Friday, January 11, 2019

The Austrian changes colours (and citizenship)

Friday, January 11, 2019 0
oldbearnews editor


Did you hear about the chap who got arrested for spying - he carried 5 valid passports and the reason given was - which person would carry 5???  Two are understandable - maybe even 3 in some circumstances - but 5????

Usually - you would associate a passport with citizenship - eg being a citizen of a particular country.  Of course - here in 2018/9 the issue of citizenship and changes thereof along with Immigration are a very hot and contemptuous  topic.  People have moved around - always since we climbed down from the tree and started to walk upright!  It is what defines us as humans - the thirst for discovery and new things and places.  We have a curious quest for discoveries.  So ever since we left that proverbial tree we moved around the country side - often just for no other reason then a new source of meat / berries etc and other times simply because we could.  Back in those days - humanity was way less then 1 billion folks - so a rare breed. In some places you could move for years and not meet another human.   Then folks discovered that actually right here is not a bad place - plenty of meat walking by or grazing permanently and lots of seasonal greenery - eventually learning to move from Hunter-gatherer to being Farmer. The need to move around and keep hunting / gathering was replaced with a "security" for your survival by having a source of food permanently and plentiful close by.  The Farmers quickly learned that their particular patch of earth is worth something so needed or wanted to protect that and themselves and voila - the first Wall was build around their own settlement - in order to keep themselves save and intruders (both in animals and other humans) out.

Sounds familiar???? 

Today we have many tribes scattered  around the globe - and of course all still have a  "border-wall" - a means of controlling who can and cannot simply walk in.  Each tribe had several "crossing points" or in the olden days - GATES - which you crossed every-time you wanted to leave your village or city or country thus controlling who was allowed in and out and stay.  In that sense nothing - and I do mean nothing has changed since the olden days when we build fences around our 3 or 5 huts.

What defined you as being a citizen of that particular group of people? Usually your birth.  Eg you were born into that community.  In some cases travelers would arrive and an exchange of goods and services as well as ideas on almost anything would take place at a mutual agreeable time and fashion.  Sometimes that traveler would meet someone rather special or fill a need and stay beyond a friendly meet and greet time - and eventually settle down in the new village/town etc.  In doing so said traveler would become part of the new community - warts and all.  Contribution by the 'immigrant' to the greater good was a given.

In my case - I met a Kiwi Girl who innocently flattered her eyelids and said to me - 'You do me'!  I got hitched and after a while we made a decision to stay in the great Kiwi-land!  I was always known as 'That Austrian'!  Which is quite natural - after all the locals who lived here for generations would always see me (for as long as they live) as the dude who came from another country.  Certainly at first.  Then there is my accent - seems it is still a bit unusual - even though I now speak perfectly kiwi lingo and given my heritage away.  However after 30 years of living here  - it was time to make it official.  Basically you give up your rights as a dude from one tribe and pledge to part of the new group of people.  Sounds simple??  yes and no!!

In my case - I had to give up my Austrian citizenship.   That's Ok!  There was a time when you could have dual citizenship - and the rules changed at least once if not 2 or 3 times.  Other countries will be more forgiving.  Personally - I cannot see how you can serve two masters at the same time - especially if they are so far apart - so no problemo for me in this matter. 
In short - I went from red- white-red to black and white!! Also I am pretty sure I done my bit for the greater good in the new living place.

Globalization, mass tourism, ease of travel and communication across the globe  challenge all of the old established understandings (citizenship / hospitality etc)  and the various systems established which we have developed and are commonly and instinctively understood (ingrained even) ever since we climbed down from that proverbial tree.  It is not too surprising that some tribes close-up shop.
Change is never easy.
So they go back to the familiar and comfort.  After all - even in to-days world - your local tribal identity still defines you.  The only question remaining is: - will we always be a planet with lots of local tribes and identity or will we move into a truly global single tribe?

These are interesting times we live in.




