Thursday, March 23, 2006

My little corner of the world...



Our view of the river

We live at Eagleby, a village on the banks of the Albert River. The Albert is a sinuous looping ribbon, a tributary of the Logan River, which leads to the Pacific Ocean. Local fishermen throw in a line and doze on the banks – they don’t catch many fish but I don’t think that’s the main attraction anyway.
To get to our favourite picnic spot at Cabbage Tree Point, we follow the river. A scenic drive that also takes us through the local canefields gets us there, and although it doesn’t compare to the glamorous beaches of the Gold Coast, it is a beautiful spot. The cabbage trees are quite magnificent, covered with the huge flat waxy leaves that give them their name. You can see one in the back of the picnic shelter below.
There’s a sheltered beach where children can safely swim, a playground, picnic ground and lots of fishing spots along the shore. We like to fire up the barbecue and spread ourselves out over one of the picnic shelters. When the whole family gathers there for a reunion, we can easily fill one of these!
.

One of the things I love most about Cabbage Tree is the bird life - there are a flock of pelicans there that wait patyiently for the fishermen to come back in their boats. I took this picture of them, which I call `The Three Wise Pelicans". They are beauiful birds.

This is a private jetty at Cabbage Treee - I just thought the garden chair was so cool!

So, this is our little corner of the world. The pace is slow, the air is clear and fesh, and if we crave some excitement, the Gold Coast and the City of Brisbane are just half an hour away.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

One of my favorite place in the city

Hi everyone.

These are taken in one of my favorite places in Quezon City. I still can't believe my luck to be living so near a place where there are incredibly beautiful trees and a manmade lagoon. Nevermind the poluted waters, its still beautiful.

I go there for my quiet time. Its peaceful and serene.

I'll post more after I've cleaned up the pictures. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these. I wish I could send some of these niblets your way.


This is one of the oldest trees in the University of the Philippines' Lagoon. There's a small wooden bench within the trunk of the tree which I love to sit in when the ants haven't beaten me to it. LOL!



This is one of the walkways to the other side of the lagoon. Its a pity the lotus flowers weren't open when I went there to take these photographs. I'll visit in the morning next time so I can take photos of the lotus flowers.


This is one of the many street food carts around the campus. Deep fried niblets are one of the favorite food of the Filipinos. Deep fried food is prefered as it is believed that boiling oil may best ensure the cleanliness of the food because bacteria will not survive the high heat of the frying process. That's my friend Jina watching and waiting while her kabob niblets are frying.


That's a kabob of fishballs dripping on the make shift rack attached to the rim of the wok. Boiling in oil at the moment are cheese sticks. Cheese strips wrapped in spring roll wrapper (like philo pastry).


This is a selection of what Manang (Old woman) is selling. The white balls are squid balls, the balls with pepper flecks on them are chicken balls, the brown strips are called quikiam (gluten mixed with pork, onions and spices), the orange yellow balls are quail eggs coated in a tasty batter, the white sticks are cheese sticks wrapped in spring roll wrapper, the thinner round things are fish balls (they puff up when fried and then returns to their pancake like appearance after cooking) and then there's the foot long hotdogs.

There are 3 kinds of dip available: Sweet and spicy (sweet, sour and added with chilly pepper), there's sweet sauce, and then there's the palm vinegar with bits of fresh chilies (resembling chipotelle) and raw spanish onions. People usually dip the kabobs in the vinegar dip first and then in the sweet and/ or the sweet and spiciy dip. The dips use to be in deep bottles for dipping the kabobs in. Now, however, for purposes of sanitation dips now comes in squirt bottles and are poured on the kabobs instead.

These street foods are one of the few things I miss when I turned vegan 13 years ago. Sigh!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Luxembourg City

To some people the name Luxembourg is synonymous with the now defunct Radio Luxembourg and to others it is merely a place to stop off, en route to the south, to buy cheap petrol and cigarettes. People have been travelling through Luxembourg for centuries. The Vikings went south and the Spaniards went north, conquering people and trampling the little country underfoot. I have been stopped here for 21 years now.

The jewel of its crown is the capital, also called Luxembourg, and its old quarter. It was nominated European capital of the year 1995 and much money was spent in restoring parts of the old city.




Built on an outcrop of cliffs and protected on two sides by river valleys, it was the obvious site for a fortified city.



Now the fortifications have become the central attraction for a popular walk, called the Wenzel walk, which shows off the city to its best advantage.



In the summer the garden allotments built into the hillside are alive with birdsong and the buzz of contented bees. Swallows fly through the air questing for insects.
Today the quadrangle outside the Neumunster Abbey is a Sunday morning jazz venue and exhibition area, while the old prison now hosts exhibitions.




Cobbled streets twist up the hillside towards the old commercial part of the town with names like Fish Market and Butchers Street. The beautiful baroque church is home to one of the rare statues of a black Madonna.

Here you can visit the History of the City of Luxembourg museum, one of the best museums I have ever visited. Starting at the bottom you climb up through the centuries of the city’s history until you reach the modern day exhibits. The lifts have glass walls so that you can see the older rock structure as you move upwards through time. Wooden “maquettes” illustrate the growth of the city over the last few centuries.

