Tuesday, May 27

Cranes are Everywhere

It is quiet eawe inspiring to see the rate of building in the cities I have visited or passed while in China. Huge multistory buildings are being erected at a rate that is almost unbeleivable - certainly gobsmacking for someone from Australia

Massive multi story buildings have appeared where a few years later there were old villages and small farms - the residents moved on.  I am told the government can do that.  When I asked about the former residents I am told they are ok.  Somewhere.

On a road that didn't exist 5 years ago, the government is now upgrading it - it is getting far more traffic than was anticipated with the plans those few years ago.  It is rather amusing to see how it is being done - drivers now have to drive in potholed alternate routes while the new road building continues.

I went to a new university building - which didn't exist 4 years ago, but now houses some 5000 students, their class rooms and their amenities.  At every step one can see that the builders took little care in ensuring that the buildings would last.


Many Chinese people are embarrassed about these condition, as they are about many other issues in this country - not least of all the pollution.  

I wonder if a Construction College exists?  Does anyone really learn building skills in a formal way?  Or do they learn from watching someone and copying?  It is scary to think that the massive buildings going up everywhere are built by people who don't have the skills to do it properly.

Monday, May 26


I set off today on my own to find the “museum” celebrating the life of Qui Jin – and caught the bus to stop on Jiefung Lu almost opposite the Wal-Mart.  I don’t recall it being called that when I was last year.  Surrounding the Wal-Mart and other shops in the area is a huge new shopping centre in the midst of construction.  It seems all the BIG names of fashion will be there.  Not sure what it means for Wal-Mart – I wonder if the old buildings will be demolished.

I found the sign that indicated that 1.1 kms ahead was the Qui Jin museum, so I kept walking in that direction.  I had been on this road years ago and was familiar with parts of it, though clearly there were changes.  The Dio Coffee house was no more – just closed.  Perhaps it has moved somewhere else.
Further along the construction site – the same building that faced Jiefung Lu, so it will be a massive shopping complex when it is completed.  Probably tomorrow the rate they build ……..

I venture forward, looking everywhere for another sign. I found a park – I had seen the park from the river.  I recall doing a dusk cruise on the river with other FT (foreign teachers).  The garden was beautiful, with amazing stone features and a story about a man in the past who helped in the reduction of flooding in the area.
On the other side of the river is the Shaoxing University – and connecting the two sides is a remarkable bridge, which I remember had beautiful lighting at night.  

Back on to the road again, and a sign indicated that the museum was to the right, so I crossed, dodging the crazy traffic safely and set off.  I am not sure if I found it.  There were several buildings that could have been the museum, but I could find no English, so I walked on.  Perhaps I need an interpreter to come with me.

I kept walking, taking the occasional photo, and found my way to Jiefung Lu again.  I turned left and set off for Fizz Pizza, a cafĂ© on the corner that once upon a time featured amazing displays, but now looks like it is about to become a construction zone.  The paving is quite broken and dangerous, but Fizz Pizza seems not to have changed in the last 4 years.

I entered, and was given a seat near the window.   The waitress was quite sweet, but didn’t speak English.  Or if she did, she didn’t want to.  She gave me the menu, and came back when I indicated I was ready to order. I had perused the quite substantial menu – there was quite a selection of pizza and other food.  When I saw the two snake dishes I quickly turned the page – me?  Snakes?  No way!

But when I looked at the illustration I learned that it was not “snake” but “snack”!  I remembered that when I was teaching here that often students confused those two words,  which caused at the time a certain amount of mirth.

And so it was that I had the “6 snake meal” I think it was.  Six snacks.  Chicken nuggets, calamari rings, potato crisps, prawns, a small half of tomato and a tiny piece of lettuce!!!  Six snacks indeed!!  I ordered that and a Mayberry drink – the latter was most refreshing.

I was somewhat bemused to see that at the table adjacent to me sat a couple – he on one side of the table and she on the other with a miniature poodle seated beside her. Quite a well behaved dog, and dressed so well for the occasion!  Wearing an outfit that my photo does not do justice to.

