen a metal knife in years
weapon no. Sorry fly mates. No one knew a word of English
just the knife
Enter Hong Kong
and the worldwide 50th anniversary celebration of McDonalds
which included and article in the local papers on the original McDs in Des Plaines, Illinois
one of my old stomping grounds. But the Hong Kong media took issue with the demise of the American waistline and health thanks to the Golden Arches including they
McDonalds connects with biology because most people like foods with high amounts of sugar and fat
the article went on and on. The westernization of Hong Kong has indeed included the expansion of Ronald
So we settle in to Hong Kong ( and McDonalds birthday party ) for 6 days. Its just frenetic here
particularly on Friday night. New York
Hong Kong is just out of control
.what a change from Bangkok and Sydney! A trip today to Lantau
and the worlds largest Buddha
That is enough Robin. Go to bed. I will. Happy Spring to our friends and family.
And yes things are heating up between Japan and China
even here in Hong Kong.Ought to provide a very interesting trip to Beijing and beyond. Well see.
||04/10/2005 - 23:41PM
|And goodbye...Part 2|
|What an amazing three months. So fast. Too fast. But some wonderful experiences, so much knowledge about The Land of Oz and a whole boat load of new friends. Hopefully, our friends in America will have the opportunity to meet some folks soon. We'll see.|
One day to go. The final going away party is tonight. Bags are packed and boxes sent. It's been 16 years since Marla and I honeymooned in Asia. It's like going home.
And to all of our friends in Australia...please take care. We really live in a small, yet very diverse world. We are literally in this together so lets try to make
" it " happen.
The journey continues. Stay with us.
And to our friends the Kirchoffs in Crystal Lake...our deepest thoughts are with you on the loss of Ryan. We are with you.
||04/07/2005 - 18:41PM
|Goodbye Sydney...Part I|
|Almost. Next Tuesday it's on to Bangkok and the second "leg" of the J.|
Tricia is enjoying her last day at McDonald College today, and with little reservation I can say she has had a remarkable experience. I am sure she will journal about all of this at some point.
But her adaptation to a new home, a new school, new friends, a new country is something as her father I am very proud of. In meeting with the school folks yesterday, we were told how Tricia has really made herself a welcome person in every classroom and activity, and academically she just did her thing. We are proud.
So now we move on, and reflect on our short-term home and new friends from Sydney. The city was so much more than what we anticipated or saw prior to our arrival. The new friends from folks we met at McDonald to Sydney firefighters to a retired couple....both retired Sydney police officers...
are wonderful. They like others have been invited to our home in the states. We hope to see them soon.
And lets not forget the wonderful experience we had with the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. The entire staff and particularly Janet, Kath amd Ben welcomed us in to their work "home." Thank you. We are glad we could contribute.
It's Friday and as the manifest changes Marla is hard at work. Packing and repacking has begun. Tuesday will be here before we know it.....
Talk to you soon.
||04/04/2005 - 03:48AM
|The international sauna........and a thank you|
|Now don't get any wrong ideas. |
After a few hours in the hot(cool)tub at the Olympic Acquacenter, I decided to "dry off" in the hot/hot sauna. Little did I know I would be entering a most active political discussion...but just for a few minutes.
Sitting and talking and engaging in a discussion of the middle east and the new regimes was a gentleman from Turkey, another from Iraq and a third from Afghanastan...and me. It was very apparent from their accents.
I stood there for a few minutes...listened politely ( for a change )and then one of them looked up...the fellow from Iraq... and asked me where I was from.
The United States.
Dead quiet.A pause.
Then.... a "thank you" for what "you"( me representing the U.S.) did. Time to head to the shower.
||04/02/2005 - 22:39PM
|The girls....did it!|
|40 laps of an Olympic pool...that's 2 kilometers. Just amazing to watch Tricia AND Marla swimming and swimming to support the Royal Institute For Deaf and Blind Children.|
And in the lanes next to them were people from all over Australia and kids from the Institute. There was one lad with cerebal palsy...wheelchair bound out of the water...who swam and swam. My knee no longer is such a big deal.
They...T & Marla...did all of us proud...family, friends, web journey visitor from throughout the world and the United States.
Again, to those who donated. Thank you.
Happy birthday to the T girl...and welcome Gavin Thomas Pendergrast at 8lbs/11 ounces.
||04/01/2005 - 01:32AM
|April 1-No foolin....|
|A little over a week to go. Incredible. Two birthdays coming up with the T girl boarding 12 on Sunday, and Marla ___ on Thursday. Send money.|
And tomorrow Tricia will make us all proud as she swims in the 21st Splash For Cash for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. This is the same organziation that I have been shooting images for over the past two months.
See my previous journal re the event.
Many folks have pledged $$$$ and Marla and I and of course T thank you. She is a great representative of the United States... and our family and friends. Be proud. We are.
A photo of Tricia doing her thing in the Sydney Olympic Pool will be up shortly.
One short note Our prayers go out to Adrian and Denise during this challenging time.
||03/27/2005 - 13:50PM
|Saturday morning and the holiday weekend are in full swing, and the planning is now beginning for April 12
departure to Asia and beyond.|
What a wonderful adventure Australia has been and will continue to be. Tonight, Australia vs. Iraq in soccer at the Telstra Olympic Stadium. I suspect this will be quite and event, as the first Iraq team arrives in OZ since liberation by the coalition. Great photo ops I would imagine.
Like in the states, it is Easter weekend, but unlike the states everything
.everything closes down. Nothing, with maybe the exception of an oriental bakery, was open. I am not sure if its religious conviction or just a chance to take 5!
Anyhow, the adventure continues.
Tricia continues to amaze all of us with her flexibility, commitment to family and the capitalizing on the tremendous learning opportunity that she has been exposed to at McDonald College. I know she has developed a keen sense of appreciation for the true value of friends as she continues to communicate with her buds at home while building on a new base of friends here. I suspect it will be tough to leave them and the educational environment.
I am continued to be amazed at the public transportation system in Sydney and beyond. Much like European cities, Sydney offers so much to get from A to B, unlike the Chicago area which really has very restricted transportation infrastructure. Up in our next of the woods
the home base
there is nothing, and you realize how little there is when you travel 15-20 miles in 25 minutes from our condo to downtown Sydney
and they are still adding tunnels and the like here. Just amazing. Ought to be very interesting to see and compare elsewhere
and then travel I-90!!!!
To those that have committed to helping Tricia in her swimming fund-raiser, thank you. As you know Marla and I and now Tricia firmly believe in giving back through effort and deed. I am sure the visual and hearing impaired kids will appreciate her efforts as well as the support she received by our friends and family in the states.
A safe and happy Easter weekend to all.
||03/26/2005 - 15:39PM
|Iraq joins us in OZ|
|I have mentioned and anticipated THE event for a few weeks. But there I was in the middle of 55,000 vocal Australian and Iraq soccer fans at the Telstra Stadium at the Olympic Park.|
As expected, it was indeed a coming out party for 30,000 Iraq fans including families, flags, drums, dancing and a very emotional presentation of the Iraq and Aussie flags together, the singing of the national anthems for both countries and on and on.
The entire evening was very, very moving, and obviously the Iraq contingent were ready to celebrate their liberation. Yes I did get some photos that captured to evening. Should be up soon.
