Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 71

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Saturday February 21, 2009 (diary)

French movie star Jean GabinA sunny day again tyoday. In the afternoon I spend some time in the Maroochydore Library, ordering several novels of authors like Hemingway and Steinbeck, which are hard to find in bookshops.
On my way home I buy some Sydney Rock oysters from Woolworth. They are much smaller than all other varieties harvested in Australia, but taste quite OK. They are the only ones on sale at present and at $7 per dozen a very good buy.
As a variation on my usual Oyster Kilpatrick, I grill some covered with finelly diced Spanish chorizo sausage for a change, they tastes quite good this way. I will call them Oysters Don Quijote, after my famous nickname as a geological student when mapping areas in the Pyrenees, Asturias and Galicia, way back during the summer months between 1956 and 1962.

In the evening, while flicking through the various TV channels I hit upon a classic French movie (also produced in English) The Sicilian Clan, with in the lead roles Jean Gabin and Alain Delon. Jean Gabin has always been a top favourite actor of mine, especially in his role as Inspector Maigret in film adaptations of the detective stories by George Simenon. It is just like meeting an old friend again.

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Sunday February 22, 2009 (diary)

The Gold Coast Today I get up early and at 8 AM am in the car on my way to the Gold Coast, 200 km to the south on the other side of Brisbane. I want to check out some of the Men's clothing shops over there. I usually do that once a year, but did not go last year.
The Gold Coast is about 80 km south of Brisbane. It is a 30 km long strip of coastal towns (previously villages) : Southport - Surfers Paradise - Broadbeach - Miami - Burleigh Heads - Palm Beach - Coolangatta, which over the years have grown together into one continuum, the prime beach holiday destination in Australia.

The beaches here are superb, great for swimming and surfing, a true "surfers paradise". And unlike for example the Spanish Costa del Sol (which still features those drab old and very depressing holiday apartment blocks constructed way back in the 70s), the Gold Coast is in a continuous vibrant state of renewal.
The Raptis Plaza on Cavil Ave right in the heart of Surfers for example, (with a 4 meters high replica of Michelangelo's David in its food court), has been torn down less than 20 years after its opening. It will be replaced by a 70 story state of the art high rise tower (one of the many now crowding the Gold Coast). The Gold Coast is a chaotic place, but a great spot for a holiday, with hundreds of cafes, restaurants, food courts, a grand Casino and lots of shopping and of course night life.

I first visited the Gold Coast in 1967, with my wife Antien and 3 year old daughter Babette, our very first holiday in Australia. We stayed that time in the Florida Carotel in Miami, and absolutely loved it. The resort has long since been rebuild into new apartments, but the Council run Caravan Park right next door to it is still there. I camp there sometimes.

Tempura Udon from the Fuku Japanese food stall There is a continuous motorway from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast, an easy drive provided there is no peak traffic. I turn off the motorway at Nerang, enjoying the brand new 11 km highway right into Broadbeach and arrive at the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre just before 10 AM. It is Sunday and the shops open right on 10. I stroll around, the good Men's shop I used to go to has gone, but I buy a couple of T- shirts in the Jag shop, then drive on to the Broadbeach beach.

I park again in the car park underneath the Oasis Plaza which includes a Woolworth store. The Broadbeach Mall, between the Oasis and Niecon Plaza, is busy with lots of people having coffees, drinks or lunch in the numerous cafes and restaurants here. But I go into the Niecon Plaza itself, where there is a very unpretentious but excellent food court. They have a bar there and 6 or 8 food stalls covering Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Australian, Italian, Greek, and seafood meals. All very good and for under $10 (€5 or US$7) you get an excellent meal here. I have a tempura udon soup from the Fuku Japanese stall and love it.

Two of the food stalls in the Niecon Plaza, Broadbeach Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach are the two most popular areas on the Gold Coast, with Surfers the main focus for the young and Broadbeach a bit more up market. I continue to Surfers but the underground car park underneath Raptis Plaza I always use is gone and new construction is in progress. I manage to park the car somewhere and walk into Orchid Avenue, but the Men's shop there I buy from is also gone, making way for a huge new Hilton Hotel here.

