Dear diary… remember me?

Been a while since I blogged here. Let’s be honest, no one who takes themselves seriously has “blogged” since about 2003.

Gerard's starting another journal againLike many creative kids, I was constantly starting journals or diaries, promising myself that this would be the one I would write in every single day forever. That’s how I ended up with a drawer full of exercise books that began with “OK, THIS will be the diary that I write in every single day forever.”

(And there WAS a drawerful of exercise books. Pick up from where I left off? Are you mad? There must be a nice, crisp, new page 1. Pages 2 onwards, of course, remain blank. Forever.)

The best thing I did the last time I started a journal was to promise myself that it didn’t matter how much time elapsed in between each entry. It means I now have a journal that lurches forward in time in enormous bounds, never getting bogged down with self-flagellation over the gap, nor mocking itself with hollow promises to be a better diarist in future.

It’s a wild ride, exciting or thoughful moments in time with no connection to each other. I do wish the gaps weren’t so large. It changes noticeably from the journal of a young man experiencing a series of doomed and often unrequited romances to that of an almost-middle-aged man mourning departed friends more often than he would have hoped. But along the way he’s suddenly happily married to a previously unmentioned woman, so at least that worked out.

All this is to say that I don’t see any reason why my blog should be any different. I’ve been busy, that’s all. Plus, I went pro, writing a few articles for the good people at The Hoopla. It shut down soon afterwards, so let that be a lesson to you all.

The articles were archived for a while, but now they’ve gone forever. Why would you worry about that? Who are you? Why are you still checking in on my blog a year and a half after my last entry? You’re weird. I like you.

It’s nice to be back. See you in three years.

Which Country Will Take You To This Island Paradise For Free?

(or Why Not To Make Vacation Plans Based On A Facebook Link)

NauruHeaderMy Facebook page these days is a lot less about what my friends are up to, and a lot more about tedious clickbait links like ’59 Facts About Children And Monkeys That Will Blow Your Mind – #34 Made My Ovaries Explode!’ and so on. Exactly the sort of thing I’d be writing if I wasn’t currently gainfully employed making fun of Justin Bieber for television.

This morning I was admittedly distracted by Distractify’s ’40 Incredible Secret Places Most Travelers Don’t Know About. The Last One Blew Me Away…’ page, compiled by one Mella Noha, which was full of beautiful photos of pretty places. (The last one was Monument Valley in Utah, which didn’t blow me away because I knew about it.)

Congratulations to Australia’s tiny neighbour, Nauru, for being third on the page! Click the image to appreciate the image and relish the write-up.

Nauru1

What the article doesn’t tell you is: you can get to this “island paradise” with “miles of untouched beaches and forests” FOR FREE!

How? Simply take a boat to Australia and exercise your right under the UN Refugee Convention to apply for asylum!

Nauru is one of the islands to which the Australian Government sends asylum seekers who arrive in its territorial waters – although usually it just gives them a better boat and turns them back out to sea. (At least, we think that’s what’s happening. Australian citizens aren’t allowed to know what their government is doing, because its leaders seem to believe a run-of-the-mill issue of border administration is a “war”.)

Why Nauru? The answer is a complicated mix of politics, racism, sociology, pragmatism, people-smuggling, and international law. It amounts to the Australian Government declaring that those found to be genuine refugees will never be settled in Australia, and better get used to their new homes, which are third-world countries, dependent on Australian aid, and even less keen on absorbing the new arrivals than Australia.

That doesn’t matter right now. The important thing is that you can get to the tropical island paradise of Nauru FOR FREE!

Just one thing you should know. That’s not Nauru in the photo. The scene in the photo is the Adaaran Club in the Maldives. It’s the fifth photo in the resort’s homepage slideshow.

Adaaranwww.adaaran.com

The real Nauru is a wasteland resulting from the strip-mining of its natural phosphate resources. Here’s a satellite image. Have fun looking for the untouched bits.

Nauru_satelliteCourtesy: U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program

 

If you’re still interested in visiting this island paradise and would like to beat the hoards of tourists lured there by Distractify, click here to peruse your accommodation options.

So, Nauru or the Maldives this winter? It’s true the Republic of Maldives has a few lingering human rights issues, though it’s been drifting in the right direction of late. But at least the Adaaran Club will let you in, which is something I can’t guarantee will happen in Nauru.

But it’s not all bad news. If the Australian Government doesn’t turn your boat back out to sea, and you end up on Nauru, you’ve won the lottery. Because the alternative is Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, where recently a detainee was killed after guards attacked asylum seekers.

You can find Manus Island on Distractify’s list of ’40 Incredibly Secret Places The Australian Government Doesn’t Want Travellers To Know About!’

14 Of My Favourite Things

HillsW

‘The Sound of Music’ is a classic. But it is too long. If Oscar Hammerstein II had written for a 21st-century website like Buzzfeed, or one of the “news” sites now forfeiting news for click-bait, then he could have delivered the same ideas in a more efficient manner. With this in mind, I am rewriting The Sound of Music for the internet. Here is a sample. I think you will agree that it is an infinitely better work. Thanks, internet!

14 Of My Favourite Things

1. Raindrops on roses

2. Whiskers on kittens

3. Bright copper kettles

4. Warm woollen mittens

5. Brown paper packages tied up with strings

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6. Cream-coloured ponies

7. Crisp apple strudels

8. Doorbells

9. Sleigh bells

10. Schnitzel with noodles

11. Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

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12. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

13.Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

14. Silver white winters that melt into springs

 

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 with apologies to Rodgers & Hammerstein