Travel places to avoid

30 04 2012

Some people collect countries like scalps. And not every country has the same value. The more touristy, the less value. The more perceived danger, the more value. Even if you missed the “danger” period by a decade or more. And so I claim Egypt, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa – more exotic and exciting than England, New Zealand, Singapore (but no less enjoyable). We did manage to time our visit to Egypt six months after the hand grenade attack on the tourist bus outside the Cairo Museum, and six months before the machine-gun attack on the tomb of Hat-sep-Chut (which I know I have misspelled). The most exciting thing that occurred while we were in Egypt was the 18-year-old armed youth on National Service as tourist police who tried to pick me up in the Cairo Museum (“Come with me and I’ll show you the Tomb of Ramses II” – an original line, if nothing else.) The fact that I was walking with my boyfriend seemed to be irrelevant. (NB: Tourist Police are supposed to guard the tourists – most of them seemed to be 18, carrying loaded weapons and on National Service. Their impressions of western women – and I generalise here – seemed to be somewhat jaundiced. While as Australians, we were somewhat nervous being watched and guarded by armed guards, the South Africans we were travelling with were relieved and said they would be much less comfortable of the guards had not been there.)

The following picture was sent to me at work. I can’t quite work out the “logic” or criteria for allocating each cause of death to each country, but I note that China does not feature as having a notable cause of death. Perhaps the source of their longevity? Not sure the same can be said for much of Central Africa, which also appears not to have any specific notable deaths. And in sheer numbers, shark attacks really do not feature that highly in Australia, despite what we might tell tourists. (Diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and cancer feature more highly, as in many western countries, including England, another notable left off the list.)

And seriously – death by lawnmower in the US? Is that not an episode of Six Feet Under?

Like some more Australian KULCHA (culture) abroad? Try Australians abroad.





Fitness campaign

22 10 2011

photo credit H@rpoon


Despite very convincing previous postings (12,000 steps and Reasons I should be exercising), you will be surprised to find that I have not in fact been inspired to exercise. Perhaps the recent posting Reasons I should be allowed to eat what I want may have been the give-away clue.

So I have finally bitten the bullet and seen an exercise physiologist.

Now I have to say, I am a relatively educated person, and I have worked in the health industry for many years. I know about Type II diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, cholesterol, lifestyle risk factors, Syndrome X etc. I’ve read the women’s magazines, taken the quizzes and enrolled in Weight-Watchers (a number of years ago when, in retrospect, I really didn’t need it). So I think I know quite a lot about diet, exercise, metabolism etc. Fundamentally, I know what I am supposed to do, I just don’t do it.

I have also seen the various internet adverts promising the “secret exercise tricks” that can help you lose weight rapidly without having to spend hours exercising. Now much as these ads had my name all over them, I did resist sending any money to find out the secret exercise tricks. I am sceptical about miracle cures, much as I would really love to see one (use one and be the living proof).

Well, turns out there is such a thing as a secret exercise trick – and I will reveal it here! With no guarantees, as I haven’t actually tried it yet, but a very convincing exercise physiologist showed me the graphs and some pretty diagrams which he highlighted appropriately as he explained it. So I am convinced.

The trick is actually to exercise like a sprinter, not an endurance runner. And since I am starting from a very (very) low level of fitness, this means interval training. Five repetitions of 30 seconds working at maximum capacity, interspersed with two minutes of low level exercise. All done and finished in fifteen minutes.

Apparently exercising like a sprinter means you use sugars while you are exercising, but your body resets to burn fats over the next two days. So I only have to do this 3 or 4 times a week. I can probably manage to motivate myself for that!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to send your money for this amazing fat-burning secret, please drop me a line and I’ll send you my PO Box.