Less than a week I have been back and already I pine to begin another journey. I listen for the jets as they fly over, look up at the clear sky and think I would like to be up there, on my way to Europe. It is an addiction.
Why do I love to travel so? Is it the intellectual stimulation of travel. Everyday new sights for the eyes. The mind busy trying to understand different languages, abstracting the world around it from maps, planning transport connections, writing thousands of words every night. In comparison the routine life of home and work is the habit of the unconcious. The familiar is scary, the unknown is welcomed.
I feel so relaxed after returning yesterday from our holiday in Hong Kong, China and Japan. It's like the feeling after exams or just before Christmas. Today was spent filling in colleagues about my travels and moving into Macquarie University. I even did some programming.
I feel like I am about to go on holiday rather than having just returned from one. I even listen to the planes overhead and think about how it would be fun to go to Europe again. Right now I can enjoy dreaming about it rather than needing the travel. For it is also nice to sleep in our own bed, eat our own meals and play with Kita.
But on an evening like this I could just pack my bags, move into a hotel and fly off early tomorrow. Why should the adventure ever end?
I've noticed that our management often fares poorly in the public speaking stakes in contrast to visitors from the US. I was discussing this with a work colleague who has extensive experience in sales, both here and in the USA. Daniel believes that the Americans tend to be more confident with public speaking because they are forced to do so from a young age. In Australia we tend to submit written reports at school and university, whereas in the US schools oral reports are the norm.
That got me thinking. Many of our television advertisements (eg Colgate toothpaste, the Telstra Great Wall of China/Nasi Goreng ads) feature young primary school kids standing up in front of the class to give a talk. Yet I cannot remember ever doing the same in my early primary school years. I suspect the ads are not representative of Australia, but are clones of American concepts. Cultural imperialism again!
We joined the huge crowd down at Garden Island this evening to see the huge Queen Mary 2 cruise liner. I've added the photos to the gallery. Didn't stay to see her smaller sister ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2 enter the harbour as we've seen it up close before.
I have also added photos of the Chinese New Year dinner (bit blurry, sorry) on Sunday. Note the black substance that looks a bit like hair (last photo). That's fat choy, a cyanobacteria from the Mongolian Steppes. The sole reason that it's eaten is because the name means prosperity, as in the traditional Chinese New Year greeting "gong hei fat choy". For that, over harvesting has contributed to major soil erosion and desertification.
The Chinese are very strange in that way. It's like the number 4. Because its name "shi" sounds like the word for death, they consider it unlucky. Just change the name then! I'm surprised they don't try for male heirs while doing it on a marker buoy. They sound the same (in Australian and UK english at least)...
Sorry for that dose of cultural insensitivity, but I believe that superstitions are dumb. Anyway, the meals was full of fungus and molluscs and they didn't leave enough chicken for me!
I was going to post an entry on my ideal office. Then this happens...
This afternoon we heard a big crash as the ceiling in an office very close to my cubicle collapsed. Fortunately the occupant was out of the office at the time, otherwise he may have been badly injured. Our office spaces were renovated only last year and this is not the first time the ceiling has collapsed after the work. We were all evacuated out of the new office space.
Tomorrow it's work from home, which is good, because my study is very close to my office ideal and I have a lot of work to do! Hopefully my ceiling is a fair bit sturdier!
The house across the road from us has a big Australian flag hanging off the balcony. As we walked out to get some lunch we passed youth wearing the flag on their clothing or draped across their shoulders, even while eating at McDonalds. Utes drove past with the miniature flags fluttering from their windows and we saw a 4WD wrapped with many plastic flags on a line. Welcome to Australia Day in the Sutherland Shire.
I've had a very productive past week work-wise. Wrote an extension for the staff CV system, then wrote an add-on for my tincaCMS web content management system which automatically generates the weekly newsletter and the HTML formatted email to the entire organisation. That promises to save me a lot of time every week. And this afternoon I wrote a web application to display upcoming events and allow a user to copy them into text files. These text files are then displayed by a Shockwave application on big screens in the foyer at work, although that is someone else's application.
None of the above applications were particularly difficult, but they took me a lot shorter time to write than normal. Why? Well, enough people (including most senior managers) are away that it's very quiet and I can focus. No email interruptions, no phone calls and few visits. Worked from home today and got even more done because of no travel or colleague interruptions. Plus I can listen to music up loud, another aid to concentration.