Travel U.S.A. : Canada: Bahamas: CN Tower: Vancover: Niagara Falls: Lake Ontario: Arabian Nights: Bahama Mama: Venice Beach.After a life on the buses, and after many years as a union representative causing havoc with each new administration (and sometimes the union itself), he retired. Last year, he was diagnosed with 'altzheimers disease'. We left Brisbane on Air New Zealand flight NZ 316 bound for Auckland, and from there continued on flight NZ6 to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles we transferred to Air Canada flight AC555 to Vancouver. Having left Brisbane on March 29th at 11:15 am Eastern Standard time, it was interesting to discover that 36 hours later, we had arrived in Vancouver at 7:15pm on the same day we left - March 29th.
Alexander Vernon Stewart became well known around Brisbane (and the wider world) as Captain Sandy, Bus Driver for the Brisbane City Council Sightseeing Tours. In that capacity he had the good fortune to meet many interesting and/or 'famous people'.
After a life on the buses, and after many years as a union representative causing havoc with each new administration (and sometimes the union itself), he retired. Last year, he was diagnosed with 'altzheimers disease'.
Since then, he has been doing his best to see as much of the world as possible, and so that he can relive those experiences after the actual memories have faded, his wife encouraged him to write down his stories.
It is with pleasure that I present to you, Captain Sandy's article.
The photos in this story are not presented in any particular order.
They are additional to those photos appearing in the Magic City Morning Star News Jun 18, 2006 version of this article.
Hollywood or Bust By Brisbane City's Captain Sandy Stewart
From the Land Down Under to Canada, USA, Bahamas, & Mexico
By Alexander Vernon Stewart.
It was early in the morning on March 29th 2005 that our daughter Lynette arrived from Kingston, 110km south of Bribie Island Queensland Australia. She had graciously agreed to drive her mother Elaine, her sister Sharon, and I to the Brisbane Airport, from whence we would commence our holiday journey.
We left Brisbane on Air New Zealand flight NZ 316 bound for Auckland, and from there continued on flight NZ6 to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles we transferred to Air Canada flight AC555 to Vancouver. Having left Brisbane on March 29th at 11:15 am Eastern Standard time, it was interesting to discover that 36 hours later, we had arrived in Vancouver at 7:15pm on the same day we left - March 29th.
Feeling a little 'jaded' after such a long flight, we eagerly set off for the 'Sandman' hotel at 180 West Georgia Street Vancouver. It was almost 8.30pm (29th March) before we finally put our feet under the table at Moxie's Bar & Grill for some really good 'tucker' [Food]. I mean steak that melts in your mouth with vegies [vegetables] piled high on the plate and Canadian beer from "the springs as pure as the driven snow" - WOW!. After dinner we settled down for the night; our first time on this foreign soil. To our amazement, we awoke early our first morning with no jet lag! We were all OK.
March 30th: Today we went on a Trolley Tour of Vancouver. Along the way we stopped at Gastown, named after (Gassy) Jack Deighton. One feature of Gastown is its' old steam clock. Its' cobbled stone streets and old buildings are where Vancouver began. From there we went to Stanley Park to see the Aquarium, Beaver Lake, the Lost Lagoon, the Totem Poles, and the only place to see the Mountie in full dress. Daughter Sharon said she wanted to see a Mountie. I told her the best way to get her MAN is to speed on the freeway.'Do that and you will get your Mountie soon enough". Actually we did not see one until we came to Prospect Lookout gift shop. He wasn't very talkative. He was only made of wood. From the lookout we could see the Lions Gate Bridge and the north shore.
Granville Island was the next place we wanted to visit and so headed off to the markets where we tried chestnuts for the first time. I can't say I liked them. They tasted a bit like sweet potatoes. One thing I did like were the buskers. We found the people in British Columbia very friendly and obliging. A very friendly Trolley Driver topped off our day by taking us back to our hotel.
The next day Thursday March 31st, we were up early for our 9 o'clock pick up for a tour to the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. The day was overcast, and as our coach boarded the B.C .Ferry for the crossing to the Island, the skies opened up and the rain pelted down. After what seemed like a long trip across the channel, as we docked the rain eased off. Our first stop was at Victoria, a very old English style village with very clean streets and the capital of British Columbia. Here we visited the Empress Hotel; the hotel where King's and Queen's stayed.
There the girl's (Elaine and Sharon) bought jackets, purses, ect, ect, (as they are want to do) after which we headed off to the Butchart Gardens. It was still raining as we alighted from our coach but this did not deter us; and the plants loved it. Butchart Cove, where the seaplanes and boats moor beside the Japanese Garden, was very pretty. Our favourite place was the sunken garden. It was dark as we boarded our ferry for the night trip back to the mainland.
By now it was our third day in Vancouver and so it was time for us to pack up and head for Toronto. While having breakfast at the airport we met Bernice, an Aussie who was doing a round the world trip. Guess where she hails from? That's right! From Bribie Island Queensland Australia of course! We had to go all the way to Canada to meet one of our neighbours. At 10am west coast time we boarded flight AC184 Air Canada and headed off to Toronto, which, according to Bernice, was 'pure gold'.