Sunday, May 25

The Foot Massage in Shanghai

I have had foot massages in China, and as we passed the Butterfly Massage Salon on the way back to our hotel in Shanghai, I planned to have one.  Our hotel was just around the corner, so I made an appointment to return to the salon in 15 minutes.  My sister who had never had a Foot Massage, or indeed a professional Pedicure was not so sure about it, and reserved her decision.  She is not one to make hasty decisions!

She decided to accompany me, and when we arrived she too joined me in a foot massage.  We had two masseurs – one a young man who appeared to be teaching some things to the young girl.  Neither spoke very little English and we had a lot of fun trying to communicate.  They spoke occasional words, but often in a manner which was not easily understood, so there was lots of laughing.

The man indicated that the girl was his wife – but she denied it.  Lots of laughter.  The girl told me I had “stomach problems” something she could ascertain from the foot massage. Interesting.  Not that I know of.  My stomach is I think OK. 

We had an hour of washing of feet, massaging, massaging of shoulders (for a foot massage???)  Oh, what bliss!!!  I had been walking so much and I had a huge blister on my foot, so it was wonderful to have such treatment.  Sadly the blister persisted though.

As we were leaving, we were given their brochure with the number of the two masseurs on it – an a warning to tell them BEFORE the massage if one has certain medical problems, including high blood pressure, which I have.  Apparently there were no side effects from the massage.

Also on the brochure are some interesting procedures.  Back side scraping, oil back side massage – we will never know what it is.

The hotel we stayed at was the New Harbour Service Apartments, where I stayed in 2008.  It is not far from People’s Square, Nanjing Walking Street, and the Bund.  The address is No 88 Yongshou Road.  I did send an email to them before I left Australia to get the name and address of the hotel in Chinese but they didn’t respond.  Perhaps because no one appeared to speak English, which is sad as there are many English speakers who stay there.

They have a restaurant but we did not venture into it – there was no information about it in English.  When I last stayed there it was near the elevator, but those doors were never opened on this occasion.  I will stay there on my last night in Shanghai – as much because I still have the card, so telling the taxi driver where to take me won’t be a problem.

(I didn't use the pool - it was too cold while we were there.)

New Harbour Service Apartments – www.newharbour.com.cn
Butterfly Massage – in a street near the New Harbour Service Apartment.

Friday, May 23

Nanjing Road and The Bund

It is quite a shock for those visiting Shanghai for the first time to see the crowds on Nanjing Walking Street (Mall) and the Bund.  It seems that any day or night, crowds visit both of these places.  It is overwhelming sometimes.

Spectacular really - especially at night with all the neon lights on the huge buildings, and at the Bund on the boats and the buildings on the other side of the Huangpu River.  

We walked from our hotel and looked at the shops, and watched the activities of all on the pathway and road.  The pushing and shoving, the walking across the road AGAINST the red light (and often almost causing accidents - but we didn't see any.)  The noise from people talking loudly, music from the shops, the constant tooting of horns - words could never paint the picture well enough - you need to experience it.

There are small trains plying their trade along Nanjing Walking Street - and as our legs were getting weary, we did ride back to the area near the People's Square.  

There are many touts in the street - main selling children's toys - including spinning lights, laser light toys, and sparkling coloured things that one slips over one's shoes allowing them to skate on wheels with bright coloured lights.  We were offered them for 200Y but in the end C bought one for 60Y and later was offered some much cheaper.

There have been changes.  The verticle gardens are wonderful - and I think there are more than I can recall back a few years ago.  Certainly they are spectacular.  I recall that there was an underpass from near the Peace Hotel to the Bund, but these days there is no sign of it and pedestrians are able to walk across the road with lights.

The Peace Hotel is operating - it had long been awaiting redevelopment - but more about that later.

It is very tiring - walking and taking in trying to remember everything.  We were glad to get back to the hotel.

Thursday, May 22

Hop On, Hop Off

When I visit a city for the first time, I like to gt my bearings and do a tour of the city.  These days many cities have  a Hop On, Hop Off bus system, which generally takes you to the major tourist spots of that city.

