Monday, April 30, 2012

Paging Warren

I am resisting the urge to search on Facebook for the several Warrens I have known over the years just to tell them that their name in the Australian aboriginal language means "wombat." I don't mean that in a bad way; I can think of lots worse things to have one's name mean.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Walkin' One's Pig

No pets, I understand, especially since this sign appeared at a nature preserve. Lots of people might be out on a drive with their dog in the car and decide to stop in. But their cat in the car? And where did that pig come from?

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Pie is a good thing, especially in small, bite-size, don't-make-you-feel-stuffed portions. Or in large, stuff-your-face portions. Yes, pie is a good thing.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Rainbows followed us along the Great Ocean Road yesterday, with the pot of gold always being somewhere in the distance. No worries (as they say here). I have more than enough gold in my life right now.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Only in the Ladies' Room

This was in the ladies public restroom in a park in Torquay, a beach and surfing town at the start of Victoria's Great Ocean Road. There was not a corresponding one in the men's room according to my source. I'm still pondering what it means that it was in the ladies' and not the men's, but I'm not sure it's a good thing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ANZAC Day Food for Thought

ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) Day commemorates the ANZAC soldiers who fell, first at Gallipoli and then in later conflicts. The attendance estimate for the sunrise ANZAC service in Perth was 40,000, and I swear not one of them made a noise during the entire 30-minute service. The moment of silence was a real minute long and was especially poignant. They take the whole patriotism thing very seriously here, in a way I'm not sure Americans know how to.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This is on the Bali Memorial in Perth, commemorating the Australians who died in a terrorist attack in Bali on October 12, 2002. The Bali Memorial is in Kings Park, where tomorrow we will attend the ANZAC Day sunrise ceremony. Serenity is something we should all find, sooner rather than later.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Little Touchy?

Inside all these spikes is an echidna, one of the amazing creatures I met up close and personal today. The spikes are not really piercingly sharp, which is a good thing. They think this one is a male, but it is difficult to sex an echidna due to the fact that they dislike being unrolled. This is but one of the new things I learned today.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

And When I Die and When I'm Gone ...

The Bussleton jetty has plaques honoring those whose ashes have been scattered there. I'm not sure why this one appealed to me. It may have been the sentiment of a life tied so tightly to the sea. Perhaps it was the relatively young age of the person it honors. As places to have one's ashes scattered go, the jetty seems a fine one.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


You can't get too close to kangaroos in the wild, which makes this silver one all the more compelling. And it's hard not to fall in love with those ears either.

Friday, April 20, 2012

All in the Family

If I were to put a family lineup on my car, it would be something like this. But really, other drivers don't need to know how many people and/or animals I call family, and the rear window might not be big enough.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's an Acquired Taste

How one paints with vegemite remains a mystery, as does vegemite itself actually. It's a taste that requires some getting used to. And the rambling bilbies? I'll tell you later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More than a Crossword Answer

Emu in the wild! I've since seen one from closer up, but that one was in captivity. I am told this is a young emu, that the adults are larger. I've also seen emu eggs (blown out) and ostrich eggs being sold as emu eggs. Australia is a wonderfully enchanting world apart.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Playing (with) Ketchup

The Perth, Western Australia skyline as seen through my bleary eyes a week ago. Yes, between seeing Oz and being without Internet access over the weekend, I am behind on the dailies. Funny how life can interrupt life, eh?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Seeing the Future

I love the eyes on this sculpture. They seem to see and not see at the same time. Perhaps she is looking past me or through me. Or maybe into me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Seeing Spirally

I love spirals whether they be in staircases or flowers. This one has a blemish on the tip of one petal, but then don't we all? And some of us have more than others.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bearly Rescued!

We rescued this little guy from the middle of a busy street (actually, a busy bridge) today. There's no way to reunite him with the child who may be very sad at losing a special friend, but we will give him a good home. His tiny sweater is for real knitted which shows how loved he probably was, is, and will be. Welcome, small bear!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Is This for Real?