Have fun! bear print

Monday, December 3, 2018

annual christmas letter 2018

Monday, December 3, 2018 0
oldbearnews editor





Christchurch, NZ – November 2018

C H A N G E S ! !

    Changes - always things change – your weather / life / health / waistline :) yes that too! Generally speaking, most folks dislike the changes. Some happenings are good changes. One change that is not going to happen is Mama-bear writing the annual Christmas-epistle. Seems she thinks I am so great with the words that she just “delegates” this task . . . :P

    
Well – this year has seen a number of changes for us. Reinhold did go to the 7 night Scout camp in Staveley last January– and instead of sleeping in a tent – he bunked out in the newly acquired “Bear-mobile”! He then left scouting – having received his Bronze Tiki award for 15 years of excellent service to the movement. Which meant that Reinhold is more at home and not always away with Scouts – a change that took Mamabear a bit of getting used to. Seems she enjoyed the “peace and quiet” at home, while still missing Reinhold’s presence!



     The Bear-mobile then got used on a number of occasions for various trips away – 7 nights in Alexandra / Wanaka and a couple of times at least to our favorite South Island spot – Tekapo.
Thus – we went from sleeping in motels to sleeping on wheels – another change for us. Pam getting used to the “camping” bit and enjoying the home comforts away from home.

     Michael has a passion for Film – photography so we had a couple of nights in Tekapo and did the “capture the Milky-way” on film thing. Very cold and challenging. Mama-bear needed to be exposed to a winter camping experience too– so again we went to Tekapo and plugged the Motorhome into power and spent 2 nights there. Comfy if refreshing!!

     Michael seems to recover well and his weekly check-ups went to fortnightly to monthly. Eventually he was cleared to go back to work and so he started half days – eventually making it to full time by mid-year of 2018. He’s since had his triple-immunity shots (which knocked him a bit back) but seems to be handling everything ok.

     Jonathan enjoyed his time in Japan and had fun ‘tunnelling’ in the snow. Locally the area there seems to get anything from 2-15 meters of snow annually. Once he had returned to New Zealand – he applied for a job in Queenstown as ski – instructor – and just missed out on that. Still he managed to pick a job in the ski-hire business – kitting out the day tourists and sending them to the right ski-instructor for their lessons as well as occasionally giving lessons or helping out with the ski-lift!

   
  Mr and Mrs Bear decided to have another change and we booked ourselves a mid-winter holiday at the tropical Island of Rarotonga. The lowest temp there was 22 degrees at night compared to Christchurch at 2degrees!! Very enjoyable and relaxing – especially the 4pm happy hour time – where we had fun testing the various cocktails! We also had a natural alarm-clock – the local roosters, which seem to come to life by 4 or 5 am!!! Stayed where Pam’s Mum and Dad used to stay so that was interesting and emotional to see the places and meet the staff that remembered them.

     
   
The most important change for us happened in Sep. Reinhold finally decided to make an “honest woman” out of his wife and applied for NZ Citizenship. Not a given – still eventually it got approved and the official “swearing in’ ceremony was held on 25 Sep. This would be the only time Reinhold was allowed to swear at – no wait urm - with no- hmmm ok – FOR ol’ Lizzy (the Queen) :) Reinhold has lived in NZ for 34 years so you understand the comments from his family - “About time it happened” !!

    Highlights for Pam have been watching Michael get better and being able to take breaks in the camper.


Merry Christmas and a Happy 2019 for you all.



Have fun! bear print

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Chemtrails not working in Raratonga

Saturday, August 18, 2018 0

oldbearnews editor




Day 8 - leaving day!


