Flying Papaya.

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Wake early. No breakfast. Wear sports clothes.

The extent of my orders.

My birthday treat would begin upon the arrival of a certain person at a certain hour at a certain hotel on the outskirts of Colima.

The certain hour passed. It’s Mexico.

I was permitted some papaya. Nothing more.

“Vamonos.” Our convoy set off.

We stopped at La Cumbre.

“Paragliding?”

“Si”

“Yeeees” I’d wanted to try it since I first saw them flying above the city.

Instructions. Strap in. Safety check.

“Corre!!!!”

So I ran. Then off.

“Yeeeeoooooh” the first few seconds were terrifying; then absolute peace.

We glided above the farms in the stillness of the sky.

My friends got smaller and smaller.

This was fantastic.

Then around in circles and up, up, up. More circles. We had to rise in order to reach the rendezvous point at the old airport. Over the city. Over my apartment.

Up and Up and around.

I started to feel nauseous.

Up and up.

More nauseas.

“What if I need to vomit?”

“Just not on my equipment” replied Santi, my guide.

“Umm. Ok.” Then it happened, papaya flying through the air onto the fields below.

I hoped it didn’t land on any of the cows. Not a good start to a Sunday morning.

Then again.

It was too much. I was too sick. 20 minutes into the flight we had to descend.

A great disappointment. A great reason to return.

To see old friends. To fly.

Without papaya.

Published on http://www.myholidayflashback.auspost.com.au, May 2016.

 

 

 

Lactic Intolerance Rates on the Rise Among Aussie Youth.

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A new report from the Australian Pediatric Society (APS) has found that the rate of intolerance to lactic acid among Australian youth has increased dramatically in recent years.

The disturbing findings from the nation’s peak youth medical body demonstrate a growing intolerance to the chemical which is released into the body during strenuous physical activity.

“Year by year, more young Australians are presenting as lactic intolerant” stated the report.

“This syndrome can be directly attributed to decreased levels of regular physical activity among Australian youth.”

The APS collected data from tests conducted at health facilities, sports clubs, school holiday camps and primary and secondary schools throughout the country.

Children aged from 5 – 18 were put through various tests such as running, jumping, and playing, which were designed to induce the build up of lactic acid in their muscles. It was discovered that most participants stopped the activity immediately upon feeling the effect of lactic acid in their system.

“The most common symptoms of lactic intolerance were whingeing, quitting, excuses, tiredness, collapsing, shortness of breath or the production of a letter from their parents explaining how their lactic intolerance prevented them from participating in any physical activity.” explained an APS spokesperson.

Feedback from sports teachers and recreation staff throughout the country confirmed these results, which indicate the potential for a national epidemic in years to come.

The APS also asked young people to complete surveys regarding physical activity and the answers indicated a severe restriction in the time and space for free play and a common perception that the outdoors was a place of danger.

Many also complained that there was no App that could cure them of their lactic intolerance.

Compounding the sobering statistics is the distressing revelation from the APS that the syndrome is on the rise despite a free, simple and remarkably accessible cure.

“Do some exercise.”

Parents whose children present with symptoms of lactic intolerance are advised to contact their local sports club immediately.

Sonny Bill Williams to Represent N.S.W. and Qld. in 2016 Origin.

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Code swapping footballer Sonny Bill Williams will play State of Origin for both New South Wales and Queensland as well as fighting a boxing match at half time of each game.

The proud Kiwi signed an historic contract during a meeting at The Clovelly Hotel, which will see him play Game 1 for NSW, Game 2 for Queensland and Game 3 for the state which has wrapped up the series, or which is first able to transfer funds into an account in Panama.

“I was talking to James Tamou, and he said, ‘Origin is sweet as bru’ – so I told my manager to get me a contract straight away” revealed Williams.

“I decided to play for both teams because fighting and conflict are not part of my core value system.”

The decision to assign Williams to NSW for Game 1 is believed to have been based on immediate merchandising considerations, rather than the need to bolster the Blues’ off-loading capabilities.

The unique contract also allows for Williams to continue playing Rugby Union for New Zealand as he fights for a prize place in the Sevens team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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The boxing matches were initially supposed to feature the famous Klitschko brothers during half time of game 1 and 2, before rumours circulated that the famous sibling pugilists would instead don a blue or maroon jersey.

“Unfortunately this looks highly unlikely” conceded a NRL spokesperson.

“Eligibility was not an issue for the Hamburg based Ukranian boxers, as one of them once drank a XXXX, but Vitali and Wladimir are adamant that they will never face each other on opposite sides of a battle field.”

As a result, Williams looks set to fight one of the large number of spirited Canterbury Bulldogs fans who have volunteered themselves for the role.

In the meantime, hundreds of young boys in Sydney have been downloading the ANZ Stadium security protocol in anticipation of securing a 2016 State of Origin winner’s medal.

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Images: http://www.smh.com.au, http://www.foxsports.com.au, http://www.edition.cnn.com.

 

Making the Sale.

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There are thousands of ways to sell a product in Latin America, but as my Dad used to say;

“It’s all about marketing”

You could market your product like the good folks at the shoe stores in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. You could dress voluptuous young woman in skimpy outfits and have them gyrate to the pulsating rhythms of high volume reggaeton in front of the shop. This would drag half of the male population out of their offices and homes and onto the dirty, crowded rain sodden streets so that they can willingly engage in ‘window shopping’,with total impunity, while thinking only about…shoes.