With the Australian prime minister along with top Iraq officials in attendance, even the fireworks from the Royal Easter Celebration were well-timed.
There is obviously controversy surrounding the Iraq war, and the Journal is not a forum for this discussion. But I can tell all that as the hand written sign on the bed sheet read..."Iraq Is Back" and their pride was well fortified last night.
Oh yea...great game....Australia 2-Iraq 1.
||03/21/2005 - 22:17PM
|Splash for...Tricia...and others|
|We are down to three weeks on OZ, but more on that in the NEXT journal.|
This IS a solicitation or call for your support. $$$$$
On Saturday April 2 , Tricia will be swimming in a "Splash For Cash" to support the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. Her idea all the way. I am biased, but she is a great person and I would like to"ask the world" to support her.
The event will take place at the Sydney Olympic Park pool,and additional info is avalable at www.splashforcash.com.au.
So much a lap or just a few bucks. Nothing big...just something to support her in this special effort. She has been training diligently. We will provide a receipt upon our return.
Please e mail her with any questions or to offer your moral support.
Not to mention to support the wonderful work of The Institute. As you have read, I have been shooting images for the past two months to support the same organization.
Thanks friends.Thanks family.
||03/20/2005 - 13:50PM
|Only three weeks in OZ.....|
|And I am going to miss it and....|
The people and how they have embraced the new guys on the block. The Pendergrasts from America.
The wonderful ferry rides on the Parammatta River to and from Sydney.
The Sydney Fire Brigade(fire department)and how they really took time just to make us feel at home...including our friend Grant.
The chips...french fries at EVERY corner.
The highly divergent media and my friends... the four daily newspapers.
The ice cream stands literally everwhere. Even Sarah McLaughlin mentioned at her concert Saturday night the abundance of this wonderful creamy stuff, and how the Aussies like their ice cream.
McDonald College and the tremendous opportunity for Tricia to experience and appreciate and entirely new educational experience and meet some wonderful friends.
The wonderful bike trails at The Olympic Park.
The folks back home....Deb, Linda and Mo...who have really stepped in to just take care of things.
And on and on...there will be more...
||03/15/2005 - 22:15PM
|The US in the news....|
|A quick visit to the recent US news and how it presents itself to the rest of the world...in this case Australia.|
Yesterday while taking a lunch break at the Royal Institute, the subject came up again as it has frequently in the past week or so...how is it possible that so many people have guns. On the heels of the recent high-profile acts of violence, I am really not the right person to ask. I don't know why folks insist on having firearms in homes, cars and who knows where else? I don't own one.
But,the minute that our/my country of origin surfaces in conversations the subject heads to shooting and guns and all the news stories that secures front page/up front coverage on all media outlets...radio/TV and newspapers.
I can't even offer a rationale answer...me the one that always has an opinion. I am lost on this one.
While visiting a Sydney Fire Station today in suburban Burrwood same question...again.
Freedom to........I just don't know.
||03/12/2005 - 23:48PM
|A cool Sunday afternoon....and some glue|
|Actually it's a beautiful day. Prevailing winds off the ocean and 70 degree temps.Yummy.|
Marla and the T girl are off to a movie at the French movie festival (45% of films released in OZ are from France and not the US). Not sure why but I suspect M & T will provide that info later on.
And what is Sunday afternoon without Rugby on the tube. Rugby season here is like college or pro football in the states. And then there is cricket or possibly Australian football with the Australia-Iraq game headed for the stadium March 26. Sports is a way of life in OZ for almost all.
But the big news is the beginning of the 2005 Sydney Royal Easter Show...a combination of Taste Of Chicago, the Illinois Fair, a rodeo that extends throughout the entire 14 days and who knows what else? It is literally just across the street or within walking distance situated in the 2000 Olympic Park. Can't wait.14 Days of fireworks at 8:55 each evening!
And there is something called Showbags that you can buy at every turn at the show. From what I have read they are bags of sponsored promo stuff from six packs of beer to World of Wonka chocolate bags. I really don't think we will load up with too much or buy anything as we embark on sending boxes BACK to the states. Don't think we need any bags of magazines or candy. But you never know here in OZ.
My main task of the day---help---is finishing the architectural structures for T's Shakespeare Globe Theater project. Just a little glue and well you know the story. We are a team right ? No worries!
Stay warm. Spring ( or fall depending on where you are ) is on the way.
||03/10/2005 - 14:56PM
|Fall is here...and unemployment|
|You bet. Some crisp nights. Warm days. Indian summer I guess. Rugby season starts in earnest this weekend. It's just huge. America gets elimininated from the Davis Cup.|
So what's new. Lots
Tonight we are hooking up with a long time friend and fellow Syracuse University alum of daughter Jori...we have't seen Jill in 8 or 9 years. This is one of the benfits of trip like this..catching up and seeing friends from all over the world.
The newspapers and other media are covering again and again the unemployment rate in OZ is O%. There are 156,000 jobs available just in this area and essentially no one to fill them. What really rattles the cage is that selected politicians and labor unions are encouraging kids to drop out of high school at year 10, attend trade schools and help fill the deficit.
If you think about...maybe college isn't for everyone, but maybe a high school degree? It's a whole different world here folks. The thought of passing school referendums just to keep good teachers is not on the radar. Probably never will be.
In the meantime, the educational opportunities that T is being exposed to are well just incredible. If she was here fulltime McDonald College actually has a gifted stream beyond the conventional academic environment and performing arts program.
So, you have the best of both worlds I guess.
Great weekend to all, and condolences to the family on the loss of always smiling Uncle Jerry...the ulitmate Sox fan.May he rest in peace.
||03/06/2005 - 19:36PM
|Davis Cup...and Pancakes/Part !!|
|Sorry, I forgot to mention one key component to the world class tennis event attended on Saturday. |
Yes there is beer and wine and coke and water and pizza and sandwiches ( kangaroo burgers ) but the most popular item consumed is or are pancakes and butter and vanilla ice cream.
Paging Dr. Messer.
Not me though. The cakes were freshly cooked on site and they did look good but...no way. Just pass the orange juice!
||03/05/2005 - 14:28PM
|The Davis Cup...and the cell phone|
|World class tennis. One of the top doubles teams in the world from Australia challenged by Austria. Capacity crowd. And lots of country pride on both sides of the isle. Flags. Singing. It's all here.|
As we have observed at other events in Australia, you just don't get the out of control rowdiness that is so often seen in the states. There are only one or two police officers to be seen, and they were also enjoying the match.
One of the real nifty adventures was walking around and talking to the folks during a rain delay. No big deal with 20,000 folks to choose from. Some were reading the Sunday papers that were giving away to all as they entered the stadium. Others were watching horse racing live on the portable venue that was set up outside the stadium.
Betting on horses is huge here. While I never quite figured out what motivates anyhow to toss dollar bills at horsehide, obviously it's a huge adventure here. Even at the Davis Cup.
Great match. Great volleys. Real competition.
And yes cell phones.
The Davis Cup referee from Argentina was very clear at the beginning of the match telling everyone to turn those blasted/rude/things off. About midway through the 4th game a cell phone did go off during service. Everything stops. Every looks and just stares.
The second time and the same guy is ejected from the stadium. No questions asked. He is gone. What is so important that, of well, you know the story. Jason will love this one!