On a sunny day there is no better place to go for a walk, sit in the sun with a drink and admire the view.



Luxembourg is, of course, famous for its food – mostly French but served in Germanic portions!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sheepyard Flat

Close your eyes-come journey with me
To a special place where my soul soars free.
Away from crowds and grit and grime,
From the pull of duty, constraints of time.

Down a rutted, meandering track,
Not quite, but almost, The Outback.
To grassy flats where stringybarks reign
And the Howqua flows high after snow or rain.

When summers are harsh the river runs low,
Still chasing the rapids and boulders below.
Wisps of smoke from fires far away
Waft in on the breeze, linger, and stay.

This special place murmurs often to me.
When autumn wanes softly and wistfully
I look up from my desk, and pause, knowing that
A part of my heart lingers at Sheepyard Flat.

Sheepyard Flat is seventeen kilometres along the Howqua Road which winds out from Merrijig, Victoria. How I wish I had some photos to scan and share with you. But I doubt they would capture faithfully the sense of freedom and timelessness and the utter exhilaration that a glimpse brings to me as this road widens at last into the grassy flats.

Look...you must be able to see the magnificent eucalypts so still in the heat of a summer midday.
They watch over a group of children wading around the shallows and shifting stones, large and small, in an attempt to "dam" the river. But it defiantly bubbles on and soon they are racing down the rapids on blown up li-los which will soon need patching as the boulders tear at them.
Their shrill cries echo those of all the children of all colours who have played here or helped catch the elusive trout from deeper pools for dinner for centuries past. In a few years these children will come back seeking the echoes of their youthful enthusiasm and hope.

At other times these trees will be bending with winter storms. The ghosts of early settlers watch around the struggling fires, suprised that they have been ousted by campers huddled and waiting for snow to dump. These campers sometimes look up from their glowing coals suspecting that they are not the first here, wondering if it was a clip of hooves they heard behind the trees. And go back to staring into the fire lost in their own imaginings. Wondering at the little cemetery they passed on the way in, or at the stream of miners who had made their way with a clink of pots hopefully but futilely along the valley in days gone by. Braced as they are now against the bone-chilling wind.Trying to keep the fire alight. Far from electric light and doctors and take away dinners.

But most of all to me it is the embodiment of tranquility. The evening light is soft and bending through the trees, and the river is mumuring in recognition of the cresent moon now rising from behind the hills and scattered in reflection in the deep pools. It is the place to me beneath the Southern Cross where, like the hermits of ages past, I am shown the firmament bending close. Long after my ashes have been scattered in the eddies, it will be my place of resurrection.

Friday, March 03, 2006

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS

I'm really looking forward to learning all about Melbourne...and I thought maybe you'd like the chance to learn a little about where I live.

I live near Seattle, Washington and I hope that after you read this you'll understand why I love it so and what exactly it is I see in it:

So, you wonder, how does Anita see Seattle?
I'm glad you asked...


These are four little reasons I love Seattle and here on my list you just might find a reason why you might want to visit it someday...that is if this doesn't scare you off.
AMM


Reason I love Seattle #1

In the old days when the tide came in all the toilets would explode. That's why the bathrooms were built high up off the foundations.



Reason I love Seattle #2



This is our Trolley Car. I loved this thing because when it passed over the street
(Which is my warehouse ceiling) it would make the ground shake, cement bits would fall from the walls and the mortar holding the bricks together would poof out just like little puffs of smoke.

The part I enjoyed was when people would scream, 'what is that an earthquake?' and I'd say something like 'no, don't be silly it's just really big rats in the walls'.

Also, I put this here because this baby was made in...

TA-DAH!!!!!

AUSTRALIA!...

don't ask me, how it got here. My guess is someone in our transportation system got drunk and won it in a card game.

No, I'm NOT kidding.



Reason I love Seattle #3
This is the building I work in...well, under. This photo was taken in the 1940's and by this time the building was a little over 30 years old. I only mention it because my Great Grandmother was convinced it was haunted. She use to tell us that the only thing more haunted then that building was the ground they built it on.

Whatever made her believe that happened around the time this picture was taken.

That's no lie.

Reason I love Seattle #4
We consider this art in Seattle


Enough said for now, but this is my own private Tour of Seattle and I'd love to have you come along again soon.

(images collected from the internet)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Through the Eyes of a Local

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You don't have to old to reminisce
You don't have to look back
and say "The old days were the best"
The old buildings were beautiful
The sea was greener
The beach was cleaner
The streets were calmer

We have lost much
there is no doubt
destruct and re-build
is the motto of today
Preserve those buildings called heritage
charge us to see them, if not miss out !

But let us focus on the young
There is still much to experience
much to see of what was once history
of this colony of Port Phillip
Remnants still stand of the past
They can be rekindled
Excitement can be generated

Let us take the young with photos in hand
history in the written word
Use their imagination
to draw, to write in poetry perhaps
of what it was that made up who they are today
Their ancestors from countries afar and beyond
made this the place they call home
They can and will be inspired of tales so wonderous
perhaps like fairy stories of long ago
But with all in truth they come to life,
thre is excitement,drama, pathos and above all hope
in times often hard to imagine.
Memories never die, but they need to be captured
from those who still remember grow old.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 3.3.06