Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Turkey Diving

So I landed in this little city called Fetiyhe, and stayed at nice little budget hotel - where I was looked after by a couple of lovely New South Welsh lasses, one that looked like my old flat mate Erica and the other like Elle McPherson - Aye the beauty of life :)
I had a day of relaxing by the pool, catching up on some sleep and emails and "work" and even popped out in the late afternoon to check out Oludeniz (not correct spelling) which was supposed to be a beautiful beach - I really love Australia when I see this type of thing, I worry sometimes that I will never leave home again one day - it is so amazingly beautiful at home, so long as we keep fighting the Corporate Giants that only care about profit and keep them away from ruining our natural beauty future :) - this might happen.
I then did a couple of days of diving - mostly reading a text book and learning to "save" a diver in different circumstances - which was great fun, and hard work.  I am now a qualified rescue diver and have EFR (Emergency First Response) which basically means I can give CPR as part of the ABCDs - I have done First Aid before, so it was a welcome reminder of the skills, I think I will keep that skill set up by going back and doing it every couple years as required, it is a great skill to have I think.
On day 2 of diving I was soooo sick of Turkish breakfast I mostly skipped it and headed straight to the boat.  I was a little hung over too, as the night before I had met a really interesting guy that worked for the Social Democrats in Holland, we ended up having a few drinks more than I had planned with a dive coure the next day.  So I ate my first banana in years - and I enjoyed it! It was truly amazing.  I had just read about how Rescue divers should be fit and healthy and eat well, and that bananas are a good source of potassium which help reduce cramps - the most common form of dive rescue requirement - and I thought I want a banana smoothie to get me started.  Finding Soy Milk in Turkey is near impossible, so I eventually settled for a banana - expecting to have to choke it down, but I ended up loving it and have eaten on almost every day since :) turning 30 has its advantages in the taste sector.

I then headed to Kas for some more diving, where I decided to do both the Deep Dive speciality and the Wreck Dive specialty as it was only 100TL more for the extra specialty (I was only doing Wreck at first) above the dive.  I now have 3 specialties, and I am ready to do a Dive Master course, which is great, I think next year I might go do that in Thailand or Malyasia.
On day 2 of Kas I met a lovely young lady on the boat and we made plans for dinner (if I wasn't on a bus that night, which I thought at the start of they day I was, but realised by the end of the day I wasn't)
I found out that this lovely lady had a Bday the following day so we had a nice birthday dinner and some drinks and dancing - it was a very romantic holiday romance which ended up carrying over to the next night.  Afterwards I was told I had reminded her of how love could be in life and how important it was to remember ones self in your relationships.  I was suitably flattered, it is a beautiful thing when you can bring hope to someones life :) funnily enough this was not the only time this has happened to me, in fact it happens quite regularily for what in my opinion is such an unusual thing to do.  I guess, especially when I am on "holiday" I am a much more open and accepting person, to the point where I even dropped a bottle cap the other day, and didn't pick it up  - which a good friend of mine picked me up on, when I realised, I was horrified at myself.  Surroundings and the like really do have an influence on oneself, I picked up a bit of other trash along the way in order to remember I "who" I was again.

I realise I wrote this a couple of weeks ago now, like 4 and lots has happened :) whoops :) but now posted....

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Regional Turkey

Regional Turkey

It really is sureal to be in a place where over half a million souls perished due to some idiot commander in the British Empire thinking "it will be easy to take Turkey and control the connection between Russia and the Med"
This place is amazing, sad and brought a new respect for the Turks like I have never had before.  Their Commander Attaturk was truly amazing, strategic and defended his country with honour and I respect him and his people more and more as I travel through it.
The tour although not completely necessary was a good way to see this, especially since they added a boat part, where you actually drive up to the section of the coast those first 1500 Aussies attacked, and you can see in some way the aspect they dealt with - absolutely amazing really.

