Tag Archives: Australia

Ballooning over Melbourne


A few companies offer hot ballooning over Melbourne. This is a fabulous experience. The only drawback is getting up very early (4am or so) to reach the taking-off site before dawn. The site varies every day and you get an early call to let you know where it’s going to be or if it’s going to happen at all! Because of the wind it gets often cancelled, so you have to keep trying. Having said that, it’s worth the wait and you won’t regret it. It takes a few minutes to be up in the air and from there the view over the city, the beaches, the bay and the suburbs is breathtaking. You don’t know where you’re going to land before you’re up because it depends of where the wind will take you. Quite an experience. I often get up in the morning to see a few balloons flying over our place, so I was happy to see our house from the air for once. Loved every minute of it! Certain companies follow the flight with a beautiful breakfast/brunch at one of the city’s international hotels. A real treat. Highly recommended.

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Weekend in Singapore


Singapore belongs to those places where I could easily live. I love the place, its efficiency, its cleanliness, its people, its underground… Everything works. The food keeps getting better, and you now have the choice between hundreds of different cuisines. Singapore is a convenient stopover on the way to Europe from Australia but it’s also great for weekends. Having friends there makes it special for me, and between catching-up with them, eating out, and walking around, there was not much time left, unfortunately. A new reclaimed area has appeared since the last time I was there, and the city landscape keeps changing. I highly recommend the orchid garden in the botanical gardens. Magical.

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The Killer Koala, by Kenneth Cook


Kenneth Cook is an Australian writer who was fascinated by the bush and died in 1987. A friend of mine gave me the French edition of The Killer Koala, published one year before Cook’s passing. I searched for the book online, but it seems to be quite a rare find these days. Amazon has got a few copies at an outrageous price. The Killer Koala is a compilation of short stories about animals from the Australian bush. Apparently they are true store which happened to Cook while travelling in the outback. Some of them are quite funny, others incredible, and they all tell something of the true Australia, this remote country at the heart of our continent. It’s an easy read, and for anyone who’s been here and enjoys the outdoor, a breath of fresh air – so to speak.

killer koala

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Filed under Animals, Australia, Books, France, Reading

Review of “The Three Mistakes of My Life” by Chetan Bhagat


MistakesThe three mistakes of my life” is a book by Chetan Bhagat, an author from India. Bhagat is quite successful and has written many good books. In this one he tells the story of Govind and his two friends Ish and Omi, who live in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Govind wants to become a businessman, Ish loves nothing else but cricket and Omi is just happy being with his friends. Together they open a cricket shop and become somewhat successful in their business endeavours. This is the background to the story of how they discover a young Muslim boy called Ali, who has a gift for cricket. Ish trains him hard and tries to make him an elite cricket player. But things don’t come easy to any of the three friends. Govind’s business dreams are shattered by a powerful earthquake, Ali does not want to relocate to Australia to become a successful cricket player, and Omi has to face the political ambitions of some family members. The politics and religious clashes between Hindus and Muslims are part of the story, and in fact, will contribute to its tragic ending. This novel reminded me of the tensions I myself felt between Hindus and Muslims when travelling through Rajasthan. The story is okay, although a bit superficial at times – and the cricket thing can be a little tedious. It’s a nice story of love, passion, money, politics, and hate. Well written with fun characters, but it would benefit from more depth in its character depiction. A good read, and one in a different setting for once.

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Koala on a stroll…


We went to the Great Otway National Park, Victoria (Australia) in the New Year for a two-day break. It’s just right by the Great Ocean Road, and is truly beautiful. Last year we nearly stepped on two brown snakes when going for a walk there (second most venomous land based snake in the world) but this year, as we were driving around, we came across a much cuter animal… Have a look at the video (Please forgive the low quality, it was taken on my iPhone). Isn’t Australia the best?

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Wonderful weekend at Wilsons Promontory, Victoria


Just back from a lovely weekend 3 hours southeast of Melbourne. Wilsons Promontory is a beautiful national park, with great walks, empty beaches, lots of wildlife and few people. The water is pristine and the air clean. Highly recommended!

