Summery Friday

It was hot today: 33.5°C in Sydney. Summer has definitely arrived early. Not only is it unusually warm, but much of south-east Australia is in the worst drought in recorded history. Several towns are in imminent danger of their water supplies running completely dry. Dubbo, a large regional town announced upgrading to Level 4 water restrictions this week, which makes showers longer than 5 minutes illegal and all watering of lawns illegal. Sydney is currently on Level 1 water restrictions but it probably won’t be long before we start climbing the levels too.

Another big fear is bushfires. As the weather heats up towards summer, the dry vegetation all over south-eastern Australia is going to be at great risk. It’s been a couple of decades since the last disastrous level fires with tens of lives lost, but everyone is nervous about this summer.

I stayed in out of the heat today and tended to a stack of odd jobs I had piled up – literally – on my desk. I sorted through the pile of papers and paid some bills, filed some documents, organised things needed for my upcoming trip to Germany, and collated data collected from the laser experiment during my last school science visit. I calculated the wavelengths of the lasers we used from the interference patterns the kids traced and put it into a slideshow to show them on my next visit. It turned out that their sketching skills were not great, with some individual wavelengths being out by almost 100 nanometres, but luckily the averages of three measurements made with different slit configurations turned out to be within 9 nm (or under 2%) in each case. A good result, if honestly more by luck than careful measurement!

For dinner tonight my wife and I went to a French crepe place that we discovered recently. It’s run by four French immigrants who loved everything about Australia, except for the fact that they couldn’t find good crepes anywhere, so they decided to start their own restaurant. Both the savoury galettes and dessert crepes are really good, washed down with imported French cider. And outdoor seating, so Scully is allowed to sit with us.

New content today:

5 thoughts on “Summery Friday”

  1. Your mentioning your upcoming German excursion[1] reminded me: I’m going to be visiting New Zealand next year. First time in the Southern Hemisphere, first trans-Pacific flight for me. Any travel tips?

    I do know that you are as far from Wellington, New Zealand as I am from Havana, Cuba (almost exactly, actually). I’m just well aware that you do very long distance travel far more often than I do, and cross the Pacific routinely. Any travel tips for someone who has only made three passport-required trips as an adult? Would that be a worthy topic of some future blog post?

    1. Oops. The footnote:
      [1]Yes, the internal rhyme is intentional. Lately I have found myself using lots of alliteration and internal rhymes in my casual writing.

    2. My main tip is if you arrive any time other than late evening, do not go to sleep, no matter how tired you are. I force myself to stay awake until a natural bedtime in the arrival time zone, which means I have a better chance of sleeping well and not being wide awake at 3am. I usually just drop my bags at the hotel and immediately go out sightseeing to keep awake. (However this depends on your own reactions to jetlag – my method might not work for everyone.)

      I only ever take carry-on luggage any more. It saves an hour or so waiting for bags, and then waiting in the queues to go through customs. I can do a 3-week trip with just carry-on. An hour might not seem like much, but at the end of a long flight it makes a big difference.

      Drink water on the flight, and walk around the cabin a lot to keep your legs active.

      And my big tip for being in a foreign country: Get lost. Get away from the tourist zones, try local restaurants hidden in streets no tourist ever sees. Just wander at random – you never know what you’ll see.

      1. So, 3 weeks with carry-on. Clearly you aren’t packing 21 changes of underclothes. Do you pay exorbitant rates for hotel laundry? Hand-wash your unmentionables? Visit local laundrettes?

        1. Usually visit a laundrette and do a load of laundry while I sit and type up my travel diary. I have done both other options on occasion though.

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