 Got on with things in good time (breakkie etc) and had unit empty by 9am - dropped bags at reception and took car into 'town' for the Saturday Market!  Same as in Riccarton - lots of clothing and jewellery - and lots of various foods! Market starts at 8 am and goes till lunch time so easily could provide breakfast and lunch.  Bought some stuff for the boys!
Also saw this schooner out in the open sea - yet no one seemed to know anything about it - and it must have sailed right past it - did not enter the harbor - weird!!
Then tanked the car and gave it back to the rental folks - then had lunch at the diary (on the beach) and then walked to the Lagoon Breeze Villas for our pick up - more waiting.  Bus arrived EARLY and we got dropped of at the Airport - only one counter operating at times and slow checking in - all manual!!! Eventually - more waiting - plane late boarding and slight detour - arrived in Auckland - night time - and had to rush to get through customs etc - turn around so tight - did not make the connecting flight to Chch and got bumped to the next flight - still had to run even then to catch that.
Michael picked us up and after some prelim unpacking fell into bed at 11pm.  NO ROOSTERS at night time!!!!!!   Yussss

This little dude made himself at home under one of my shoes - which we always left outside our unit (no point in dragging in the sand) so had to be careful lifting and putting on our footwear! 
 The local group doing a fundraiser and a demo.  Like most natives in many countries they try and keep old traditions going!  It was more fun listening to the Dude who made the introductions - he had a knack of weaseling out your $$$$ from you in a funny humorous and yet challenging way!

 There is an art to beat the drums not to mention the wiggling of your hips!
 Some of the many stalls - anything from fresh fruit and veggies to lots of cloths etc . . . .
 Some stalls are more permanent structures and can be open from time to time during the rest of the week - depending on how the owner feels about it on any given day . . . .

I got the impression that more money changed hands on that morning then during the rest of the week!  If you go hungry or empty - your look out!!!















Impressions from our trip:
  • More chickens then local people but still no KFC! 
  • All chicken are wandering free - and been kept in check by cats / dogs wandering free!  
  • There must be native birds around- have not seen any though (in fact the only TWO feathered birds we saw were the chickens (if you can call them a bird) and the "Myna" which is a native of India.
  • Lots of ants / chucks / sun!   
  • There is not always Blue Sky! 
  • NOT a single Seagull's has been seen at all!!!!   
  • Shops / and indeed most of the island are closed on Sundays! 
  • People friendly and always on Island time! 
  • POT-holes!!  50 km speed restrictions necessary or you "bounce out" of the road!  
  • Beaches publicly  accessible only in a few places! 
  • There is a 2.8% net emigration  (meaning the population decreases over time with Births not keeping up with Deaths and people leaving the island to seek fame and fortune)!  That shows in some of the family plots / sections with half built houses or existing houses falling into very bad repair.  Complicating the matter is the notion that only native Cook Islanders can 'own' land!   Population sits at 12 000 as of 2011 Census - with approx 60 000 being overseas . . . (imagine if they all want to come back to the Island!!!)
  • Tourism is a big earner - annually there are 200 000 folks visiting - that brings its own complications (Water and Electricity are a scarce commodity) 
  • Have seen more solar panels in Raratonga then in all of New Zealand 
  •  Almost EVERYTHING has to be imported - making some things expensive
  • Family/tribal affiliations are still ingrained (shows in that the burial of your family members is your task - there seems to be  no "central" Cemetery - lots of raised graves on the family land!)  www.cookislandsnews.com/lack-of-land-grave-matter








Is it happy hour yet??? 

Hmmmm we have to save our pennies for a trip to Europe in 2019 - then after that we could go back there- maybe in the rainy season?!?!?!?!?!




Have fun! bear print

Friday, August 17, 2018

Chemtrails not working in Raratonga

Friday, August 17, 2018 0
oldbearnews editor



Day 7


Usual breakfast - Mamabear catching up on news via local paper- informative especially if paying attention to the growing Chinese influence in the Pacific! Eventually back to unit for clean up etc and then took car into town for souvenir supplies - having accidentally opened one of the gifts (moisturizer) which I used on my skin!

