Friday, May 25, 2007

Gold Coast sunrise

We stayed last night with our friend Hal and his partner Andrea who live at Tallai behind the Gold Coast. They have a fantastic view and I was up this morning early enough to catch the sunrise.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Harbour Bridge

I had a couple of hours spare this afternoon in Sydney so I took a walk across the harbour bridge.

As I reached the pylon I discovered that there is actually a lookout in the top. At $9.00 it's a fraction of the price of the bridgeclimb at $169 and the view is nearly as good as you can see from these shots I took from the top.

I then walked all the way across to North Sydney before turning around and heading back. On the way, I got a shot of P&O's Pacific Sun sailing out past the Opera House.

I also got a good view of the pink rays of the setting sun on the Opera House, as well as a good view of the city skyline.

Definitely a much more pleasant form of exercise than the hotel gym!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bird life

We visited my sister on the Gold Coast today. Her pet birds (Wally and Girlie Bird) were glad to see me. All I needed was an eye patch!

My sister's garden was also full of colourful bird life.

For those who are interested (probably just my Mum!) here's me on the left, my sister Joanne, by brother-in-law Greg and my nephew Julian.

Julian and I also went to the footy in Brisbane later that night. The Lions played like a rabble so the less said about that the better.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Beijing Olympic preparations

I spent a couple of days back in Beijing this week on business. The focus is now very much on the preparation for the 2008 Olympics with campaigns to get the locals to stop spitting, designating the 11th of each month queueing day in an attempt to encourage the locals to line up in an orderly fashion, and various plans to curb the city's pretty awful smog including banning cars for two or three weeks before and during the Olympics. This would have the added benefit of saving the lives of hundreds of tourists who might otherwise be run down at traffic signals in the mistaken belief that Chinese drivers will actually stop at red lights!

According to my local contacts the smog is actually much better than it was a few years ago, mostly because factories have been moved out of the city and from my own observation the spitting problem is largely under control. But as for the queuing, something that looks remotely like a line rather than entirely like a rugby scrum seems the best that can be hoped for!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What's Chinese for stupid?

News flash for the web site designer who decided that should bring up the Chinese version of the site because it's detected that you're in China (presumably from the IP address): because you're in China doesn't mean you can read Chinese!

Like so many examples of bad design, this is basically a case of a good idea badly executed that could easily and inexpensively be fixed (in this case the solution is as simple as adding a "click here for English" hyperlink).

By the way my colleagues here in the Beijing office tell me the answer is "ben" (pronounced more like "bn" as best I can tell).

Update: There actually is a drop down box for language selection. Of course if you don't read Chinese how would you know that this is it:

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Macquarie Pass

I'm flying out of Sydney to Beijing tomorrow so today we drove from Canberra to Sydney a distance of about 300 km or 160 miles, which is similar to the distance from Steamboat to Denver, but a lot flatter!

We took the scenic route through Macquarie Pass. It's quite a bit slower but well worth the extra time if you can spare it. Stop at the cafe in Robertson at the top of the pass located in the old cheese factory. The Devonshire Tea (scones with jam and cream) is fantastic. You can get scones in the US, but they're scones in the same way that American Football and Aussie Rules are the same thing.