We arrived in Toronto April 1st at 5.30pm local time. It was just on dark as we boarded the coach for downtown Toronto. On our way we turned into a long avenue. The driver called it disco street as there were red, yellow, and green lights. The green lights were all flashing, which is apparently a Toronto road rule to caution motorists to look out for pedestrians when turning.
We finally arrived at the "Days Inn Downtown" hotel at 30 Carlton Street, and it was here that I embarrassed myself. As I alighted from the coach struggling with one of my bags, I stood on the cuff of my trousers. This dragged my trousers down to my ankles and revealed my beautiful pink long johns. There was little to be done about it. My wife burst out laughing and a couple in the street eyed me a little strange. Just then it started to snow, so taking the cue, I dropped the bag so I could pull up my trousers, and then, with all the dignity I could muster, I headed for the hotel and safety.
April 2nd: Today we went on a City Tour of the Harbour, Casa Loma, Sky Dome and the CN Tower. As it was snowing we made our main stop the CN Tower. As we approached the main door we noticed that there was plenty of security. We stopped to take some photos with the white bear then proceeded to the lift entrance. The entrance was really unusual. The girl on duty told me to put my feet on the yellow markers, and as I did so, there was a 'whoosh' of air, and strobe lights, so I called out " BEAM ME UP SCOTTY". I thought I had won 1st prize. She explained that it was a new electronic security sniffer dog.
Sandy in the CN Tower
We went up in the tallest glass elevator in the world. The observation deck had a glass floor and there was a 360' view. We arrived at "Restaurant 360", 1815 feet high (553.33 m) in CN Tower and guess what? It was snowing, and we couldn't see a thing. Upon leaving the tower I wanted to go for a ride on a tram, which in North American they call "street cars", but because of the snow, I gave it a miss.
Back at the hotel a man who was putting Hessian bags around some trees said that we were in for a snow storm. He wasn't wrong. It was still snowing as we boarded the coach at 9:00am next day (April 3rd.), headed past Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls a 100 kms away. We traveled through the town of Niagara and on to the falls. What a disappointment. The Falls were only running at 20%. It was nothing like the advertising on TV. It was only 100 ft high and Oh so tiny, and definitely not the great roaring splendour we had been led to believe. We traveled on past the falls and the 775 foot Skylon Tower to the famous "Sheraton on the falls", where we had a Buffet lunch and a superb view of the falls and the Rainbow Bridge. We saw cars lined up waiting to cross the Border into the USA.
After lunch our driver took us back to the falls for our tour, and as luck would have it we ran into a snow storm. We were standing 100ft from the falls and could not even see them. Then we were informed that both the 'Maid of the Mist' and the tour behind the falls had been canceled. Despite all the bad weather we still had a great time. We did get to see the IMAX special on the falls!
On the coach my wife asked the Driver:'How many seasons do they have over here?' His reply? "We have four seasons the same as you. The 1st season is called "It's almost winter. The 2nd is called winter. The 3rd season is also called winter, and the 4th season is called 'construction season', as that is when we get things built". We all had a good laugh over that, but it's all true.
On our way back to Toronto we stopped at a winery and yours truly gave the local wine and a few other brands a good nudge. Back outside in the snow we had our pictures taken with the Driver. Then with all on board, we headed home to Downtown Toronto for the night.
Arabian Nights Spectacular
April 4th: U.S.A.! Here we come! At 9.55am on April 4th we were ready to board our flight but US Customs temporarily had other ideas, and insisted on searching Elaine. After that little delay, we boarded Air Canada flight AC906 from Toronto to Orlando Florida, and 2 hrs 34 mins later, we were on the ground in Orlando. We had gone from 1 degree Celcius in Canada to 28 degree's in Florida! Boy did we feel warm!
The first thing we did was go to 'Thrifty' to pick up our hire car for the coming week. They pulled out a great looking convertible for us, but we had to pass it by as we had too much luggage and needed a hard top. After switching to a Chrysler, we were on our way. As we left Orlando airport we kept driving around in circles, which I thought was a good start to the day. Firstly the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car, and to make it more difficult, the traffic was travelling on the wrong side of the road. "What chance have we got?" I asked myself.
With Sharon at the wheel, we had another crack at it. We headed down the south access road and set off west into Boggy Creek road, and got lost. Stopping at a servo [gas station], we asked for directions. A lady customer told us she was going to Kissimmee and suggested that we follow her. This we did, and on our arrival, she showed us how to get onto the 192. Then we headed west to Silver Lake Resort.
We had booked into the Silver Lake Resort (a timeshare), from the 4th to the 11th of April. It was a great place. From the top floor you can watch the fireworks at Disney's Magic Kingdom for free.
Tuesday April 5th. we took it easy around the pool. We had hamburgers and a few Budweiser's for lunch, and for dinner, shrimps and pizza. Wednesday 6th we went shopping at the Supermarket "Publix". They tell you how much you save by shopping with them. I bought 1 dozen Bud's. For $8:71. How's that? Later we headed off to the "Nike" store, where we found sand shoes, hats, and coolers were really cheap. The shopping was so great that I wondered if I would be able to get the girls out of the store before nightfall. I was worried that I would miss my opportunity to have dinner at Sizzlers.
