Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I am not going too close to the edge this time

Jewish Memorial Berlin 

I have been up to my ears planning our trip to Norway in January so have been distracted from blogging. As you know we have this fetish about going to the coldest places on earth at the coldest times of the year in Europe - just because we come from a very hot country and now love wallowing about in snow and ice.

In Australia in the run up to Christmas the stores are full of what they think are Christmas trees and every store has a jolly Santa decked out in red and white - with a big white beard - and every store – and every shopping centre – and every car park – and every radio station – plays Christmas carols from the 1st of October until the 25th  December – all in the name of selling as much Christmas crap as possible.

On Christmas day – at least in the past – Australians sat down – in 40° heat – to tables groaning with mighty roasts and baked potatoes and pumpkins and traditional English puddings. Spare me!

In more recent times some sanity has crept into our behavior in Australia and we have started to realise that we are not in fact English or European and that it does not snow in Australia at Christmas and that we should actually behave like it is 40° outside – and not eat mountains of hot food.

We discovered when we got to Vienna that it is not like that at all here. There is no Santa Claus and there is not nearly as much crap as there is in Australia. The actually do have white Christmases here and do not need to spray ‘Santa Snow’ on the shop windows to try to fool people into buying their schlock. Most Viennese have not heard of Cliff Richard – do not own copies of his Christmas CDs – and do not play them endlessly in stores from October to December. It is bliss.

Now Cate and Gwenyth and I have perhaps overreacted because it is actually quite cool in Vienna and there is possibly no need for us to go to – and indeed inside the Arctic Circle – but we like to live life on the edge because - unlike some of our fellow travellers - we are of the firm view that this is all there is and we need to make the most of it.

And as my son once said to me ‘Papa – if you are not living life on the edge – you are taking up too much room.’ I think it was my son – it may have been my dealer.

I do not plan to go as close to the edge as I did last year when I fell off that damn Husky sled and broke five ribs and then collapsed with hypothermia after the reindeer sled ride before we actually collided with a reindeer on the ice covered road on the way back to our wilderness lodge where the outside temperate was -27° and if you faltered feeling your way through snow from your sleeping hut to the mess hut you died in your tracks.  

But anyway planning the Norway trip is a task that is taxing me to the limit. Cate worked on it for some months before shoveling it all over to me a week ago saying to was too hard and telling me it was now my job.

It involves boats, at least three different airplanes, three different trains and a snow hotel. The complication is that Cate won’t tell me some of the key ingredients – like everything she actually wants to do and the precise dates she wants to do them. This is so that I have a challenge to keep me busy while she is in Turkey. 


  1. It seems like you go to a lot of trouble to almost kill yourself. And in the cold? Hmmm, I drive a large truck to try to avoid crazy drivers and if they do happen to run into me, I have slightly better chances of survival. Question: Am I doing this all wrong? I'm just being silly, your trips do sound fun, I just happen to be attached to a spouse who doesn't like to travel. She told me once that it stemmed from a childhood memory where her family went from Texas to Mississippi round trip and the transmission went out in the automobile, and they were (semi)-poor, and they had a difficult time getting the thing fixed. I very rarely remind U.S. citizens that in comparison to all of the world we aren't close to being poor, although I felt that way as a child probably because the neighbor kid got a soda every Saturday night when his parents partied. I look back now and realize it was indeed good training for him to grow up to b a party animal, as well as a champion billiards player. And bowler. And horseshoe thrower. At least I don't smoke cigarettes. Any more.

    Today's Captcha Word: reema - it sounds like one of the ancient Greek words for the word "word" - ῥῆμα.

  2. Our apartment building has had Christmas trees up in the lobby since August. And Nutcrackers have been available for months at Pudong airport. Nothing like a festive holiday feeling in the blistering heat.

  3. This sounds like one hell of a trip!

    I've always wondered what it would be like to celebrate Christmas/New Year in the Southern Hemisphere...It's not nearly cold enough for my liking here, especially around Christmas.

    Also, we've had Christmas decorations and music playing in the shops since August. Because nothing says, "Hooray for the Baby Jesus!" like "Buy more shit!"

    Oh, a do be careful this time, Badger.

  4. oh yes... we spend Christmas and new year at the shearers qtrs in Kinchega (Menindee). Once, at the servo it was 49c on the thermometer in the shade of a tree!

  5. not me papa, i live life as close to the handrail as possible and i advise all others to do the same. living in a country where you can get killed by a maneating spider just going to the toilet will do that to you.

  6. Badger, every single one of your comments lightens up my day. May you and ingenuity (and the Foo Fairy) proper in eternity...

  7. Christmas in Oz. Each year I beg Jim to agree to a non-turkey Christmas lunch, or even a turkey fillet lunch but no, we have to give my dad the full traditional disaster, including the plum pudding... and not just once but once with my brother and his family and secondly with just the three of us. Seafood or just a cold spread are not an option... Guess that's what will happen again this year...

  8. esbboston: we are not really trying to kill ourselves - it just happens. And I am really glad you do not smoke anymore - but you will not like Vienna much because everyone smokes here - except us it seems.

  9. fmcgmcclic: Yeh what is that about - do they do that because they think that is what they westerners really want?

  10. smedette: It will be if I fuck it up as badly as I do most trips. Well in Sydney you can sit on the beach in 40° heat and drink ice cold beer and each shrimps. It's not too bad if you like that sort of stuff. I would not mind so much if it was actually about Christmas - even though I do not believe that stuff - but it's about selling crap. And yes I will be very careful.

  11. simon: That is very special. Do not move from under the tree.

    lenny: You and spiders!

    David: David? is that you?

    Annie: Jayzuz I hate plum puddings - have never eaten one and never ever will.

  12. and i thought planning her November trip was difficult while I am not getting andy information... but come to think of it, I think it's actually quite easy ;)

    I still do not understand your whole thing about going to cold places....

  13. Rozalin: Its just a coming from a really hot place thing.

  14. Dear Badger, further to your question - no, I fear, we have never met in the flesh. I am just a harmless/harmful fellow traveler in the big web, who has stumbled across your great blog and has been enjoying it silently for the last 2 years, but just decided to express his likening for your writings more concisely.

  15. David: Are well thank you so much - you are very kind. Your profile does not give me much of a clue as to your identity - but then most of my readers are inscrutable. Happy reading.