Most have 24 hour tickets - giving you plenty of time to see many of the places of interest - and you, the tourist, can choose which spots to alight.

This is more than one company doing these tours, so  it is a good idea to get informtion about them online or from the tourist office.  I recommend splitting your "day" tour in two if you have the time.  We set off around midday on one day (as it turned out, it was a public holiday) and were up early the next morning to complete our tour as the ticket lasts 24 hours  - so if you start at midday one day, you have until midday the next day to get back on a bus.

Our first stop was the Botanical Gardens, which requires a very long walk to see the best parts of it - and we had lunch at the cafe there.

The Orchid area was so special.

We walked to Little India to meet with the bus - thus giving us an opportunity to look at other parts of the city that the bus did not pass.  Perhaps I would have stopped at more stops, but my sister had other ideas, so I agreed to do what she wished.  We alighted in Orchard Road, and walked - she loves shopping so that was her wish to do.

One of the stops was Raffles, but we had been there on our first night to taste a Singapore Sling.

It is an excellant way to see around a city.  Most large cities have these bus tours.

Wednesday, May 14

Singpore - From a Weary Traveller

All went to plan - I flew from Brisbane to Singapore and my sister flew from Adelaide.   I arrived as planned one hour before her, and after a stroll around the airport, met her as she came off her plane.

Soon we had our luggage, had climbed into a taxi and were on our way to the Big Hotel.  The hotel is new - some months actually, and is a simple "boutique style" - our rooms are small but adequate, and we have all we need.  There is a cafe on the lower ground floor - same as the reception area.  It is quite modern, and the staff for the most part have been exceptional.

I did have cause to complain as my room was not serviced at all yesterday, which of course I only discovered late in the afternoon, and I did tell them I was unimpressed, but soon my room was done while we had a light evening meal.

Breakfast is included - and that has been pretty good really - fresh fruit, juices, cereals and a variety of hot and cold foods.  Don't ask for iced coffee - there's no milk.  Just "black" coffee with iceblocks!!!

On the first night we walked to Raffles Hotel - and had a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar, before walking around some of the shopping places, then getting a taxi back to the Big Hotel.    The next morning we walked to Orchard Road and walked along all the shops on one side, before getting on the SIA Hop on, Hop off bus and heading to the Botanical Gardens where we visited the Orchid Display.

Day Two - we walked to  Rochor Canal Road, to meet up with the SIA bus again, and did the tour again right up to the Botanical Gardens, though we didn't get off - stayed until we reached Orchard Road again, and walked back the other side of the road checking out the many amazing shopping complexes.  We had lunch at Robert Timms Restaurant - resting our already weary legs before heading out to get a taxi. 

It wasn't easy but we did find a taxi rank and waited and waited until the queue shrunk and we climbed in and headed for Marina Bay Sands.  How awesome is this place!!!!  Luxury at every turn!!!!  We walked through from Tower One to Tower Three, bought tickets to go on the Marina Bay Sky Park - went up in the lift to the 57 th floor I think.  The view was awesome.  It had rained heavily in the morning and it was a bit misty.  Maybe a bit of pollution thrown in, but it didn't make for clear photos.

Marina Bay Sands 

View from the top of Marina Bay Sands

Gardens by the Bay and the Super Trees

Marina Bay Sands from the Gardens by the Bay

Super Trees
By the time we walked to the Gardens by the Bay we were really knackered - our feet crying out for some respite.  We caught a shuttle bus for a tour of the gardens, before giving into the cries of our feet, and catching a taxi back to the Big Hotel.  

Sunday, May 11

On Prostitutes

This week we have learned about the young women kidnapped from their school by terrorists, their school trashed and the horrific terrorists proclaim that they are going to sell the girls for sex slaves.  It is sad that the government of Nigeria seem to have done nothing to rescue the girls and worse still to learn that there were warnings of the probability that these girls would be taken - and nothing was done.

It is Mother's Day today - and in many countries we celebrate mothers.  I will be speding time with my family later today to celebrate - which I look forward to.  Meanwhile I am at home preparing to leave on my travels tomorrow.