Thursday April 7th., My wife Elaine woke up feeling unwell. She had been fighting the flu for a few days and I thought we might not end up getting to Disney World. Not a problem. She rallied round, and sallied forth. Out of its' 7 worlds of fun, we picked Disney's Animal Kingdom to visit. First we went on the Kilimanjaro Safari. 110 acres of Savannah land with Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, Wilder Beast, Hippo's, Impala, Nile Crocodiles, Zebras, Monkeys, Wort Hogs, Gorillas and Pink Flamingo's.
From there we went to a 3D show called "A Bug's Life", and then on to the Dinosaur ride where we had our photos taken. Our mission? To save the last Dinosaur! Last but not least, we headed off to Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade. This was another great experience.
Travelling back to Silver Lake in the car, the rain just poured down. Although many drivers found it necessary to pull over to the side of the road, Sharon, who is used to driving in Queensland's far north tropical rains, had no problem with it, and soon had us back at Silver Lake Resort.
Friday 8th Elaine stayed in bed. She was 'crook' [ill]. Sharon and I however drove to OLD TOWN, Kissimmee. Admission and parking was free, and there were lots of shops and rides. We found an old café (Happy Day's style), went to the wax museum, and saw many of the old cars, and we saw a very old 50's style clock in the main street.
Friday and Saturday nights in Old Town are 'Cruise nights' and you can see many cars dated from 1972 to1987. We had the opportunity to see our first real Squirrel, bought a few souvenirs and ate ice cream. On our way home we went to a camera shop and found a great deal on a 180% camera lens for the video camera.
Saturday 9th. Sharon and Elaine had a lazy day around the pool. As for me, I went off to the Kennedy Space Centre. I took a bus headed out through Titusville and on to the Cape, where I met a couple of blokes [men] with whom I spent the day checking out the Shuttle mock up, the Rocket Garden, and the IMAX theater (Space Station in 3D). We had an Astronaut Encounter. Then we went through the Apollo Command Centre. The space centre is on a 140,000 acre site. It was very hard to see everything in one day and so I missed seeing the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
We did take a tour to Observation Gantry L C 39, passing on our way the Vehicle Assembly Building and the Crawler Transporter and could see by the crusher dust on the crawler way, that the Discovery had been rolled out. We caught the lift to the top of Gantry LC39 from which we could see all over the Cape. Glistening in the sun on the launch pad was the Space Shuttle Discovery. "What a sight!" Later, Discovery made a successful flight and a smooth re-entry.
Sunday 10th we had a lazy day and packed up our gear for our trip to Fort Lauderdale the following morning. In the evening we went to the Arabian Nights Dinner Show, where we had a very enchanting evening, (with complementary drinks) and we got to keep our souvenir glasses. With our VIP passes we were allowed prior to the show, to pat Walter Farley's black stallion and other horses, and got to meet the riders, and got autographs from them.
I had my photo taken with the ring master (a beautiful girl). The rest of the guests entered the 1200 seat arena as we were being plied with drinks and a pleasing dinner that was followed by a piece of the Princess Wedding Cake for dessert. We sat there 'gob smacked' [stunned] as 60 horses and riders played out the romance of the Prince and Princess's Wedding. It was truly a great night with action and excitement and fun for all.
Monday the 11th we left Orlando at 7am with Sharon back at the wheel. We headed east along the 192 then south along Florida's turnpike toll road. 342 kms further on we pulled in at 'Thrifty' at Fort. Lauderdale. We had planned to go down to Miami and on to Key West but we had misjudged the distance and plainly ran out of time. Checking in the car, we caught the shuttle bus to the Comfort Inn Motel at 3551 W. Commercial Boulevard. We booked in, went for lunch, and then spent the rest of the day resting up in preparation for our sea voyage the next day.
BAHAMAS - ON Grand Bahama ISLAND.
Leaving our Motel at 6am, Tuesday 12th 2005, we headed off for the Cruise Ship 'Discovery' and a five hour trip to Freeport Grand Bahama Island. The first thing we did after boarding the cruise ship, was head off to the Buffet Breakfast. Then it was off to play in the Casino. We did have some fun but the pokies [slot machines] were too tough for us, so after a while we settled for some of the other onboard entertainment. We had a great time.
At Freeport we were bustled into a taxi and taken across the Island to The Island Seas resort. After settling in we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a walk along the beach, where we met some of the locals at a beach café. That's where we met a Bahama Mama who plied me with a local beer called Kalik (8% alcohol), and from whom Sharon and Elaine bought a few trinkets and a black necklace which is alleged to be good for arthritis. A 'Bahama Mama' is also the name of a drink.
1 1/4oz. Gold Rum
1 1/2oz Nassau Royal Liqueur,
2oz. Orange Juice,
Dash of Anogostura Bitters (optional),
1/6oz of Grenadine,
and a slice of orange.
Two of these will put you on the floor.
The following day, (Wednesday 13th) we did our induction tour of the Island Seas Timeshare. The timeshare people served us a breakfast which provided us an opportunity to try for the very first time, something called 'grits'. It tasted like porridge. That night we headed off to Tranquility Shores Taino Beach to see a Native Show, and dine in the 'Stoned Crab' restaurant. First we had dinner. I had the baked conch (Pronounced 'konk'), which is a local delicacy, while the girls dined on lobster. These were followed with brown rice and pigeon peas (YUCK). Definitely an acquired taste. The dessert however was superb. During dinner the Bahama Mama Booze Cruise went past the resort and we all gave a cheery wave. After dinner we saw the floor show. Wow! Island dancing girls, a fire show, a great calypso band, and sing, sing, sing. What a great night!
