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About Obilix

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  1. Oh wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us Robert Burns
  2. You know, posting that bit of nonsense in jest got me thinking. Those of us born in the late forties/early fifties lived through and adapted to some fairly unique social norms and habits of daily life that our children and grandchildren will never experience. Apart from inkwells, pigtails, night soil carters and milk monitors, there was a very different routine to our existence We walked to school. The milkman came every morning with bottled milk, or fresh milk in a large can which he partially decanted into mum's container. The baker came every week day afternoon in his horse and cart, and if he liked you or was in a good mood, would give you a free bun and let you hold the reins while old Barney plodded the cart around his well remembered route. The weekly laundry was done every Saturday morning in the outside laundry or in the open air in an old copper. We still used washboards for their original intended purpose, and used Velvet soap and the blue bag (Bluo?) in the laundry water. If dad was a bit flash he bought mum a mangle to help with the wringing. We would go to the Railway line and climb on the overpass bridge to wait for the next steam train to go under, so we could smell the distinctive aroma of burning coal and feel the warm steam on our legs and arms. On Sundays our group of mates would grab a couple of oranges or apples from someones tree (we all had fruit trees in our back yards) and head barefooted into the surrounding bush for the day. There we would build forts and shelters out of saplings and tree branches, collect eucalyptus (Honkey) nuts, and throw them at each other until one of us got hurt (invariably) and ran home to his mother. We would catch tadpoles and tiny fish in the local swamps and make arrows out of reeds and bows out of supple branches and string. At home we would make shanghais out of forked branches, old push bike tire rubber, and leather straps, and had fun until somebody's window got broken. Those of us born immediately post war will also remember the bread slice with lard or dripping spread on it and sprinkled with sugar, which was an occasional much appreciated treat. Enough. Now all we've got is cruising. Honkey nut fight anyone?
  3. Mr. Gut, when you were a small boy in short pants, did you dip the pig tails of the pretty girl who sat in front of you into the inkwell? Or throw banana skins in front of the night soil carter's feet just as he stepped onto the road?
  4. How good were the Dockers? I would have thought that, as avid cruisers, you guys would be full on supporting them!
  5. We were on the Carnival Spirit in January (school holidays) in the South Pacific. The pools and water slides are great for kids and more agile adults alike. There are two kids clubs, one for the younger kids and the other for teenagers. There are at least 2 areas with toys and activities for parents with younger kids, for informal play, as well as areas for ship coordinated activities. They know what they are doing, and the kids love it and are well cared for. There is an area for electronic games for kids (the arcade?) and it is hard to keep them out, as they give out plastic turtles etc as "prizes", or at least they did in January. The kids clubs will look after the kids for you as long as you wish, at least until 9 pm or so, and will even feed them if you want. There will be heaps of other children of all ages around for yours to play with. Our 3 year old grandson said it was "the best holiday ever" , his 5 year old cousin had a ball, and our two 8 year old granddaughters were just as enthusiastic. The evening karaoke welcomed kids until 9 pm, and it was very popular with them. So much so that I hope never to hear a song from Frozen ever again! There is at least one giant outdoor movie screen in the main pool area which features kids and adult movies at different times. Snacks, self serve soft serve icecream is on tap, pizzas are always available. Enjoy your trip. Your kids certainly will! PS. just noticed you said it will be out of school holidays time. I still think there will be plenty of children around however as the ship is highly geared for them.
  6. Bhop, you could spend the rest of your life here and not see it all! Australia is almost as big as the USA, not including Alaska. I think you've made a wise decision, particularly as you are travelling with a 90 year old lady, who I would imagine would find the extra flights and attendant hassles difficult, not to mention the stress on you of having to look after your mother's needs and her luggage, as well as your own. Remember, the flight over and the flight back to the US will be taxing in their own right. Save the Great barrier reef, Uluru, and possibly Darwin and the Kakadu National Park for another trip, when you have more time. Mr Gut's suggestion on how to spend 4 days in Sydney is worthwhile, and with a little research you can come up with a few other things that will suit your interests as well. Big-M, I'm not as sanguine as you in dismissing wild creatures from hotel pools. I've seen several old walrus' cavorting in them, not to mention any number of porpoises!