Most Sundays I buy the Sunday Mail - and I did today.  I find much of the news not to my liking, but I try to have a broad knowledge of what is going on in my world.

On Page 46-47 there was a piece written by Wendy Francis about criminalising prostitution.   It is a hot issue that women seldom discuss.  Well, the women I socialise with don't talk about it.  We don't like it.  We probably think that it is ok for single men to buy sex, but many married women are concerned that their husbands might venture into brothels to buy sex.

I wrote about my venture into the brothel at Kalgoorlie when I was there last year - I can accept to some degree that men in situations like mines (especially years ago) were better behaved becuse they could visit brothels, but in this day and age, it is not controlled like it was done in early history.

Recently a brothel north of Brisbane was promoting the idea of men visiting the brothel during lunchtime.  There are two "letters to the editor" on page 48 commenting on the special lunch time deal.  Really it sounds sick to me.

In Sweden brothels the selling of sex has become illegal.  Sweden, you ask?  Isn't that where there were famous brothels?  An amazing sex industry? This article on Prostitution in Sweden is interesting.

Apparently, according to Wendy Francis, other countries around the world are rethinking their attitudes to the sex industry.  It is well known that drug, violence and criminal behaviour is often linked to brothels.

Is it time to think about this in Australia?

I wonder what will happen here?    

Saturday, May 10

Tracks - The Book

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had seen the movie "Tracks" based on the extra ordinary tale of the journey by Robyn Davidson in 1977 with her camels from Alice Springs to near Carnarvon in WA.  Even someone doing it in 2014 would be amazing, but she did it at a time when there was no mobile phone, GPS, air support (Flying Doctor) or whatever in the event that there was an emergency.  Indeed Robyn would not be able to hide like she did way back then.

Robyn didn't like journalists visiting her and asking questions - and was easily able to put them "off the track" in those days, but with aerial surveillance facilities available to most media teams, she would have been "tracked"  (sorry, had to use that work), easily from the air.

I have had the book in my collection, but had not read it.  Perhaps I read a few of the early chapters, but I had not finished it, that's for sure.  After seeing the moving I found it in my library and read it.  It did take a while, and I finished it on the train to Brisbane yesterday.

It was interesting to read her comments about the film.

Robyn says she was always very clear that the film wouldn't and couldn't be the same as her book.
"I think a lot of writers are unrealistic about having their books translated into film," she says.
"You can't expect the film to be exactly the same as the book."
The author appreciates that the Tracks film-makers tried to be faithful to the spirit and essence of her book.

(from the ABC interview of her - click here.)

As a writer myself I am grappling with the idea of an American movie maker doing a film on something I have written. A real Australian story.  I know of course that the whole 80 years of the man's life would never make it to the screen - for there is only around 2 hours of screen time.  The story I am working on is essentially an Irish/Australian story - for the man lived most of his life in Australia, but I have seldom been happy with American's working on an "Australian" story.

Did you notice on "Saving Mr Banks" that the "Australian" scenery didn't look Australian?  The man leading a kangaroo on a lead supposedly at the Allora Show?  How laughable and embarrassing!!!

There's another great article about her achievement here.

It is interesting to note that several attempts were made to tell her story before with Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman as likely leading ladies, but I have no doubt that the very best person to play Robyn was none other than Mia Wasikowska who did look very much like Robyn.

Friday, May 9

What Would My Mother Think?

I know that a few years ago, my parents felt excluded from society in a way.  Watching television (unless it was a not very modern movie) was challenging.  They never understood much when there was reference to technology, especially the Internet.  My folks were great "old timers" whose live was changing by the minute.

Friends and family that had been part of their lives for many years were dying - in fact my father was the only member of his immediate family still alive.  His brothers and sisters had died many years ago.  The same for my mother although a sister (who was younger than Mum) lived until 2012.

All the organisations that they had been part of - Lions, RSL, Church - changed as younger members came on board and took roles on committees and made changes that displeased my parents.  This is quite typical of senior members of any groups - they have undergone so many changes in their life time, that they resist changes that occur around them.