The following day (Thursday 14th) we did the Grand Tour, the Bahamian Getaway. The day started at 8:45am as we headed off to the International Bazaar that you simply could not miss. The Japanese Torii Gate stands about 60feet high. Although the big casino hotel was flattened in the September hurricane of 2004, the Bazaar is recovering nicely. Elaine bought an eel skin money pouch and key ring for our son Brian John, and more post cards. [Although We posted them in the Bahamas, it took a whole three months for them to arrive in Australia. We beat them back.]
The tour continued to the grand Palace, where some of Colonel Saunders Family live, then on to Millionaire's Row, where we saw two pink 1975 caddie's in front of one house. The driver said the owner is known as the Pink Lady. From there we went to the local bottle shop for rum tasting; rum and mango 30% proof, rum and banana 110% proof and the best rum and coconut. Your's truly loved that. While still able to see clearly, we went off to see the new estates where the uniformed School Children study in a 'lockdown' environment. No child can leave until they are picked up in the afternoon.
Later back at the resort, we went for a walk and ran into some lovely people on the beach, one of whom was a Prince from the Solomon Islands, and one was an air hostess. One of the girls in their group was having her 40th birthday, and they invited us to her birthday party scheduled for Saturday. Sadly we had to leave on the Friday. We undoubtably missed a traffic party.
On the afternoon of Friday 15th we headed back to the mainland. We packed our gear early and spent the rest of the day lazing around the pool. At 5pm the bus picked us up and took us back to Freeport. The return trip was on the Discovery Sun, a ship of 11,000 ton, 441 feet in length, 7 Decks, a crew of 350 and a speed of 20 knots. By 6pm. we had boarded. At dinner we met Brian Smith. He was a very nice man, a builder from the Bahamers, who even extended us an invitation to stay at his place. After dinner Elaine and Sharon played a little bingo, and then we headed off to watch the floor show. After we docked at Fort Lauderdale, we set off once more for the Comfort Inn. By 11pm, we were ready to call it a night.
With Brian Smith
Back in the U. S. A.
Next morning we ran a bit late for breakfast. It was nearly over by the time we got to the restaurant. We were lucky enough to be able to tag onto the end of the queue. We saw that Virginia was still cooking her famous "best omelettes in the USA". Mmm! They're great! After breakfast we packed our bags and headed off to the airport on our way to Las Vegas via Philadelphia.
I told Elaine that she must look like a criminal because we got searched by Customs again, but she said they just pick the innocent ones so that they can be spared the paper work. Nevertheless, we still had to go through the body search again. We took flight U.A 2109 to Philadelphia at 1.15pm; changed planes at 5.10pm in Philadelphia to U.A.2768, and arrived in Las Vegas at 7.30pm. Coming in to land at Vegas we could see the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. What a great sight! As was the airport. Pokies at the Airport?
We caught a cab to the Plaza Casino Hotel Downtown No 1 Main Street. The entrance of the hotel was lit up like a Christmas tree. We booked in and Elaine went downstairs to the casino. Sharon and I stayed upstairs and out of trouble.
Sunday I woke up early and went for a walk down Fremont Street. The casinos were all going strong. The vendors however, were not in action yet. Had a fantastic time at the Plaza Casino, (free drinks). At night, Fremont Street was all glitz. We walked past the famous Golden Nugget; Frank Sinatra's old haunt that opened in 1946. We saw a couple walking down the street sucking beer through a straw from a plastic foot ball. (Only in Vegas). Bought a Vegas jacket for Elaine and myself, a bargain at only $20 bucks each.
I loved Downtown Vegas the best. Caught a cab to the Las Vegas Hilton from which we had a good view of the 100 story Stratosphere. It was brilliant. As an old Trekie fan, I could not miss The Star Trek Experience. It was the greatest! Sharon and I bought souvenirs. We went on the Monorail to the top of The Strip to the MGM Grand; played the pokies and walked The Strip as far as the new Wynn Las Vegas. Barry Manilow was playing the Las Vegas Hilton; David Copperfield was at MGM, KA - Cirque du Soleil was at MGM, Celine Dion was at Caesars Palace, American Superstars were at the Stratosphere, Le Reve was at Whynn, and of course Elvis, the King in Concert was at Elvis-a-rama.
At 1 am. we caught a cab back Downtown, and what a ride that was. The cabbie kept saying he was tired. We were belting along the freeway at 120kmph when I had to tell him where the turn off was. He turned off, but as we pulled into the Plaza, he hit the barrier. We jumped out, paid the fare, and then had to dodge the cab. As he tried to reverse, he almost ran over us. The security guys appeared out of nowhere as the cabbie was driving off. One of the guards asked: "didn't you tip him enough?' I said: "Mate I gave him 20 bucks and went for my life'".
Monday 18th we surfaced at about 11am; had breakfast at La Bayou at the Corner of Fremont & Main, then went back to the Plaza. In front of the Plaza is the biggest poker machine I have ever seen; 6ft. high, 4ft. Long with a 3 ft long old style handle. You needed two hands to play this one. Monday must be promo day as the Show Girls were giving away free tokens to play this monster. We had a go and won free passes to the Russ Nagel show on the third floor showroom. The show: 'Oh get up, you're not hurt!', was a good comedy. Afterward we went for another walk down Fremont Street. Elaine took a picture of me with a couple of show girls, and I made a video of the lights.
