Trip Update and a Few News Stories

We’re home – yay!

Even with a temperature swing of 30°C to -19°C…even having to go from sleeveless dresses and copious amounts of sunscreen to layered clothing and chapstick…even going back to work instead of hiking through the rainforest…

It’s good to be home. It’s good to be in my own kitchen and near grocery stores with which I am familiar (and stocked with brands that I recognize). I am ecstatic to be reunited with fast and reliable internet. It’s good to be remembered and greeted by the pets that I had to leave for a month and a half. I was gone long enough that I have to relearn which side of the car’s steering wheel the windshield wiper and the turn signal sticks are on, and driving on the right feels a bit odd. Also, the science and logic part of my brain is very reluctant to depart from the metric system of distance and temperature.

I was bummed to not be able to keep up with daily travel reports as I have done with previous trips, but the good news is, there was simply no time to blog! We kept ourselves busy from sunup to sundown on most days, and did more actual traveling than ever before on a vacation. It’s amazing to think about what did in a week and a half: Melbourne to Kangaroo Island (via Adelaide) to Cairns to Daintree, then back to Cairns and Melbourne. For those of us with a US-based geography in our minds: In terms of distances and travel times, that would be something similar to doing Orlando to New Orleans to Boston to Portland (Maine) back to Boston back to Orlando.

As-map

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons, and shows an map of Australia with our travel route traced over Melbourne, Adelaide and Cairns.

I’ve finished up with most of the photo editing. I currently have 16.4 GB of photos and video and 3287 photos. Clarification: That’s what I have left after I weeded out the throw-aways. Now I just have to organize them into bloggable posts and get my favorites uploaded to Flickr.

In other news, I get to listen to news again after a month-long hiatus. Ooo…side story. I was in the gym one morning in Melbourne when a morning show called Sunrise aired this story: “Are we turning into a nation of whingers?” That made my day. I’m seriously still giggling about it. Not only the sheer eye-rolling nature of the piece (which I didn’t actually end up watching), but “whinge” is such a foreign word to this American gal, and the only other place I’ve ever heard it was in a Tim Minchin song.

But back to the news. Yes, lots of news about Ferguson, which I’m not even going to try to address except to say that I am infuriated and terrified by the decision to not indict Darren Wilson. One of the tweets that stuck with me was this one (Thanks to everyone who sent me messages with the exact quote):

notriots

I wanted to run away to the outback and hide for a few days after the announcement. We keep fucking this shit up, guys. *sigh* But there are better informed, better written people out there than I on this topic, so I’m going to leave it here and go read their thoughts and follow their activism on the matter.

But here’s a happier piece:

This morning on Marketplace (I missed my MPR) there was a story by Annie Baxter about Dr. Lowell Gess. He’s a 93-year old retired ophthalmologist who’s about to travel to Sierra Leone to deliver medicines and provide care in eye clinics in the Ebola-struck country. He’s been traveling to Sierra Leone for over 50 years, including during the civil war in the 1990s. So, you know, what’s a little thing like Ebola? Happy, inspirational humanist story… if you like those kinds of things.

And a not happy piece, but one that deserves attention:

You should become familiar with the name Tugce Albayrak because she is a hero. From these sources and these: After coming to the defense of two teenage girls who were cornered in a bathroom and being harassed by a group of young men, Tugce Albayrak was murdered by those same men for intervening. She was beaten by these men because she presumed to tell them no, to tell them that they couldn’t just do whatever they pleased to another human being without consequence. After they beat her, Tugce Albayrak slipped into a coma from which she would not recover, and her parents took her off life support this past Friday November 28th – her 23rd birthday. Tugce was a hero for stepping forward and saying no to the harassment of the young girls. She was a hero because we know that so often standing up to harassers leads to confrontation, threats of violence, and actual physical violence, but she intervened anyway. I am extremely sad that we will not get to see what else Tugce Albayrak would have accomplished in her life, had it been longer, but I will remember her for this.

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Trip Update and a Few News Stories

6 thoughts on “Trip Update and a Few News Stories

    1. 2.2

      Hi Trebuchet, some of have lived here in excess of forty years and are still not enthusiastic about Vegemite! Though I might be in the minority on that. And it’s always somewhat amusing (perhaps the element of schadenfreude) seeing the reactions of someone introduced to it for the first time.

      “Whinger” is just our local variation of “whiner” (which we also use), but “whinger” is the more idiomatic colloquialism. There’s probably a number of unfamiliar terms that Brianne would have had the chance to hear – the country is large enough that there are strong local variations in accent and vocabulary. 🙂

  1. 3

    Xanthe – When we introduced our 2 year old to Vegemite she made a face, then took another bite. And did it again. Now if she sees you open the jar she demands tax.
    I suspect some of the attraction is the salt content. When summer’s in full swing and it’s been over 30 C for a fortnight it starts to taste really good.

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