Mum found solace in the Spinning group which was still spinning wool and knitting and crocheting in the same way it had been done for many years.  Dad found enjoyment with a Men's Shed where (despite modern electrical tools) he managed to fit in quite well.

Sadly Dad passed on in 2011, and Mum's mental state declined so that she has been in a nursing home for quite a few years, but in the years prior to her going into that place, they seldom visited the city of Adelaide.   They had no need to - they could buy all they wanted (which wasn't much) locally.  They didn't like going to the movies (the sound was always too loud for them, and they didn't find modern movies to their liking.)

The world passed them by.  Dad would shake his head when he heard things that surprised, upset, or confused him.  He'd have loved life to remain the way it was in the '60's or '70's I am sure.

Today I went into Brisbane city - I had some banking to do, wanted to get some international currency, etc and I strolled through the Queen Street Mall.  At times I wanted to sit down and laugh hysterically.  What are they thinking?????

Before I proceed here, I will say that I love it that we have the freedom to be whatever we want to be.  I would think it would be awful if we were all the same - but do people have to be SO WEIRD????

I am not a great fan of tattoos and piercings.  I do have pierced ears - two tiny holes that hold my fairly exciting ear rings, but I don't understand why anyone would want rings in their noses, lips, tongues, eyebrows, belly buttons and other more personal parts of the human body.  I just don't get it.  OK, I understand that at one point people like to be different - but in rare cases I can't see the beauty in it.  I don't mind a simple tattoo - and I understand those from other countries that apparently need to have some cultural designs, but I laugh as few societies would have had the ability to do the long permanent tattoos that I see now.  Women don't look more beautiful with tattoos, though I admit I have seen some rare ones that I feel are appropriate or beautiful.   I often wonder what they will look like on an elderly person - a shrinking ageing body with warping tatts?

Clothes - I do recall getting in our best dresses to go to the city - but clearly our culture has changed.  Anything goes.  There are girls with almost everything hanging out of their tops, their bums showing if they bend over, no colour co ordination, weird hair dos.  I've seen men that look like they are trying to look female - ear rings, long hair, plaits - sometimes you have to look twice or more to determine someone's gender.

People walk around with their eyes glued to a mobile phone, earphones in each ear and today I saw one with blue tak holding them in the ears.

It is colourful, interesting exciting - but I would love to walk with my mother through the mall and see what she would make of it.  She'd gawp at people - she'd be concerned, confused.

But the Queen Street Mall is exciting - there are buskers aplenty, there was a Myer Fashion Parade at the George St end (out the from of Myer), music, action, colour, excitement.  People dining, people sitting.  No smokers (Mum would love that!)

One day I will sit in the Mall with my camera and make a movie of life in the Mall.  It would be hilarious I am sure.
A busker (all in silver) sits motionless in the mall.  He looked as if he was sitting - but on what?

Flowers at the River end of the mall - pathetic small garden really but with great colour.

Wednesday, May 7

Out With My Camera

I had to make a trip over to Morayfield - and took my camera.  I have wanted to explore more of Centenary Lakes on the Caboolture River for some time.  I have been there on several occasions but wanted to explore a little more.  It is quite an amazing complex with sporting fields, walking tracks, playgrounds, lakes, functions room and so much more.

There are hundreds of birds - moorhens, ducks, geese, ibis, pelicans, and a host of other feathered friends.  The lakes and lawns are kept in great condition, and it is lovely to walk around the grounds.

On the way back to Beachmere I stopped on another part of the Caboolture River and chatted with a guy who was fishing.  Told me about his success at getting huge mud crabs there.  Shame I am going away in a couple of days.  Maybe if I could get one we could have it for dinner on Sunday - Mother's Day.

Caboolture River Fishing

Memories and Strange Stories

I spent some of the morning getting my hair done - ridding my hair of the dreaded dark spots - so now I am more blonde than I was yesterday.  Sitting next to me was a lady who is also going to be in China at the same time.  Fancy that!!  Two Beachmerians going to China at the same time.  She is participating in dragon boat races - I've learned since that it is Dragon Boat Festival when I am there on June 2nd.  Great.