I've sent this photo to a friend whose daughter is studying abroad at St. Andrews this year. It will be interesting to learn if this is really their logo or if it's some knockoff to capitalize on the whole Prince William went there thing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

There's Something about a Kid with a Sword

I'm going to see if I can backdate this for yesterday, which I spent in bed after lunch with chills and a fever. Spent much of the earlier part of today there as well. This is not the way I wanted to finish my visit here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Study in Contrasts

The last two nights we've sat at chairs such as these to eat dinner at small, locals-only sidewalk cafes. The food is plentiful and good not to mention cheap. We would not be able to do this without some young people connected with the Advanced Program in Physics who have been shuttling us all around the past few days. Life is good. I will miss Hue, but it really is time to move on. I do hope to come back someday, making Hue and Iceland the only two international places I have visited that I ache at the thought of not returning.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Water Water Everywhere

I just don't drink enough of it in my attempt to balance water in and water out. Why? Two of the three restrooms I've visited at Hue University only had squat toilets and filthy ones at that. You can't necessarily count on finding a real toilet at a restaurant either. My usual mild level of dehydration went well past that overnight and after a very rocky start to the day, I've just been resting, reading, doing crossword puzzles, and, most importantly, drinking water. I've emptied the bottles shown in the photo and lost count of the number of times I filled and emptied the glass. I feel so much better now, though, and will try not to let this happen again in the time we have left here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

This Tree Has a Face

Actually, I don't have photos of the most significant part of my day. I had coffee with a Vietnamese woman today then went with her as she picked up her kids (ages 3 and 7) from two different schools and took them home (four of us on one motorbike!). The three of them (her husband is teaching in a city 200km from here) live in one room that is smaller than my kitchen. Plumbing? Whatever there is is elsewhere. It felt like a home, though, and the kids seemed quite happy. Travel. Priceless.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Stops along My Train of Thought

I looked up and saw this cyclo, and thought, "Amish buggy." I've always been fascinated by the Amish and the simplicity of their lives. I wish I could be more simple, focusing just on what I'm doing and not looking ahead and back, mentally checking this or that. I know I'd do a much better job at what I was doing if I could.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

If Looks Could Kill

Of the hundreds of photos I have taken in the last several days, this is the one of which I am the proudest. There's a story there that I'll tell you sometime. In the meantime, aren't those eyes to die for ... or because of?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blue Skies

The sky is blue again today, finally, which makes photography a lot more fun. Usually, there has been an infernal white sky, which overexposes and wipes out what might otherwise be a reasonable photo. Happy dancing here to that old tune ... blue skies smiling at me ...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Wish!

These physics professors are doing karaoke. Karaoke is huge in Vietnam. Huge like we went to a dinner and karaoke broke out. Or we went to a departmental ceremony for a 55th anniversary, and they asked the husband if he wanted to sing something. I can't do karaoke. I just can't.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Train of Thought

War ... barbed wire ... barbs ... thorns ... roses ... beauty ... peace.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Not Too Juicy a Rumor

I have always loved watermelon, but I'd never had watermelon juice until I went to Hong Kong in 1992. This is the watermelon juice I had last night. They still only have seeded watermelons here, which are in my view more flavorful than the seedless ones, which means this was pretty tasty juice. It was a bit more expensive than a beer would have been but definitely worth it. Oh, yeah, that more expensive means about $1.50 as opposed to $1.00 for a beer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

In Another Life Perhaps

Looking up at the front of Hue's Best Western Indochine Palace hotel. I'm not sure I could ever be persuaded to stay here. I don't feel rich enough. I would be like a child playing dressup and tripping while wearing Mommy's high heels.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Preventing Rain

We left the hotel to walk to dinner last night. Wind was, literally, howling. We looked at each other and decided that rather than risk being caught in a mighty rain, we would check out the bar-cafe on the hotel's ninth floor. I took this photo with the point and shoot that goes everywhere with me. The view was great. The food was okay. The beer was overpriced. The wind continued to howl. No, it never rained.