Thursday, 3 October 2013

Mother and Son - Roadshow (Rome)


I believe the power of a full night sleep can settle wars, or at very least ease tensions. The first day of travel after a full night sleep is a wonderful thing. We hit Rome and focused on getting things right for our first full day overseas.

We stayed in Trastevere and if anyone is planning to visit Rome anytime soon, this is where you want to stay. Ignore all other advice and stay around here. It is the university district, an up and coming area of Rome, still very close to the city centre but, most importantly not too touristy. There are tourists because well, it’s Rome, however; there are not people dressed as roman soldiers. It is also multicultural; with the universities around the area you’ll notice a great deal of different accents. But this pales compared to the nightlife, after dark this place comes alight cafés and bars absorb the narrow cobbled laneways and throngs of people breath life into these old roman streets.

We are trying to focus this trip on avoiding the tourist trail to which we haven’t completely succeeded. But some things are touristy for a reason the views from The Equestrian monument dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi are amazing to look over Rome and see this sprawling ancient city, from here one can easily imagine how this city breathed, flourished, existed and endured over centuries.  I love this shit.

To further the avoidance of tourists I decided to get up at 6.30am and head to an Irish pub in the middle of Rome. Because this is where I could watch the AFL Grand Final.  The game was pretty forgettable but an Irish pub in the middle of Italy packed with 200 other expats drink and yelling that early in the morning is certainly an experience. Did I mention it was an Irish pub in the middle of Rome! How great was Franklin, dynasty…

“Leaving Rome, life was never good to me, leaving Rome…” not really, but, as we pack up for departure on some classic Italian transport, story to come. We remember Rome as a much more enjoyable than last time. We tried to stay off the beaten track more than last time and remembering the proper long lunch with had with friends. Multiple courses and bottles of wine made for a great afternoon in the capital. But now we must leave. Harder said than done…

Our first real disaster. We really did experience a classic Italian train experience; get dropped off at the wrong station and after walking with all our luggage to the corrected departure ‘lounge’ we were suitably informed of the train cancellation. We were then offered three options, the Rome underground, a regional train… ‘oh sorry that has left’ or fed for ourselves with a cab. The private train company was only going to pay for the underground option. We took the cab option. In the end we got the replacement train fine and the taxi wasn’t too expensive but the lack of forethought from the operating line was classic Italian transport.
TL:DR don’t catch Italo trains.

Onward to Firenze!

Mother and Son - Roadshow (The first 24hrs)

Europe, the first 48.

We have now been in Italy for 24 hours; it was not a momentous 24 hours. A enormously tiring one none the less. Which could have been due to the 35 hours of travel with 3 hours sleep or the stress of international travel or even the continual fight with Telstra. Whatever the cause I sleep a full 10 hours last night and I am ready to take on the first proper day of travel, here in Rome.

Positives; our accommodation here in Rome is amasing, nice flat bed, clean bathroom with good shower, these were the highlights I focused on yesterday morning when we first arrived because these were the things most lacking after 35 of travel, did I mention the flatness and size of the bed?

This morning I also noticed the beautiful classic Italian green window shutters, stunning terrace including our first Italian breakfast all nestled in the cool Trastevere area. With multiple universities around the area this suburb of Rome is full of students from all over the world, little bars and generally cool vibe. This is not ruins Rome, but almost little village Rome. Tiny streets barely wide enough for a car weave their way between classic Italian apartments. We spent most of yesterday walking around getting to know the area. Whilst we messed up our first meal, eating in a tourist focused restaurant we have since made up for it.

Dinner that night we found a spot with a mixture of tourists and students, friendly staff and more importantly good Italian food. Simple flavours focusing on fresh ingredients and importantly olive oil. Now we are getting somewhere. After at times a testy but mostly just exhausting 48hours we head home and hope for a full nights rest.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Back to Blogging

Coming into summer means most looks at the year and considers what does one need to do in the next couple of months to make the year complete or successful. I say ‘most people’ because Gina Rinehart has made it clear that her only regret this year is that poor people are not working hard enough.