Hope all is well.
||03/03/2005 - 15:21PM
|Two months and a few days
|What a trip. Two months and so quickly. Fun
you bet. Informative. Beyond our collective expectations.A new interpretation of family. Yes.|
As I am sitting here journaling on the J, the lightning is parading over Sydney to the east...probably over the Opera House and the harbor. Just gorgeous!
The light show is incredible as is The J. A nifty metaphor. At this juncture of our trip a note of thanks to all they have made this such a wonderful adventure both here and back home. And a big thank you to those who have taken the time to e, write, call and just stay with us and we move around the world.
Its meaningful to know that our friends and family care
.they stay in touch
.and what has really been pleasant is the opportunity to carry on with friends in parts of the country where the line of communication has been
.restablished. Wisconsin, Arizona, California to name a few.
Three different and hopefully interesting perspectives. Thats what the J and Journal is all about. We all see things in a different way
all of us
and for us to provide a perspective on our neighbors around the world is a challenge and an honor and a responsibility.
We move on
.and today, for example with a previous J medical experience in hand we
that would be all three of us
had the opportunity to meet one of the most wonderful docs
.a graduate of a New Delhi medical school
that you could plug in to.Big Deal? You bet.
The T girl was experiencing some ear ache/pain about a week ago ( lots of swimming for the girl ) so the local medical centre seemed to be the way to go. Cold call. Ouch.. Too much preoccupation with the computer, his web site and an automatic discharge with antibiotics. Wrong. We needed a referral and got it. Still there
the ache and stuff
a week later.
You know how you can sometimes just tell
when someone ( in this case Dr. Singh ) just does their thing and you know he or she is right ? Makes sense? Anyhow, a pleasant experience, a resolution and a new, positive experience to live with. It could have been any situation, but a doc, an ear and a child that asks lots of questions and expects real
no bs answers. Got it and them.
Thats a wrap. Another wonderful experience. It isnt the kangaroo krud
its an ear, but its worth sharing.
The weekend is here ( thats not hear! ). Son Geoffs birthday on Monday. Happy Birthday, son, from all of us. The Davis Cup starts tomorrow. All sorts of Royalty in town, a riot or two in southwest Sydney and new experiences everyday.
And our deepest condolences to the entire Lemberg clan.
||02/27/2005 - 19:59PM
|Good Sunday evening all. A delightful day in Manly just over THE bridge north of Sydney. A beautiful beach with no smoking or drinking allowed. And boy did they mean it. First offense for both is $500 fine. Great idea eh?|
Anyhow, some very interesting news coverage in todays 4 papers and heard recently on TV and radio is a bit, well maybe concerning of a very well-founded yet controversial situation
maybe throughout the world.
As many of my friends, family and colleagues know I have shot literally thousands of images covering anything and anywhere. But one broad subject that has really brought the house down has been capturing images of people. Whether for business or pleasure. Nothing better than a smiling face and somebody just doing something neat. Right ?
And I like to think that every now and then I walk away with a good image or two. But now it seems that everyone but everyone is paranoid when the camera arrives. Case in point. Two weeks ago when all of this started, we joined the Aquacenter at the nearby Olympic Park. On that day or maybe a day later, T was headed over to a fun fest with nifty inflatables to climb, slide and eventually end up in the Olympic racing pool.
Why not grab an image or two of the T girl at her best. Having fun.
There I was
the 20D, the 200 mm lens just having a ball. About three minutes later three very nice security types approached me, inquired etc. The usual. I explained my mission, everything was cool, a few quick images, but then an extensive conversation about how everyone ( maybe on earth ) is now concerned about the guy with a camera..
Little did I know that this would be indicative of a serious, evolving problem, and not just for The Papparazi types. The advent of the cell phones in concert with the internet and all of the publicity that has resulted from the access to inappropriate images has well, just become much more of a problem than most our addressing.
Not to belabor this, but beaches in Australia, parks, entire cities are banning the use of ANY recording equipment. World-famous Bondi beach
the surfing capital of Australia.has said no. Friday night when we attended the Sydney Symphony I brought along the 20D to grab a few images of the event, the crowd, the conductor.There is always something. What was I thinking when this little tyke stood up in the middle of the crowd and started to conduct his own orchestra. It took me about five minutes of light discussion to make sure the mother was assured that these photos ( his back was to me ) would not be blasted all over the world.
Just a cute photo here and there. Maybe not. But good taste and diplomacy prevails and a continuing level of consciousness about the respect for people in Australia and throughout the world will prevail. And no cell phones with the ability to shoot photos.
No booze, no cigarettes and at the beach? Thats Ok with me and most folks. But cameras gone? I hope not.
We head in to March and 2 months. What an adventure!
||02/25/2005 - 01:25AM
|The weekend...... |
|Just a quick update as we move closer and closer to getting just too comfortable hanging in Sydney. We really love it here ( does anyone need a lawnmower?)|
We are about an hour away from the Sydney Symphony at the Olympic Center...a bit humid, but should be a wonderful evening.
This weekend is the official beginning of the Rugby season in Australia and around the world...well most of the world. It...the season...is just huge here.Move over Big 10.
Prior to our April 10 departure we will see plenty of Rugby, soccer and as I mentioned the Australia-Iraq soccer game.
I am told that this is going to be one helluva an event with the first visit by the Iraq team since the liberation by the US and Allies ( no political comments please ).
But it will be a moving event.
Sunday...weather permitting will be a trip to Manly and our first look at beach volleyball. I am told there will be some American teams in the event so will catch up with the homefolks.
What will make this even more "interesting" is that we'll be driving with you-know-who at the wheel. Again, no comments. The second time is the charm? We'll see.
Safe weekend to all.
||02/22/2005 - 14:25PM
|For just a minute......|
|It's Wednesday morning. Almost ready to head down to the city on yet another mission of imaging.|
Yesterday I spent 7 hours shooting the second in a series of images for the Royal Institute For Deaf & Blind Children. The evolution of this assigment has put me in a position to share not just in Australia or Viet Nam or London, but in humanity and some real good stuff.
Yesterday was the first day to shoot the kids from the toddler to the teen. For the years that I spent on the streets and in the air as a provider of health care I probably reflected more than I should on the many situations that I was exposed to. For better or for worse I guess I really cared. These kids like all kids are very special. We can learn.
Yesterday was no different. Hearing and visually impaired kids that just want a fair shake in life even when the " issues " they face daily. Through the eye of a lens I saw a level of comittment from these little Aussies that was well tear jerking.
These kids are good stuff. No matter what their adversity they are there working hard everyday to move on with their life.And they do.
One interesting incident during the todler shoot was the hairdressing station. For me...the hairdreser? You bet. One the areas that the kids learn and have fun and just do their thing is this " station " outside. Great photos for sure.
But then one of the little ones points to me, my very short haircut, smiles and points to her spray ( water ) applicator.It's time for ME. The smiles. The laughing. The whatever as kids say today was wonderful. I sat there for 10 minutes as the todler hairdressers did their thing on Robin.A new look ? Not really.
Hopefully, I can secure permission from the Institute to share a photo or two. If not...just appreciate what we have everyday. We do on this side of the world.
||02/19/2005 - 15:12PM
|Dragon Races/The Rooster and THE storm |
|A rather intriquing combination? Just another day celebrating the Year of The Rooster at Darling Harbor in Sydney. Warm, but who is complaining?|
As you have seen the asians are a dominant component in the cultural diversity here, and the Dragon Races celebrating the end of the Chinese New Year is a huge, highly-competitive part of it.
