Thursday, April 21, 2011
In my blog yesterday I mentioned the 5 day holiday here in Australia and that heaps odf people are heading to Fraser Island – just off our coast.
I have been asked to explain why they would go and also what ANZAC Day is!!
ANZAC Day is always 25th April – and because Easter is movable they happen to fall together this year.
What is ANZAC Day?
ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
Definition: Anzac Day, a public holiday in Australia and New Zealand, commemorates the landing at Gallipoli in 1915 of the two countries' fighting men, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, during World War I.
In the early hours of April 25, at various Shrines of Remembrance, cenotaphs and war memorials everywhere in Australia and New Zealand, there is a gathering of the men and women who have gone to war and returned, and with their families and friends gather for a dawn service that heralds the start of another Anzac Day.
Now Fraser Island – the biggest sand island in the world – only open to 4WD vehicles !! This weekend a lot of people have gone fishing there – but there is more to Fraser than the magnificent beaches. As you can see its really close to the mainland – about a 40min crossing.
These pictures are from the local paper this week – to show what its like over Easter – however its far more peaceful at other times!!
The ferry over to the island
The “back beach” of Fraser Island
Beautiful rain forest areas with ancient trees and crystal clear fresh water creeks
A large number of fresh water lakes
But this weekend they are heading to the beaches for fishing – with all the fishing rods at the ready.
And they will have plenty of company
And not spend all the time fishing!!
The fishing is good though - these were caught off the "back beach"
And then needs cooking!!
And after the holiday – the peace and quiet will return!!
A Very Happy Easter to Everyone no matter where you spend it!!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
This year the Easter Holiday has grown into a 5 day holiday, starting tonight (its Thursday here already)!!
We normally have a 4 day holiday – with Good Friday and Easter Monday being added to the weekend as public holiday but this year another traditional holiday collides with the Easter – ANZAC Day – and so that holiday is on the Monday and Easter Monday is on the Tuesday – o in effect we have Friday, Sat, Sun, Mon and Tuesday as holiday!!
Some places will be open – the larger supermarkets and so forth – and in the tourist areas, restaurants etc, but a lot will close.
A lot of people like to go away for Easter and having the extra day had compounded that – the roads in this area are already chocka – and there have been crashes from impatience ad speed!!
This morning I slipped into town to pick up some fresh fruit and veg and catch a Curves Zumba class – and it was already busy in the shops. Everyone in a hurry, pushing and shoving everywhere!!
Then we went home by the ferry terminal and the 4WDs were 3 deep lined out of the gates – maybe 100 waiting!! It will be all day before they all get over there!! And we were home and unpacked by 9.00am!!
We are on the mainland just over the water is Fraser Island – the biggest sand island in the word and a big tourist drawcard. It is a very popular place for people to go for Easter though its far nicer as far as I am concerned when there are less people there!! It will be very crowded over the holiday!!
We are hibernating in our own house and grounds – as we always do for the holiday – the next trip I will make to town will be on Wednesday next!!
So I hope you all have a very Happy Easter – and a healthy, enjoyable one too
Saturday, April 16, 2011
As I go around Sparkpeople – I often check out blogs and status statements. Although there are some people who are definitely making an effort I am left wondering what the others are doing??
I realise that the Sparkpeople principal is that if you eat something off your program you forget it and get back to program at the next meal!!
This works in some cases, however, time and time again I see people who have eaten right off program on one day, then say they feel ill as a result, then the next day, and in many cases the day after, they repeat the same thing again!!
Why?? I am fairly sure this is not what Sparkpeople mean.
We all go off program occasionally but not every day, time after time!!
Weight loss takes time, effort and sacrifice by the person doing it!! No matter how much information is available to you on this site – and there is a huge library of wonderful information available – it is YOU that needs to actually make that effort to commit!!
Certainly at the start of my commitment I made a lot of sacrifices. It has got easier in the time I have been working on it – now the program is a total way of life – it has become almost reflex and I don’t eat off the program even if I go out!! I chose places where suitable menus are available!! Friends now know I am serious – they serve suitable food or ask me to meet them at the pool, or in the park instead of basing a social occasion on food.
But, I can hear you say, its easy for you now – they can see that you are committed to succeeding!!
Stop and think for a moment about that statement – If I hadn’t made the commitment at the start, if I hadn’t made the necessary sacrifices and changes and kept to the program at the start , if day after day I had eaten what I wanted. If I had said, “Oh well! Tomorrow is another day” then what would I have to show for it?? Would my family be backing me still, and would my friends be backing me?? I don’t think so!! This is not to say I was and still am always perfect – Never!! However its an ODD occasion, then straight back on program – and I have my results to help keep me on track!!
