Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 298

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Martinshof Story - Happiness - Awareness - Black Forest walks - Camino - Dolmen Tour - Travel

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Wednesday - Monday, January 1 - 13 2014 (diary)

Babette's 50th birthdy The new year has started well so far. On New Years Day we started our bridge session with a glass of champagne which was appreciated by all.
Weather has been warm with not much rain. I did pick up a cold, like many other Darwinites at present, but some prescription from my GP has bought this under control.
On Friday I had a pleasant flight to Brisbane to celebrate my daughter Babette's 50th birthday.
For our evening meal we had delicious Coffin Bay oysters followed by moules bourguignon using the same recipe I was given four years ago by Marc Villeneuve, a Frenchman I met then. The recipe worked once more to perfection.
Yesterday lunch with Malveen at the Mapleton Pub (hinterland of the Sunshine Cost), and today (Monday) I conduct a bridge lesson for some of the members of the Diddillibah Bridge Club. Wednesday I fly back home to celebrate my own 77th birthday with my bridge club there.

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Tuesday - Monday, January 14 - 20 2014 (diary)

Bridge lesson at the Sunshine Coast Finally, finally some descent rain. In December we clocked up a total of only 244 mm (barely 20 inches) and the first two weeks in January were absolutely dry.
But since the 14th, in just 5 days we have had 150mm of rain already. We are well and truly in the monsoon season now. While Adelaide and Melbourne are experiencing record temperatures approaching 50°C, here in Darwin the weather is wonderful and cool.

My brief trip to SE Queensland made me realise again how much I love it here up in tropical Darwin. Emotionally for me the Sunshine Coast has become just like The Netherlands (where I was born and grew up), places I used to enjoy but are now totally foreign to me.
I love the tropical nature environment and the seasons, sunny and dry in the winter, rain, thunderstorms and the occasional cyclone in the summer.

But above all I feel at home here amongst the people, multi-cultural, rough, tuff and ready for anything, totally unpretentious ("Everybody is the same" observed Nicole Kidman), extremely self confidant and most of us addicted globe trotters. It is an exciting and totally foreign country compared to the rest of Australia.

I received a Christmas card from my sister Wivica which in the simplest way highlighted the problem Australia faces right now, and which the present Coalition Government must addres and try to rectify.
Wivica's card (sent from Germany) bore a postage stamp of just 75 Euro cents. Even with the now low Australian dollar this is barely AU$1.20.   If I wanted to send her a Christmas card back from Australia it would require a $2.55 stamp.   I observed the same about a month ago when she sent me some books. The postage required to send the books back to her would have been twice as much as what she paid for it.
Australia has become totally uncompetitive and is pricing itself out off the world market.

Heinz for example reacted decisively to this last year, when it shifted its Australian operations to New Zealand. It now pays its factory workers there between $16 and $19 per hour.
SPC in contrast, which still manufactures cans of fruit in Australia, is paying its workers between $26 and $32 per hour (plus much higher added costs like pension fund contribution, payroll tax, etc.).
SPC begged the Australian Government for financial help, but the present Government (thanks goodness) has a firm policy of not subsidising companies that can not run their operations profitable and give in to excessive demands from Unions.   SPC has now sacked 73 of its employees and replaced them with non-Union workers, but that is of course only a temporary bandage fix.

The present Government however is making good progress in a number of areas, although from the blatantly superficial commentary of some TV stations you would not realise it.
The Government has now stopped the flow of illegal refugees (coming by boat from Indonesia) into this country. The past 4 weeks not a single boat reached Australia and several were sent back to Indonesia. As a result four detention centres in Australia will now be closed this month, with more to follow.

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Tuesday - Friday, January 21 - 31 2014 (diary)

This month we had again the Cycling Tour Down Under in Adelaide and surrounding countryside which marks the start of the Professional cycling season.
Over the years this week long event has steadily grown and matured and now contributes more to the South Australian economy than the Formula 1 Grand Pris (formerly held in Adelaide, now in Melbourne) ever did.
It is quite a wonderful event. Like the Tour de France the TV coverage includes culinary specialties and showcases the nature environment.
On several race days hobby cyclists can cycle the same route as the Professionals do, starting a few hours early. Up to 6,000 enthusiast from around Australia participated in these events, which also ensured that there were plenty of spectators at the finish line of the race.

Tour Down Under

I also like the event's logo very much, it combines in the simplest way the letter C from cycling and the boomerang identifying Australia as host country.

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