Salcuk / Efes
Salcuk was a nice little town just an overnight bus ride from near ANZAC cove, which sucked btw.  An overnight bus ride in Turkey is simply terrible for a tall person.  The seat pitch was worse than Tiger Airways (Ryan air for my European friends) but one thing was for sure, they had a TV screen in the back of the seat that was awesome.  You could just plug in your USB and play anything from it.  That was good.  Sleeping on the other hand was not an easy task when I had to move every 5 minutes as people walked past and I had to move my legs.
There is a lovely Mosque and some ruins here next to Marys house, so you get to know a bit of Christian History here.  The local beach was a typical Mediterraen beach, which is pretty terrible in Aussie standards - rocks, no waves, no sand.

Efes on the other hand was one of the most amazing places I have ever been.  Total respect for the Romans, they really knew what they where doing, and I find it really strange that they perished, like most great empires I guess, everything comes to an end :)
This city had an amaing Theatre - total respect for the arts here - we are a pillar for Civilized society, with out it we would still be bashing women over the head and dragging them into our caves - oh wait they still do that in some parts of the world - probably the parts that it is to hot for creative people to think in :) haha
The Libary here is pretty amazing too, and a funny rumour that the men used to tell their wives they where off to the library, but there was a secret tunnel to the bath house across the street they would go through instead of studying - oldest industry in History good old Sex Industry :)

This is one of the most amazing things I have seen in the world, and in my life.  I literally was "walking on water" up a hill.  It was incredible.
[link to google images]
There was also a Theatre here which was bigger and had more structure/ reconstruction, and more ruins (old broken buildings - how many do I need to see...really...)
A short bus ride later I was finally in a coastal town where I could do some Diving! Awesome!  See you next post

Monday, 18 July 2011

Privacy Information - ID Scanning at Venues

If a venue scans your ID, they can potentially steal your identity. .... how easy is it to take a Bank Card Number, your Name, Address, DOB and Driver License No. to impersonate someone.... VERY!!

I recommend only allowing them to scan your DL Number and Photo, ask them to cover the rest of your Private Information, as per the Privacy Commissionar they are only allowed to collect necessary personal information.  They say the scanning is for Police viewing only, and the police can easily look up your info from your DL number, and identify you from the Photo, so this should be sufficient.
Excert from Key Message in above Link:
A business may only scan customers' identity documents if it is necessary for its functions or activities. In the first instance businesses should consider whether identification is required and, if so, whether simply sighting a 'proof of identity' document without scanning it would be sufficient.
Businesses that do seek to use scanning technology must make sure they comply with the National Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act which regulate the collection and handling of personal information by businesses. In general, if you scan customers' identity documents, the Privacy Act requires that, among other things, you:
  • collect only necessary personal information;
  • give customers information about why you are collecting their personal information and how it will be handled;
  • only use or disclose the personal information for the purpose of the collection, unless an exception applies;
  • only retain the scanned personal information for as long as necessary, consistent with the collection purpose;
  • store the personal information securely and allow access to it by the individual if requested.
Businesses may be able to have greater confidence about meeting their obligations under the Privacy Act by getting the express consent of customers before scanning identity documents. Seeking consent is also good privacy practice and likely to promote trust between the customer and business.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Sitting in a cafe on top of a hill over looking bosphorous, that is the bay of istanbul.

Has been a long day of walking around the city after a very good night out with my local friends.

I think turkish are very similar to hungarians in a way, hospitable like crazy once you warm them up.

This city its truly a harbour city, with ferries going continually from asia to europe and back.

Not many photos from here as Is a city, so nothing interesting, and the historical stuff, really just wiki it. :)   Sophia  Topkapi palace  Galata kulesi   Grand bazaar  Istanbul university 

My favourite line from a carpet shop spruicker to another at the blue mosque "he doesn't want carpet, look at his shoes he just walked down from a mountain" which I had, ands was true.

Spent my fourth night around taksim square, which reminds me a lot of londons west end, the shopping street is busier than oxford st on a sat, till very late at night.