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Love and Light published in the US


ten minute plays 2012
Love and Light was published in the US in 2012 in The Best Ten Minute Plays, 2011 – edited by Lawrence Harbinson
 
Love and Light is one of my most successful plays. Here’s a short synopsis:

Tania’s deceased husband has left her with bills to pay, no job and no idea where he stashed the money. Will consulting a Psychic provide her with the answer she seeks?

The book can be bought on Amazon.com
First Published: 2012
Publisher: Smith and Kraus
ISBN: 978-1-57525-782-2

Published by Smith & Kraus, 2011 (THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2011)

Produced for Ten in 10, Shepparton, Australia, July 20112008

Produced for Short & Sweet Malaysia 2008, Judges’ choice, best runner-up actor (male and female)

Produced for Short & Sweet Melbourne 2008

Produced for “Eight-in-a-Box”, Drama Centre Black Box, Singapore 2009

Produced for Favourite Shorts 2009, Armidale, NSW (WINNER)

Produced for Short and Sweet Sydney 2009

Produced for SHOWOFF!, San Juan Capistrano, California, 2009

Produced for 10 Min Madness Festival, San Diego, 2009

Produced for Pint-Sized Plays 2009 (UK)

Produced for PLAYTIME @ World Bar 2010 (Sydney)

Produced at the Otterbein University in Columbus (Westerville), Ohio, May 2010

Broadcast on audiobookradio.net, May 2010

 

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War Horse – the show


War Horse has made it to Melbourne!

war horse
After being premiered in London in 2007 , War Horse went on to win a number of awards including two Laurence Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards. It has been played at London’s National Theatre, the West End’s New London Theatre and New York’s Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Centre. And it has just hit Melbourne.

War Horse – the show – is based on a book by Michael Morpurgo. I have not read the book, but I have seen the movie by Steven Spielberg. The story is about Joey, the horse, and Albert, the boy who raises him. A strong bond develops between the two and Albert is heart-broken when his father sells Joey to the British cavalry at the outbreak of World War I. Joey is then shipped to France where he is caught up in enemy fire and goes through a number of terrible adventures between German and British troops. Amazingly, Albert who could not forget Joey and has enlisted, manages to find the horse and bring him home. Okay, the story is a bit lame, but it does captivate the mind. It’s not a light story, the movie itself is very graphic, and so is the show. One thing that kept bothering me is how much time is spent weeping over the horse when hundreds of thousands of soldiers are being killed – often in horrible circumstances – around him. I know that this is the story, but it is at the same time a little disturbing. There are differences between the movie and the show, the story takes shortcuts in the show, but that’s to be expected, and sometimes it’s even outright different. I have not read the book, so I don’t know what the original story is like.

War Horse is quite the spectacle. I was amazed at the life-size puppets, created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. They are totally amazing and look eerily real. It was wonderful to see those horses on stage and you quickly forget they are puppets. The way the ears move, the shiny eyes, the tail, the limbs, it’s all wonderful, really. If anything, that’s just worth going to see. The horses even gallop on stage! It was breathtaking. I found the second part too dark for my liking, but it’s all about the war after all. The episode with the French girl is puzzling – I found it lacked clarity in the show and didn’t add much. The casting was interesting, as the French girl is black in the show, and her mother white, so you have to assume the father was black – a very common thing nowadays (Thank God) but very unusual in 1915, especially in the Somme region. I can’t help wonder what the original girl was like in the book, does anyone know? Of course, the accents are fake (I, for one, can tell!) but they help wonderfully when the French, the British and the Germans are talking to each other. All together, a great show.

Here’s the movie trailer:

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Some of my neighbours…


There is a range of creatures living in the park next to our place… possums, kookaburras, parrots, as well as the below cockatoos and flying foxes (fruit bats). My New Caledonian friends love the fruit bats too…. for lunch or dinner! Here in Australia they are a protected species. I did have one for dinner once in Vanuatu, and I think it is safe to say that it also was the last time. I love them, they are beautiful (although you should never park your car under a tree full of them if you don’t want to see the paint disappear!).

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Melbourne random snaps


Melbourne is an amazing place: sunny one second, freezing the next; full of architectural surprises; multicultural; hidden lane-ways; water and parks everywhere; and more importantly, a pleasure for the taste buds – there are so many restaurants and eateries that you wouldn’t have enough a lifetime to try them all.

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