40ties as the local fishermen call the seas here are full of the few remaining
killer and other whales, a few dolhins, a lot of fish, and hardly no tourists.
But the Chinese are coming in, also here. House prices jump with 10’s of %,
following the Sydney/Melbourne price growth. A farmer (cattle by
the-40-cowtrailer/week for meat to Woolworth, and poppies by-the-charterplane to
the pharmaceutical world companies as basis for alcoidic painkillers) doubled
in1 year his initial investment on a
100.000$ house at seaside St Helens… already 9 yearsback, his other homes there nearly did *8 and
still he does not sell!
4-seasons-in-1day similar to NZ tend to surprise quite a few tourists on the
slippery winding roads, and even locals are not free from slippery in- or
abundant, and where not so, either farmers have the best soil of Australia,
else old wood makes room for 1 of the 10mio + eucalyptus planted each year,
else on top locations with magnificent wide views over the seas and rolling
land new fullglass villas with the largest possible open terraces find a
builders spot. Some beaches are still housefree, and notorious Bays such as the
magnificent Bay of Fires with litchenred rocks against turquoise sea, or
Whineglass Bay, the Arches etc. are still fullnature apart from the occasional
shack or villa.
TASMANIA= plain nature, some claim it is even nicer than NZ Southland!
A.TASMANIA= plain nature, some claim
it is even nicer than NZ Southland! Of Aboriginals, Killerwhales, Convicts, Tasmandevils,
but also nice Dolphins, Koala, Oysters, Sheep,
Poppies, Eucalyptus, the CLEANEST AIR IN THE WORLD, Boats, Bay of Fire and more
Dutch (once more, yes!) discovered Tasmania and forgot to plant the flag, it
were the British (again !) who were keen to give it the finishing touch. I.E., treating the
indigenous as non-existing devils, driving all locals in the sea (literally
pushing them off by the thousands off the 130m cliffmountain at Stanley) or killing
with the imported small diseases of civilization, and turning the few remaining
into slavery…as mates to the imported convicts who were forced in wood cutting
and planting, coal and other mining, sheep and other cattle, building their own
prison/chapel/cells and of course the chuch, and fine housing of the governor.
Later on the same storey evolves as in New Zealand or other colonies: fresh
convict loads, new soldiers, and a few civilians who lived like their Queen in
van Diemenland, to become Tasmania, and in early 20th century part
of Australia, and today main resource of hydro electricity, vegetables and
fruit, very nice nature parks/bays and beaches and clean but a bit fresh
still see how they used a +40m high tower, H2O, Pb and some secretive powder to
gravity-made bullets in TAS only Shot Tower. The wood industry and building of
housing/villas has come with the convicts in ‘’antique’’ Port Arthur,
Woodcarving and loc al art but no more abo-art apart from a few meagre remains
even the tourism offices closeby seem not to know anything at all!
they promote Fish and chips, fresh juicy oranges, local apples/ strawberries, and
… the purest air in the World! Apart from obvious nature at its best, Blow Hole
and Arches, bays and creeks, the awesome Bay of fire, Spiky Bridge and more old trainbridges in
industry is hydro-energy (85% of all energy in TAS), lobsters/oysters/fish and
tourism (from white east coast beaches
and Wineglass Bay till exploratory hikes, sailing, surfing and horseriding.
voluntary Firefighter has time to make his own smoked salmon and cheese
(coldsmoke), housewives make the best straw(berry jam and sell it in a local
cooperative, fish and sailing boats challenge the roaring unpredictable winds.
good roads, great info on sites and in local handouts, TAS still is a paradise
for nice offroading (too bad I could not taste this for lack of my G.O.T.),
wild west coast, the unspoilt Craddle Mountains… it has it all. No wonder the
few Euro-import families are definitely settled in to stay. Only a 10hour
carferry ride from Melbourne, and yet Tas onlylackssome good international
marketing to put it on the same tourist spot as its neighbour NZ.