Istanbul is larger than london, but surprisingly easier to navigate and the people see nicer, must be the sun.  No way I would live there mind. Hot, slow and I'm not a huge fan of the food, much like london, except the hot bit.  Transport suppliers to new good, well organised and runs to a good schedule. Except no ferries on a sunday morning, so a trip that usually costs 2L, cost 38, but I dogs get to see the city from a sydney harbour like bridge at dawn. :)

Overall, had a great time, met some amazing new friends and enjoyed my time immensely.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


NTKs (That is Need to Knows)
1 AUD = 0.7JD = 1USD
Full photos at
PS. I have a couple of "will insert" notes along here, when I get to them ... I will remove this :)

Arriving in Jordan, I was a little pessimistic after my experience in Cairo, so I didn't expect much, but here it was much more pleasant, the people are much nicer and with a little effort you can get around without taxis fairly easily.
I arrived at 5am, and wanted to spend the day wondering around in Amman (the capital), but the problem was that I had to put my bags somewhere.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to work this out, like hours of time.  It was quite amusing.  They have no lockers, no bus station as we would think of it, and not even an office for the bus companies where you might leave your things for a while.
So the journey - as fun as it was - take the airport express, to Jordan Nth bus stop, 3JD, then take another bus Jordan South Bus station (this was 1JD, but really only .37), this is where the bus to Petra leaves from, which was reasonably easy to find out :)
On arrival, I was hoping for an office, but no luck, so I went to find a local hotel that I might leave my bags there for a fee.
The local taxis here are as bad as in eypgt, which is annoying - "no I do not want a cab"
I got offers galore to take me and my bags around the city for the day, driving around in the horrid traffic of Amman, adding yet another vehicle to the mess that it was, so I decided against it.
A very friendly local was going that way and was happy to take me in a cab, for 1JD I got to the hotel, where the manager happily took my bags, and issued me a receipt, so I was a little skeptical, but had a good feeling, so left everything, including my laptop and other random expensive / hard items to replace.  Then I went off on my journey through Amman.  You wouldn't believe how suprised I was to find my bags still there, untouched when I got back later that afternoon.

[photo of hotel card]

So I found a random bus, there are stack driving around taking people all sorts of places, and I just got on this one, and got off when I it was at a Souk, which is market in Arabic.  Seemed like a good place to start, and I was pretty close to the "city" and the bus appeared to be heading out in another direction, so it was time.
I wondered the Souk for a while, then found a lovely little spot to stop and have a Shisha, it was about 10am by this time.  I was slowly learning the value of things, and most things are Very expensive here, even for locals (I did get the local price a few times)  A shisha was 2JD or about 3AUD, not to bad, had to be done, but won't be doing this again for a while, my lungs have been paying me out since with a chesty smokers cough, haha - either that or this place is so full of 2nd hand smoke that I was getting my piece from that - no one here appears not to smoke, in cabs, in restuarants, on buses, it is everywhere.

Anyway.  I then walked the 4-5 km into town, up and down hills in about 30d C, which was actually pleasant here, unlike Eygpt or even Brisbane where it is humid, here it is dry, and there was a beautiful cool breeze in the shade.

I wondered around, and followed signs to "city centre" only to find another street with some shops on it, hardly a "CBD"  I did find an area that was being built, that appeared to be a bit more like a western CBD/ downtown, but it wasn't built yet :)
I did find the "city" of finance district, with its banks etc.... the traffic was the worst around there, check out this photo of the jam I walked through, as friendly as people are, they are a bit stupid on the roads.... way worse than in Melbourne where people drive with absolutely no consideration for others, it was actually worse in this area of town, unlike Eypgt, where people drove with total communication with the cars around them - ie. Honking continuaously... haha

I walked back to the road where I knew the bus went from Nth to Sth bus station, but a bus didn't come at all, nor did any of these little random private buses, so I ended up gettting a cab, which had people in it already - and it was a metered cab.  Awesome! He took me to the hotel, picked my gear up and dropped me at the bus, like next to the bus, all for 3JD (on the meter), was about 10km.

I got on this little 21 seater bus, and paid for 2 seats, so I could take all my bags with me - was only 5JD each, for a 3 hour bus ride, pretty good value, a taxi/driver was about 95JD or $135AUD - no way I was paying that.
The bus left within 20mins of me arriving at the stop - enough time for me to get some food and a drink from a lovely shop keep across the road, related somehow to the bus company, but totally didn't rip me off, was good price.