For me it is blogging, it is about time to get stuck into some real blog work. I had a goal earlier in the year to write regular blogs, I have failed in this attempt to date. Thus I am giving myself a hard deadline. I will blog every week until the end of the year. This goal is probably too lofty however; I much prefer to fall short of a goal and than set a goal too easily achieved, you learn more about yourself that way.

So I hope this is the most boring blog’s I write, although important. It is always essential to write down goals otherwise it is too easy to ignore or dismiss them.

Thus, talk soon…

Friday, 10 February 2012

I love Airports

The holiday season is over for another year.

Sitting on a plane returning home and it reminds me how I love Airports.

I really enjoy everything about them, the flying, the planes, the order of everything, all the people, the lounges and even the security and bomb scans. It is a great place to be even when I'm not flying.

Ever since I was little I have loved planes and flying. The freedom it seems to come with and that coupled with size, noise and a little boys love of everything that technological advanced. I really enjoy that the fact that humans should not be able to fly but we defied that an gravity to travel and fly. I still get excited, like a little boy would; whenever I get on a plane- do you remember when you were allowed in the cockpit?

Subtly every airport is different. However, they are all so similar, in setup and operation. It is rare that I cannot find my way around and airport, although I enjoy testing myself to try to find my way around a new airport without looking at maps- guessing where the food court will be compared to the lounges, where the gates start and with what numbers, etc. Comparing well-designed airports with, lets say, American airports is great fun and I find it so pleasing to find clever architectural solutions to the problem of huge volumes of planes and people attempting to pass through them everyday – with the least disruption possible.

 For Australia: Adelaide has the simplest set up with the quickest car to plane time with great views of the runway. Melbourne has the best food and drink facilities and when they bring in the new pick up area they will win this as well. Canberra probably being the worst airport in Australia.

Everyone likes to feel like they are special and airports have multiple ways to make that happen. From lounges to checking-in, handing your bags to someone else, flying through security, getting your assigned seat, given your little personal meal and the knowledge that you get to fly somewhere. This all adds up to the feeling that maybe your the most special in the airport that day. The ability to pick your seat, your meal, your airline and the designation all leads to the notion that maybe on this day your are the most special person in the airport.

Finally the people watching; if people watching were a hobby - I'd have all the badges and I would go to a weekly appreciation society meetings. Although the scene from 'Love Actually' was very corny it did get it right people watching is perfect at an airport so many possible story lines. Where have they come from, where are they going and why are they here, have they been here before – these are all fine scenarios to think about whilst waiting, walking or whisking around an airport.

I love airports. I love their design, the feeling I get when travelling, the little tests they can throw up - where to get the bags, will I get scanned, will i get a good seat, will I make the flight, have I got everything (where’s my passport), will I be met at the gate? All these reason and more makes airports one of my favorite places to be.

When will I be at one next and where will I be going?

Do you enjoy airports or do you share my enjoyment for another random place?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Italy, That is What's Next

Census 2011: ‘Questions 61: In the next 2 weeks will you be representing Australia at an international event?’

Well as a matter of fact I am. As are forty other Australians competing in the Beach World Championships in Lignano Sabbiardoro (near Venice) Italy this Sunday.

Towards the end of last year there was a request sent to Australian Ultimate Frisbee players for expressions to compete at the Beach World Championships in Italy in the middle of 2011. Since then three squads have been selected and rigours training has insured.  The three teams are now on route to Italy where competition starts on Monday August 22.

I have been selected in the Men’s team, nicknamed the Saltwater Crocodiles and I will be attempting to take you readers on for the journey.

Representing Australia sounds very cool and well, it is. Although I have not put the uniform yet this ideal was what first encouraged me to sign up for the team. This dream of wearing the green and gold has never been far from my mind it has driven me to get fitter and stronger, forced me to go the gym on weekends and it’s been there when I’m having boring meals all in the name of getting stronger, faster and generally better.

