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I will be the first one to admit that I am not a fan of politics, so it may seem strange that I am writing about it. Last week, here in Australia we had our federal election for a new prime minister. I noticed that there are some similarities between Australia and the US when it comes to the election, but there are also some big differences.

parliament house

America and Australia have a House of Representatives, and a Senate. In both countries the number of representatives for the house, is determined by each state’s population. In the US, it is a 2 year term, and in Oz, it is 3 years.

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In the American Senate, there are two senators from each state, which puts the total at 100. With the Australian senate, each of the six states (yes, you read that right, there are only six states in Oz.) elects 12 Senators, and the two territories only have two.  This puts it at a grand total of 76.  Both countries’ senators serve a six-year term.

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Like America, Oz has two major parties that insist that they can run the country the best. There is the Labor party which is like the Democrats in the US, and the Liberal/National Coalition, which thinks like the Republicans.

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In America, all voters know that Election Day is either the first or second Tuesday in November. Not so in Oz. The government can set any day it wants as voting day, as long as it is always a Saturday.  After they set a date, if they decided that they want to change it, they can, and have.  That happened with this last election.

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One good thing about this sort of thinking, is the lack of political ads.  I think it’s rather funny that Aussies will complain about the amount of political ads they hear on the TV and radio. In Oz, they only spend about $90 million, but in America, the figure is well over 3 Billion. Yes, here there were some ads on TV, but nothing like having to sit through the ads back in the States. I will admit that at some times, I did have to endure three to four political commercials right in a row this past month. To be honest, they didn’t even phase me. I do remember seeing up to ten political ads right in a row when I was in the States. I know this number for a fact, because I counted them. These did phase me.

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Seeing how politicians are the ones trying to get elected, the majority of the ads are negative.  For once I would like to see an ad for a laundry detergent that can get mud out of clothes. Maybe that would help to stop all the mudslinging.

people voting

One thing that Oz has over America voting-wise, is that voting is compulsory for every Australian citizen aged 18 years or older. If you don’t vote, you get fined. It’s no wonder that the Aussies have at least a 95% voter turnout, where America is lucky to get over 50%.

President Andrew Johnson

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When you go to the polls in America, there are basically two ways to vote. You can just vote for a chosen party, or you can vote for a certain candidate. When the results come back, everyone is stuck with whoever won for the length of their term, unless they get impeached, which is a huge deal, and takes a lot of time and taxpayers money.  Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the only American Presidents to ever be impeached.

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In Oz, when you are voting for the Prime Minister you vote for a party.  You do know which candidate will become the Prime Minister when their party wins, but you still vote for which party you want. The reason I put it that way is because the Aussie government can change their Prime Minister any time they feel like it. Without getting the approval from the Australian voters no less.

Jimmy Carter and Family 1976

That would be like you going to vote for Jimmy Carter because you like the fact that he is a Democrat, a family man with what you consider good religious morals, and he’s home at night.

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He becomes President, then before his term is up, the Democrats decided to kick him out, and replace him with Bill Clinton. Yes, both men are Democrats, but Jimmy did not earn the nick-name “Slick Willy,” if you get my drift.

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In 2007 Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister of Australia, and Julia Gillard was his deputy leader.

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Soon Kevin’s popularity began to take a nosedive.

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So a few months before the next election, they put Julia in the top position.  They had the election, and Julia won the new term.

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Her popularity, like Kevin’s, also began go south, so three years and three days after Kevin was ousted from being the Prime Minister, the government put him back into his old job.

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Julia had a hard lesson in karma.

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Fast forward to the election that was just held.  Kevin Rudd (Labor/Democrat) ran against Tony Abbot (Liberal – National coalition / Republican), and lost 54 to 88 seats. Guess the government didn’t remember why they kicked Kevin out in the first place. But the people sure did. It seems that Australians, like the rest of the world, are ready for some change. We’ll see how long Tony keeps his word. He is a politician after all.

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Like I said before, I am not a fan of politics.  Politicians are the same no matter what country they are from. They only tell you what you want to hear, are professional liars, and only look out for number one. I do vote, but I really think when it boils down,  it really doesn’t make a difference who you vote for.

