Friday, October 13, 2006

central Park NYC

This is a day in Central Park , just walking you see so much. The park is a god send and the trees a blessing. These are the first trees I have seen in 3 weeks. I was craving green . On our magical mystery tour,we came across a group of dancers and performers from mainland China. These Children were incredible ,the proffessionalism and talent was incredible. There was a dance group of young girls who were stunning and beautiful to watch and then a group of shaolin kung Fu , both boys and girls. This was exceptional,the whole audience was moved by their absolute brilliant performance and level of skill . I had never seen live anything even remotely close to their level. This coming from an Aikidoist .... I can only imagine the hours and hours of very strict training to acheive such results!

Further along , just wandering through " strawberry fields"( a section of the park), where the the John Lennon memorial is , we came across a large group of people singing old beatles songs and realised it was a special gathering for John Lennon's birthday. It Looked to us to be Julian lennon leading things,so I am guessing it is. Sure looks like him. The mood was quite sweet and moving , singing " imagine " and people really meaning it.

So , this is a day in central park and as you can see , it really is true that the best things in life are unexpected and FREE.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fulbright dinner in NY city

Here is the Fully bright crew , the wonderful Australian Fulbrights. This is just a few of us who made the journey to reconnect and be together in NY city. The other half is off to meet in LA. We had a wonderful night at the Australian Consulate meeting some of the American current and past Fulbrights who has vsisted Australia .

It was great to see everyone. It was the first time since Australia some 6 mths ago, at the awards ceremony , since we had connected like this. Lyndell Wilson and Mark Darby from the Australian Fulbright commission flew in to join us and get us all together.Their support from home is so appreciated.Everyone is doing fine, settling in to their various new homes and universities, some even have new loves,
(Sophie with her new man )... and the night was filled with music and celebration into the small wee hours.

washington DC

Seems I am always going to be a little behind in posting. Such is my schedule. I arrived in NY city on the 24th of September and have settled into Brooklyn , which is wonderful. The people here are among the friendliest I have every come across and very helpful and kind. I was a little ill , I think mainly just tired, so I took a few days to settle and explore the city and find my way on the Subway to NYU. Then it was off to DC , WHICH BELEIVE ME , working out how to catch all those connecting trains and deal with the busiest train station in the universe was a bit daunting.

I did just fine and actually treated the whole experince as another adventure,which it was. I find all the people I meet along the way , from the homeless guy I spoke for half an hour at the station about the history of the city , or the national guard man I spoke to whilst waiting for a train , or the porter who helped me and made great jokes , all of these people teach me something .
These pictures are of those few days , of Union station ( with its great gracious buildings and statues ), of the capital , of the wonderful American Inidan museum at the Smithsonian. ( The curved building and the one of me sitting in front of the water feature). The museum was so interesting and well thought out.I could have spent days there ,I only barely took in one section. It is very alive and very beautiful and there was obviously a great deal of consultation with various communties and this is evident. Well worth a visit , my only regret,not enough time. The whole Smithsonian area is massive and made up of many museums , somewhere I hope to visit again.

Then off to a very wonderful day of adventures on the river and seeing the sites , which are many , DC is VERY INTERESTING and I wondered if in the future , say in 100 years Canberra may one day feel as cosmopolitan.The two cities felt very similar to me and DC Like Canberra came about in a similar way, as a planned capital. Later that evening Claire ,( a fellow Fulbrighter) and I attended a wonderful dinner at the Australian Ambassadors home with 20 other people.Mostly connected to the Fulbright or the diplomatic mission. We met Mrs. Harriet Fulbright and also the New American Ambassador to Australia. Everyone who was there was very engaging and gracious. I could have stayed all night in conversation. The food and wine were of course wonderful.It was a real honor to be there and to especially meet Mrs. Fulbright, who is a remarkable person. We received a DVD that she had just finsihed after ten years in the making , about her Husbands life and work.It is wonderful to have this and be able to shareit with people.He also was a truly remarkable man with a great vision. I am very impressed with the sincerity to being people the world over together with a vision for peace and understanding.
Next day , the long trip home.... and next post will be about NY.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

weekend over the border/Mexico

A quick trip with the girls over the border for Mexican Independence day , which happended to be on a weekend just before I was ready to leave ARIZONA. These are some pics of the ocean and 2 of the crew in the water , Lu , whose birthday it was and the main reason we went ( to celebrate ), and Amy.
The place is called " rocky Point ",on the sea of Cortez.The rocks are everywhere in the water. The tide runs 12 ft and so on high tide it is totally fine to get in and out , but on Low tide its a task, wading and crawling over exposed rocks.

The trip opened my eyes further to the sadness of the border issue here and the starkness of poverty on one side and affulence on the other. This is considered the playgorund of Phoenix Arizona and Texas. The whole town grew up around tourists and trailers and cheap bars. Now people cashing in on the boom of hotels and quick $ from the tourist. Just as in Bali , people stroll the beach hawking goods , buy a small wristband , have your hair done in a plait or maybe a fake tatoo. Kids on the alleys selling candy and begging for handouts to feed empty tummies. It was harsh.

On The way back we passed maybe 12 border patrols , We also heard stories that curled our hair about people being shot, true or not ,it highlights how serious this issue is on both sides. We passed a Orphanage close to the border .
Once home I found out that a friend who works at the University visits there and helps out and takes gifts for the kids.We have talked and I am keen to get involved.

It will be a way to do something directly. We are going to set up a project and gather people to sponsor the kids and also hopefully create projects for them that help change some of their circumstances. More on this soon.IF YOU are interested, let me know and once we have it organised we can send you information.

The rest of the shots are of where we stayed. I even learnt a little spanish. The local people were all so kind and patient and loved that we all tried to speak in their language and not always in ENGLISH.