Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Kakadu – Life at a different pace

Keith July 13th, 2008

While you sleeping
you dream something.
Tree and grass same thing.
They grow with your body,
with your feeling.

Bienvenue en Nouvelle Calédonie

Keith July 6th, 2008

Actually just back in Australia now from a few days’ holiday.  Had fun in Nouméa, Ile des Pins, and Phare Amédée, but couldn’t actually log into WordPress from the hotel, as the connection there was via some sort of rather badly behaved VPN.

Enjoyed the time, but some aspects were disappointing.  Mining is treated as more important than tourism in New Caledonia.

It was fun to practice my French again, but ran into an interesting language barrier.  On our second day there, Marilyn was experiencing some pains.  Fortunately turned out to not require any critical attention, but we did spend a few hours at the main hospital in Noumea – Gaston Bourret.

It was easy enough to communicate that there was some pain, using a mixture of my French and their Anglais.  But the problem arose in communicating the type of pain. How do you distinguish between a dull ache and a sharp pain across the language barrier?  A “niggly” pain doesn’t really translate. 

Looking up “pain” in my English-French dictionary was potentially dangerous.  One of the French alternatives offered was a word that I suspect actually means “labour pains”.  An attempt to use this could well have got us onto the wrong track entirely!

Language barriers become fairly obvious in this context, but how often do we have equally misleading communication when we are all speaking the same language?

Where Underpants Come From

Keith June 19th, 2008

Just heard an interesting interview on the radio.  The subject was Joe Bennett, who has recently published a book called: Where Underpants Come From.  You can read more about the book in an article in New Zealand’s Dominion Post

Apparently, Bennett looked at the “Made in China” tag in his new undergarments one day, and decided to find out more.  This led him on a rather strange journey to China, and into Chinese history.

The thing that caught my attention was a story he told of one incident during the journey. 

As I remember the story, he was eating in a small restaurant in a lane-way in a Chinese city.  He was the only tourist in the restaurant, among 30 or 40 Chinese customers. The others in the restaurant fairly quickly noticed his entire lack of ability to eat with chopsticks.  He was “spreading food all over the restaurant, and not eating anything”.  Everyone was very good-natured about it, and some began to laugh at his predicament.  He laughed with them.  One came over and gave him instructions on eating with chopsticks.

By the end of the meal, even though he spoke almost no Chinese, and the other diners little English, they were all laughing and joking together. When he left the restaurant, everyone said goodbye to him.  The waitress even followed him out onto the street to return his tip.

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Found – used car for $8,516.58

Keith March 16th, 2008

Exactly one month after posting my request for a replacement car here and on my LinkedIn and Facebook networks, I picked up my new car. 

And I paid exactly $8,516.58!

It is a really nice, low-mileage 1999 Subaru Impreza (no, not a WRX).  It is in most ways a substantially better car that the Hyundai it is replacing.  It even comes with a number of bonuses, like mag wheels, roof bars and towbar.  Here it is, safely ensconced in the front yard:

Impreza

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Nothing new under the sun

Keith March 10th, 2008

My wife Marilyn and I have got away for the long weekend to Lorne (on the Victorian south-west coast, on the Great Ocean Road).  Found a delightful place to stay – Shepherd’s Rest.  This is a modern two-bedroom apartment, on the top level of a new house in North Lorne.  It is owned by a couple of artists, who have moved down from further north in Victoria, where they ran a farm. 

The place is totally delightful, decorated with a wide range of pieces of art.  It is only two blocks back from the beach, and only a short walk from where my uncle once had a holiday house, where I spent many happy holidays as a child.  It was interesting walking on the beach here again for the first time for many years.  The beach has changed a lot – a large amount of sand has been washed away.

There is a good supply of holiday reading in the bookshelves here.  One book is of a type I have never seen before.  It is a taste of absolutely brash commercialism from the 1890s (precise date not specified).  It is Dougal’s Index Register to Next of Kin, Heirs at Law, and cases of Unclaimed Money Advertisements.  At least, that is the short form of the title.  The title page expands this out to a grand total of 85 words, including several et ceteras (then spelt as “&c.” – the ampersand sign comes from the letters “et” – the Latin for “and”). 

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The rise of Indian English

Keith September 17th, 2007

I am familiar with Singlish (Singaporean English – “I speak good Singlish, lah?”).  On my recent trip to KL I first heard about the Malaysian equivalent – Manglish.  But now, read about the rise of Indlish – Indian English.  Don’t do nuisance in public, now!

On the road again…

Keith August 26th, 2007

Well, I’m sitting in the Qantas Club lounge in Melbourne, sipping a Chandon, and waiting for QF9 to take me to Singapore. Tomorrow morning, I will be in KL again for my second conference there.  I will be speaking at the CoreVentus conference on Enterprise Change Management on Tuesday.

I am looking forward again to the fantastic food, and catching up with friends old and new over the week. I will also be attending an iKMS meeting in Singapore as a guest – the topic is Developing and Managing Taxonomies.

If anybody out there is in KL or Singapore during the week, and would like to catch up, please leave a comment here or drop me an email!

Translating humour

Keith June 6th, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to the office…

I was in Sydney two weeks ago, conducting job interviews at our Pitt St office.  As I walked in on the Friday morning, I couldn’t help noticing the woman just ahead of me.  Calf-length black boots, tight jeans, tight black top, long, straight black hair.    She was walking toward the same lift bank that I was heading for, and two other guys were going the same way.

A lift opened, and the four of us walked in.  So far as I could tell, we were all mutual strangers.  The lift started up on its express run to level 22.

One of the other guys turned to the woman and asked cheekily, “Where can I get a pair of boots like that?”

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In KL and Singapore

Keith March 3rd, 2007

I’m off in the morning for a week’s “holiday”.  On leave from my regular job, but speaking at “Portals, Content Management and Collaboration” in KL on 6 Mar for DZ Hampton, then speaking at the iKMS on the evening of 8 Mar in Singapore.

This will be my first trip to KL, but the fifth to Sing in recent years.  I am just so looking forward to exploring new places, revisiting some old ones, catching up with friends and networking – but most of all the food!

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