I arrived in Petra, the ancient city about 3.5 hrs later after a quick Prayer stop on the way.  The cabs in Petra almost as bad as the ones in Eygpt - welcome to tourist land, but was all good, I eventually found one that at first told me he had a meter, so I agreed, but on getting in the cab I couldn't find the meter - we then negiotiated, and I got a good price for quite a distance.  Much more than in Amman for 10km, but good price for Petra of 7JD.  This cab driver comes highly recommended if your in Petra - call him Haroon 0776778763 or email in advance - very honest and helpful, after a quick negiotiation down from 15JD to the fair price of 7JD I paid.

[card of taxi driver photo]

I hit camp Ammourin around 7pm, which was perfect timing to stow my bags, take a much needed shower (I hadn't showered since Singapore 5am the day before, then overnight flight from Hong Kong to Amman - around 40 hours I would say)
I then met the locals and the family group of 4 families from the USA that meet up once a year for a week, this trip after some pushing from one of the families was over in the middle east.  Pretty awesome adventure for the 12 kids and 8 adults.  Busing around the middle east, Jerusualam etc... amazing stuff I think for a family to do.  I also met an Aussie chick from Port Melbourne no less, Journalist, that was on a 12 month journey around the world doing her Bucket list - pretty cool - will be a book on it in a year or so, look out for it, will be interesting.
And a girl she had just met in Israel and was travelling with that comes from San Francisco bay area, so I might have a friend to stay with and a couple of VC contacts in SF already :)
Lights out about 10pm as the generator is turned off.

Next morning up at 6am to start the hike to Aarons Tomb, which was amazing.  My guide, who I probably didn't need wanted to stop an aweful lot.  I was quite happy hiking the 8 or so kilometres to the top, got a bit puffed in a couple of spots, but nothing like the poor guide... he laid down and slept a couple of times on breaks...
Was interesting, but totally not necessary to have a guide, and for 70JD or $100AUD for the day it was a complete rip off.  But as I was alone, it was kinda necessary to ensure I didn't get lost.
I had lunc up at the Tomb and took in the view.  Then hiked back down.  Took about 8 hours total, which was not a bad little hike for my first in a while.

At the bottom I said good bye to Ali the guide and decided to hike up to the Monastry, which was about 2km, straight up, 850 stairs.  My poor knees are not so happy after coming down from there. :(

I then hiked back to the visitors center seeing the amazing high place, treasury etc in great detail.
I have to say, these ruins cost 50JD or about $70AUD to get in and see, which is pretty steep for a bunch of 2nd hand buildings that aren't even standing up, and where built by no one around here.  It is not like they do a lot to keep them in order.  Easily the most expensive tourist thing I have ever paid for.

Petra by Night
Even though I had walked about 30km that day, I was convinced by my friendly cab driver to come back that night for the extra 12JD for the Petra by night.  I had a little rest and some dinner then headed back for the 6km more of walking along the Siq to the treasury by candlelight.  At the end of the 3km walk to the treasury they had a bodiun musician playing a tradional single string instrument, which they believe the guitar and other stringed instruments originated from and then a flute player.  It was pretty awesome, and was in my plan, so I was glad to do it, but OMG was it hard.  I played a little game on the 3km walk back, after waiting for quite a few people to leave, I then walked along, and tried to pass everyone on the way out, and I did.  Was a good way to get the legs moving, as they where in quite a bit of pain :)

[Insert vid of Petra by Night]

This morning I have had a nice sleep in to 8am, when I got up and packed and had the taxi driver drop me at the bus station, after negiotiating with the camp to "not" pay cash.  The damn camp only takes VISA, which is a pain, I would be happy with None more than teasing you with only taking VISA, mind the Petra archeological society only took cash!  I was a bit upset with all this and had them reduce their inflated prices to cover me having to get cash from an ATM.  Which I note didn't ask me for the account I want to draw from, and did a bloody cash advance! Damn it, I wanted to draw from my CASH account.  haha the fun of travelling :)

I also managed to rip my big toe nail off my foot somehow today - I am really not sure how this happened, or why it isn't more painful, but it just ripped off, still kinda of attached, I rushed to push it back into place, and band aid it into place.  I am hobbling a little, and won't be doing any 30km hikes around istanbul, or maybe I won't be able to dive, but we will see - I am hoping it will be all fixed shortly and re-attached, cause it would kinda suck to lose it.

