First came the odd story of how Chinese diplomats refuse to leave a property in Papeete, Tahiti’s capital. Now this week comes a report that “‘preliminary discussions’ were held between the Chinese and Vanuatu governments about the establishment of a naval base at a Beijing-funded wharf in Luganville,” and how that is “causing quite a stir in Australia.” The author of this particular report, a Kiwi academic, is skeptical, but it looks like the state of China/Australia relations is topic number one in the region these days, with stories just this month like Big chill between China and Australia and China challenged Australian warships in South China Sea, reports say. China has the southern Pacific rattled.
“The world’s oldest message in a bottle has been found on a beach in Western Australia by a couple who thought it might ‘look good on a bookshelf.'”
Inside they found a roll of paper with written German, dated to 12 June, 1886. The bottle was tossed over the rain of the German ship Paula in 1886, the Irish Times reports.
An Australian blogger named Hannah has a feature I’m fond of: She calls it Things I Don’t Have Time For. Makes me smile.
Following a Norwegian programming idea, the SBS network in Australia recently aired a three-hour program mostly shot out the window on a train, the Ghan, which makes a regular three-day journey between Darwin and Adelaide. Response was sufficient for SBS to schedule a longer, seventeen-hour version of the same.
On the off chance that you are not reading this in Australia, and thus are unable to watch the TV version, here are some photos from the Ghan. And here is a link to my trip report at the time, posted just after we’d finished the 51 hour and ten minute journey.
Our journey began in Darwin, southbound.
Morning coffee in the lounge
Outside Darwin it looks like this.
First excursion stop, the Katherine Gorge
Way out in the middle of the outback
Wise guy at Lice Springs.
Somewhere out there, this happens.
And eventually as Adelaide draws closer, the countryside turns green.
“The plane was really small and so I figured, would that make it to Australia?”
Dutch student Milan Schipper on transferring through Toronto on his way to the wrong Sydney.
On the occasion of publishing my new book about the Arctic and far north Atlantic (Out in the Cold, cover, left), here’s equal time for the southern hemisphere, a few favorite shots from Australia, each of which you can enlarge by clicking on the photo. Many more in the Australia Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.
A detail of the Sydney Opera House.
The Katherine Gorge, south of Darwin.
Sunset on Cable Beach, Broome.
Watson’s Bay, New South Wales
Sydney ranks on pretty much everybody’s Top Five Cities list and you can see why in this quick little photo tour.
Above Sydney from the Sydney Tower Eye.
Luna Park in North Sydney at dusk. That’s the Harbour Bridge in the foreground.
Here is sunset from Watson’s Bay, just outside town. There’s an old hotel there that has now labeled itself “boutique.” It’s not very big and it gets loud at night on weekends, but you can’t beat the fine view from the back terrace.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Chess match in Hyde Park.
Another detail of Sydney from the Sydney Tower Eye.
Sydney from the suburb of Taronga.
The view back to town from Watson’s Bay.
Sunrise hits the cliffs at Watson’s Bay.
Detail of … you know.