Then leisurely  drive round the island - again - and stopped at the place where the 7 canoes set of, to sail and to find NZ! - Back home for lunch and now just leisure time - or should that be pacific island time - or early happy hour?

Rugby on overnight (1AM Cook Island time) so will get the result in the AM tomorrow!  Go the Ab's!!!!





He came - wagged his tail - and flopped - and stayed until we got up and left! Nice Doggy! 

                          Just need a glass of bubbly  - almost serene!! 

We got up to some shenanigans - well - we drunk some anyhow! naturally Mamabear had to try it - purple and all!!! 

It is meant to be a layered drink - all I remember - it was alcoholic and very nice/

Everyday we made a beach - scene arrangement - much to the amusement of the bar-staff!!  It helped the other day with some of the other guests offering us their mini-umbrellas . . . .


Last night here - sighs!!!!









Have fun! bear print

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Chemtrails not working in Raratonga

Thursday, August 16, 2018 0
oldbearnews editor

Day 6


The usual breakfast - almost. 
A new crowd arrived the previous day so it was rather full to start with.  Thus Rachael and Logan - the young couple next to us-  felt comfy enough to ask if they could share our table with us for breakfast! One certainly makes new friends when going to the Lagoon Breeze!  After that we bought more data for our internet use (just so I can find out the rugby result (NZ vs Aus) - followed by the usual getting ready for the day and then off to town for information and a hike up one of the trails / walks.
To hot and muggy and almost all tracks closed due to poor maintenance and mud! So headed home via some souvenir shops and had early-ish lunch - then grabbed the last kayak from reception and headed for the local beach where 
mamabear in a suitable oversized live jacket went for a paddle - up and down the coast and out towards the reef - seeing lots of various fish and some very blue starfish! She was very pleased with herself - having stayed in the boat and not getting an early bath!!!!  Way to go old girl!!   I had some time on the water too. 

Back to unit eventually and a cool dip in the pool and back to catch up on news and pics and rest - before heading out to the Market at Muri for dinner!  Looks like we might see some rain (again) - it has been building grey in grey all day long!
Market at Muri is similar to Chch Riccarton Market - except less or virtually no craft stalls - food stalls plenty though - had pancake with Nutella/Banana and Bailyes Cream for afters -- yumm yumm! 

Back home and turned on the overhead heli for some fresh air in our unit - and found paper-slip with thanks and email address from Rachael and Logan - nice surprise!!!  Must send them the promised pic' and perhaps the link to the blog?! 

Was woken again at 1 am with these damn roosters making some more noise!!! Yesterday night they had a Mexican wave going - the wave going past our place.  You could hear a far away rooster doing his cluck cluck and then the rest down the chain followed suit - the noise going past our place and dissapearing of to the left . . . . . .

Also had a very clucky (egg-laying?) chuck right outside our window at 5am!!  (Turns out that a local stray cat had her last chick for her breakfast - so yeah understandably the local hen was upset)   Given that they chucks run freely and are everywhere it is surprising that KFC has not come here for business!!  At least I can now fluently speak 'chicken'!  New Chuck whisperer????  Mamabear amused by my newly gained skill!!  Also are frequently reminded of the old story in our family where my brother (all of 4 or 5 years old) once said that they must be American chickens - as they keep calling " Coca-Colaaaaaaaaaaa"  -- very funny!!


 Just to prove it - Mamabear eating what is essentially a Chinese dish - fried noodles with Pork!!  Must be a day for Firsts!!!


 Not to be out-done on the Dessert front - Mama-bear ordered a rather large and rich Banana/Caramel Cheesecake!!  The bakery certainly had the longest ques!!

Found this and thought of a certain young chap who might appreciate a new toy!?!?!?!?!
 Of course mama-bear was drawn to the baker stand for dessert - apart from the sweet stuff- it was decked out in Purple - 'nugh said!