As important is the fact that the races are not gender specific. Male and female ( strong male and female ) alike compete side- by-side. But then, the ride home on the infamous ferry.
I had suggested to Marla nd T that we consider attending on Saturday vs Sunday because of the "potential" for heavy weather, Read on folks.
We left the harbor headed West and the dark clouds started to assemble as did the lighning. Then as we pulled away from our 2nd or 3rd stop en route to the Olympic Park all hell broke loose.
Winds in excess of 75 knots ( we later found out on the TV ) were blowing smaller boats out of their moorings and the captain was doing everything he could to avoid hitting the floating obstacle course. We actually went around in circles for a brief period to avoid-I think-just running aground.
Folks on board including T and Marla were " concerned " , but yours truly was there recording digitally all for posterity ( some interesting photos I should point out ).
After about 20 minutes things finally calmned down and boats were everywhere. Just another day on THE journey.
||02/19/2005 - 00:59AM
|Cultural diversity and sky writing|
|Thats writing, not riding. For many this activity may bring back some interesting memories. During our stay here in Sydney, we are oftentimes treated to some intimate or commercial message being carefully scripted across the Sydney skyline to the east of our condo.|
It had to be a few decades ago
but sky writing ( still not riding ) was commonplace over Chicago and other selected US cities. Well prior to 9/11 this creative and oftentimes exciting event would take place on a regular basis. But not anymore.
In Sydney with a blue sky
a rich blue sky today
the messages are sure to show up. I will have camera in hand to capture these nifty little ( actually ) not so little atmospheric footnotes and download on to the journey site. With the annual end of the Chinese New Year dragon boat races in Darling Harbor today ( Saturday ) and tomorrow, I suspect the aerial artists will be at work.
Autumn is just around the corner in Australia. Three weeks I think. The weather continues to be gorgeous with much less humidity than in Port Douglas and Cairns. But who is complaining?
Mangos. I love them. While this wonderful fruit is available at times around the world, they are in season and incredible right now here in Sydney. Why bring the mango issue up here. For those that know me, certain fruits are just not on the top of the health watch eating list, but mangos here used here to make and cook everything. Even mango fruit on pizza
low fat of course. As I continue to shed unwanted lbs, the mango is definitely Robins best friend.
Mango bread anyone ?
Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to complete the first of 8 or 9 shooting assignments for the Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children. After 600/700 tear jerking images, you realize again and again how fortunate we are to have good health or at least toward it and possibly as important the support that we
and all of these kids have at the Institute
from family and friends.
I am hoping that I can secure releases from a family or two to download here. But, in the meantime I am blessed with another opportunity to contribute
to give back
to a very special organization
15,000 miles from home.
Happy New Year
The Year of the Rooster. Its time to get up!
I am continued to be amazed at the cultural diversity of this city. Whether at the concert last night, at the Olympic swimming facility across the street, on the train to Sydney or the ferry
a true melting pot. And virtually everyone is there to engage in conversation. What an opportunity.
||02/14/2005 - 16:50PM
|The wrong side of the road|
I did it. After one or two near misses sort of, Marla, Tricia and I returned home from a rugby match in the rain and, well, the car just didnt make the right turn. Actually it did make the right turn. That would be too tight of a right turn.
The wrong way. Oncoming were three motorcycles, two cars and dead silence in the car. What do you do? Just stop and hope and hope and yes
everyone saw us. We gently backed up
.I swallowed my pride and on to the right side of the right ride of the street and home.
Whoaa Nellie. New Zealand. Australia. Even a trip or two to the airport and bango
a Saturday night mistake with Robin at the wheel. No worries as they say. We learn from our almost mistakes. No pain no gain? Not appropriate here. Anyhow we move on to the next roundabout.
Saturday night. Rugby at Aussie Stadium. Big time for sure. After viewing a splattering of NFL games in The States and 350-plus Northwestern and selected Syracuse college football games I was ready for what? For rugby.
About 15 years ago, Marla and I had a taste of rugby in Aspen, but nothing like we would see in Aussieland. In a word impressive. The stamina, the absence of almost all protective equipment, a new strategy that involves an entire team (not just a few showboats) the true sportsmanship and the crowd
that didnt ring out with vulgarities every 10 seconds. Really entertaining and even M&T enjoyed developing their own understanding of the game.
And the NSW (New South Wales ) kicker. Incredible. He needs to be imported to Evanston asap!!!!!
We move ahead to our 7th week and still the new, exciting and unusual are waiting for us.
We are ready
I think. Peace
||02/10/2005 - 21:18PM
|Kurt The Taxi Driver|
|It was Monday morning and we decided to grab a cab (they are always clean, the drivers always know the territory, no smoking and drivers must wear a uniform)to drop T off at McDonald College in Strathfield and then on to pick up a replacement rental car. Our mobile buddy Lou just couldnt handle the driving chores (flat tire, malfunctioning mirror et al). Anyhow, Kurt from Istanbul was the driver and a wonderful experience.|
For starters, he filled us in completely on the Olympic experience (2000 summer games) and the locals including cab drivers. Most of the drivers, for example were basically told to leave the area and let others handle the driving chores. And, by the way, anyone, cab or otherwise parking in the wrong place ( this could be anywhere he said ) was subject to parking ticket of AU$5000 ( thats lots of money in anyones bank account!)
Then it was on to local restaurants, a tremendous softsell on how we should visit Istanbul, Turkey during our trek and the wonderful environment that awaits westerners in that city and country
well see but to listen to Kurt
.and easy sell. Maybe too close to Iraq for M & T, but hey why not?
What a wonderful fellow. He says American tourists are the best ( thats us ) and he just cant get enough of us in his cab. Kurt my man was also kind enough to direct us to some wonderful restaurants in predominately Turkish Auburn
about 10 minutes from our home in the Olympic Park.
We will see Kurt again. Great job friend
heres a tip.
Another wonderful note. Marla and I visited with the public relations, volunteer and fund raising folks at the Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children (www.ridbc.org.au) and they have asked us to produce images of their 40-acre facility and 600 residents for upcoming web site revisions and brochures. A real honor. I suspect we will be journaling a bit over the next 7 weeks about this philanthropic activity, but due to the proprietary nature of the subjects very few, if any, pics of the residents can be used. We will of course present some images of the property. Please visit the web site.
happy Valentines Day to all
||02/07/2005 - 18:01PM
|How America is perceived?|
|How America is perceived? During the Super Bowl?|
The Super Bowl/Australian style was, well, different. The game-oh well. But the commentary was done by overseas broadcasters. So, the constant referral to the silicone cheerleaders ( ? ) got old after awhile. But it did reflect again on a previous journal about the perception of American media by folks around the world.
I thought it might be interesting to chip in some comments by my brother on this subject. A guest to the journal if you will. His extensive experience in the United States foreign service was to offer an addendum to a previous journal. Here goes.
Robin, your journal comments about the impact of American television on the world really resonated with me, something that has professionally engaged and bothered me for 40 years. People here in the States, including many in influential political, business and media circles, simply do not know how how the often sordid, negative images projected by U.S. popular culture shape foreign perceptions of us (whether Jerry Springer or Desperate Housewives). Yes, many positive aspects of American society are communicated, but in the tabloid, sensationalist marketplace, these are the minority.