When we got back to our rooms, I found myself in a most undesirable position. As I went into the toilet, I tripped and fell into the bath. I tell you true - I hadn't been on the turps [Alcohol]. The girls came running to check on me, but instead of helping me, just stood there in fits of laughter. I am still trying to live this one down.
Tuesday 19th. We traveled to Los Angles. We set off for the airport at 8.00am. I had to tip the Bell Boy, then the cabbie, and at the airport, I had to tip a Porter who only carried our bags 3ft. Then I had to tip some more guys to put our bags on a conveyor, before finally arriving at Customs where we waited for ages. When we arrived at the front of the line, we were separated and told to go along "that wall and turn left". I began to think that this wasn't looking too good for us. When we arrived at the designated point, there were four Customs Officers waiting for the three of us. One said 'You must be the Aussies'. Finally we understood why we had been searched so many times. All those searchers had targeted us because we were Aussies. And, we were body searched again. [While we were unpacking in Log Angeles, Elaine even found a note in her bag to say the T.S.A. had inspected her checked baggage again. Homeland Security is very tough here.]
We did eventually make the flight. U.A.1485 was scheduled to leave 10.46am., but we spent 50 minutes sitting on the tarmac, while other planes went around us. By the time we flew over the Rockies, we were feeling better. They look so great from the air; all covered in snow. We landed in Los Angeles only 15 minutes late. The Captain made up time over the mountains because the tail wind pushed us. We landed at 12.10pm and caught the shuttle to Anaheim's Radisson Maingate 1850 South Harbour Boulevard. That night we dined at the hotel's Pickford's Restaurant, it was very special. To our surprise there was a strawberry farm right in the middle of town next to the hotel. They were the sweetest strawberries we ever tasted.
HOLLYWOOD AT LAST (My apologies for the title ---I did love the Movie)
Wednesday 20th. Was at last, our day to visit Hollywood. The tour bus picked us up at 9.00am and headed down an eight lane highway to Los Angeles and then toured the city sights. We went past City Hall in Spring Street, (built in 1926) where the 1953 version of 'War of The Worlds' was filmed. The Driver then showed us the entrance to Route 66. We went past Marilyn Monroe's House at 12305 South Helena Drive, and said our own personal goodbyes to Norma Jean. Then we went to Beverly Hills where we saw the Hollywood sign and then to Rodeo Drive where we stopped to have a gander [take a look around].
We saw a bloke [a guy] on the corner dressed up like a ring master. He comes over to us and says: "G'day Mate!" [Strine for Hello! - strine = Australian language]. I thought we were back home in OZ. He turned out to be the Welcome Wagon for Rodeo Drive. We walked up a lane and saw people having Breakfast at Tiffany's; drove past the famous main gate of Paramount Pictures at 5555 Melrose Avenue; then onto the Sunset Strip. We couldn't find 77 or Efraim Zimbalist Jnr. or Ed Burns who stared as 'Kookie' in the T.V. series 77 Sunset Strip. Sadly Dino's Lodge owned by Dean Martin at 8524 Sunset Boulevard where 77 was filmed has 'GORN! [Strine for gone]. If you look near the front door of 8524 Sunset Strip there is a plaque confirming that 77 was filmed there between 1958 and 1964.
Heading down Hollywood Boulevard past the Corner of Hollywood and Vine you come to Grauman's Chinese Theater. We stopped for a look. Oh! My dear reader, what a mess; rubbish everywhere, not the pristine sight we see in the movies. How disappointing that the hand and foot marks in front of the theatre were all grubby and that the foot path was cracked and unkempt. The whole area looked run down. I had my photo taken with Raquel Welch's star. The first star placed here was Joanne Woodward's, on the 9th of February 1960.
For lunch we went to Farmers Market. Nearby is a beautiful area with a nice park and a water fountain which moves up and down to music. A Double Decker tram in the 1800's style runs through this area, and takes you for a fun ride. After lunch we went to Venice Beach where the Baywatch Babes hang out. I was down at the beach having a paddle when Elaine and Sharon told me they saw Pamela Anderson drive past on the beach. I was not happy that I missed seeing the girl of my dreams. It turns out that they fibbed [lied]. I had to be content having my photo taken with a couple of Aliens. The one thing we did not have enough time to do was go to Long Beach to see the Queen Mary.
Mexico : Tijuana : Baja : California.
On Thursday 21st. we headed for Tijuana. The two hour journey took us through San Diego down to the boarder town on the Baja Peninsular. We had to change at Mexicoach bus station to a shuttle bus to take us across the boarder. It cost 25 Pesos. Mexican Customs checked our bus and sent us right on in. The Driver pulled up right at the back door of a shop. We got off and step into an arcade in the main shopping area. As soon as our feet hit the ground, it started: "You buy from me - You buy from me".
We made it through to the main street, Revolution Avenue, which was constructed in 1889. Still the hawker's were every where. We headed on down towards the Monumental Arch. There's a bloke standing beside me with both arms filled with silver, saying, " you buy - $28." I just kept saying 'No'. We went further down the street and crossed the road, and the silver guy is still standing beside me.