Early in the campaign I was training for the Australian Ultimate Championship, held in Brisbane in April 2011, was much easier than after these championships. The motivation to train three times a week with 30 odd other blokes were motivation in its self. However, as the traditional Australian season finished the personal work began and it was hard. As a lot of other players were relaxing and taking some time off those in the Australian Teams had to find the motivation and time to continue training.

Then open squad has been attempting to train 3 nights a week. Because we are from around Australia and all have other commitments this often meant finding the time and the personal motivation for individual training. It is very hard to convince yourself to do and extra leg set or sprint session but one had to find that drive to punch it out.

This commitment to training has paid off, so far. At the last training camp the open team really came together and showed how well we can play as a unit. It is great to get reward for all those hours at the gym or running up that last sand dune.  This feeling has cost me; I have been in trouble with my misses on more than one occasion for having to go to training, I have had to forgo the couple of beers after a long day to the office, the physio trips not to mention the mounting monetary cost of the campaign.

I guess what I am getting at is that although I along with 39 others  that are representing Australia at a sport that many describe as a game and that ‘it’s not really’ playing for Australia. I have to say that in a couple of days I will be suiting up in the green and gold, embroider with the Coat of Arms for which I have made a lot of sacrifices for and I will wear it with pride.  So come back to this blog to find out more about how our Championships are progressing.

To learn more about Ultimate Frisbee in Australia visit here: and go here to know more about The World Beach Championships .

I will end with a question; if you could represent Australia at an unknown sport or activity what would it be and how would you train?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

What’s Next after the Soy latte?

Champagne Socialists of the world used to start their days with a latte before it became too common and then it was the Soy Latte. It was the drink of choice along the inner city elite whilst reading The Age. However with the ever impending collapse of Fairfax, with it The Age, times are changing and I am here to announce so is the drink of choice for the latte left.
The long black is the new... black.
Body image is and always has been a status symbol for both sexes. It is now very important to not only be health but fit but skinny. A century ago it was a status symbol to be big, it showed one had access to food and thus wealth and power.
As science improved nutrition and fitness dictated health and health became a status symbol on its own. One now takes a great deal of consideration of what is in the food that one eats and drinks. This has evolved to beyond diets and healthily eating and exercise. It is now very important to eat minimal processed food and at all possible eat organic at any cost. Organic food is expensive and with limited outlets in often selective areas gives it a status above just healthy eating.
The market has change accordingly; it now cost more to eat healthy and more importantly organic and. A light salad and wrap with a vitamin water cost more than a Big Mac meal and it doesn’t fill you up as much.
So the Adam Bandt’s of the world can’t drink that milky starchy latte’s anymore because they would feel bloated for a week not to mention you don’t know where that ‘milk’ is from or who made it. Not to mention the MSG that could be hiding in it and it is just hard to tell if the cow really is handfed whilst someone rubs her stomach. So, one must strip the coffee back to bear basics. A status symbols that one only eats and drinks pure organics and well...  A long black it is, fair trade naturally.
So next time you see someone on their iPad at a coffee shop you can be sure that it is a long black.
Can you think of any other creature comfort changes for the Champagne Socialists or What’s Next for them?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Is this really What's Next - if so why?

I have the hipster glasses and clothes from a vintage store in Brooklyn, New York so having a blog is what’s next. But why should one bother writing a blog that is only going to be read by a handful of people, half of which are only reading out of politeness. Well for no other reason than I am getting a little sick of the media that is targeted at me. This is my motivation behind my blog; I hope to write for my generation and/or those who also feel currently reporting and commentary is talk to them.
I am Gen-Y, I use the internet for a fair degree of information from news to opinions. However, I am sceptical of what I read on the internet. I believe that there should be a clear separation between reporting and commenting in the media. I believe in science. I like sport and art. I like politics and I play Ultimate Frisbee, I’m quite the catch.
For all these reasons I am writing this blog. It is an opinion blog based on facts and life experiences, so far. It will not be ground breaking or even news worthy but rather a social commentary and bullshit detector and hopefully at the end of the day entertaining. So What’s next?