All of this drives, of course, what I have been doing over the years in trying to project a more realistic, balanced image of the United States, particularly through information/cultural programs as well as direct foreign exposure to the States (which, despite our imperfect society, inevitably yields a much more positive understanding of who and what we are). I remember even in neighboring Canada that our Embassy-sponsored International Visitors program (sending selected opinion-leader types to the States for extended stays in many parts of the country) always left Canadians dumbfounded and saying," I thought I knew the U.S. but I just never did!" You can imagine how people who live more distant from us react when they see a country unfiltered by sensationalist pop media (or even the headline-run images on a CNN).
The anti-Americanism in the world today is a complicated, multilayered phenomenon, but certainly part of it, as you suggest, is that for most foreigners who never get close to States, we are the pathetic, commercially-driven images of television and Hollywood. Obviously, no one is suggesting censorship or restricting U.S. exports (cultural exports are probably second only to agriculture and airplanes in total income generated for the U.S. economy). But the problem still needs to be addressed and we are not doing enough. Something, in fact, I am working on now with the Public Diplomacy Council.
Speaking of television, I wonder if you'll be watching the Super Bowl there (daytime Monday, I guess). I know they'll watch it on cable in Europe (where NFL Europe has fostered a growing public appetite for the game). With so many unique sports interests there (any encounters yet with Australian Rules Football?), U.S. football probably has not yet reached the popularity level of Desperate Housewives. Everybody seems to be pulling for (and predicting) an Eagle upset and, I suppose, anything can happen. Patriots are, however, an incredible team not for any collection of superstars but for an absolutely unmatched, brilliant coaching staff. Patriots have, amazingly, the LOWEST payroll of any NFL team (or close to it), but Bellichick and his coaches somehow always have their team very well prepared and motivated to play. Not a betting man, but I'd go with the Patriots. Coaching does really make a difference (attention Mark Murphy!!).
||02/05/2005 - 18:31PM
|Sunday in Sydney |
summer in Sydney|
The weekend activity is incredible
particularly on the Parammatta Rover which connects the Western Suburbs of Sydney with the ocean. We journeyed by ferry
down the river to visit the Powerhouse Museum and a quick jaunt on the monorail. Sorry for the redundancy , but the transportation system here once you plug in to it is wonderful. The harbor was full and I mean full of every boat imaginable, and the 2,3 and four person crew vessels were everywhere. Somehow, though, the activity on the river didnt approach the chaos you see on the Fox River or Fox Lake on a hot July afternoon.
The respect that is shown by Aussies even on the water is something we can learn from I think. I have.
While T was in school Friday, Marla and I made our first official visit to the 2000 Olympic Park and drove throughout the entire facility. Actually a few times. With the physical plant they put together (and now use on a regular basis ) they continue to demonstrate how a municipality can invest and receive a remarkable return on an investment. Even the condo structure that we are staying in was built with private investor capital, and then effectively used during the 2000 event and shortly thereafter turned over to the original investor.
M & I did visit the Aqua center at the 2000 Olympic Park. Whoa Nellie. This is and was something. Huge. Clean. Yes, of course we signed up for two months. We are headed over today to test the waters. Interesting thing happened when we toured the facility. When we went to visit the cardio work-out area ( of course!!!!!!! ) I looked about and there were TVs/about 4 or 5/with Jerry Springer and his clan. We then introduced ourselves to one of the folks in attendance from the Aqua center, she asked where we are from and she looked up at the TV and asked if that/Jerry Springer and his guests/were real. That was her first question!
I am not sure we want this association. But it became apparent that how Americans are perceived is by the TV we produce and send via satellite in to their countries. The play for the TV series Desperate Housewives as another example in the local papers is a daily event. I have never watched this program but I can only imagine.
By the way, I have received my local news fix with three decent Sydney newspapers. Thank God for the Northwest Herald/Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times and the Washington Post on line presentations.
One more quickie. During our visit to the Powerhouse Museum, there was featured on display a helicopter the local hero Dick Smith flew around the world. For my aeromedical friends back home (Patty, Mike, John et al ) and the aerial photography folks, there I was staring at a Bell206 almost identical to an aircraft that was used during the early days of the Flight For Life program at NIMC. How could this aircraft fly that far with so little capacity? I sat there and stared at it for at least 20 minutes. I am sure there is a book on the flight. Well find it.
Superbowl time back home. We will check in with friends on this recently added national
Holiday. Go Cats or is it Pats??????
||02/01/2005 - 02:23AM
|Settling Down In Sydney|
Not really but the pace of life even for a BIG city is definitely inviting. Granted, there is a lot more to Sydney than bridges and ferries up and down the multitude of water bodies, but it sure makes living easier.
Four weeks ago today we departed OHare and with a bite or tip here and there the J has exceeded my idealistic expectations. Having traveled for years I came to dislike airplanes/airports and being away from family. A plane ride here and car ride there and a few pieces of luggage and bingo
Our friend Grant (the Northfield and Palatine firefighter/paramedic ) returned to the states yesterday. What a great adventure with a great friend. We loved having him with us. Better yet yours truly has a tendency to wander and periodically daydream ( get lost ) and Grants shear size wouldnt let that happen. But now its up to Marla and T.
In addition to a trip to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney about 80K, Grant and I visited the primary central district New South Wales Fire station. Brand new and five stories high right in the middle of the city. Great guys too. A fitting final adventure for Grant and Robin as he returned home via San Diego. This is one of the many fire departments and stations that adopted New York fire companies that were devastated after 9/11. Their affiliation is with an engine company from Brooklyn that lost four in the 9/11 attack.
This is indeed a small world.
With T now starting school at McDonald College in North Strathfield we look ahead to the next two and one-half months. The work that M and I will doing at the Australian School for the Deaf & Blind should prove to be a rewarding experience while we also fill other assignments resulting from the J.
Sydney, as you may have ready read, had its share of Iraq voting confrontations. Throughout the area/this part of the world/there are tremendous numbers of Iraq citizens that participated in the first elections in their home country in 50 years, and here in Sydney factions clashed and shot at each other much like in other parts of the world. The three daily papers in Sydney ( remember I am a news junkie ) covered the elections cover-to-cover while the first Australian soldier/ a c-130 pilot/was killed in action. Its everywhere.
So like the rest of the world we move ahead. Stay tuned as we plan our next Sydney adventure as we catch Sydney fever.
||01/29/2005 - 15:38PM
|Sydney Bridge |
|Super Bowl Sunday but no one in Australia really understands the scope of the event in the US, and I am beginning to realize that no one cares here.. By the way/who is playing?|
You have read about the infamous BridgeClimb from T and M. An experience that you have to see and do to really appreciate. I am guessing that climbing the Sears Tower starting at Madison and LaSalle and climbing vertically with 15 or so cutbacks would be the way to describe it, but the view from the Bridge is a bit more dramatic. See for yourself and enjoy.
Because of the nature of the shooting that I was doing, we were provided media credentials and a media tour which meant the four of us and Nick/a well seasoned climb facilitator. Great guy. Funny. Likeable. Extraordinarily knowledgeable of the climb and the city and the views and the history of the country and he is from Minnesota! No worry as they say often here, he knew and had all of the answers that we asked. Entertaining too which indicates his dual career state as a local actor.