I came home and turned the radio on - Margaret Throsby interviewing Kate Fitzpatrick.  It was especially interesting to me as I knew Kate's grandmother - Mrs Kenihan, who was the Divisional Guide Commissioner during my time as a Guide.  Mrs Kenihan's husband was a doctor.  I love Margaret Throsby's interviews and have some downloaded onto my MP3 player to held while away the hours on the plane!!!

Kate also mentioned Joanna Priest - a name familiar to me from Adelaide in the 1950's - Joanna was a teacher of ballet.  Was she mine? The name is so familar to me but I can't recall.   If I was one of her students - I was a failure but whoever my ballet teacher was, they would be proud that I still dance.  Alone and simple steps, but it is often a method of exercise when I am home along.  (Oddly enough, there is a story of my dancing across a stage in China, trying to recall some of my ballet steps and hand movements in a weird rehearsal for a totally different performance.   One of my funny stories about life in China.

Adelaide was a small strange place in the 1950's - and I think all children were introduced to cricket at an early age.  I recall going to the Adelaide Oval - with my grandfather to watch cricket at a very early age.  I'd like to think I saw Don Bradman play, but I doubt it.

Amazingly Kate went on to be a Cricket Commentator for Channel 9 in 1983 - apparently the first femal cricket commentator in history!!  She is an actress and an author and a most interesting person.  The interview will soon be downloaded to the web page so I will download it all, and listen again.

Tuesday, May 6


I do try to travel light - but seldom achieve it.  Especially when one is away for 4 weeks.  I have a few days before I go - and I have my suitcase in the spare room and I often run in and "throw" something into the mix of things that have already found their way in.

I've not bothered with nail polish before, but the nails are looking pretty good so I've packed my bits to keep them looking good.  I bought some lovely nail polish remover pads so that I  don't have to take a bottle of flammable nail polish remove. Part of the Manicare range.  I've tried them - awesome!! Tick.

There is a largish pack of tissues in small packs - handbag size.  In China toilet paper is not supplied at most (public) toilets so one has to be prepared and take one's own.  Tick.

My Kindle.  A must when travelling.  I will be on long bus/plane/train journeys on my own.  I've downloaded a few books, but have quite a supply with me, and of course I can download in China.  Remember to take cable to download and recharge battery.  When I bought my Kindle a few years ago, I bought the one with the light in the cover.  So much easier to read when all around is in darkness.  Tick.  And the battery is full. Tick.

A towel.  OK it is a small microfibre one - but I am not sure there will be one in my room when I get to the university.  I recall when I arrived in 2008 - and there was nothing in the room, not even a cup when we arrived after dark.  Luckily I was taken to a supermarket not far from the campus, and was able to stock up on a few things to tide me over until I could quietly work out what I needed.  And it was a lot.  Tick.

My MP3 Player.  Now I know that some readers will ask why I don't use my phone...   I have a good Iriver which I can load much more on.  It is smaller - lighter, easier to carry and much better to use.  I have downloaded music, and interviews from the ABC - Richard Fiedler and Margaret Throsby.  Tick.

Spare phone.  Luckily I have an old phone - so I will activate it with a local SIM card so that the students/university can easily contact me.  I will have international roaming - but it will be cheaper I think to use a local number.  Tick.

Technology - yes, I am taking a laptop, but only a small one.  Yes I am taking my Canon EOS SLR - sadly it is heavy, but I need it.  Of course there is a collection of cables that go with the technology.

Clothes.   Well - luckily for me it will be warm, so I don't need to take heavy winter gear, and most of my clothing (apart from my sneakers) is light.

I will have a cabin bag - for laptop, camera, stuff in case my luggage gets lost etc. - and I have my travelling clothes all ready to go.  Tick.

Labels and purple ribbon on suitcase.  Tick.  (suitcase and cabin bag are purple.  :)  )

Folder with documents (copies of passport, itinery, accommodation, travel insurance, etc) in cabin bag.  Tick.

