Saturday, December 03, 2005

The secret location of the batcave

G’day mate,

Or at least that’s one of the greetings they use down here in Australia.

I haven’t posted for a while due to our travel schedule and lack of easy internet access in some locations.

Our travel schedule includes stops in Surfers Paradise (near Brisbane), Palm Cove (near Cairns), Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney.

Since we are only here for about 23 days total we are flying between each destination instead of driving.

So far, our flights have gone off without a hitch except for one on the very first day.  We flew from Seattle, WA to Los Angeles CA. Then we were to transfer planes and fly from Los Angeles to Brisbane, Australia.  AT MIDNIGHT! And then we were to arrive in Australia 1 whole day and 6 hours later (its actually only about 13 hours but with the timezone difference you move ahead an entire day and a bit).

Well, our flight out from Los Angeles was cancelled. So we ended up staying in a hotel that night and left at 9:00am the following day.

By the way, despite this glitch, I highly recommend Quantas airlines for travel to and within Australia.  They apologised sincerely for the fact that the plane never made it to LA, had already arranged to put us up in a local hotel, gave us meal vouchers for dinner and breakfast, planned transportation to and from the airport and the hotel and gave us overnight bathroom kits with pyjamas, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc…

We’ve been in other situations where an airline cancelled a flight and we were basically left to figure out what to do until the next flight on our own.

Plus the flight crew was great and there was lots to do on the plane, multiple movies, music, and even video games.  And every flight within Australia has left pretty much on time and its a breeze to get through the checkin and security process.  It probably took no more than 15 minutes each time.  Anyway enough about Quantas.  Just kudos for them as an airline who has got it figured out!

Oh, and Australia is absolutely beautiful! 

We’re in Adelaide right now and will be going to see Sydney next.  But every place we’ve visited has been wonderful.  Tons of natural beauty, history, friendly people and fun cities. 

So far we’ve toured, walked the beach and done some shopping in Surfer’s Paradise.

Visited the Great Barrier Reef near Palm Cove and spent a day touring Kuranda, a village in the rainforest and Tjapukai, an aboriginal cultural park near Cairns. We also spent an evening visiting a local zoo at night where we saw traditional Australian animals like Kangaroos, Crocodiles and Koalas. 

In Melbourne, we saw the opening ceremonies and part of the events for the Pacific International School games, visited the Melbourne market (a huge outdoor market with a diverse collection of articles for sale), went to see the worlds smallest penguins return to their nesting grounds one evening at Phillip Island, took a river boat cruise down the Yarra river and went to visit Williamstown and just hung out next to the Yarra in the Southbank area. Oh, and as I mentioned in the title of this post, I discovered the secret location of the batcave.  Here’s a picture:

Batcave location

Ok, well maybe this has more to do with Australia’s interest in Cricket (a game like baseball yet very different). I don’t know but I thought the street might be named after something related to it.  But I thought the picture was cool :-)

In Adelaide, so far, we went on a private wine tour in the Barossa valley and visited some less well know wineries.  But they were all great!  Today, we’ll just be exploring the city and then tomorrow we’ll fly to Sydney.

And here’s a few other pictures from our trip so far. I’ll post a lot more pictures when I return home.

Surfers Paradise Beach

This is the beach at surfers paradise.  Beautiful.

Some fish at the Great Barrier Reef

This is an actual underwater shot of some fish at the Great Barrier Reef

Koala at the Night Zoo near Cairns

And here is a picture of a friendly Koala at the Night Zoo we toured near Cairns.

By the way, I just wanted to say hi to a couple of people on my list from Australia.  G’day to Paul Niederer and Wayne George.  You guys live in an awesome country (even if you do drive on the wrong side of the road :-)

With all the travel time we’ve had I have been reading several books which I can recommend to you.  The first is “Marketing Secrets of a Mail Order Maverick – Stories and Lessons on the Power of Direct Marketing to Start a Successful Business, Create a Famous Brand Name and Sell Any Product or Service” by Joe Sugarman.  If you don’t know Joe, he’s a legend in the direct mail community.  You may have heard of Blublocker sunglasses, one of his more famous promotions.

This is the second book of 2 in a series.  The first is called Advertising Secrets of the Written Word which I own but haven’t read yet.

Anyway, the book contains great stories which illustrate key marketing lessons and principles that Joe has learned in his career and then goes on to discuss them in detail.  The material in the book has previously only been available in seminars that Joe charged anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 for.  Joe’s writing style is clear and entertaining.  And while the book is definitely slanted towards direct marketing the lessons are definitely applicable to any type of sales and marketing including internet marketing.

I’ve only finished reading section one (upto page 170) but I can still recommend the book. I’ve learned a lot already. The book is a hard cover and runs around $40.00.  But this still seems pretty cheap for the information you get. Here’s a link for amazon.com:

Marketing Secrets of a Mail Order Maverick

The other books I’ve been reading have nothing to do with marketing but are part of a great series.  It’s a historical fiction series. The names of the books are:

Quicksilver” by Neal Stephenson
The Confusion” by Neal Stephenson
The System Of The World” by Neal Stephenson

If you like reading historical fiction about people like Isaac Newton, John Locke, Robert Hooke, Gottfried Leibniz and the history of Natural Philosophy or even the time period in which it all occurs you will enjoy these books.  But I warn you now, each book is nearly 1000 pages each!  I just finished the 3rd and final book and really enjoyed them. 

Here are links for amazon.com

Quicksilver
The Confusion
The System Of The World

I’ll try to post again soon, when we reach our next travel point.

Until then…

Best in Big Ticket Success (from Australia)

-Chuck