For more than 3 hours Nick took us and the cameras in-hand as we climbed, cajoled and made our way to the top of The Bridge. I am going do it again while I am here in Sydney. I also suggested to Dean Richards producer at WGN Radio that they consider a remote via a cell phone feed from the top of The Bridge! Stay tuned.
Yesterday/Saturday Grant and I headed to the city with a couple of missions in mind. The tower or needle or observatory or whatever its called and of course the Sydney Fire Station aka New South Wales Fire Department ( meant this in my last journal not North!!!!!!) central fire station.
As you expected we were greeted very warmly by all and a tour of their new facility and lots of discussion sandwiched around a call. But we met the troops and lots of banter and exchange about The States, Detroit, Ohio State football, 9/11 and the relationship these folks have with a Brooklyn engine company that lost four to the attack, Chicagos skyline, 25 inches of snow, Bridge rescue in Sydney and on and on.
What a great group of guys and one in particular Chris had an alarming similarity to Elvis/yes THAT Elvis. Sure enough he sings and I am guessing does a terrific job of impersonating The King. I will be back tom pick up t-shirts and hats and things in a few weeks, and well see if he has any CDs.
Monday, Grant leaves to return to the states Tricia begins her prep for McDonald College on Tuesday. A big week as we move ahead on the J.
||01/27/2005 - 02:57AM
|Sydney is Fantastic|
|It has been a few days. Hello again now from Sydney. We arrived after a quick cross-country flight from Cairns, and immediately diverted from our schedule
we drove to the Olympic Park in Australia. Drive you say? You bet and thanks to navigator Grant Mitchell an d one quick turn around we arrived at Homebush Bay. This was the home to the wonderful 2000 Olympics.|
I now know why the event was so successful. What a facility now being used for all sorts of events four years later. Australia should be proud. Anyhow, lets move on.
Grant Mitchell. Who is that? Good friend and former colleague on the Northfield Fire Department and Paramedic unit. We have been friends for years and a quick invite last August ( hey you are all invited! ) resulted in a great visit in Cairns and now Sydney. While still involved with Northfield, he is also full-time with Palatine Fire Department also and maybe soon the North Wales Fire Department here in Sydney.
Sydney, for starters is incredible. When we were in New Zealand we ran in to a fellow from Glencoe at one of the internet cafes. He has been around.Everywhere. When we shared with him our J he stated in no uncertain terms Sydney is the finest large city in the world. Hmmmmm. He may be right. Well see in a few months.
As you may have read in Ts journal, we arrive in time for Australia Day ands what a beautiful day it ways. We made our way down to The Rock with 2 or 3 million other Aussies and just had a good time getting to know the folks. Story break.
One young lady had been asked to get ice cream cones for two friends and I assume herself. But they disappeared. There she is standing there first attempting to keep the drips under control, and then eating all three. I couldnt do it to her. Take her picture that is. I went for napkins. Lots of em.
Well have a few pics shortly of th event. Something to see. Boats everywhere. People everywhere. Sun everywhere. Smiles and music everywhere. Australian flags everywhere. The folks are very proud of their country. 12,000 new citizens were also made Australian citizens yesterday.
The previous night we were at dinner during our first day in Sydney. Chinese on Wharf 6 I think? After dinner, we just hanging out taking pics of the world famous Sydney Opera House and whoops a part/ a small cosmetic part/falls off our travel camera. Hawkeye Tricia sees the small, plastic part drop in to a storm sewer nearby. Good-bye
Part? No way.
Tricia lifts the storm sewer cover up, and points to the part. Enter Robin and the long arm of the father. As you can imagine, some of the folks around us thought we were indeed nuts. We are. One person from Turkey I think came up with a small flashlight to help in the camera-part rescue. Part retrieved and cover back in place by the T girl.
Public transit here goes everywhere. Actually Chicago does pretty well except in traffic-clogged McHenry County, but Sydney like many European cities is light years ahead of the car-committed USA! We will be using this wonderful system I am quite sure over the next two months. Even the river ferries are incredible.
Tomorrow will be the bridgeclimb. The what? Visit BridgeClimb.com and see where we are headed. All four of us. Kneeboy-that is me.Tricia, Grant and Marla. I will be receiving a special media climb to accommodate images late in the day for The J and some magazines. Visit the web and you will see what this is all about. More to follow.
Enough. I think so. Its dinner time here in Sydney. Got to get ready for the BIG climb.
||01/23/2005 - 15:47PM
|off to Sydney and Australia Day......|
||01/23/2005 - 15:47PM
|technical difficulties due to Robin|
|Sorry about the delay, but your truly was do something that didn't jive with the software.|
We are back and today on to Sydney and Australia Day this Wednesday. Just in time for the BIG party ie July 4th in the states.
I am pleased to report that M & T have rebounded after literally being bitten by the bug.
After our flight from Brisbane to Cairns last Monday/ that would be a week ago, we are contuing to reflect on our first taste of state operated medical facilities.
Our flight/still from Brisbane/was uneventful other than VirginBlue Airlines and it' on board philosophy of selling anything that can be worn, read or consumed. Hats, pins, coffee, donuts, more hats/ it's ALL for sale.
Anyhow, it's time for landing, Tricia is obviously getting much worse and the Avis folks send us to Cairns Base Medical Center/their rendition of Cook County Hospital. Actually, Cook County with its trauma capabilities we found out is much better. Let me summarize NOT to take up too much of your snow-shoveling time.
4.5 hours in the ER. No one other than two ore three waiting. A triage plan that involved nurses that had no idea what was happening and two patients/now Marla nd Tricia/ that No idea what they were doing.
This story could go on for hours, but it' time to move on. Be thankful for the wonderful health care we have in the US. Thank you NIMC/Evanston/Rush.
Obviously, M&T have bounced back, but dealing with the unknown, in the unknown with folks that don't know.
Off to Sydney....peace and stay warm. The snow has made fron page headlines here....peace....r
||01/22/2005 - 18:18PM
|just a quickie|
|Hi folks. I was apparently violating the style components and my last four journals were deleted, Worry not.there is lots to catch up on.|
Will revisit later today.
Snow..what is that?
||01/22/2005 - 18:17PM
|in Port Douglas. Test only.|
||01/19/2005 - 19:08PM
|A bit rainy out there...actually a lot rainy. If you didn't read Tricia's journal about our visit today do it...she real captures the.......|
And speaking of visits....a bus driver you had to see and drive with to believe...here we are the Americans asking for very specific directions for THIS bus and a young lady barges forward, tries to circumvent the three from Illinois and gazam.....where are you going?....sends her to the back of the line and proceeds to engage in conversation with Marla...being courteous if you will.
Then, a couple of guys parade on with cokes...and...hold it right there...no drinking or eating on this bus. Back of the line......
And then the most wonderful conversation you can imagine.Why this Robin? Just that he really cared to help us and others out.
What's really apparent during our venture to Brisbane and NZ for that matter is the respect that people have for the tourist guy. Very gratifying and rewarding.
We move on....now about crickett....or is it cricket? I really need to figure this game out...they..the Aussies..play it everywhere. After 50-plus years of Northwestern football....and we know about THAT....this cricket thing is really amazing...TV, parks...everywhere. But after watching a few games on tv, reading page after page in NZ and now Aussie papers...I just don't get it. Help.
