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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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At the turn of the 19th century, the Hill 50 gold mine near Mt Magnet in Western Australia was the dominant mine in the area. It was regarded as a mine which would last forever. Through good times and bad, depressions and boom, its fortunes ebbed and waned. From it decline during the war years it raised itself back up to be Australia’s most profitable mine in the late 1950s.

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When Hill 50 closed in 1976, it had produced 1.4 million ounces of gold from 3.6 million tonnes of ore for a value of A$700 million.

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The once proud head frame stood silent witness as a procession of new owners tried their fortune.

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The years have seen the surrounding landscape torn apart in the relentless quest for gold until only a small island of what once was, remained.

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When the moon was full it was sometimes possible to glimpse the phantom miners as they started their shift and hear the strained protests of the old winder as it hauled it’s ghostly ore from the dark recesses below.

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Truly a piece of Australian mining history and a testament to the dogged determination and pioneering spirit of those that came before us.

So today……..

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    We blew it up!

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_EBT4769I spent a couple of nights up at Nanga Brook near Dwellingup (about an hour and a half south of Perth).  Tall trees, cool night air and solitude right on the banks of the Murray River.

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Nanga Brook runs throught the old township and in the late afternoon the chorus of birds and light playing off the water makes it a wonderfully peaceful place.

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Dubai - Dubai Mall 002        One thing that can’t be disputed is that Dubai has some amazing shopping centres.

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I mean who hasn’t thought at some point “You know what? While I’m down the shops picking up the paper and some bread I wouldn’t mind a spot of skiing or maybe a quick whizz around the ice rink”.

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Or maybe a roam through the aquarium while waiting for the hairdresser.

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and who could say no to a life size Predator?  I would so like to sneak him into the kids room in the middle of the night and leave him by their bed.

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and if you’re wondering how big they are…. let’s just say big enough to have their own in store taxi service 🙂

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I wanted to like Dubai, I really did.  So many people had told me how amazing it was that I thought it would be a case of love at first sight.  The exotic souks, the fragrant smells, the shopping, an ancient culture intertwined with the ultra-modern world all sounded so enticing.

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Unfortunately, to me, it turned out to be like one of those really disappointing ‘must see’ Hollywood Blockbusters.  You’ve heard all the hype, read the reviews, marvelled at its accumulation of accolades and been mesmerised by the glossy trailer all in HD and vivid colour.  You just can’t wait to get there and immerse yourself in it, only to quickly come to the realisation that you would have been better off staying at home and watched a repeat of Lethal Weapon on TV.

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Whether it’s the excitement of the buskers along the Strand in London, alfresco dining at some swank café on a Parisian street, the sweet stench of the ‘Coffee’ shops in Amsterdam or the hustle and bustle of the Hawkers markets in the evening at the Marina in Singapore, all cities have their own vibe, a collective energy that sets them apart and distinguishes from all the rest.  And that’s what I found missing in Dubai.  Under its sparkly veneer of ultra-modern shopping centres and high-rises there was….. nothing, a  city of indifference, seemingly devoid of soul, of energy, lacking in enthusiasm, with no sense of purpose where few people smiled and even fewer laughed.

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A final few photos from our cycling adventure through Holland and a mixed bag at that.  A life size version of Noah’s Ark (that actually floats and tours around the country), wild horses, practice bombs from WWII and more ‘out there’ buildings.   I hope we get the opportunity to get back there again someday and explore more of this amazing country.

 

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