This is a Blog dedicated to my summer travels with my wife Shirley Porterfield over June and July 2013.  We have the privilege to attend two professional conferences -- one in Seoul, South Korea; and the other in Sydney, Australia -- about two weeks apart. We are taking time during these trips to visit these two wonderful countries for some vacation time to end the sabbaticals Shirley and I have had this year, which end this summer.  I have decided to write about these travels below, in a journaling fashion, with pictures and videos, mostly so I can remember the trip, but in case any family and friends want to follow along.  Note that the blog starts at the bottom and works its way up (so it is reverse chronological order.)  Enjoy... Tim McBride, Summer 2013

The Amazing Animals of Australia: Koalas, Kangaroos, Wallabees…and More

July 11, 2013

No trip to Australia could be complete it seems (at least to us) without seeing the amazing animals of Australia.  I feel for years I have seen and heard of them, and they seem so exotic, and maybe once or twice you see some of them in the better Zoos: Kangaroos, Koalas, etc.  So on the last full day in Australia we had to see natural Australia, and see some of these animals!

But I think nothing could have prepared us, at least that is my reaction, for seeing an entire wildlife park full of animals that seem to be entirely different than any we’d normally see in U.S. zoo or wildlife park.

The park we visited (Featherdale Park) was about an hour outside of Sydney, and was the last stop on a longer day-long trip to the fabulous “Blue Mountains” (more on that later).  It apparently was once an animal rescue park, but now has a collection of many native Aussie animals.  There we saw: Koala Bears, Kangaroo, Wallabee, Wombats, Emu, Tasmanian Devils, Dingos, Greater Bilby, Wombats and many species of birds.

Many people have seen Koalas I presume and know how cute they are, and how they just like to sleep in trees and be cute like this.  But I happened to capture a moment when one of them woke up and got spunky and tried to walk out of his enclosure, startling the homosapiens, but the keeper came quickly and picked him up as you will see in this short video [https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200314099801520].


The Kangaroo are all over the place and friendly with the humans and love to be fed and you can see that Shirley pet one and fed them.

But shortly she was startled by a huge Emu who decided it would eat the rest of the food Shirley had.



Although it was fun to see the Kangaroo up close, feed them, and even pet them, it was even better to see them out in the wild, as I wrote about in the other post about the Blue Mountains.

The Dingos were very cute, especially their babies (they look a lot like dogs, but apparently they do not bark).

We enjoyed seeing our first Tasmanian Devil.  Frankly, folks he did not look like the one in the cartoon, and did move as fast, but it is true he did not stop moving!

I have to say the Wombat is one of the weirdest and ugliest looking animals I have ever seen.


The “Flying Foxes” looked to us more like bats than pretty little Foxes of course.

I loved all the birds, and of course my boys know that I love birds.






In short, we loved seeing all the amazing animals of Australia.  It felt as if we were on another planet in some ways because we felt we correctly placed in an animal shelter or zoo, but all the animals just did seem like any we were used to seeing!  And of course that was so true.  We were told that Darwin loved visiting Australia, and I can see why.

 

The "Blue Mountains" of Australia

July 11, 2013

I knew of the “Blue Ridge” near Washington DC.  But I did not know there was a “Blue Mountains” in Australia.  We learned of this wonderful area when we came to Australia.  A short drive from Sydney, this beautiful area was well worth a day’s trip on a tour we took. 

As our fascinating tour driver told us, these mountains really are hills to be honest – about 1100Km.  Nevertheless they are gorgeous.  They get their name because when the sun is shining bright – mostly in the su...


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Australia, the Aussies, “G’Day”, “Mates” and “No Worries”

July 11, 2013

After we experienced the first part of our trip visiting South Korea and enjoying the hospitality of the wonderful Koreans, and enjoying their food, we had to wonder if it was possible if there would be a significant let-down when we’d get to Australia.  Would the people seem less friendly?  Would the food seem not so amazing as in Korea?

Well, it is of course very hard to compare.  One thing Shirley and I love about traveling, as we told each other several times, is it is an adventure.  E...


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International Health Economics

July 11, 2013

The purpose of our trip to Sydney was to present papers at the 9th International Health Economics Association (iHEA).  This is one of my favorite conferences, where I can interact with fellow health economists, and there now is a sister organization, ASHE (American Society of Health Economics).  I have attended most of the iHEA meetings, but this is the first one that Shirley has attended, so it was great for her to make this one.

We both presented papers at this one, so that was fun.  Shirl...


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The Great Barrier Reef

July 11, 2013

One of the goals of our trip was to see the magnificent Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Often described as one of the great wonders of the world, we did not want to visit Australia without seeing this.  Of course, one of the challenges anyone faces in visiting Australia is seeing much of the country, because it is so vast.  Most people from the U.S. don’t have much exposure to Australia, especially the geography of the country, but when you focus on visiting, you realize the size of the co...


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A Night at the Opera

July 11, 2013

Perhaps Sydney’s greatest landmark – at least that I knew of before I came here – was its Opera House, pictured here.  So for sure this was on the list of places we wanted to go and visit, or at least see.  Oh course it can be seen from a lot of places given its prime location at the tip of one of the peninsulas overlooking the Sydney Harbor. When we went in to take a look at the Opera House, I mentioned to Shirley that it would be fun to actually see an Opera there.  Lo and behold, the...


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Winter [?] in Australia and Beautiful Sydney

July 11, 2013

So one of the challenges of our trip may have seemed that we’d be traveling from the hot summer in Seoul, South Korea, to the winter in Sydney, Australia.  Although it was a bit cold on the first day we arrived, and raining, we have to say that if winter in Australia is anything like what we experienced while we were here… wow. We could handle this!  Most of the time it was rather pleasant, at least in Sydney.  During the day it was between 60-70 degrees days and sunny most days, as you w...


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Korea: the DMZ, a stunning, sobering, fascinating place

July 3, 2013
Perhaps one of the main places we wanted to visit in Korea is the DMZ (demilitarized zone).  I have always been interested in history and politics, and the history of this place is of course fascinating, sad and tragic.  Of course the recent events have made this even more fascinating, and a tad bit scary.  We even worried whether we would be allowed to visit the DMZ (or even take our trip altogether) given what was happening with N. Korea.  But things seem to have been quieting down, so we t...
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Korea (and Asia): A Wonderful Experience of Food, Culture, Sound...

July 3, 2013
One overwhelming experience that I least I describe to people who ask me about what it is like to visit Asia (and admittedly I am not the most experienced visitor, but I have been to China now four times, Japan once, and Korea now once) is that visiting these countries is so wonderful because everything is so different, but in almost all cases, if you let yourself enjoy it, so wonderful.  Especially the food, oh my, the food.  And the people (as I have described before below about the Koreans...
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Seoul: A City of Contrasts: History, Modern Techonology

July 2, 2013

After the IAGG conference work was done, Shirley and I really enjoyed doing some sightseeing in Seoul.  Seoul is a fascinating city.  At first glance, the city seems very modern.  It does not seem like an ancient city at all; it seems very modern.  Our first reaction is that it seemed like a modern U.S. city, like Los Angeles or San Diego (except all the signs were in Korean!).  After I had been there for a while I told Shirley it reminded me of San Francisco sometimes, because of the hills a...


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About Me


Timothy McBride Timothy D. McBride, Ph.D. is a Professor at the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis. Here you can find musings on health policy and other issues. mcbridetd@gmail.com

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