After being dropped at the bus it left about 20min after I arrived (lucky again - as no timetables, just leave when full is the rule) and they dropped me at the Freeway exit to the Airport, where I got a lift from a nice man driving a hire car back to the lot or something - was expecting to get a cab here, so pretty happy.
I have been sitting in the airport or a bit longer than expected, but I have therefore managed to write this, answer some emails and the like :) - unfortunately my download credits have ran out before I could post this, so maybe I will get to it later!

Have you been to Jordan? Want to go? Is pretty special place, I highly recommend, just don't come for to long, is expensive.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Trishes Recipe

The recipe as written -
1 tin creamed corn. 
1 tbsn curry power. 
1 cup soy milk. 
1 tbsn ground onion. 

food process it until smooth. heat, then simmer ten minutes. Stir in 1 tbsn vegan margarine. Sprinkle paprika on top before you serve. I changed it though, didn't process it first, added vege stock and chilli(I like hot and spicy), and I didn't include the margarine at the end. I still added the paprika though

Apparently such a good recipe I had to post it.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Urbanism, Corporatism, Congestion, Happiness

I woke up today from a horrific dream, one which I can only hope won't come true, but on reflection I can see it happening around the world today, let alone in the future.

In my dream I was in a farming community, the locals where struggling to make ends meet, due to drought, competition, not unlike the farmers of Australia today.
A town meeting was called, on the way to the meeting I was overheard someone that suggested most people at the meeting where going to contract a terrible disease, I can't remember the name of it, but it was horrible.  Their was a vaccine mind, which some of the townsfolk had, it seemed that the townsfolk that had the vaccine where the ones that agreed with the big business and developers, the people that didn't have the vaccine disagreed.
On realising that the town meeting was all about turning the farming community into a Suburban area.... another disgusting array of 1/4 acre blocks, spread out so far from any resources that you would have to drive to do anything, I promptly realised what was going on, and that if I didn't get out of there soon, I was going to be killed by the "disease" so I promptly got out of there.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Democratic Evolution

Tags: behaviour change, communication, Controversy, Society, politics

To enable a true representation on the Communities real point of view, and enable a transparent system of viewing the community’s point of view on an issue.
To centralise the systems of Government and allow communities to show their points of view in one place on an issue, whether it be Local, State, Federal or International (only Australian Registered voters will be able to register for this system)
To enable individual issues to be discussed by the broader community, and for information providers (News/Internet etc) to direct the community to an issue to allow their opinion to be heard.
To ensure each and every member of the community has access to the system to ensure a broad section of the community can have its say.

An objectively controlled Online based system that allows Voters to register.
(Could be considered a Social Network ordained by the Government)
Each registered voter can register onto the system (one vote, one registration)

The system will have a list of all current issues in discussion by the parliament (Bills/Issues etc)
A list of the committees/ MPs that are overseeing the discussion, who raised it, who supports it etc
A forum for discussion on each individual issue.
A UML type map of how this issue fits into the bigger picture. A visible display of what other options this issue would effect.
For example increasing spending on more beds for the aged, means less beds for the younger generations.
Ability to vote on each individual issue
Ability to Create an Issue, and get support for the issue to be raised in Parliament, and create a parliamentary issue from this interest.

Majority of Registered Voters must be able to Access the system.
A requirement that Issues are published in all newspapers (Supplement published weekly) and spoken on a regular basis in all Licensed Media – Major Newspapers, Local Newspapers, News, etc. (Could be legislated into the Licensing agreement)
Web based Media can provide links to individual issues. For example The Age online could provide a link to the current issue in its opinion section.
ISPs, Web access points would be required to allow access to this website at no cost.
Libraries, Government buildings and other community centres could have “pods” to allow access.
People can then write in via Letter or Fax, and have their views published (less their identity) Faxes/Letters would be scanned, and votes input by objective third party organisation. (All identities can be completely controlled, however you can only ever vote once on an issue during each debate period)
Audit Trail – Random verification of correctness of voting position on issues based on letters/ faxes. All letters archived and linked to votes with Voter Registration Details, date/ time issue number etc.