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Even if your guy wins, we all lose.

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It’s hard to believe, but I have been living in Australia for a little over 2 years now. Where has all the time gone? It has taken some work, but I do believe I am finally getting the hang of living here.

Father knows best

In my opinion , Oz is a lot like America in the 1950’s, only tech savvy.  It’s a much slower pace most of the time, everyone is very friendly, and you can take most people at their word. The Aussie motto is “No worries Mate”, and they mean it. When I first got here, even though it is a different country, for me there was only a little culture shock.  Thanks to the fact that Australia is an English-speaking country (for the most part) and the fact that we get a lot of American TV here, Oz is a lot like the States.  Most Aussies could understand me, I just had to work on understanding what they were saying. Besides the Aussie accent, they do have their own lingo here that was rather confusing to me, until Gene, my own private personal interpreter, would translate.

Denero

The first time I heard that a man was “nursing” a child, I thought for sure Aussie men were very different from regular men.  I wanted to see this special male breastfeed a baby.  As it turned out, in Oz, to be “nursing” someone means you are taking care of them.

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baby

Since we are on the topic of babies, a nappy is a diaper, not a short amount of sleep, and asking a baby about his/her dummy is not a question about their intellect, but instead a discussion about their pacifier.

parramatta club

If we are going to a hotel, in most cases that means we are going to a pub to drink, but it can also mean a place we could get a room for the night.  A “club” is not only for dancing, like it is in the States, but instead it is the Aussie version of a VFW hall, only a whole lot better.

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They always have a café, and most have “poker machines”, or “pokies”, which are what Americans call slot machines. I am not really a fan of these clubs, but Gene really loves them. You can get a really cheap meal, but in my opinion, all the food in all the clubs are all the same.

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Since my move here, we have had only one visitor from the States, and that was my BFF Mary, from Detroit.  In her infinite wisdom, she summed up Oz in one word.  Adequate. This is the perfect word to describe Australia.  I am not saying that being adequate is a bad thing.  Aussies get just what they need, and usually no more.  That is one reason we go food shopping 3 to 4 times a week. Why buy extra when you can make another trip to the store and get it fresh?

Unit sweet Unit

Unit sweet Unit

A lot of things are much smaller than I was used to.  Take housing.  This is a photo of our “unit”, or townhouse. There are a lot of “units” (or apartments, condos, or townhouses) everywhere, and they keep building more.  There are single family homes, but the majority of them are what we in America would call small.  Like us, it is very common to have only a one car garage, (not a 1 ½ car) even if you are a two car family.  I just want to know where they keep all their stuff.  One of Gene’s sisters’ lives in what I call an “American” house. For Aussie standards, it is large, with big front and back yards. I say it is just about right.

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Their serving size are also much smaller here.  A large drink at “Macca’s” (pronounced mack-ers) would be considered a small in America.

Roundabout

I had to get use to everyone driving on the wrong side of the road, and all the roundabouts.  It is very strange to sit in the front seat of a car on the left side, and not have a steering wheel in front of me.  I have driven a little here, and I am not a fan of how narrow most of the lanes are. Again, the adequate thing. I keep saying I just need to get out there and practice, but for once in my life, I am enjoying having my own personal chauffeur. I just can’t get Gene to wear the little hat that goes with the uniform.

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When I’m asked what I miss most about the US, my first answer is always Taco Bell. Yeah, I know.  It should be family and friends, which I do miss, but I also miss the fact that I can’t just go through the drive thru any time of the day or night to get one of my favorite foods.  I have reserved myself to the fact that Oz is not a place for Mexican food, so I make it at home when I get a craving to make a run for the border.  I do Skype with my family and friends, so in some cases, I talk to them more now than I did when I lived there.

tomato sauce

 

Oz tom sauce

Another thing I miss is being able to find certain things in the stores.  One example is tomato sauce.  To an Aussie, tomato sauce is ketchup, and American tomato sauce does not exist in Oz. To compromise, I’ve learned to substitute tomato puree instead.