I hope I have not forgotten anything.

Not Happy Australia Post.

This morning I have written to Australia Post via their website - though not sure that the complaint "went" after I hit submit, so I saved the details of the letter just in case.

When my sister and I decided to spend time in Singapore and Shanghai I knew we had to get a Visa.  Mine was fairly easy to get as I had a letter of introduction from the University, and all I had to do was apply with her travel documents ( itinerary and accommodation booking details).  I did it for my sister as she lives in Adelaide and there is no Visa Application Service there.  She posted (registered mail) her Passport to me and I did the paper and leg work.  I picked it up on 24th April, and as it was a long weekend I didn't get to post it until the Monday.  Again "registered post".

I phoned her on the Friday (May 2nd) but it had not arrived, so using the tracking number I had on the receipt I found that it was at a post office in Adelaide and an indication that they had been unable to deliver it.  That part was odd as it was sent to a business address where there are several people working - all of whom knew my sister and knew that she was waiting for the package.  I'd lay odds that they didn't even try to to deliver it and even if they did and couldn't for some reason (???) not notification was left there.  They just kept it at the post office.

I had tried to phone the post office number - but got continual messages that they were busy and would speak with me soon - but after 20 minutes I hung up, and tried to make contact via the Aust Post website.  It will be two working days before they contact me.  Duh???  What if she needed her passport before that????

So I went to the Beachmere Post Office who were able to track it down.  The envelope is waiting at an Adelaide Post office - but we had no information about it.

My sister did pick it up yesterday (May 5th) - so she has it safely, BUT it should have been delivered.

I hope I get an explanation - but clearly that service is not good enough.  Appalling.

Luckily she has it now - but I shudder to think what would have happend if she was not able to collect it in time.

Sunday, May 4

Daisy's Place

Today I drove north, to a restaurant called Daisy's Place - at Glenview.  I had not heard of it until I received the invitation to catch up with two friends who were also English teachers at Yuexiu University in Shaoxing while I was there.  There was another friend too in the group - four of us in all.

I was most surprised when I arrived as I can recall the Rustic Cabin that we used to pass as we drove north along the old Bruce Highway, part of which has been renamed Steve Irwin Way, when the new highway was built.  I was in awe when I arrived for the old cabin had gone and a new glamorous restaurant stood in its place, though you will have to watch the video below to learn the full story.

My friends were sitting outside when I arrived and more much of the time we talked about our days in China, our friends from those days, and some of the funnier things that happened to us trying to make sense of the Chinese way of doing things.  Our topic did change on several occasions - we talked about study, living alone and sex.  Lots of laughs really and I have more notes for something I am writing.

It took us a long time to order our meals - we were talking too much - but when we ordered and our meals arrived in quick time were were so impressed.  Three of us had the barramundi, and I had pigs cheek in red wine, which was so tender.  We were all impressed with the food.  We went on to order dessert - I had a lemon meringue dessert - done quite differently than I would do, as you can see from the photo below.

We took some photos - and left around 3 pm.  It was somewhat expensive, but most enjoyable, such that I would go back again.

On arriving back home I checked on the website for Daisy's Place and found the video - and learned about the history of the lady Daisy.  Please watch it all.

It is a top class restaurant with a fabulous story to tell.

Lemon Merinque Dessert

Lovely Garden

Here it is - 
2859 Steve Irwin Way, Glenview QLD 4553

Role Play

I would never have made a good actress in the theatre - though over my long life I have played several rather hilarious roles for entertainment.  There was my ghastly singing of "Who Killed Cock Robin" for a dance performance when I was very small.  I recall very little of it - other than standing right front stage trying to sing the words for my dance studio friends to perform some little fancy dancy thing.  I shudder when I think of it. My dancing (and singing) was short lived.

The next time I took centre stage was for a performance at the Nurses Christmas Party  when I was training - because I was tall (it could be the only reason) that I was asked to play the role of Avis Crankston, something that someone had dreamt up that was a spoof on the Mavis Brampton Show.  Luckily I have no photographic evidence of the skit that we did - for several crazy things happened that night. I drank too much wine before the performance in the hope that it would help me remember my lines - which it did to some degree, but from all accounts on the night my bravado was way high and the performance was well received.