Types of Issues:
Parliamentary Issues would be open for discussion for 1 month. After this term, the issue is then closed for Parliamentary discussion, and reopened for 1 month to allow for comments on amendments by Politicians.
Community Created Issues would have 1 month to gain support from the community and then it would be up to politicians to decide on popular issues.

This system would allow politicians the ability to release policies for public consultation, and gauge support for each individual issue. This would therefore allow them to actually measure the communities support or opposition for each individual issue, policy or bill that is currently being debated in parliament.
Also allowing the community to show support for issues that are not being debated in parliament, and raising awareness for these issues (or showing them to be opposed by the broader community)
Actually see statistics from a broad section of the community on any individual issue.
Recognise when an issue has a community interest.

Potential Problems with System
People over a certain age are not technically knowledgably
- Allow for Letters/ Faxes with Voter Registration details
- Fill in a form and send it in (OCR Technology used to save labour cost)
- Personalised voting forms could be acquired from all Government Buildings free of charge, or printed out for you by your technical adept family member
Not everyone has access the internet
- Issues are published, with Issue Number/ Identifier regularly in local publications at all levels of community
Politicians would be out of a job
- Someone would still have to create the issues, show support for them, lead, represent, make decisions in tough times, etc. (Maybe just a few less egotistical popular pollies, and a few more truly “for the people” pollies)

I think I am a Sociapitalist - or Social-Capitalist

Tags: politics, Society, sustainability, Environment, behaviour change

So I was riding my bike along last night, flying past all the cars "parked" on their way home to be across town in just a few minutes and found myself thinking about the ideals of society and the "nanny" type state that we are moving into in Australia.  Also the Democratic movement that is happening in the Middle East is close to my minds eye at the moment.

Then I got to thinking about the Democratic process and how really the big powerful people really do still have the power in society - I mean look at the Mining companies in Australia last year.  With a mere 0.1% of PROFIT they strong armed the government into not taxing them any more than we currently do.
Now let me just tangent off for a moment and put that into perspective for you: a small group of mining companies and associations got together and spent about $20M AUD last year to throw a massive advertising campaign against the government.  One (yes only one) of these companies just announced a PROFIT, after expenses like this of $10.5B AUD for the 6 months - That is the cost of this campaign was 0.2% of ONE companies half yearly PROFIT.  It is just disgusting to think they could do this really.
Anyway this is life isn't it.  Being ruled by some Dictator with lots of power and money.  In the western Democratic world we have this perception of Freedom and choice which most people think is "good enough" but I take the unrest and freedom fights of the middle east and consider that maybe it is time we fought for a better Democracy - for a system of Sociapitalism - that is a system where the top gets the chop and the bottom gets some more support from Society.  Not a dog eat Dog world - but a Dog help Dog world.  I was musing over a term for Socialism and Capitalism put together and apparently it is Social-Capitalism - but I prefer Sociapitalist or maybe Capitocialsim depending on which way you swing.

I was explaining to a much learned friend on the weekend about an idea I have for a future that doesn't solely rely on money to distribute "wealth".  Wealth of course not being money, but more importantly it is and should be defined as Knowledge, luxury items and respect.

The idea:
If you have used Ebay you might understand this theory.  It is based on the users rating users system.
The best way to describe this is to use an example and this is a great place to first implement this idea:
State and National Park Camping
When you camp in a Park, you are utilising public space for a nominal fee - everyone has equal right to use these places and everyone can and does.
The current concept is that when you camp in a park you should leave the place in at least as good as you found it, if not better.
Through some simple technology we could implement an Ebay style user rating system for the parks.  When you camp you could rate the state you found the space in.  Ie. Dirty 1 Clean 5 or anywhere in between.
This rating would be recorded against the Previous user of the space to indicate their respect for the park and the next user.
Motivation would be to keep you rating high as then you would be "allowed" in to more beautiful spots - ie. with the knowledge that you have respect for your surroundings, and will maintain them.

Simple really - completely anonymous and easy to implement in this world of GPS and smart phones.

What do you think of this first step towards a society less dependant on Money and more dependant on repsect for others?