Taken at Disney
We went into a shop where Elaine bought a suitcase for $39. What a bargain! It was $69. Sharon bought two gold bracelets for half price and got a third one for free. I wanted to buy a gold chain. I bartered the man down from $380 to $150, but Elaine wouldn't let me buy it. We walked outside and the bloke with the silver is standing beside me again. He said 'Good Silver come from Taxco'. His $28 bracelets were $5 down the road. Meanwhile I see the bloke from the shop chasing Elaine down the street crying "Lady! You buy chain make offer".
She made him an offer, but he said: 'No! No! I can not sell for that price but I make special deal, you pay only $90'. She said: "I will pay $50". To save face he gave it to her for $50. What a bargain! When you barter in Mexico cut the price in half then try to get down to a quarter, even if you need toilet paper. I saw a sign that read: 'Clean Restrooms'. Since I needed to go anyway, I went. When I got there, I saw another sign selling paper for 25 cents a sheet. Fortunately I had no need to barter. Sharon was nabbed by a very honest shop keeper who told her: 'I rip you off less'. For his honesty, she bought a leather bag for $13.
Eventually we got back on the bus to return to USA. Naturally this meant that we had to go through customs again. Certain that we Aussies would be pulled up yet once again, we were surprised to see the bloke in front of us nailed. We couldn't believe that the Customs guys just stamped our passports and let us go on through. This would have been the only time Elaine wasn't searched. She didn't even have to open her suitcase.
Back in the USA we found that we still had some time to go shopping at Reebok before catching the coach back to Anaheim. The following day, April 22nd, we left the USA and headed back to the Land Down Under.[Oz, the Great South Land, Australia]. As our plane was due to leave L.A.X. at 9.30pm., we spent the day at Universal Studio. Wow! What a place.
War of the Worlds Movie Set
As soon as we arrived we did the Behind the Scenes Tour. Shortly after it started we came to a river which amazingly parted so that we could drive through. This was the set for the parting of the Red sea. From there we went on to The Psycho House which was next to Bates Motel; then past the lake where Jaws and Mc Hales Navy were made, and then to an old western town. We watched as the town was flooded, only to then dry up just as quickly.
We drove through a building which held the Earthquake set. We were in the world's largest studio and theme park as we drove down Bing Crosby Drive and saw the Truman set for the 1998 movie starring Jim Carey. The big blue back drop screen was still in place, although the lake had been drained. Then we passed the Invisible Man set. He was standing right beside the green door, but I couldn't see him. After that we came to the 'War of the Worlds' set - Steven Spielberg's version of the 1953 movie. It was still smoldering as we passed. Then we finished the tour by going to Wisteria Lane where the filming of 'Desperate House Wives' was in progress. After that, we went to see 'Backdraft' the show and discovered the "I Love Lucy" area; a walk through museum with Lucy, Desi, Fred and Ethel, and to The animal planet, a live bird show. I had my photo taken with the Apollo 13 crew and Charlie Chaplin and then it was time for us to board our bus and head back to Anaheim.
We got back to the hotel just in time to catch the Super Shuttle to Los Angeles Airport. At 9.30pm we were on flight NZ 7201 and on our way home to Brisbane Australia, to arrive at 9:00am, April 24th 2005 . We lost two days on the way home. In Brisbane, daughter Lynette met us at the airport and drove us home to Bribie Island.
We all had a great experience on our trip. I hope you enjoyed reading about it.
Alexander (Sandy) Stewart
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We left Queenstown for the Fox Glacier, arriving at Arrowtown in just 20 minutes. Arrowtown was born out of the 1862 gold rush on the Arrow River. This is an historic town so we visited the old Chinese gold mining section and the Lakes District Museum. Afterward we traveled via Wanaka where the international air show is held and where you also can visit the New Zealand Fighter Museum, on to the Hast Pass and the snow capped peaks of the southern alps. We also saw Thunder Creek Falls on the way to the Fox Glacier, and stayed the night at the Scenic Circle Glacier Hotel.
The 'elites' of the south can keep their big metropolitan lifestyles. The people from my part of Australia love the peace and serenity to which we have grown accustomed. And if the heart of Brisbane does not offer enough to see within walking, biking or river ferry distance, we only have to jump in the car and drive for an hour in any direction, to visit some of the best scenery in the world, in Queensland, The Sunshine State.
If you take a drive north of Brisbane, depending on your route you can pass through Montville, Maleny, Lake Baroon, and all the other attractionsin this area of the Sunshine State of Queensland. All the towns and villages are quite close together. For instance, Steve Irwin Way is the road you need to travel to Austalia Zoo. Noosa, Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach and Caloundra, are on the coast and from there you can travel to Fraser, Bribie and Moreton Islands. Actually, to get to Bribie Island you don't need to take a boat. You can just cross the bridge.