I also miss the fact that not every store gives you a bag for your purchases.

powerpoint

One thing that I will never understand, is their electrical outlets, or what they call power points.  For some reason they turn off the power points when they are not in use.  I am assuming that Aussies think the power may leak out when they are not looking, so they turn them off.

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They have wonderful tea shops that I frequent quite a bit, and my tea collection has grown to 60+ teas.  Aussies still look at me funny when I tell them my drink of choice is Ice tea, but I am hopeful that one day they will realize that they there are other ways to have your tea besides white (with milk) or  black (no milk).

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Cockie & bridge

 

I also love the fact that there are beautiful animals here.  There are all kinds of birds all over the place, and my favorites are the rainbow lorikeets, and the cockatoos.

All dressed up for that night out!

All dressed up for that night out!

I also love the fact that fairy penguins also call Oz home.  They are the closest thing to a munchkin here, so they fit right in.

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One of the things I really enjoy doing is going to some of the wildlife parks, and have lunch with some of my truly Aussie friends.  That’s something I never got to do in America.

winter car

Some things I don’t miss are having to be at work, and bad weather. Sydney has pretty mild weather, and never gets snow, so that makes me a VERY happy camper.  When I moved here, I was thrown into an early retirement, because I was not allowed to work.

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Now I spend my days doing what I want to do, and not what a boss thinks I should do.  I like this way much better. Here’s a photo of me and the girls at one of the knitting groups I belong to.

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Nice weather makes taking public transport not seem like a bad thing.  Instead of driving a car, I do take the buses and ferries to get where I’m going, and I also do my fair share of walking. I guess now that I have the time, I don’t mind leaving the car at home.  That would have never happened back in the States.  That, or living in a house without a heating system.  Even when I lived in Las Vegas, smack dab in the middle of a desert, we had a furnace, and we used it.  Here, we don’t have one…  Yet.

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I gave Gene one winter to see if I could handle it being cold in the house, and the answer is no.  So to put off getting a heating system this year, Gene is taking me on trips while it’s winter here. I must admit I like his way of thinking.

I have gotten use to this lifestyle, and I will be the first to admit, I am really enjoying it here.  It is a slower pace, everyone is laid back, and it is a very peaceful place to live.  I do miss America at times, but that’s what the airlines are for. For now I plan on staying here as long as possible, and enjoying my new life.  Gene and I do love to have visitors use our guest room, so if you are so inclined, feel free to plan a trip down under. We would love to show you around all the places that are on my “What to show visitors” list.  And if you’re lucky, my truly Aussie friends or our munchkins will fit you into their busy schedules.

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No worries Mate

Like any other mother or head of the household, Mother Nature likes to do some “spring cleaning” every now and again.  This time she chose summer here in Oz.  Being a woman, she is good at multi tasking, so she can take care of as much business as she can in a short amount of time.  While she turned up the heat this summer, she has also decided to add some light shows to remind us mere mortals who’s in charge.

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The Australian summer is the peak season for bushfires, and are a natural phenomenon that occur all year round. When the mercury hits over 104°F (40° C), the heat ignites wildfires that spread extensively, engulfing farms, forests, homes, and wildlife sanctuaries.

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So far this year, the states of New South Wales (the state we live in), Victoria, and Tasmania are really getting more than their fair share of fires. Gene and I live right in Sydney, so we are not in any danger, but the people who live out in the bush (that’s Aussie for the country) are having a tough time of it.

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There are firefighters from all over Australia helping to fight these fires, but Mother Nature seems to be winning.

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Like the fires out in California, there is really not much you can do if a fire is coming your way.

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You can hope and pray that the firefighters can contain the fire before it gets to your home, but in a lot of the time, that is not the case.

Devastated Bendigo resident.

So all you can do is watch your life literally go up in smoke.

 water bombing

They do all kinds of water bombing, which does help.

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Most of the guys out there on the front lines are using  hoses, just trying to keep the whole thing contained.

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Majority of the plants will regenerate themselves, but there is a major concern for the wildlife.

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When firefighters do find animals, they help them any way they can.

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This poor little guy is named Sam, and he is the spokes koala for the bushfires.  He was burned on all four paws, and his nose.  There are vets working around the clock to help all of the animals that are rescued. Sam is making a full recovery and has a new home at a wildlife sanctuary.

