Monday 24 September 2012

It's very nice to go trav'ling

But it's oh so nice to come home, so the lyrics say. I flew in last night from KL, and had the bad luck to arrive at customs with 3 other flights, all full, and one from Bali, judging by the hair. The queues at immigration were huge, and a guy behind me said to his friends "Oh, so now you get in quicker if you aren't an Australian" as if this was yet another instance of the Australian citizens being bullied by foreigners in their own country. He proceeded to do his imitation of what I think was meant to be an Asian person "Oh solly, me no green card, me go through". Much laughter from his mates.
It took all my will power (and fear of prolonging my time in immigration) not to say something then and there.
Firstly, if you are on a flight from Bali, there is a good chance that 97 percent of the passengers are made up of Australian citizens. That's just how it is, and lucky us for being able to travel there for holidays. That plane is what made the queue so lopsided. Our plane from Malaysia was about fifty-fifty as it was a co-share with Sri Lankan airlines and KLM, so there was a huge number of visitors, as well as travelling Australian Residents. It's not a Government conspiracy to punish Australians, it's just luck and possibly poor organisation. Small price to pay for a lovely overseas holiday.
My gripe, however, is this example of the delusional attitude of some people that somehow they are being discriminated against. I will say this upfront. In this country, if you are a white male who can afford holidays overseas, I find it highly unlikely you are being discriminated against at any level. You are top of the tree, yet somehow some people don't realise this. We have a wonderful country that attracts immigrants, but the melting pot has been on the stove for well over a century, so surely those Rudyard Kipling days are long gone, and we can all see each other as people, as Australians? Every race and creed that has actually been discriminated against for centuries around the world must find our distorted view hilarious.
We are a great nationality, though there seems to be an ugly racism growing unchecked and I'm not sure why. I also don't know how we stop it, because the statistical evidence doesn't seem to justify the complaint, which means it's not based on facts, just emotion.
Perhaps in our travels, we need to look at countries where large populations of different ethnicity do mix harmoniously? Isn't that why we travel? To see different countries and people?
I sincerely believe we are better than that.
I'll finish with the odd coda at the end of the Sinatra song, because while I do love to travel, there's also a certain happiness that I only find here, living in this sensational city, Sydney.
'No more customs
Burn the passport
No more packing and unpacking
Light the home fires'

Thursday 13 September 2012

A little bit perfect

I am off on a holiday with my friend from preschool - and I mean when I was in preschool. It's been a long time coming, as we planned this as a trip for our 40th's, but that year came and went, and with no income, it takes a while to save up enough to get overseas. So now it is a celebration of 40 years of friendship. An achievement more fitting celebration, in my opinion.
However, as I've never really been away from my husband AND kids at the same time, it's really tearing me up inside. I know I'll be fine once I'm there, but it brings tears to my eyes to even think about saying goodbye to them.
My daughter announced this morning in the car "I'm a little bit perfect". I love that as children we have this euphoria, in the medical definition of the word: "an exaggerated or abnormal sense of physical and emotional well-being not based on reality or truth". I think it is a terrible aspect of human nature that this confidence is quickly eradicated, by early school age.
So on this trip, I've decided, I'm going to step out of my natural inclination and find everything "a little bit perfect" including myself. I want to be that person again. Not entirely sure how to get it back but it's the mission of the break away - that and read about 6 books in as many days and sleep, the unbroken sleep of many moons ago. Oh, and have cocktails at this beach bar I've found, that has hammocks and beanbags and salsa dancing on the sand. I hope to return with a bigger and bright perspective on life. Stay tuned...
So I'm also wishing you all an upcoming holiday, that is a little bit perfect.

Monday 10 September 2012

The double standard...

Linking an old post on The Lounge topic of the Park - why do people with kids think they own parks? They are for everyone, and in this case, surely big enough to share....