Had I not made that initial commitment – there would be no results !!
The same now with exercise – I get up in the morning and exercise - its like another part of getting dressed, like cleaning teeth, or doing hair!! Even if I go to Curves, and whether I go or not depends on whether I have to go to town since petrol cost has sky rocketed, I still do at least 1 DVD first thing!!
However I feel so very sad for those who are for ever going off program – each time off is more junk for the body to cope with, more bad habits to try to over write in the brain. Each time getting back is harder, requires more effort, more commitment!! So often – this ends up proving too hard – and they end up giving up!!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
The photos in this part of my blog were taken by my Father and he also labeled them—as I cannot ask him to identify them, I am hoping the places as labeled are correct.
During the long holiday—at the end of my first year , my parents flew out and we hired a car and driver/guide/security person (he was all one!!) and traveled a bit— to see different areas of the country. The car was a large Mercedes sedan, but it ran well on the rough, unsurfaced roads.
The first place we went to was Lake Tana—the lake that is credited with being the start of the Blue Nile—which, with the White Nile flows down stream to give rise to the mighty Nile River.
Lake Tana was North of Addis Ababa.
Then we headed over towards Eritrea—past the most religious town in Ethiopia , Lalibela with its churches carved out of rock, past the Semien mountains and to the edge of the Danakil depression to see a salt lakes. There was unrest (basically political unrest) in the area but we never had cause to feel unsafe, though we passed a couple of local people on the road with rifles slung over their shoulder.
Looking back towards Lake Tana—and that could be The Semien Mountains in the background.
The drought was starting to be more noticeable as we went North.
As we drove along we saw some interesting things
Since there was no feed available they had to walk the cows along the road so the cows could get what little they could find.
We saw camels by the road as we headed North
And people waiting for a bus or other transport—the road is surfaced here so this will be the main North road.
And outside a village the donkeys being bought in loaded with firewood to sell at market. They used the wood to make charcoal for cooking.
Then we approached the lake we were heading for—that had salt—salt that used to be collected and sold.
As we walked towards the lake the ground glistened under our feet and was crisp to walk on.
It was very low here and hot!! Very Hot!!
One of the lakes here, in the Danikil Depression is—155m or –500ft (below sea level) the lowest place in the world and the year round temperature varies from 25C (77F) to 48C (118F) which makes it one of the hottest places in the world.
Only one river flows into the Depression—The Awash River and this ends in a series of lakes., the salt being formed by evapouration of the water by the heat.
A lot of fossils have been found here.
We were only on the edge of it and it was hot—so we got out fast—leaving it behind to go to Harar.
Harar is a very old city with walls. The old city is within the walls, but there are newer parts outside. It was the old city that was fascinating for us. There are supposed to be 33,000 people or there about living in this small area of a square km or so. But the narrow streets aren’t crowded,
There are many Mosques and the house where Haile Selassie grew up is within this area.
One of the gates into the old city.
Inside the gates, in the old city of Harar.
A market in front of a Mosque
A street inside the old city
Outside the walls, looking along them. Its amazing how thick they are.
The night we stayed in Harar we came outside the walls after dark, to see the Wild Dogs (Hyena) feeding. They are timid, strange looking animals and this was the first time I had seen them, though I had heard them often before. There were numbers throughout the country then —sadly their numbers have been decimated with drought and starvation to the point that they, like many African animals, are endangered.
We then headed back to Addis Ababa—over some rough unsurfaced roads
Past more signs of drought and the impending disaster (drought and famine) , that was to come to the notice of the rest of the world not long after this.
And past a couple of interesting looking villages, that shall remain nameless—because I can’t remember their names, and the slides weren't labeled!!
Until we got to Addis Ababa—and then continued on South a bit to a Resort on the Rift Valley with a gorgeous Rift Valley Lake
The town of Debra Zeit.
I had the chance to swim in the Lake and found it warm, and rather like swimming in fizzy lemonade. It was extremely buoyant and actually hard to swim as I tended to be too high in the water and my legs kicked air instead of water!!
An interesting experience though!!
There was a market in town that we enjoyed an hour or so wandering round.
And then we headed back to Addis Ababa, my parents to the UK and me to the school for my second year in Jimma.
At the end of my second year there, during my long holiday, I dropped into the UK Embassy in Addis Ababa to be told it was advised that we leave as there had been intelligence that an uprising was imminent!! It was July 1971.
I decided to take their advice and returned to UK. As I left Addis—we could hear gun fire from somewhere in Addis Ababa, though it was a year or so before the uprising really took hold!!
Next week I will start a new series on my next job in Zambia. Africa—yes—but so very different from Ethiopia.
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