But fortunately the shop still exists a bit farther down the street. It is now called Phases for Men (34 Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise - Tel. 07 5570 3003). It is a great shop with a wide range of quality casual clothing. Best of all they have a good supply of the larger sizes : XL, XXL right up to 4XL. I buy one Boss and two Lacoste T-shirts and am a happy man. That will do me for the day. I return to the Sunshine Coast, arriving at around 4 PM, just in time for a quick swim and a couple of beers at the Surf Club.

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Monday & Tuesday February 23 & 24, 2009 (diary)

Irène Némirovsky Two very routine days again. After my swim and lunch on Monday I drive to the Library and pick up three more books. I am really thrilled with this. Got an Ernest Hemingway I did not know (To have and have not) and another novel by Irène Némirovsky, written just before her death in 1942, the manuscript of which was discovered 65 years later, and published in 2007 : Fire in the Blood.

Hemingway was an ambulance driver in the Italian army during the first World War and injured and hospitalised during his service. His book 'A Farewell to Arms' (a must read book) relates his army experiences and a most tragic love story with a nurse he met in hospital. I believe these experiences changed him forever in two dramatic ways. Firstly I don't think he fell so deeply in love ever again, and secondly most of his following books contain much violence and blood shedding ('A moveable Feast' and 'Fiesta' being two rare exceptions).

Geological excursion in France, 1960 In the evening I receive an email from a fellow former Geological student (Charlie Arps) from my University in Leiden. He attached this photograph taken during a Geological excursion in France in the summer of 1960 (I believe). Our Professor den Tex Is standing on the right with his notebook. I am the contrarian, standing with my back to the camera looking over my shoulder.
The excursion (focussed on the 'Massif Central' around Clairmont Ferrand) was held after most of us had finished our individual field work that year and traveled directly from Spain to the starting point of the excursion in France. On the morning of the first day I received a letter from Antien breaking off our relationship. I was defastated and played bridge until deep into the night every evening, getting rather drunk in the process. (We got together again just over a year later and married in 1963.)

Tuesday it is still sunny all day. First a pleasant morning of bridge then my swim and Surf Club lunch as per usual. Tomorrow I have my check up with the urologist, so I drive down to the Medical Centre to check where it is and where I can park.   Babette is having a good time in Hong Kong she tells me (by email). Thursday evening she will be back home.

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Wednesday February 25, 2009 (diary)

Hong Kong is getting to Babette I am not sure whether Babette is trying to eat this small green creature, or whether it has grown inside her tummy and now desperately is trying to get out off there. One thing is sure, Hong Kong is clearly getting to Babette, just as well she is returning home tomorrow.

In the morning I drive to the Sunshine Coast Private Hospital in Buderim for my appointment with the urologist Dr. Kirsten Hoyle. She is friendly and very efficient giving me much confidence in her judgement. No prostate biopsy required at this stage, but I will have a few more PSA blood tests later this year.
Kirsten will however do a cystoscopy on my bladder next month, just to make sure there are no nasties in there which might have caused my recent bladder infection. "For men", she tells me "this can be slightly uncomfortable but will only take a few minutes." So that will be a new experience for me to look forward too (well not really of course!).

Over the years I have had about half a dozen or so physical prostate examinations and one thing I am becoming quite certain about. The previous two examinations performed by female doctors this year were very smooth and gentle, and a lot more comfortable than the rather rough ones I suffered from some male doctors in the past.

Babette adressing the Hong Kong Conference I pick up two more books by Irène Némirovsky, David Golder and All Our Worldly Goods from the Maroochydore Library in the afternoon. 'David Golder', published in 1929, was only her second novel which she wrote when just 26 years old. It brought her instant fame in France and also in the USA when the English translation came out in 1930. "The work of a woman who has the strength of one of the masters like Balzac or Dostoyevsky" wrote the 'New York Times'.

I have also brought some CDs of my Piano and Saxophone Courses for the Library, but they don't accept CD donations as a firm rule any more. Apparently they did receive some unsavory material in the past and now don't have the time to check ALL the material on every CD which is offered. Fair enough, I only wanted to give something back to the community. I gave them several copies of my books in the past which are still gratefully being used by them anyway.

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