I had planned a really touching post about my near empty suitcase but that will have to wait. I read this article in the Huffington Post and it made me so angry initially I had to jump online and write about it on a forum. I've calmed down now, but my initial reaction to the article has me perplexed.
There is a statue of a disjointed woman with naked breasts, sexting, in the park, and this mother is petitioning to get it removed because her kids use the park - read more HERE.
My anger at this woman, and more the double standard she represents, was based on this: Babies have to be allowed in restaurants, and breast feeding has to be acceptable everywhere but parks apparently are solely the domain of children? Shouldn't children and their parents have to be tolerant and considerate of the other park users? Nature lovers, lovers, old people, unemployed or just people that like to go to parks - don't they have rights? Does our whole world have to revolve around children? In the same week the world applauded the 'cute' and 'considerate' parents that handed out candy to a plane load of passengers asking for tolerance of their twin babies behaviour on the flight, this mother (and those 4,700 people that signed the petition to remove the art work from a public place) showed no tolerance of anyone in society beyond her children (or children in general). In a 300 acre park, I think you could avoid the statue in the future if you didn't want your kids to see it, surely that is the only recourse in protest you have to take?
What it has got me pondering however, after my initial extreme reaction (equally as disproportional to the stimulus as the Kansas mother's): What about the rights of the childless? They're fast becoming second class citizens. They're like the smokers you see crowded around stairwells outside buildings - the areas they enjoy have been altered to accommodate children. It's no wonder the derogatory terms such a 'breeder' occur. By childless, I mean those without children in tow - maybe they never had children, maybe their children have grown to adults.
There's a certain level of hypocrisy in this bullying 'Motherhood'.  If you can post photos of breast feeding on Facebook (and that's beautiful or political or both), surely a statue of a naked breast is no big deal?
Whether you like the art or not, is another thing, but the argument is that it's not appropriate because children use the park...well, so do other people, and maybe they need to be accommodated too. There are probably plenty of childless people who also don't like the statue, but they aren't asking for it to be removed.
For the record, I have three kids, I take them everywhere, I breast fed them (everywhere) and I'm sure I was (and am) at times a total pain to my childless friends. Also for the record, while no art expert, I looked at that statue and saw that it was making a negative comment about the practice of sexting - I did, however, think it was the work of a woman, not a man. I find it quite interesting that I assumed a man wouldn't make a provoking artwork on that topic, that shows concern for the woman and what she is actually doing to herself (but clearly my sexism is topic for another day).
So here's the rub, perhaps my anger is at myself, because I can see my behaviour is at times, even on this issue, a double standard?

Thursday 6 September 2012

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

I was going to call this simply "En garde" which would probably work better to promote it (catching the attention of all those who wondered what they had to be on guard for...but when you're on thin ice, you might as well dance, I say).
So to bring those that didn't read about the shooting idea, and the start of THE LIST (read here) up to speed - I am doing a 40 after 40 list, inspired by the wonderful Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom (but you need to help me with a better list name, as I've stolen that from another blogger (Home Life Simplified) and really need to come up with my own title (as I may not stop at 40, may just keep going endlessly - run for cover!!).
So the shooting is booked for 13th October, and today, out of nowhere (Travelzoo) an email came in offering discounted beginners classes to fencing.
And that was my A-HA! moment. Number 2. I'd love to try that. I click on the details to make it's not too far away, and believe it or not, it's 1 km from my house! Seriously I would drive past it about 4 times a day. I have NEVER seen it. How is this possible? You would think, if I drove past something 20 times a week, 960 times a year, that I might have spotted it ONCE?! Which is why I can tell you now I'd be an unreliable witness.
So I've got my voucher, will get to the lessons once school holidays finish. I actually also have a list, because one thing does not a list make...

Torshlusspanik List (I really need help with this title!)
1. Shooting
2. Fencing
Fugu is not making the list.
I hope I am as excited by the actual fencing as I am by the IDEA of fencing..."So the next time we meet, I will not fail. I will go up to the six-fingered man and say, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Monday 3 September 2012

I do not like it, Sam I am!

Linking up for I Must Confess on unusual food because I've not eaten much in that line, having a strong sense of repugnance, and never being able to get my head across the idea of it...

Would you, could you, on a plane?
Would you, could you, on a train?
Would you, could you, do you dare?
Would you eat Fugu anywhere?

I am off to KL and they have restaurant with a fugu licensed chef. Fugu is the Japanese pufferfish delicacy that can be deadly if not prepared properly. Thus a chef must undergo a rigorous training for three years (eating their own creations - new meaning on a fail! No do over!) in order to get the permit to prepare the Fugu.
I am tempted because I think it would be interesting to feel the mild numbing of the lips (if enough of the poison is present - but not too much to do harm), however I know I'm too much of a hypochondriac not to think I'm dying and ruin the whole experience by freaking out. Intellectually, I know that it's been eaten in Japan for the last 2000 years, and deaths are minimal - but I'm not one to let facts get in the way of a good hysteria (Before I set women back 50 years - please note it is an individual idiosyncratic feature, not a feminine trait).
I also am not the world's biggest fish fan, so if it's in a sauce to make it tasty, then it may as well be Kingfish and cost me half as much.
So like everything when I need help with a rationalization, I did a poll on Facebook. No one said I should, no women said they would, one woman's ex husband had - said the sauces were very nice and that it was extremely expensive - didn't think so much of the fish itself.

So, the question dear readers (dear reader?) is:
Would you eat Fugu?
Have you eaten it?
Do you recommend it as a must do?