The Jinibara people are from the D'Aguilar Range and surrounding areas. The word 'Jini' means 'place of lawyer cane'. Aboriginal people used the stem of lawyer cane as a handle for knives and axes. The stem of the vine was split into two and folded over the sharpened axe head. Grasstree resin and kangaroo tail sinew were used to bind the handle and axe head. I took a lot of photos of this place years ago, but it was a long time before I noticed that some of the carvings are quite obscene. This area on the south side of the Brisbane River holds a public beach, the Entertainment Center, the State Library, and weekend Markets
What a shocker to discover that at Sydney I had to collect my luggage, exit the airport and travel to the domestic airport and check back in again. They decided to break the rules and send us prior to our luggage, and in my case, that meant waiting at Brisbane airport for 2 hours post-arrival just to retrieve my luggage. My time in Brisbane was mainly spent staying with relatives and living a mundane existence. Although my daughter apologized for not providing me with more entertainment that having a baby throw up all over me; that type of 'daily life' was in fact quite novel for me, being as it is, something other than what I experience in China
After a life on the buses, and after many years as a union representative causing havoc with each new administration (and sometimes the union itself), he retired. Last year, he was diagnosed with 'altzheimers disease'. We left Brisbane on Air New Zealand flight NZ 316 bound for Auckland, and from there continued on flight NZ6 to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles we transferred to Air Canada flight AC555 to Vancouver. Having left Brisbane on March 29th at 11:15 am Eastern Standard time, it was interesting to discover that 36 hours later, we had arrived in Vancouver at 7:15pm on the same day we left - March 29th.
Queensland, the Sunshine State of Australia, Home of the Banana Benders, the Kingaroy Peanut (Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson) and many many famous people including Sean Connery's former wife Dianne Cilento. Brisbane City Hall faces King George Square, and on the other side of the road is the Wesley Methodist church, and behind that a tall building that 30 years ago was the State Government Insurance Office (where I once worked). These two shots are significant, because in one of the Mission Impossible Movies, you see this church in the background of one scene, minus the tall building. Really scary scene. I thought the building must have been demolished. Nope! Still there!
On the Matilda Trail by Captain Sandy Stewart. Today we are going to head north to Mt Isa, but before we go we have a few things to do. First of all we have to go to the FLYING DOCTOR HQ and thank them for the tip of when the plane was coming in. On our way back to town we went past the Vortex guns built by Steiger Vortex as a rain making exercise in 1902, it failed. We are now crossing over Lagoon Creek heading for Longreach. Cruising west 80 kms to Ilfracombe we stop to have a beer at the Wellshot Hotel and guess what! THE PUB'S GOT NO BEER.
Spanish Lighthouse at Corregidor Island had a signpost letting us know how far from home we were - The Centerpiece at the War Memorial for American Soldiers in Manilla - Corregidor Island Battery looking toward Batan - Military tanks at the Philippine Military Academy
The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a baleen whale and is the fifth largest of the great whales. They reach an average size of 15 metres and can weigh up to 48 tonnes. Humpback whales can be found in all oceans of the world. They are highly migratory and tend to move in small groups of three to four animals. Since many of the Magic City Morning Star readers are Canadians, and I needed an excuse to show you this one good photo of the whale under the boat, I thought I would just bring Dr. Deecke to your attention. His work is quite interesting
Any teacher who is legitimately employed, and properly registered, is able to pack up and leave if the going gets tough, but any teacher whose 'bona fides' (as a foreigner living and working in Baotou) are not legitimately established, could find themselves being deported from China. I would hope that all the problematical behavior of management at EET has long since changed, and that they are currently fulfilling their legal obligations. I would hope that anyone who goes to work there would be well treated or at least not abused, cheated or lied to. But foreigners who to write to me to ask my advice are either 'plants' working for EET or just plain foolish.
Today, I am using a recent letter from Jerry, to tell a story – a sad story. It is a story rooted in Ancient and Modern Chinese Culture. It is a story of an impossible love. It is a story I have heard so many times before, of families who refuse to allow their children to love whom they will. It is a story about how in the 21st century, Chinese children must still obey their parents and marry the one of whom the parents approve.
The day I was due to Leave, Zhan Yan turned up at my house saying that his summer camp had been cancelled and none of his family were in town. So guess who came with me? There is no commentary apart from the fact that it costs 50 RMB for the entrance ticket
These photos were taken from the park near to the Qing Chuan Jiari Jiudian (Holiday Inn). This next photo is taken from the other side of the Bridge looking back to the scenery behind me at the time I took the previous photos. The tower is the TV tower. One can apparently (for a modest fee) travel to the top, but the following morning when I actually went there with friends, it was closed for a special conference. Typical! Just about everywhere I have been in the world, I go to visit places that are closed for the duration of my visit.
(Note: Chiara Braccagni's articles are in both English and Italian)
Una ridente domenica mattina di fine marzo, un'allegra comitiva di 4 giapponesi e due italiane si è inerpicata su un minibus alla volta di un villaggio a una novantina di chilometri dal centro di Pechino, Cuandixia. Cuandixia è situato nel fondo di una vallata abitato da uno sparuto numero di famiglie (circa una settantina) che hanno deciso di aprire le loro case ai turisti. I punti di ristoro sono le loro cucine; il museo delle tradizioni popolari, il soggiorno di casa.
In this file I merely present photographs accompanied by a sign at Du Fu Thatched Cottage park, and a sample of Du Fu's poems. I hope you enjoy this presentation. At the end are some links to other articles and photographic files at Magic City and KingsCalendar. The Relic Exhibition Hall is the most important Part of Du Fu Thatched Cottage. It is located on the site of Du Fu's former Residence. In the late winter of 759, Du Fu went to Chengdu to avoid the disasters caused by An Lushan Shi Rebellion. In the next year, he built a thatched cottage on the bank of the beautiful Huanhua Brook, where he lived for four years and wrote more than 240 poems.
