posting to cs via blackberry

This is my first post via a blackberry. After resisting for a while I finally succumbed to ITs wishes and switched to bb. Pretty cool. Too bad its so big to accomplish almost everything my ms smartphone could do. Some will say but its got the full keyboard. It aint that full. Anyway, sitting in my hotel in Oslo about to get my workflow manuals printed and thought I would try this out.

How to find the most functional car possible…

As is the case with many jobs in Europe, mine comes with a lease car. When I started figuring out which car I wanted, I was told to keep a watch on Top Gear on the BBC for great reviews. Unfortunately this show is only really good for the entertainment value, or if I am looking for a new Ferrari or Lotus or some other exotic. Unfortunately that is just a little over my lease amount. So instead I have to stick to the entertainment side of things, and this show often comes through. In fact, in the most recent show I watched, they had a hilarious segment on building an amphibious car. As is typical with this program, the three hosts buy a car and then modify it to compete in a challenge. What we end up seeing are three different ways to accomplish the goal: a brute force method, a kitchen sink option, and a more regal and classic choice. Watch and fall on the floor laughing: Top Gear on Amphibious Cars

A few days in Sydney, Australia

I have been in Sydney, Australia now for about 2 weeks, though this was the first weekend I could see anything. A colleague asked me a week ago what I thought of the city. At that point I had only seen my mediocre hotel (Sheraton Four Points at Darling Harbor), our offices in Rosebery, and a customer’s office in North Ryde. Based on that I felt it wasn’t a very livable city…meaning not somewhere I would really want to stay for a long time. Also the first week I was here it was absolutely miserable: raining, windy, ugly. Yesterday was my first chance to see a bit more of the area. Wow!!!

Started off with a walk to The Rocks where life in Sydney began. There is a great little market there and being one of the oldest parts of town, plenty of little alleyways with interesting shops. I expected to stick around that area for an hour, but my entire morning disappeared. Also from the Rocks, you get the classic view of the magnificent Sydney Opera House.

Next I would get a closer view of the Sydney icon when I took the city ferry to Manly, to the northeast. Sydney reminds me a lot of a mixture of Seattle and San Francisco. The ferry ride around the harbor provides many of the same views you get from Seattle to Bainbridge or Bremerton. Unlike last weekend, the weather now is wonderful. About 60 farenheit (I still think that way), blue skies, clear. Unfortunately because it doesn’t rain that often here, much of the grass is a bit brown and and the trees aren’t a vibrant green. If this place got a bit more rain each day like it does in Seattle, it could be perfect.

Manly is a great little seaside town with a surfer’s beach. It actually has two coasts, about 3 or 4 blocks from each other. On the southwest is Sydney Harbor and the ferries; on the east is Manly Beach. I wandered over to the seaside just to watch the surfers do their thing. The waters in front of the Corso at Manly is obviously a beach break. The combination of the huge numbers of beginners on their long soft boards and the amount of sand filling each wave makes that apparent. Seeing lots of 10 second attempts to stay on a board reminded me of my own experiences in western Costa Rica.

But if you walk down the path that hugs the beach, you hit another area where the more able surfers hang out. Its actually a bit of a climb over the bluff to see some amazing action. There the waves come in and keep hitting different sets of reefs and rocks, recreating the wave several times. And with each break, another bank of surfers hang out. So from a single vantage point, you can watch one group after another take there chances while trying to avoid the sharp rocks on the edge. And interestingly, each group adopts a different style. The first was more about speed. The waves start out very fast with not a lot of curl to ride up on. Then they die off and are reborn as a nice classic wave, a place to try out the tricks, riding up and down. As you go further round the bend others take advantage of their particular aspects of the wave. Usually when I have watched surfers in different spots, there is a single break and a single style. If there are different breaks like in Santa Cruz, CA, they aren’t usually as connected as they are here at Manly.

In addition to watching the surfers, I got a fantastic view of the sunset.

How to pick the most memorable places to visit…

Last week when I met up with a friend and his wife in Singapore, I asked them where I should go next time I am back in Asia. The first word out of their mouths: Angkor. Everything I have ever read about this place sounds magical. In fact, the National Geographic that comes to mind when I think of that magazine is the one with Angkor on the cover. Unfortunately I just booked my tickets to Bangkok and Krabi and won’t have much time to get out to Cambodia. Next time. But even more valuable than the Angkor suggestion was the general tip to keep in mind for finding the best places to see. They reminded me about the UNESCO World Heritage list. Of course!!! This is a fantastic list of now 812 places around the world that the World Heritage Committee at the UN consider to have outstanding universal value.

I have already done quite a bit of traveling so I expected to find a few places on the list I have already been to. Unfortunately my number is quite low, 34 or about 4%. Here is where I have been so far. Have you done better?

  1. Belize Barrier Reef System
  2. Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
  3. Palace and Park of Versailles, Paris
  4. Banks of the Seine, Paris
  5. Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco, Mexico
  6. Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan, Mexico
  7. Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
  8. Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curacao Netherlands Antilles
  9. Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, Russia
  10. Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow, Russia
  11. Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings, Russia
  12. Durham Castle and Cathedral, UK
  13. Ironbridge Gorge, UK
  14. Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, UK
  15. Blenheim Palace, UK
  16. City of Bath, UK
  17. Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret’s Church, UK
  18. Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church, UK
  19. Tower of London, UK
  20. Old and News Towns of Edinburgh, UK
  21. Maritime Greenwich, UK
  22. Dorset and East Devon Coast, UK
  23. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK
  24. Everglades National Park, US
  25. Grand Canyon National Park, US
  26. Independence Hall, US
  27. Glacier Bay, Alaska, US
  28. Redwood National Park, California, US
  29. Olympic National Park, Washington, US
  30. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, US
  31. La Fortaleza and San Juan Historic Site in Puerto Rico
  32. Statue of Liberty, US
  33. Yosemite National Park, US
  34. Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, US

Today I will make it 35 when I visit the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens here in Melbourne, Australia. Only 777 places to go. Hopefully they all make it before I get there.