Bushfire_damage

So, what happens now? Apparently Mother Nature got tired of the light show, so she had sent in rain to help put them all out. Most of the plants will regenerate themselves, so that process has already started.  It just  takes time.  Since there is no food source, all the animals have packed their bags, and moved to new homes.

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This is some typical re-growth of eucalyptus trees 15 months after a bushfire. The smaller trees (thinner stem and twigs) have not survived the bushfire, while the larger trees (thicker stem and twigs) have survived. Because the small twigs in the crown of the tree have also been burned, the trees had to sprout at a different spot; this has resulted in massive re-sprouting along the base of the tree, instead of in the crown. The inset clearly shows this re-sprouting of the tree over the whole length of the stem.

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This is a close-up of a eucalyptus tree that has already started it’s re-growth.  Seeing how this is the main diet of koalas, this is a pretty important plant in Oz.

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After a few years there will be very little evidence left that there was ever a fire. Most areas that were burnt come back stronger and fuller than they originally were.

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Word will get around to the animals (via the grapevine I’m sure) that all the restaurants are open again, and they will very happily move back into the old neighborhood. It’s like, grow it and they will come.  I guess Mom Nature knows what she’s doing.  If it’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s always listen to your mother. She knows a thing or two.

Winter Scenery (26)

I was born and raised in Michigan, which means that the beginning of the year means cold weather. By January we would be well into winter and all she could throw at us, be it snow, cold weather, or ice storms.

snow plow

I always loved it when the snowplows would come by to clean off the roads right after you finished shoveling your driveway just to have the plows fill it up again.

winter car

Most of the time it didn’t really matter anyway, because after all that shoveling, you would soon discover that your car wouldn’t start.  Even a car doesn’t want to get out of bed to drive around in below freezing temperatures before the sun comes up. Yes, these are some of the thoughts that come to my mind when I hear the word January.

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Now that I am living in Oz, January is smack dab in the middle of summer. I will admit that I am still getting adjusted to it being warm this time of year, and it feels like half the year is gone already.

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Sydney enjoys a temperate climate with a mild winter, and has more than 340 sunny days a year. Average temperatures in the winter months of June through to August are between 48° F (9° C) and 62.5° F (17° C).  In the summer months, December, January, and February, the average summer temperatures are between 65° F (18° C) and 78°F (26°C).  So, like everyone else in Sydney, we just enjoy the weather.  Usually.

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This year though, on Friday, January 18th, we made history.  Seems that Mother Nature must be getting a little old, and getting a touch of forgetfulness. I am guessing that she decided to either mess with the thermostat, or do some baking here in Oz.   Either way, the temperature soared up to 114.5° F (45.8° C). The previous record of 113.F (45.3C) was set way back on January 14, 1939.

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Even though I experienced Las Vegas’ over 100° temperatures for over 3 years, I hadn’t had the joy of adding 70% humidity to go along with them.  The newsreaders here (That would be newscasters in American) did one story on how it took an ice block (Popsicle in the US) only 6.5 minutes to melt.

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It took the ice cream truck only 20 minutes.

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Most of the trains were delayed by at least an hour with overhead wiring and signal problems failing to cope with the extreme heat. Some parts of the track even buckled because of the heat, and were unusable. I really didn’t believe that one until I saw the photos.

crowed beach

Most Aussies (like Gene and I) don’t have air conditioning at home, so we do what we can to keep cool.  A whole lot of over heated Aussies went to the beach.

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Gene and I opted for the mall, and made a day of it. Gene was thrilled because he got to eat at his favorite venue, the food court.

 bulldog in ice

Animals are not allowed at either the beach or the mall, so they had to come up with other ways to cool down. Nothing better than an ice bath to beat those dog days of summer.

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Not everyone can say they have an indoor swimming pool for their cat.

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It’s always nice to enjoy a dip with friends.

 lion & Ice block

Our friends at the zoo kept cool too.  This lioness is enjoying a Popsicle made especially for her.  I wonder if it’s zebra flavored.

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You would think that they would give him the banana-flavored iceblock.