I once had someone write me to say that there was no such thing as Murphy's Law but that my personal 'negativity', my belief - if you will, was drawing all the negative energy of the universe into my life and thus I was creating all my own bad luck. Wow! Who knew I could have such power! - Two weeks later I decided to return to Jiaxing to take some photos. At the North Bus Station in Suzhou I bought my ticket and while waiting for the bus, noticed that my destination in Jiaxing was the 'Central' bus station. When I arrived, I was totally lost and had to call my friends and ask them how to get to their place.
Mt. Emei - The first day we climbed to 940 metres. The Second Day we took the bus up as far as the Cable car. just 200 metres or so below the summit. At over 3000 metres the clouds just kept coming and going. Rather like the tourists! Bloody tourists! Noisy nuisances! Don't know why they let them spoil the tranquility!
Designed by Lu Yanzhi, a famous architect, the construction of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum began in March 1926 and ended in the spring of 1929. It is 700 meters from the Memorial Archway to the coffin chamber with 10 terraces and 392 steps between them, and the falling head reaches 70 meters. The main buildings of the mausoleum include the memorial archway, the mausoleum gate, the tablet pavilion, the sacrificial hall and the coffin chamber. On June 1, 1929, a grand burial ceremony was held at the mausoleum which is shaped like an alarm bell, symbolizing Dr. Sun Yat-sen's unyileding spirit in fighting to arouse people and salvage the nation. - In the center of this map with the blue roof is Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum. To the right is the Linggu Pagoda and to the left of the Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum is the Ming Tomb area. As you can see there are many other places to see. There is also Purple Mountain at the very top of the picture, access to which can be gained by a cable way
During the Nationalist Government periods, Chiang Kai-shek, Lin Sen, Li Zongren and other leaders took a short rest in this building before ceremonies began. The Communists-Nationalists Negotiations were held here in 1946. In this building Li Zongren, the Acting President, received the Shanghai Peace Delegates who had returned from BeiPing on 27 February 1949.
Qinhuai River, known as Huaishui River or Longcangpu in ancient times, rises from two places: Baohuashan Mountain in Jurong County and Donglushan Mountain in Lishui County. The two streams meet at the foot of Fangshan Mountain, Jiangning County, then winds its way of 110 km to Yangzi River. The river that flows through Nanjing measures 10 li (5 kn) and this part is called Inner Qinhuai River. The River has a long history. As early as in Neolithic Age, it nurtured the early settlers along the banks. Now the Inner Qinhuai has become the center of culture and economy of Nanjing
The Taiping Army occupied Yong'an (now Mengshan County) in September and conferred the titles of the Eastern King. Westarn King. Soutnarn King. Northarn King, and Wing King upon Yang Xiuquan. Xiao Chaogui, Feng Yunshan, Wei Changhui and Shi Dakai, respectively. According to records of historical documents, the concubines of the Heavenly King were addressed Niangniang (Your Ladyship). Therefore their rooms were Called 'niangniang Palace". The room where the Heavenly King's second wife (Empress Lai) was called "You zheng Yue Palace".
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.
Statistically speaking, it is impossible for the artificial chronological scheme running through these writings, to be anything other than the result of deliberate design. True Science does not fail to test a theory, simply because no one likes the subject or the theory (anti-Biblical bias). The True Scientific Mind, sets out to prove or disprove the hypothesis
Onias III - Son and successor (198 B.C.) of Simon II, and grandson of Onias II. Josephus erroneously attributes to him the correspondence with Arius of Sparta (see above, ONIAS I). He is mentioned in II Mach., xv, 12, as a good and virtuous man, modest and gentle in his manner. During his pontificate Seleucus Philopator, King of Syria, sent his minister, Heliodorus, to Jerusalem with a view to obtain possession of the alleged treasures of the Temple (2 Maccabees 3). "No one has been able to find events that even remotely resemble those described in the Scroll around the year 207 BCE. (David Ramsay)" : "From the end of the Age of Wrath, (227 / 226 BCE) there is a Twenty year period of 'Groping' (to Line 409) to Artificial Year 31/10/209 to 2/10/208 after which time the 'Teacher of Righteousness' appears."
Math & Science No. 3: Linear Causality & Exodus Theories Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? By R.P. BenDedek
Everybody has a theory about who the Pharaoh of the Exodus was, and every theory seems to have some validity. The King's Calendar Chronological Reconstruction of Israel's history is unique, in that its' methodology can be scientifically (mathematically) tested and demonstrated to be either true or false. Its' chronological predictions are able to be 'proved' or 'disproved' - "take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context indicate otherwise." - If someone writes today that they were living in Beijing in the 1930's, would we presume that they meant to write 'in the 1980's'? Does using an earlier or later place name demonstrate anything at all?
Despite the esteem in which we hold ourselves today, and the disdain for the carelessness and ignorance of the past, the fact is that Josephus has passed on to us a far superior chronological knowledge of the History of Ancient Israel than has previously been appreciated; a knowledge that in our brilliance, we have up until now not noticed.