A.The End of G.O.T.** is near, Whilst
Sydney Opera House celebrates its 40th Anniv,Melbourne welcomes itsSpringflowers fromfreezingcold to +32degrees
or rainy with hardly 10degrees; the Blue Mountains suffering from hell’s
bushfires, and the 12 Apostels remain expressive… as always but since a couple of years they are with a few less
Ocean Road keeps winding, the 12Apostels magnificent in the redglowing sunset, windsurfers welcome the biggest waves, the
Blue Pools are still too cold, whereas Redhot Suns and white mists play games
with Mother Nature. Except in the Blue Mountains, where over 200 houses need
complete rebuilding with racing winds in the woods. At the same time one of the
many spectacular car races bring Ford as the winner, although at the same time
Ford Company announces its total production within the country ending in a few
inOpal and Copper mines earn their
weight in gold (at 3.000$/week or more) ... as long as it goes, racehorses do the same. The amateur
runners/bikers/canoers in one of the most populated runs in one of the least
populated peninsulas try to outbeat their +300 competitors in one of the many
National Parks/Forests/Marine Sanctuaries with superb Rock formations and
equally white/colored beaches.
Capital Canberra (sister to Nara and Beijing) showcases its War Memorial and
Old Parliament building, and then heading off to the Coast again in search of
graffiti and tattoo, woodcarving art, and the point of no return: Eden, which
did not exactly proof itself to be... paradise cause my good old Toy again went
down the road with a broken transferbox this time.
quick to a decent Library to book online a small hippie camper, in order to
catch 2 days later the ferry to TAS, change the booked PKL to a Queensland registro for a few
weeks of nature, with as it turned out locals being evenmore friendly than those on the mainland, the
cold kept away till the Cradle Mountains snow/sleet/ice/hail, giving a chance
to killer and other whales to be pictured by the powerful Lumix zoom.
Please pray with us for the loss, ways too early, of our oldest brother Theo, after a brave battle.
with us for the loss, ways too early,of
our oldest brother, after a brave battle.
sincerest condolences to his wife and children and grandchildren for this miss.
just been so lucky to see, talk, laugh and dream with him very recently, recall
some of his adventures with him.
particularly wish to thank him for all these years of advice and much more, educating
me in e.g. mechanics and house problems, moreover especially the way he has
been respectfully assisting our parents, making it lighter for them in their
last years as well. For him nothing ever was too much.
February in OMAN, April again Japan, August maybe Australia
To escape some of the snow, not too far away, but withour our own campingcar, we opted for a quick tour of the nicest parts of Oman, accompanied by a friend we got to know in Vietnam. So off we are, 1 scorpioman and 2 aquarius-women, oh boy, O- Man!
With only 0.5 pictures per kilometer it is not my top, yet a nice 'me-too' destination for tourists and expats alike. Not too expensive (but the world's most expensive perfume Amouage!), not too luxury (but we saw quite a few Porsche), not too much dirt, and not too TOP in nothing/anything. A nice, friendly (ex-tribal) population (assisted by a good number of Pakistani-Filipinos-Indy), not too crowded, not fundamentalist and guided by their (childless) Sultan since almost 43 years now who carefully invests the petrodollars in the future of tourism, education, and but a few extras to show off (mosk in Musqat). Good roads bring tourists to the 'grand canyon, Nizwa fort and colorful goat-market on Friday, the traditonal dhow makers of Oman-Indy, the seaturtle reserve, the sultans palace and luxury yacht, an occasional souq or wadi and parts of the immense deserts (till Yemen if you still dare).
End at a beach-hotel such as the Crown plaza with a nice siutation
overlooking the beach, and take your memories and maybe a bit of dates
or a local silver dagger/sword with you, and nourish the pictures for a
This winter-break leaves me still enough time to
prepare the return to Japan and SouthKorea, before our last main
'adventure' down under, probably starting July/August in Alice Spring,
going north, then via the kimberleys and desert-national parks to the
southwest along the Indian Ocean, to continue the coastlines via
Melbourne (and a 3week trip into Tasmania), then upnorth till Sydney
then Brisbane, concluding the trip in New Zealand. With or without my own old Toyota camper?? it depends on paperwork, car's permit etc..
We'll let you know mate! bye from Lou Castel, then Brussels till April
lots of business suits and Bulgari or
Vuiton hyper next to anti-fashion,
and some very superb showrooms even Fifth Avenue could envy; dragons and lucky
charms, children’s namegiving/coming of age etc in good old-fashioned ways, and
a real Shinto traditional wedding
ceremony; just twice 1x really-angry-man-shouting (as if he were ready to
punishing a prisoner-of-war) when he found me parked on his private lot after I
could not understand his Japanese only sign; sophisticated culture /design /fashion
/architecture; delicate food and delicious European inspired desserts; bakeries
and patissiers, and quite some French
names for restaurants etc; ZEN and Shintoism on the same level as Buddhism-traditions
still alive; wonderful ceramics, show-dogs, as well as the last of the (look-alike)
geishas and a tea ceremony (even whencoffee and wine is overtaking tea), whiskeys and sake and beer, or fine
chocolates at goldprice, cigarettes in no-smoking zone and preferably at a
smoke-repellent machine in the street.