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Now this is one way to really cool off.

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Too bad she doesn’t do competitive swimming.  With a neck like that, she would be head and shoulders above  the other swimmers.

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Nothing like your own private pool.

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Even out in the wild, the roos know how to cool down.

In the late afternoon, severe thunderstorm warnings were issued, but no rain came by us.  In the early evening, there were wind gusts of up to 65mph (104km/h) that swept through the city, as temperatures dropped by about 10 degrees in 10 minutes. Because of the wind, there was a lot of falling trees and roof damage. Then by 10 pm, Sydney was at a comfortable 73°F (23°C), and the severe thunderstorm warning were canceled.

Yes, Sydney does get some hot weather, but so does everywhere else in the world.  I like the fact that it may be really hot one day, but will cool down the next.  We don’t’ get snow, so I don’t have to shovel anything, or scrape ice off my windscreen (that’s Aussie for windshield).  On the really hot days, I’ll just sit back, in the shade, eating an ice block.  That is of course if the truck hasn’t melted.

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Ten, Nine, Eight…

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As this year  finally comes to a close, as in most other parts of the world, down here in Oz we celebrate. After all, we are the first country to greet the New Year, so we know that the whole world is looking to us to see how to ring in the New Year right.  Well, technically New Zealand IS first, but as everyone knows, New Zealand is really rather small compared to Australia.  So we here in Sydney we consider ourselves the first MAJOR city in the world to ring in the New Year.

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Seeing how everyone in Oz knows the world will be watching, what better setting for fireworks than our iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour bridge?  Ask any Aussie, and they will tell you there is no better backdrop for fireworks in the world.

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If there’s one thing that Aussies know how to do is party.  They are a lot more laid back than Americans are, so to them, celebrating is considered one of the basic food groups.

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Even the natives get into a good party.

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From the air, you can see that it seems like most of Sydney turns out for this yearly party, which would equal a lot of fun!

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But when you get down at party level, there’s not that much room to even get up to get a beer. Even that fact won’t stop an Aussie from parting.

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Even before they shoot off the fireworks, the harbour is full of life and lights.

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Seeing how there are so many people who want to celebrate, the city came up with a great way for everyone to see the fireworks without actually coming down to the Opera House, which is at Circular Quay (That would be circular Key in American).  They have synchronized fireworks all down the harbour in five different places.  The yellow star bursts on the map show where they are. Last year we were invited to a party that had a view of all 5 sets of fireworks. I will say that it was VERY impressive!

NYE kids

Since Aussies are very family oriented, they have 2 different sets of fireworks.  One at nine so all the little kids can enjoy them, and then the second ones at midnight so all the big kids can try to remember them the next day.

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You would think that they would start out sort of slow, but no, they just go for it.

Now, just sit back, and enjoy the show….

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OOOOO!

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AAAAAAHHHH!

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WOW!!!!

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I Love the colors!

APTOPIX Hong Kong New Year

Basic white is also nice!

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Those lips in the middle of the bridge did the count down to midnight.

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I love the bursts of color all over the place!

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This one has a “waterfall” of fireworks coming off the bridge.

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The boats have the best view, and they are a floating party!

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More OOOOO’s

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More AAAAAHHHHH’s

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Just another average night down at Sydney Harbour.

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Happy New Year everyone!

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Well it’s that time of year again.  Most of the world is all white with snow, Jack Frost is busy painting the scenery and nipping noses, icicles sparkle in the sunlight, and kids are trying to get their halos as straight as possible before the big guy makes his deliveries. Yes, it’s Christmas time.

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Being born and bred in the northern hemisphere, I am quite used to living in the cold and having to wear tons of layers of clothes just to go out to get the mail.

My beautiful picture

This is an actual photo of one of Christmases we would have in the States. Huge fully decked out tree, stockings hung by the chimney with care, garland all over the place, and the scent of Christmas cookies in the air.

xmas house

Many Americans would decorate their homes both inside and out, with some making sure Santa couldn’t miss theirs even if he tried.