  7. Do the hotels provide stinger suits for use in their pools?
  8. I'm not a fan of Australian Rules football, but if you have time on a match day, and have already washed your hair, done the laundry and slowly and agonizingly removed your own teeth with a rusty pair of pliers, you may feel up to attending a fixture. There are a few things to take note of however. 1 The price of an entry ticket will be approximately equivalent to the cost of your cruise 2 You will not be able to bring any food or liquid refreshment with you into the arena 3 any alcohol you seek to smuggle in will be be confiscated and later consumed by the Kiwi security staff at their local rugby union fixture. 4 You will be charged an exorbitant price for half strength, watered down beer and extremely cheap wine, or cans of specially produced mixed drinks, usually Bundaberg rum essence, or extract of Jim Beam Bourbon mixed very, very generously with what will appear to be (in your case) Walmart home brand coke substitute 5 You will wait in line for the duration of a quarter of the match for the privilege of purchasing said alcohol, and to acquire standard football fare, at the same cost as a gourmet dinner in the best restaurant in town 6 Standard football fare consists of soggy watered down meat pies (nature and source of meat unspecified, but probably well matured road kill) smothered in a sickly sweet ketchup to disguise the taste, french fries, no more than six per serve, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, though not as you know it. 7 Your seat will be located at the furthermost position in the stadium from your gate of entry, and you will be surrounded by the most charming collection of bogans you are ever likely to meet 8 Bogans are always fanatical supporters of one team or the other, and spectate in groups of their own kind, probably in the not unreasonable expectation that there is safety in numbers. They may be male or female, and will indiscriminately, for the duration of the match, scream rank, rancid, and obscene abuse at the umpires, opposition players and non committed supporters, but mostly at the umpires. Daring to applaud the play of their opposition's players, even mildly, such as " What a spiffing punch to the jaw old chap" will likely result in your being tackled to the ground and kicked senseless. 9 Australian Rules Football, contrary to any implication you may reasonably derive from its name, in fact has no rules. An opponent may be kneed in the back, punched in the jaw, and pushed and pulled at any time, irrespective of whether the ball is in the vicinity, and generally be entertained by ribald insinuations as to his ethnicity, his parentage, the sexual habits of his mother, and his similarity to any number of simians. Curiously also, it is one of the few ball sports in the world where the participants gain points for missing their target. Anyway, enough of this, I'm certainly not one to seek to detract from your enjoyment of the game, so carry on, and the best of luck.
  9. Just a suggestion, if you are leaving on your cruise from the Overseas Passenger Terminal you might wish to consider the Holiday Inn, Old Sydney. It is located less than 300 yards from the Passenger Terminal, all down hill, is quite pleasant, very well kept, not overly expensive, and a short walk ( 20 minutes walk for an old unfit crock like me) from the city centre, and even less from both the the Opera House, Circular Quay and the Harbour Bridge. Incidently, you can walk across the Bridge, if you've a mind to, about half an hour, for free and catch the train back from Milsom's point to Wynyard station, which again is only 500 yards from the hotel. Or you could walk back. No, you don't have to pay mega bucks walking across the top of the Bridge span to have an excellent view of the Harbour to the heads.
  10. I travel to Singapore at least annually, and I change $AUD for both local currency and any other currency I need for onward or other travel there, and often change back currency I no longer need on a subsequent visit. I take note of the bank exchange rate here in Australia for the currencies I need, and invariably get a better rate than that, without paying commissions. It helps to ask the exchange rate first, or ostensibly check it out on the signage board, before agreeing to the rate offered, as it can change minimally from trader to trader. As my visits coincide with the Singapore cricket club Rugby Sevens on the Padang I usually stay in the Coleman street area which is close by. I use the the money changer under the Peninsula- Excelsior hotel (the one closest to Hill Street) as the one right next to it also trades in other goods, and I don't like the hassle and hustle. Just be aware, and you will do better exchanging in Singapore where-ever you go. It would pay to bring a small amount of Sing dollars from home though ($50 - 100), to pay for taxis, snacks drinks etc. on arrival. Money changers open 9 am or so until late pm in Singapore. Exchange rates are slightly better on week days than Saturday or Sunday or public holidays.
  11. We had a party of 11 going on Carnival Spirit on 7 January from OPT. There was a little lack of communication as to what was required from the passengers, but nothing to worry about, and we made it to pre-immigration stage in about 20 minutes from arrival at the Terminal. At that point there are ship photographers, and my wife wanted a professional family group photo taken, as we are unlikely to all be together again on a cruise. Problem was, our 20 + daughter had bounded ahead, and we realized she was already through immigration. Number two son saw her, and called out to her and explained the situation. A Border Security officer who overheard what was happening kindly escorted her back through immigration and waited with her while the photos were taken, and escorted her back immediately afterwards. His act of kindness was much appreciated, and in the end result, that was the only occasion that a group photo was able to be taken by us on the ship Respect. and gratitude.
  12. Thanks everyone for clearing things up for me. There's nothing worse than embarrassing yourself, and you've helped me avoid that!
  13. Has anyone sailed on Carnival Spirit lately? I have read the online alcohol policy and it states only soft drinks (no more than 12 cans of 600ml) can be brought on board. Then when I google I see a number of posts that say on embarkation a bottle of wine per person is permitted. Maybe the rules have changed for Australian sailings? I know it's a pain in the bum question, but there are 7 adults in our party, and we would hate to bring bottles of good quality wine with us only to have them confiscated. Please help!
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