Apparently there is a cricket team staying here at the Marriott tonight, so I am headed to the bar...me, the water boy...and see if I can corral one of these guys. More to follow. I have got to figure this out.
And speaking of newspapers...I am home free...national papers, city papers but no USA Today ( thank God ) or International Herald Tribune...but soon, I think. Meantime, the web version of the Northwest Herald, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post will have to do.
Not to enter the political loop...but W is really taking a bath downunder. This event he is having on Thursday is being ripped by the local media/national media/all media...and the anti-war sentiment is everywhere. This was actually one of the concerns we had... would be the reception of Americans on these and other issues...so far the media has done its thing. We'll stay out of it......
And yes we found yet another wonderful botanical garden in Brisbane..T is a real sport...I could wander in these things for hours and shoot...but really Robin...how long can T love those rose bushes and ferns? She is a real sport....accompanied by a trip to the local planetarium next door, it worked....compromise, thats what this trip is all about.
Enough Robin....best to friends and family...we think of all daily....on to Cairns and the Great Reef...peace r
||01/15/2005 - 01:14AM
|we have arrived safely...|
|in Brisbane..time to unwind for a day or two...hope all friends and family are well....stay tuned...peace r|
||01/14/2005 - 13:35PM
|Location: New Zealand|
|off to....Brisbane...but first...the tower...the 2nd time|
|About three hours that is...and we move on.|
While M was downloading images yesterday at the City Centre in Christchurch...Tricia " suggests " hey lets climb the tower...The Cathedral bell tower that is...and take a look at the city for ths last time. This is the second trip up the tower.
Hey why not? Dr. Messer are yor hearing this ????
Up we go through this narrow old, cement staircase...quite a vertical climb, but here is where it really gets interesting...
On the way down...yep 134 steps...there is a line of Japanese or Korean tourist all holding hands for dear life as they assent the stairs...a congo line if you will....there I was snaking my way down to the bottom inhaling and apologizing and then eventually just laughing. Is this what they call a cultural exchange ?????
Notwithstanding...in this 200 year-old edifice we were treated to this wonderful organ recital bellowing throughout this enormous facility...just beautiful to sit and listen and think and enjoy and ...........
We move ahead. Goodbye New Zealand..I will miss you.
Peace .... r
||01/13/2005 - 13:27PM
|Location: New Zealand|
|Good morning....and so long to NZ|
|A beautiful Friday morning just North of Chrischurch...as we head in the final two days of our NZ stay....after an incredible train across the the Kiwi alps...wait until these photos arrive...we settled in to a bistro for an evening of reflection...NZ has indeed been everything we have read and seen and heard.|
Tonight we will have dinner with friends one of whom recently moved here from the states...a garden writer that I have worked with over the years who caught the Kiwi bug...don't worry, it's not contagious.....or maybe it should be?????
And today a visit to the highly regarded Antartica exhibit at the airport...interestingly, my youngest sons' fatherinlaw retired from the Airforce after flying numerious missions through NZ to Antarctica...and I beleieve brotherinlaw/soninlaw is now with the same wing of the Airforce...so we will check an se if his C-130 is here...wouildn't that be a.....
A word about the lupins...flower...please check the spelling..could be with two "p's"...?????...anyhow,they were introduced in to the wild a few decades back and unlike my backyard..they are growing and growing and growing everywhere...you say...great Robin....well, this is yet another major source of controversy...too many I am told and they are encroaching....the....wild....I just don't get it...possums, lipuns and oh yes juice bars...the goverment is going after these also....hmmm
I am really going to miss the Christchurch newspaper... The Press..the local daily that I have become addicted to...for my many journalists friendfs in the states...Dick,Fran, Cyndi et al....great features but very little US news other than when things go wrong....hmmm again...hopefully The International Herald Trbune will be more accessible in Australia...I could go in...Robin, please don't...M & T are the sleepers so I attack this E thing early....
A peaceful weekend to all..stay try and warm...and think family....peace....r
where is my dictionary....
||01/12/2005 - 13:16PM
|Location: New Zealand|
|Greymouth...and beyond and possums|
|A quick trip up the coast from Franz Josef and the glacier. It,s off to Avis and north to Kayaking...T will fill you in on this.|
Now its time for possoms....what....yes possooms or possoms or whatever. Mind you I think over the years we have 6 generations of same living under the 6604 back deck. No big deal...just haggin out.
But in NZ....introduced and brought from Australia years ago, possom or opposoom or what ever....has now become a major source of concern, controversy and in most bus rides a standard component of " information."
Apparently, you see the above animal is decimating the South Island ( NZ ) and the Kiwis use every opporunity to talk about the negative impact of these critters.
There has to be a Bill Murray movie just waiting to be made...I don't think possums care much about leaf blowers though.
Anyhow, the same Kiwis also regularly announce to anyone that will listen...ie captive audiences on buses that the Aussies were responsible for importing these little criters for food...ie possum pie...yep, possum pie. Now who would have thought....pie?????
22 million buchels of green consumption everyday by the possum families that is ALSO contributing to the demise of the rain forests...don't ask...this is what they tell us. Government study I suppose.
So we live and tell the the story of the Kiwi possum. So when we see one of these little fellows laying across the road....doa...the Kiwis love it.
Possum pie...any orders from the States.
Time to get M & T up...on the Alpine Express.
||01/10/2005 - 12:05PM
|From the glacier...and the helicopter|
|Yes, the Franz Josef glacier...after 8 hours traveling from Queenstown to this secluded area along the West Coast of NZ, we immediately hopped aboard a helicopter...the weather was perfect...and personally experienced this magnificent site first hand.|
Yes there are photos...hang in there until we get to Brisbane to see for yourself. The e mail/internet connections are slow and getting slower the farther away we get from Christ Church. A real glacier that from the air is and was surreal.
Because of my previous air medical days...listen to this Patty/Rich/Wendy et al....there were six or seven choppers in proximity to each other...loading hot ( while running )and people just moving around everywhere...we even unloaded hot ON the glacier and in the snow...where are the FFL safety meetings when we need them.
The trip up from Queenstown was highlighted again with incredible scenery...and a lengthy converstaion with a recently retired officer from the US Navy's nuclear sub fleet out of Hawaii...wonderful gentleman...engaging...offering tremendous incite in to the military academies and all that brings those folks to the front lines...this fellow just recently completed walking the Appalachian trial in the US....great guy and I am sure we will reconnect again...he is taking a job in the Hartford area ( where my kids hang ! )
oh lets see....Marla and Tricia are catching up on some much needed rest...we are headed for a hike up to the glacier today....will be spectacular I am sure...lets ee if they new knee REALLY works....
I am continually amazed at how well oiled yet discreet the whole tourism program is handled in NZ...smooth...safe...engaging...tastefully done..and as we cross the countryside..and we have done that...there are virutally NO billboards ruining the landscapes and virtually NO liter....what a wonderfuly clean and well-kept country!!!
We are closing in on our wonderful stay in NZ....Brisbane awaits and the Aussie experience...we have met so many wonderful new faces from around the world...we are beginning the realize how sheltered we sometimes are..thank God for family and friends.
Peace to all...R
||01/08/2005 - 18:18PM
|Location: New Zealand|
|a break in the action.......|
|New Zealand only gets prettier...even in the rain forest. Oh, so many photos and incredible views of this impressive country.|
I think the folks on the bus thought I was/is nuts tramping around in the rain with T & M....actually when you see some of the images you will understand.