My beautiful picture

If you were good all year, Santa might even pay you an early visit just to make sure you were getting your daily intake of candy canes. (For those of you old enough to remember, that’s my dad under that big mass of cotton of a beard)

Now that I am older, and hopefully wiser, I have learned that you need to go with the flow, and accept change.  Seeing how it is summer here in this part of the world, things are done a little differently than what I’m used to.

1 horse open sleigh

You won’t see any number of horses  pulling any sleighs of any kind, be they open or not, because there is no snow. Yes, look all you want, but the only flakes you will find here are in your cereal bowl.

xmas beach

The schools do have a break at this time of the year, so a lot of families go over the river and through the burbs to swim at the wonderful beaches we have here.

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As you can see, Gene and I got all decked out in our Christmas finery to celebrate the season.

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I am finding that it makes the holidays much less stressful by letting a lot of things slide. I no longer live in a house that even elves look at with awe. This is a photo of all of our holiday decorations.  That’s it.  One 7” red sparkle tree.  I love it because it’s all ready decorated, and for the second year in a row, no needles to sweep up.  It takes me a grand total of about 30 seconds to have our home totally decorated for the holidays.

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When I get in the mood to see some holiday decorations, I just head out the malls like everyone else.

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There are all sorts of wonderful holiday things to see.  All you have to do is just look around.

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They have them outdoors.

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And indoors of course.

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Each shop showing its holiday spirit.

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Don’t forget to look up!

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See, Gene and I are not the only ones that don’t have a tree that drops it’s needles.

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One of the big draws to the CBD (that would be downtown in American) are the window displays.  They are beautiful!

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They reminded me of the shop windows when I was a kid.

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I would love looking at them, and I can see the kids in Oz love it too.

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One thing that REALLY impresses me is they still say “Merry Christmas” instead of happy holidays. They even have the manger scene where everyone could see it.  It’s a nice change. One of the best parts is that you can see all this without having to wear a heavy coat or boots.

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The family Christmas get together in Oz are pretty much the same as in America, but with a little Aussie twist. At each place setting, they have what is known as Christmas crackers. You pull on each end, and they make a popping or cracking noise, and inside are some goodies.  They all have a paper crown that everyone wears during dinner, a toy, some sweets (read that chocolate), and a sheet with some jokes on it. We got a little picture frame, and a very small deck of playing cards in ours this year.

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Since it is so hot this time of year, a lot of families have a Christmas BBQ.  Turkey or ham is common as the main part of the dinner, but seafood is big here, so you are sure to find it on most Aussie holiday tables.

oysters

It seems that most Aussies like oysters, even the kids.   I can (and do) live without them.

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Some families will even have prawns, (shrimp in American) for dinner.  Seems the only problem is finding plates and silverware that are small enough. This gives sitting at the little table a whole new meaning.

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If they serve prawns as part of the meal, they usually are served cold, with their heads still on.  I personally don’t like their beady little eyes looking at me, so Gene, being the gentleman that he is, is the one that will behead them for me.  Other than that, they are always really tasty.

Nutella-pudding

Since Oz is part of the British Commonwealth, there are some things here that are very British.  One is pudding. The first time someone offered me some, I was expecting a nice smooth, creamy bowl of yum that I was use to. I was in for a blast of Aussie reality.

plum pudding

What I got was a plate of what is known as Christmas pudding.  In my American eyes, it was not a pudding in any way, shape or form.  It was a slice of cake like substance, under a cream-colored sauce, that was the consistency of yogurt.  It tasted like it was a type of moist fruitcake, and the sauce was very rich, creamy, and sweet, which was a wonderful contrast to the cake. As it turned out, this was a plum pudding with a custard sauce, which is a very traditional dessert for the holiday.  Now I have a better understanding of what everyone was eating in all the old classic English Christmas stories.  Unlike the fruitcake we have in America, I noticed that most of the Aussie diners would ask for this fruitcake willingly, and they would eat it, instead of using it for a doorstop like we do in America.

All in all, I must say I do enjoy an Aussie Christmas.  Where else can you eat Christmas dinner in shorts and flip-flops, spend some time at the beach, and open your presents from Santa all in the same day?  I don’t miss the snow at all, and it was nice to see everything in bloom all around the city.  I guess the only thing I’m going to miss is my yearly gift of a new doorstop, but I can live with that.

