Thursday, December 8, 2011

Land Down Under 2011: Sydney

View of Sydney Skyline
from the Royal Botanic Garden
Since I arrived in Sydney on Monday, it's been pouring rain. Last year at this time, Sydney was bathing in sunshine. This visit, the blue skies and warm temperatures have been replaced with cool damp. The summer season is starting off wet; and according to the weather reports, this has been the wettest and coldest summer in decades.

Trendy Sydney Window Display:
Kangaroo Made Out
of Louis Vuitton Handbags
Even though Sydney is a beautiful city with magnificent harbor views and lovely beaches, it has always left me cold. It doesn't have the charm and culture of Melbourne or the livability and peacefulness of Brisbane. Sydney is a big city with high prices. Perhaps, Sydney is just too trendy and hip for my taste. 

On the other hand, Sydney does have an excellent botanic garden. Situated on a peninsula overlooking the harbor and city skyline, the Royal Botanic Gardens are next to the Sydney Opera House. And even though the various gardens have amazing plant collections, it's the wildlife that makes this place really special.

Bats at Rest
In the rainforest groves are thousands of Grey-Headed Flying Foxes (bats). When I visited yesterday morning, most of the bats were sleeping in the trees overhead. (Luckily, I had an umbrella. It came in handy, and I'm not talking about the rain.) These noisy fellas make quite a mess and are not friendly. Unfortunately, I was unable to attach the video I shot of the bats at play. Instead, I had to be satisfied with the video of these colorful parrots. They seem to be everywhere. 

In another area of the Garden are hundreds of colorful parrots and other “exotic” bird species. I even spotted some tiny Australian bees living in a tree stump near a colony of rare white butterflies. (Again, the video I shot of the bees and butterflies was too big for inclusion in the Blog.)
Parrots are like Pigeons Here

All in all, the Royal Botanic Gardens are something Sydney can be proud of. They have quaint places to reflect and relax, grand vistas, and clearly labeled plants for nerdy amateur botanists like myself.
Cottage Garden

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Your Name on Coke (But Only in Australia)

Coca-Cola has hit it big with its new marketing campaign in Australia. The soft-drink giant is printing people's names on millions of bottles and cans of Coke: the first time in its history. 

The “Share a Coke” advertising campaign has helped rocket sales of Coke in Australia since the end of September. 150 of the country's most popular names are now appearing on Coke labels. Unfortunately, Fernando is not one of the names. 

In Memoriam

Taken at the
Royal Botanic
Garden, Sydney,
(December 7, 2011)
A very special person who regularly followed my blog has died. Carol Evans died last week at the age of 73. Unlike many people her age, Carol was always open to new experiences and adventures. Carol kept her mind active by mastering the computer and Internet. In her later years, she traveled to the western and eastern parts of USA visiting family, even though she hated air travel.

I will especially remember Carol as a broad-mined and tolerant person who encouraged me in writing. She was soft spoken and always charming. Carol was very much a lady, and she will be missed.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coughing It Up

Unlike Europe where everyone seems to smoke, there appears to be less smoking in Australia. Now, I know why. This graphic anti-smoking poster says it all: $16 for a pack of cigarettes. Unbelievable!


I was washing clothes at the neighborhood launderette, and this music video was playing on the TV. This is currently number 1 on MTV-Australia. It's funny but certainly not sexy! Take a look for yourself. BTW: Can you spot the real-life porn star?