 Not much of a sunset though- so we did the salute thing and then headed back - raindrops were beginning to fall.  Again - the 0800sunnytourist thing would have been of no help at all . . . .

 The table-top in our unit - as is a lot of things there - woven from local palm-tree leaves (and it had a glass top to protect it)
Lol - it is so warm here year round,  that the shops sell their chocolate from inside fridges (to keep them from melting)   I had my supply of Bounty Bars and had those in the fridge too!! - only - once you open it - they gain condensation.
So you had a choice - wait for it to dry of - or eat quickly! :)






Night all



Have fun! bear print

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Chemtrails not working in Raratonga

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 0
oldbearnews editor



Day 5




<-----One of the Locals - just hanging about! :) 

The day started well enough.  We went to breakfast as usual and - I could possibly have it let slip to the staff - totally accidental of course -  that a certain female bear has her Birthday today! 'Wink wink nudge nudge'.  So it was a surprise to her that a public announcement was made and all the guests and staff sung yet another rendition of "Happy Birthday"!  Mamabear then informs me that this is enough (of a 'remembering' and 46 hours of celebrations) to wipe "that incident" from Paris from the collective memory of the Muller tribe!  Time to let it go! 

From there we decided to hire a car after all.  Eventually got that picked up at lunchtime (Island time again) and we headed straight away to the "Public Gardens".   The "Gardens" as such are still on private land - as is all land in a local Cook Islander hands (and it can never be sold to an "outsider".)  They certainly have done a lot of plantings since they had the land. The other attraction of course was that they also had a cafe (who doesn't there at the moment?!) and so we had lunch first before strolling through the plantings.  A new fruit was on my salad plate and we had a taste - it was very bitter.  We asked what it was and surprise surprise - it was the baby-coconut-palm-tree!  The fruit - once it falls to the ground does re-seed it self and as such "eats itself" for the new growth and taking root.  Ha - that was a first - eating a baby-fruit!
The Gardens itself are an interesting set-up - or should that be lay-out?!  They had a folder on the table that showed all the flowers via pics they have taken over the years.  Still - we are there at what is essentially winter time so very little of the flowers showed!  We did however see lots of different palm trees!













A couple of ponds with various fish in it and of course some Lilies!!  Had to snap a pic and show a friend of mine!!!








From there it was on towards the "Te Ara Cook Islands Museum of Cultural Enterprise".  Very informative and the Missionaries certainly have a lot of explaining to do!  Interesting that the national flag changed colors 4 times at least - this sample being the previous one! New Zealand could learn from that!!  Anyway - just saying - the place was a ton of information and mamabear learnt that the early sailors could tell where an Island 'might be' in the Pacific by dipping their hands in the ocean and working out the changes in current (that the land mass would create ) - a knowledge that was very specific to only one person (and could not be passed on as such) - with very sensitive skin on his hands!! 

So no GPS and they still can sail around 3000km (in 800BC no less) and find the land they are looking for - no mean feat!! The other thing we learned was (thanks to Mr Google and the staff who did not know either but wanted to find out ) what the "FOTS2" meant on the local map we were carrying.  Seems it is - drumm roll please - 'ratatatatatata'  Fibre-Optic-Transmission-Service - with the number indication its location - they had 9 in total.  Presumably it is a little cabinet from which the locals get their (internet) fiber service. 



From there - on towards the main town!  We can now claim to have been once around the whole island.  We stopped for groceries and some other "liquid" supplies and  then drove back home for a home cooked meal. Very nice pasta dish!! yummm!   Before that, we caught up with the young couple next door and eventually after some friendly chat, we all ended up on beach for nice sunset and celebratory drinks. (We had to explain our 'tradition' to them! )  They probably think we are nuts - so what - who cares?!?!?!?!   Post dinner we sat outside chatting and slurping till late ! Very relaxing!!

Mamabear bringing to an end her 46 Hours of Birthday celebrations with a nice hug!  :) 










 Have fun! bear print
 
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