I had never seen the Mavis Brampton Show - we had limited television in the early days at the hospital and it was only those who lived in Mt Gambier that knew what it was all about.  I don't think I have ever to this day seen the show - but found the video below of one of the skits that was done on that show.

When I was asked to do some role plays for medical examinations (doctors seeking to work in Australia) I jumped at it - it was to pay some dollars and a friend and I both joined the group who played roles - I think I have done it for maybe 15 years.  I can't remember the date we started.  I reasoned that as a former nurse I would have some idea how to play the role of someone with medical conditions, which somehow it did.

I had been thinking of retiring from doing it - it is a big day, exhausting, but usually a bit of fun, but I was getting past it.  I received a letter during the week advising that it would be my last that the examinations would be held in Brisbane yesterday.  There is a new facility in Melbourne where they will done mostly, and they are unlikely to fly any of us to Melbourne for the examinations.  The Melbourne role players will get plenty of work!

And so it was that I set off early yesterday morning for the 8 am start at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, only to discover that others were sent a letter to say it was starting at 9 am.  It started much later - as there were a few problems that morning.

Then one of the role players did not arrive and as I was a "spare" I was given about 2 minutes notice to play the role of someone with a 7 year old son.  I (we) thought it rather hilarious as I certainly don't look young enough to have given birth 7 years ago.  A lot of laughs were had between sessions about it.  I played another role in the afternoon, which was more hilarious in a way, but I can't detail that here.  Thus ended my role playing career.  I will miss the payments though.  It wasn't all that profitable, but still it was fun and interesting.

Friday, May 2

I am annoyed!!!!

On Monday I posted a letter - a REGISTERED LETTER via Australia Post  to my sister - which included her passport complete with Chinese visa.  She lives in Adelaide and I expected she would have received it by now, and as she hadn't let me know it arrived, I called her to check.  No, she hasn't seen it.
It was sent to her work address as she is never home to collect it - and as she works long hours at the one address you would think it would be easy.

I wrote the address I was given, (and hope I did it right, for at this point, we don't know for sure.) I had kept the receipt and the tracking number, and went online to check where it was.  It said it arrived in Adelaide on Wednesday and it was unable to be delivered.  Weird...  It had the work address, as my sister works there for long hours and she was there.  As are other staff.  She does not believe there was any attempt to deliver it.

I tried to phone the phone number for the post office there - but after nearly 15 minutes hanging on, I gave up.  I recorded a "missing item" on the website - and they will get back to be within two business days.  Oh, how helpful is that!!!  I understand, but if there is a problem it leaves her in a big mess, as we fly out on Monday week.  No passport = no travel.

So I printed out all the stuff on the tracking website and went to the Beachmere Post Office and asked the lovely Gaye to help.  It appears that an attempt was made to deliver it on Wednesday, and as that failed it has been waiting at the Kent Town Post office for  collection - however, no one advised me or my sister.  Now that presents a problem - despite assurance that it won't take long or her to leave work and collect it - I know she is frantically busy with a major order that she has to complete before she departs.  She is already working 10 - 14 hours a day, and even taking 30 minutes to collect it - will make her and the boss mad as hell.

Anyway, at least we tracked it - and will have to work out if the address was written wrongly by either my sister or myself, and she will have to collect it next week.  It remains to be seen what the real story is!!!  Meanwhile I have wasted a couple of hours trying to resolve it.  I am narky.

I will also be curious to find out if their FB folk (where I also put a message) and the Internet "missing item" section gets back to me.

(Feeling better now I have had the rant.  :)  )

On a lighter note I took off to Bribie Island with my neighbour to see a movie at the Bribie Twin Theatre - a strange movie. The Grand Budapest Hotel.  I do think it is something that you need to see twice, but watching the trailer might help.  It is quite fanciful and crazy, but a bit of fun.

Here is a review of the movie.