I did NOT
see the nuclear fallout effects cause I did not get north of Tokyo at all, nor
any game of Baseballnor Sumo match, nor Ginza’s geishas except for a few look-alike geishas on a touristic
visit of the Nikko Shrine; no Emperor
nor his Palaces, but the Number1 Shrine in Ise
with access almost exclusively to the (last?) Emperor (but then I bought 2 of
his 3 imperial attributes); no feudal castles nor shoguns or other heroes nor the famous ninjas; nor did I prefer to witness a typhoon (but a good storm on a carferry to avoid traffic-busy Nagoya), equally I did not witness seppuke nor any of the wars, but I saw its
devastating horrific nuclear bomb-effects at impressive Hiroshima Memorial Museum…
With the Emperor alive, respect and discipline
alive and kicking as well (what a difference from China where Mao is off and
out): how many years before these 2 elements to be fast-fading out?
the expansive aggressors of then now turned
soft, with conquests worldwide by means of electronics, cars, high-tech… Will they however manage to be keeping those
rocky (Chinese-Japanese-Taiwanese) islands for all the petrol down there?? Or
will they as in the past conquests of South Korea, China, even parts of Russia
have to withdraw??
over Tokyo I saw quite some
skyscrapers, but again Shangai’s skyline
was more impressive …still Japan has still lots of room for more and higher
skyscrapers, tollroads and other expressways and soon, in Spring the
cherry-blossom …time then to return and continue this fascinating country’s
discovery rich in harmony. And maybe in time to witness the start of the 12-
yearly destruction of the Ise Temples
as requested by Shinto in order to inaugurate
the new freshly built-one.
Eur-Asia along the SilkRoad and more… and now…
before the Mayan doomday of 21.12.2012 at the end of their current cycle
of 5.125 years; a few days before the death of the Architect of the
Brandt-family, my Mother, and of Brazils’ Architect Niemeyer; and 90 years
after Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamon’s
3.330 year old tomb in Thebes/Luxor, Korean Air brought me back to Brussels
with the best service ever. Loaded withpics taken during 6 months over 35.000km all along the SilkRoad and
beyond till The Rising Sun, and with a lot of memories of superfriendly Russian
and Asian people and sites accompanying me for ever.
surprised by the superkind people who smiled at the look of my old car and spontaneously
gave me a hand when necessary, the small presents I got in each and every
country, the still intact nature in lots of areas in Russia and especially
Siberia, China, Japan, South Korea, the neatness and active Buddhist-Taoist-Zen-influenced
approach to live in those 2 latteras
opposed to the 2 former countries, the lack of aggressiveness or insecurity in
The days I
drove in Usa and Obama, 2 smaller villages in Japan, Mr Obama and Mr. Xi Jinping
resp. were elected as heads of their respective giant states.
will be elections in South Korea as this WE in Japan, before the return to my
then the world have changed for the better, the economic Euro-crisis even more
pronounced, no new wars started, … and, the road from Vladivostok to Moscow
finally be finished Mr Putin?
see…till April 2013.
wishing you and your family all the very best in a fantastic 2013, full of
happiness and joy, and in great shape!
And KAMPAI, with a lot of bubbles, Kampai
to a GREAT2013 despite the Mayas
saw some superb (zen)gardens, scenic nature at the Izu Peninsula with vistas of Mt
Fuji and lava-cliffs against the blue Pacific Ocean; the tallest wooden
construction, the tallest wooden Buddha in 1 piece, a few of the more important
Shinto and Buddhism temples (nothing as colourful as in China nor South Korea,
but sometimes more imposing for their austerity) (e.g. World Heritage Shodi in Nikko), and impressive pagodas and shrines such as the Torii in the sea 1hr from Hiroshima; bonsai sculptured disciplined
trees/gardens even at private houses; fortune-prescriptions also in English at
200Yen only: traditional fields, rice, huge apples or white radish; not 1
person crossing at red light, no-one overtaking where it was not allowed; very
few police on roads but some radar control (and 1 thorough control by a few
eager policemen who never saw before a no-Nippon licence plate); Holy Mount Fuji (the iconic 3776m and
snow-capped) from all its sides; white mouth strings and superwhite gloves, and
incredibly colourful autumn foliage( in the Alps just before the superfine snow
hits the ski stations, no wonder 4WD is well established even on the smallest