Merry Christmas Mate, and God bless us, every one!

kanga christmas

Enjoying Oz in Oz

Like every other small child, when I watched the movie the Wizard of Oz for the first time, I put Oz on my bucket list of places to visit.

poppies

Where else can you not get in trouble for taking a nap in the middle of a poppy field

talking trees

Carry on a conversation with a tree

horse of a different color

Or see the proverbial horse of a different color live and in person, let alone in Technicolor?

Seeing how this movie is still in my top five favorite movies, when I saw that they were showing it here on TV  this week, I jumped at the chance to see it again.  What better place to revisit Oz, than while in Oz?

Now that I am older, and have seen this movie more times than I care to admit, I do look at it differently than I did when I was Dorothy’s age.  I can totally relate to the Wicked Witch. When you think about it, she was totally made out to be the bad guy thanks to the media.

gulch bike

In the beginning of the movie, Elmira Gulch pays Uncle Henry and Aunt Em a visit to complain about Toto.  Seems Dorothy let Toto get loose in her garden.  Again.  Lets put the ruby slipper on the other foot for a moment.

dog-digging

How would you feel if some kid let her dog get into YOUR garden that you have spent a lot of time working on?  Here you are, minding your own business, and then next thing you know, your carefully planted garden has been dug up by the neighbor’s dog.

dog-bite

Then when you go out to try to defend your property, you get bit by the same dog. Seeing how they are out in the country on a farm, most farmers have guns to shoot animals that destroy their crops.  Elmira did not do that. She did play by the rules and saw the sheriff about the matter, and found out what could be done.  What would you have done if you were in her slippers?

ruby slippers & house

Fast forward to when Dorothy lands in Oz.  Seems the Wicked Witch’s sister is in the wrong place at the wrong time. The only thing left of her is her shoes. Not much of an inheritance, but none the less, her shoes are now considered part of her estate.

slippers & wand

How would you feel if the only thing that your only sister had, was given to some snot nosed kid instead of you?  And the same kid is the one that was the cause of your sibling’s demise? Never mind the fact that Dorothy never met the sister before, or she didn’t have a license to fly her farmhouse in Oz.  Gives you a different perspective on the whole story, doesn’t it?

This year, as I sat there watching this classic, I know I enjoyed it even more than I did when I was young. This time I got to see it while in Oz.   You can’t do better than that. My mind started to wonder, and I started to think if we had any of the same things here in this Oz that was in Dorothy’s Oz.

munchkin 1

It’s true we don’t have munchkins here

rel_penguins_04151

But we do have fairy penguins, which are about the same size, and they will do a great job of entertaining you.

Emerald_City_3

As in America, our roads are made out of asphalt instead of yellow bricks

yellow brick rd financial security

But we do have a financial security company that is known as The Yellow Brick Road.

winged-monkeys

I’ve will admit that I have never seen a flying monkey here even though I have looked.

Koala 7

But I have cuddled with some koalas.

Glinda-the-Good-Witch-of-the-North-2

OZwitch

We  don’t have any real witches here, either good or wicked

julia-gillard

A lot of people would say that Julia Gillard is one because she is the prime minister.  But that could be said of any politician.

Washington DC 011

One thing we don’t have here in Oz are the ruby slippers.  They are in Washington DC, at the Smithsonian American history museum, and we had the privilege of seeing them this fall.

RUBY-flip flops

The closest I could find here were bejeweled flip-flops.

ozfinale

In the end, Dorothy does get what she wants, and that is to go home.  She’s so happy in fact, that she even informs her aunt and uncle that she “will never be leaving ever, ever again.”  I’m sure in 18 years, Em and Henry will be thrilled to death to have their 30-year-old niece (and her little dog too) still living with them. What Dorothy doesn’t realize is that there is still that pesky little matter about what is going to happen to the biting Toto.

Some would say that this classic is fantasy at its best. I would say that the Wizard of Oz is a timeless chick flick.  When it comes right down to it, isn’t it just a story about two women trying to kill each other over a pair of shoes?