Friday, December 23, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
As always, please feel free to comment.
Friday, November 11, 2011
My group took a steam train ride and went to a sugarcane mill, where the locals put on a show for the tourists, depicting the old days when slavery was very much en vogue. We took a bus ride to the capital city of the province we were staying in – Ciego De Avila – about two hours drive from were we were at. We were able to walk around the city, go into some of the shops and visit a local museum, displaying some wonderful pieces of antiques and displays of the way the people lived many years ago.
- Ruled by Fidel Castro since 1959 for 49 years, Cuba finally handed over the reigns to his younger brother Raul Castro in 2008.
- Cuba is the most populated country in the whole of the Caribbean.
- Cuba is home to hurricanes and destructive storms since it lies on the path of violent weather.
- The island of Cuba is the seventeenth largest island in the world by land area.
- The total land area of Cuba is 110,860 kilometers square.
- Cuba attracts around two million visitors per year.
- It has a number of beaches, colonial architecture, favorable climate and a rich cultural history to invite tourists from all over the world.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
|Main Road in Sofala|
Two days prior to St Valentine’s Day in 1851, a Charlie Brown by the name of Edward Hargraves discovered gold in Summerhill Creek! One can just imagine the excitement Eddie must have felt.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
If we as a nation didn't have a problem with communication then there certainly wouldn't be so many books on the subject, there wouldn't be university courses on it and we wouldn't need any mediators or communications specialists to come to our rescue so often.
Why is it that we are all prone to suffering with miscommunication at some point in our lives, or for some, at every stage in their lives! Men and women seem particularly susceptible to miscommunication, but then again, teenagers seem at some point to go through this with their parents. The point is, if we intend to get along with everyone we either need a degree in communications or a degree in yesmanship.
I'm not going to go into being amenable, the type of communication I am referring to is quite simply decoding what someone has recently encoded for you. This is in fact the basics of communication. When I have a conversation with someone, I am encoding what I am saying. Likewise, when someone has spoken to me, I end up decoding what they have said to me.
The way I decode has a lot to do with the mood I am in, my environment, prior experience, and my impulses. There could be one more ... This one is age related and the fact that as we age, we tend to forget some of our everyday words, we call certain items by different names and we become frustrated by our diminishing memories.
Another important factor to consider is tone of voice and where we place the emphasis in our words. We've all played the game "Chinese Whispers" at some point in our lives, where a group of people sit in a circle or straight line. The person at the beginning of the line whispers something to the person next to them, that person in turn repeats word for word what was told to them by whispering it to the person next to them, and so it goes. When the last person has listened to the words, s/he will repeat what they heard out loud.
Usually at this point the conversation no longer even makes sense, and the reason is that the encoding and decoding process has broken down because someone in the group either heard wrong or understood the message to mean something different. In the same way, we fall short in our communication with others.
I recently moved house. When my furniture arrived, I explained to the removalists that I wanted all the boxes in one room only. I lead the way to this room with the head of the group so that he could see where I wanted everything to go. A short while later one of the delivery guys asked me if he was to take all the boxes up to the third level in my house. I said "No, they are to go to the second level". His reply was, "You mean you want them to go to the floor just below the third level?"
Wasn't that what I had just said? Who's wrong?
The reality is neither of us were wrong, but our interpretation of each others answers were completely different.
Next time you're having a conversation with someone, think about the message you are trying to get across and think about the way you are going to say it. Then, think about what impact it will have on the other person. Only then should you encode your words for the other person to decode.
If all else fails, you can always go back to arguing about what you really meant to say.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I hate cleaning, yet when I'm not perfectly happy that's exactly what I have to do to tame the lioness inside me. Consequently, you can eat off my floors - as long as you don't take the left overs that are in the fridge, because those have probably been there for a while... I don't like to waste, yet once I've put something in the refrigerator it will probably stay there indefinitely until someone else removes the product that my guilty eye will never look upon again.
Like me, the world is so full of contradictions. The developed world has an abundance of food, resources and wealth (now slowly beginning to diminish, thanks to the GFC), yet the undeveloped world seems to be in a constant struggle to fulfill even basic human needs.
In the developed world we seem to be fixated on the very things that the undeveloped world have no concept of. Technology, social media, fast cars, huge televisions and the latest "bundle" satellite offers... Imagine wondering where your next meal will come from? Or whether your children will be warm enough when the cold night arrives?
Imagine a vast open land with red dirt, no vegetation and no water in sight? Where would you begin when your child is dying of starvation and hyenas lie in waiting?
We all deserve a better deal in life, however some need far more than others. While the developed world kill each other over bad drug deals, hatred, lies and greed, the undeveloped world fight to survive for one more day.
I feel sick to my stomach when I listen to people complain about trivial things. We all have issues but certainly none as bad as those who have been affected by famine and drought, or those in war torn countries.
Let's try to put things into perspective. Next time your world feels like it's crashing down, spare a thought for those who would give anything at all to be in your world.
Feel free to leave a comment.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Hahndorf was founded in 1838 by Captain Dirk Meinhertz Hahn, who arrived by a ship named "Zebra" with 188 passengers and their belongings, plus crew. The ship carried 100 barrels of pork, 100 barrels of flour, 65 barrels of fresh water, 17 hogheads of beer and vinegar, 14 barrels of herring, two boxes of boots and shoes and 40,924 bricks.
The immigrants loved the land so much and noticed how incredibly fertile it was so they decided to stay on. The rest, as they say, is history!
Today, Hahndorf is very similar to what it was like back then and one can still see the architecture of the original surviving buildings. The main street is filled with hotels, restaurants, galleries, gourmet food outlets and a large variety of accommodation.
Authentic German food is sold in Hahndorf, as well as Australian and European Cuisine. The gourmet coffee shops also sell a variety of decadent cakes and desserts.
The Hahndorf Inn Hotel was built in 1863 and has retained most of its original features. The Hahndorf Inn features classic German cuisine and pub style favourites in a cosy rustic setting. For those interested in tasting the German beer, they serve beer by the litre and for a little extra one can purchase the glass as a momento! Be sure to book a table if you are traveling a distance to get there because they are extremely popular and one will have to wait quite a while to get a table during peak times.
Because the Hahndorf Inn is a German hotel, they will be celebrating October Fest during the Labour Day weekend in Australia. If you live around these parts or if you're going to be there during the festivities, then make sure you pop in for a beer and to say "hi" to the locals.