Today is Sunday in Queenstown...and we are headed over to an all day rally to benefit the tsunami victims...the coverage in the local papers has been pages and pages and pages with all sorts of local angles...one the local Sunday papers carried an entire section covering the event and story in particular tokk a shot at US/America re the slow response and Powell's comments made during his brief venture in to the damaged areas...amazing how the perspectives change.....we will follow this with keen and coninuing interest.
Back to the J....
a day to sleep in a bit, and a few calls back to the mainland to the kids...happy birthday again Julie from r/m/t....and to catch up on the white stuff....always glad to check in at home....the J is the best but we do cherish our many friends and family....
As we speak Marla is downloading some of the images...enjoy....New Zealand is ineed the garden country...and speaking of gardens...there are lupines everywhere..everywhere...you will see them in some of the images...just incredible....one more interesting tidbit...
there is a controversial discussion or sorts challenging the rights of bikes/off road mountain bikes/ to trek through farmer's field etc.....so much that they are polling the folks to determine whether or not farmer's should be allowed to file charges or worse yet...shoot the bikers if they are trespassing...once again, the concern about the 80 million sheep come in to play....
so, let's stay off the Farmer Dells sheep farm.....more on this I am sure.
T & I will be headed out now. Great day to all.
||01/06/2005 - 16:42PM
|Location: New Zealand|
|as most of you know, I am really a news/newspaper junkie. I have my fix in NZ...problem is there virtually nothing about the US...so MSNBC has found a new fan.|
lets see snow in Chicago? NU beats Indiana ( 7 messages on this one )...move on.
the trees...let me tell you about the trees...everywhere you go are these gorgeous century old trees...and NO leaf blowers...wildflowers are in bloom...sheep...millions of sheep...what do they do with all of em ( no comments please! ).
8 days in to the J...what an incredible country...much slower than we anticipated and much appreciated...I am actually sitting in a combination laundry/e mail site just enjoying people...from all over the world...but still around every corner..a new adventure.
one quick footnote to all of this...Marla has done just an outstanding job of putting this thing together...I can say enough for her efforts and what a wonderful travelmates she and of course T-girl are...you will hear this again I am sure.
back to the trees...you heard and will see a bit from the ChrisChurch botanical garden, but now it's a daily occurrence ( sp )....photos will follow Saturday...sorry for the delay...see Marla's journal...and the terrain...while I have always enjoyed the sceneryt in Utah, California, Colorado er al...the photographic capture as you will see is beyond what I have ever seen or shot...time to head West the fiords...
best to my friends and love to family....peace r
||01/05/2005 - 02:29AM
|Location: New Zealand|
|just another day in.....|
|2nd time around|
I erased my first effort folks, but if you don't first...whatever.
first up...the rental experience. wqe are tight on time for the flight to Queenstown...and the rental mate tried to pull a quickie...the old dent or scratch on the bumper trick...for $100NZ...a car with 86,000 miles that looks like a WWII replica...but alas...here comes the digital camera and...he didn't know what to do when he saw the record...visual...when we signed the contract...gott'em.
be sure to visit T's journal on the infamous boat ride down the canyon...what a trip...
I am not sure what it's like in the states, but the coverage of the disaster here is enough to bring tears...Marla and I spent 3 days of our honeymoon 15/16 years ago...near Phuket..and now it's gone.
I am glad to see the US is reponding with support, Marines, ships, helicopters....incredible.
we'll have three hours on a bus tommorrow, so a more philosphical bent on our first week.
get out the snow shovels....
||01/01/2005 - 23:49PM
|Location: New Zealand|
|you won't believe the beauty....|
it only took a few days, but we are finally doing New Zealand...and what could be better than a holiday art show and an absolutly extraordinary botanical garden...The Christ Church rendition...and what an amazing trip...as you can imagine some wonderful photo ops.
the size of the trees, some 125 years old were indeed an impressive site. the rose garden like none you have ever seen.
and speaking of seen...a small computer glitch with the photo bin, but soon...Marla is resolving the file issue with friend Scot W tonight.
while T will comment more on the BallyMoney B & B, again a presentation of organic gardens to ( not ) die for...a family of animals, dogs, peacocks...you name it, it's here...including me..the ultimate animal ( ? )
lets see..someone just told me that Michigan lost, Iowa won and Utah ( Websters ) did their thing. I can't believe I haven't watched/enjoyed a single bowl game...did Northwestern win?
back to NZ....our friends hosting us at the BallyMoney just couldn't be nicer and home cooked kiwi meals..to die for and not to die for...healthy and fresh.
to our many friends that have checked in with us...many thanks....part of the fun of The J is to share...back and forth...and to hopefully let you know the highlights of our trip. And who knows what else...
dinner awaits...Peter & Merrilies are ready...check our their place at www.ballymoney.co.nz. Incredible...welcome to New Zealnd.
Peace in 2005...and pray for the folks affected by the T.
||12/30/2004 - 19:28PM
|Location: New Zealand|
|the transition...I think|
|Good morning...afternoon...evening. We are here as you have heard from T and M...hold it...bagpipers on the beach...12/31 wedding...cool...anyhow we are here.|
New Zealand...30 hours later...abd we worth the ride,wait,16 gallons of United Air Lines water and the 24 months of anticipation.
Now its time for our first culture event...learning to understand Kiwi jive...and not order steak and eggs when you are looking for Diet Coke.
Lets see college football...bowl games...nobody here has even heard of Michigan, Northwestern or Ohio State ( did they win? ), but lots of cricket and rugby. Actually, the Sri Lanka team just picked and left from a tournament to return home to their country and the absolutely incredible devastation.
Before I forget...thanks to so many that came by to visit on Monday night before depoarteuter ( thats Kiwi for goodbye ).We really appreciate it.
And we move on to the New Year...2005 in about 8 hours or so. This time change and zones and dateline still befuddle me...I know I should have paid attention in 7th grade science classes...happy 2005 from Kiwiland.
And maybe just maybe peace on earth.
xoxoxoxo to my family and friends...
||12/19/2004 - 21:12PM
|Location: McHenry, Illinois|
|The journey begins in just a few days.|
|The journey begins in just a few days. It is hard to believe after literally months and hundreds of hours of planning the wheels-up time will be here shortly.|
Anticipation, excitement, concern and who knows what else make up a multitude of personal thoughts and emotions that precede this incredible event. I guess the correct term here is walking the walk, as we embark upon a 40,000 50,000 mile journey that will take us to all parts of the world.
For those of you that will be with us in spirit, thought and hopefully even prayer over the next six months, we thank you. I thank you. I have told so many people on numerous occasions that 80% of what lies ahead we dont even know about and cannot even project at this time. The 20% is the planning, the scheduling and the things that everyone is aware of.
This 80% is what really peaks my curiosity and at the same time will afford us the opportunity to see, hear and experience things that we only periodically read about, see or hear on the multitude of media.
For those who will be tracking our adventure
please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing. Youll know how we are doing, but I am still deeply devoted to my true friends, as has always been the case. We will be concerned about your well-being, your adventures and the experiences that you engage in over the next six months. To our families and particularly my children and grandchildren, my brother and sister and families, please take care of yourselves. We will be thinking of you and our entire compliment of friends every day.
God Bless America.