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I thought I’d put this up again to remind my North American readers of this holiday, celebrated yesterday here in Australia. The numbers were down a bit this year, but it remains a very popular remembrance day.

Down Under

I rose too late for the celebration.  It began at dawn, presumably at 6 am, in the City.  The march was scheduled to begin at 8:15.  I rose early, but bearing witness to the commemoration of the Australian losses during World War I was not on my agenda.  It was coffee, breakfast, and the morning paper, wrapped tight as a drum in plastic wrap.  The significance of the day itself has been foreshadowed in “The Age” all week.  Ironically, despite the passing on of all the players, interest in  Anzac Day, Gallipoli and the Australian role in the campaigns of past wars has been increasing.

When war broke out in 1914, the new national government was eager to establish its reputation.  Australian and New Zealand forces formed part of the Allied expedition that set out to capture Istanbul, capital of the Ottaman Empire, at that time an ally of Germany…

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I’m not cycling much anymore, but the group is still going strong. Sooner or later everyone over sixty will slow down, shed the Lycra and give a recumbent a try. It can take a very long time for good design to prevail, but I am convinced that it will occur eventually.

Down Under

Melbourne is a cycling city. That was one of the many things that attracted me to moving here. I am a born-again enthusiast of two wheel flight. About a year and a half ago, I split from the cycling church of my youth into a splinter group of of heretics–recumbent and trike riders. Why? Well, aches and pains had a lot to do with it. It made a lot of sense to me to look at the sky instead of the ground. I toyed with the idea of a trike, but I wanted to ride on roads as well as bike paths and trikes seemed to take up too much room. We bought a tandem first. I invested in my own recumbent about six months before the move.

The weekend before last I found a group of fellow heretics. They are part of the OZHPV group (Australian Human Powered Vehicle)…

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I was quite taken with the new technology when I penned this in 2007. I am certainly more cynical now, having been taken the wrong way down one-way roads and through the centre of very congested areas rather than the sane route. I’m waiting for some bright light to consult a coven of wise old taxi drivers and put together a decent set of digital maps that actually make sense. In the meantime, I usually ignore the GPS and muddle through, dipsy doodling all the way.

Down Under

I probably wouldn’t mention it if we happened to strike up a conversation in the checkout line of a supermarket, but I will admit, if pressed, to being directionally challenged. Perhaps it is an inherited trait. It would be nice to blame somebody, and it occurs to me that one of my ancestors may be at fault. The one who led the covered wagons into the Great Salt Lake. Whoops!

The fact that I was once employed as a location scout in Hollywood land may strike some of you as puzzling, perhaps even perverse. Finding the locations wasn’t difficult; it was finding my way back that was hard. The art director of one show, who seemed to be alternately amused and annoyed by our outings, coined the term dipsy doodle to describe my circuitous navigation. I would approach each address as if I had to circle it a few times…

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I wrote this post back in 2007, so some of the information is woefullly out of date now. You can no longer buy tram “tickets,” since Melbourne has changed to the controversial Myki cards. And I’m sure there are many more countries that have switched to plastic money now.

Down Under

They have funny money here in Australia.   The notes come in peculiar colors and they are very, very slippery.  As if to make up for the apparent flimsiness of the the bills, the coins range from the insubstantial five and ten cent pieces to the heavyweight hitters of the coin world– the one and two dollar coins.  The two dollar coin is like a small, brass-colored black hole in the monetary universe.  It is useful for tram tickets and parking, built like a tank.

The reason for the slipperiness of the notes is the material they are made of– polymer.  It is plastic money.  Australia was the first country to switch over completely to the durable stuff.  It lasts four times as long as paper money, is difficult to counterfeit, and it can be recycled.  So far, it Australia  has turned on sixteen countries to the advantages of plastic notes.

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Down Under

Despite the fact that our rented residence has a very minimal garden, it needs water (during the two hours of the two days we are allowed to water). My wife insisted that it also required mulch and the dispensation of hard-earned Australian dollars (see previous post) at the local nursery, which seems to do a fantastic business despite the drought, thank you very much. I was the designated pack animal for the big bags of mulch and nicely polished black and white rocks which are part of the garden decor. At the nursery, Poyntons of Essendon, I noticed a small sign: Fall is Here! My God, I thought, Easter is still a month away.

Being down under does a number on one’s notion of seasons. We arrived shortly after the New Year to a heat wave. It was their equivalent of high summer, after all. There were a few days…

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