You could follow the direct marketing approach favoured by the vendors of snacks, drinks and other small items, who board buses and trains the length and breadth of the continent, offering tasty morsels and cool refreshments to customers in the comfort of their own seats.

You could also offer these and similar products through the bus and train windows every time, and everywhere, the bus or train comes to a halt.

With enough tenacity, and tough skin, you might also try laying some broken glass on the floor of a train carriage in Mexico City, before removing your shirt and turning a forward roll over the glass, in return for some shrapnel.

You’d have to be quick, though. Quick enough to evade the authorities and your competition, some of whom you can hear before you see them.

They’ll be traipsing the aisles with a heavy backpack containing a boom box and yelling;

“Damas y caballeros, todos los exitos de Juan Gabriel en un solo discooooooooooo. Mas de 200 cancioneeeeeees. Vale cien pesos, te cuesta diez pesooooooooooooossss!!!!” with a distinct Chilango inflection.

You’d be amazed how many passengers will part with 10 pesos for a fake CD containing Juan Gabriel’s greatest hits.

If you employ these tactics, you are assured of some success, assured of putting dinner on the table that night and surviving one more day in this cut throat business.

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You might also try your luck selling products to waiting motorists at traffic lights in busy cities, and with the right entrepreneurial spirit, you may succeed in selling the live guinea pig you are offering.

Perhaps head over to Xochimilco, near Mexico City. Acquire a gondola of your own and cruise the canals full of tourists in need of water borne food, drink, tequila, cerveza, or even a live Mariachi band.

Elsewhere in Mexico, offer a free shot of Tequila to entice your ‘friend’, ‘amigo’ or the love-struck ‘Honeymooners’, and offer them prices so low they are ‘almost free’ or ‘cheaper than Wal Mart’.

However, there is one method that is unlikely to succeed.

It is direct, yes, in fact very direct. It is accurate, yes. It is vocal and audible, just like the peddlers of fake CD’s in Mexico City, but it is not advisable.

If you notice two potential customers, both women, with hands intertwined, casually strolling past your souvenir shop in Playa del Carmen during a balmy early evening, don’t attempt to promote your wares by yelling;

“Oye, lesbianas!”

Lockout Laws Killing Frownlow Medal Hopes of Sydney Based Players.

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NSW Premier Mike Baird’s new Lockout Laws have been slammed in a joint statement from Sydney based footballers furious at the early closure of their favourite high performance centres in King’s Cross.

Players from across the four codes claim the law creates an unfair advantage for players based in other Australian states and across the Tasman, who are free to showcase the skills and dedication which earn nominations for the country’s most toughly contested inter-code award.

The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. The first medal was awarded to Sydney Roosters and New Zealand representative Shaun Kenny-Dowall in 2015. The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players who receive media attention for similarly scandalous behaviour and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Todd Carney.

Players blamed various motives for the introduction of the law.

NRL players are adamant it is another Queensland Rugby League conspiracy designed to prevent the NSW Origin players from properly bonding, while AFL fans cite the existence of a mole within the Baird ministry still angry at the relocation of his beloved South Melbourne Swans.

Another theory points the finger at deceitful backroom political deals forged in the halls of national parliament which are aimed at bolstering the chances of players from the ACT Brumbies.

Further sources claim Mr. Baird himself was discovered at Star City in a covert rendezvous with Hall of Fame inductee Ben Cousins discussing methods by which current players could be prevented from emulating the hedonistic performances of Perth’s favourite son.

The joint statement then outlined the players’ intention to fight the for law to be rescinded, or just wait for the opening of a new casino at Barrangaroo.

 

Brutal Bus Ride: 4, Pucon to Santiago, Chile.

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“Senor, senor”

“Huh?”

“Senor, ya llegamos”

He was right. It was 7am and we had arrived in Santiago after an all-night trip from Chile’s adventure sports capital, Pucon

Wow, I’d been out cold.

Actually I’d been wrapped up nice and warm in the blanket provided by our amiable attendant, Carlos, who was now politely attempting to shake me from my slumber.

I’d never slept that well on a bus.

I’d never slept at all on a bus.

The extra price of the ticket for the full cama (bed) bus was definitely justified and gave me the chance to sleep off nine months of equally brutal bus rides on my round-the-world backpacking odyssey.

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I think I’d nodded off before the end of the movie and after bingo. All I remember is sinking blissfully into the comfy chair as it reclined further and further and fuuurrr…..

All that was left to do upon arriving in Santiago was to rub the sleep from my eyes, track down a taxi and pop over to the hotel before enjoying the last day of my adventure.

So how, do you ask, was this bus ride brutal?

I lost bingo.

I lost by one number. One lousy number.

There I was. In my comfy seat, beverage in one hand, pen in the other, bingo card on the tray table as Carlos called out the numbers.

“siete” yes

“trienta y dos” yes

“sesenta” no

“cuarenta y tres” yes… and so it continued.

With each number my heart beat faster, my hand shook and I fought back a wide, churlish grin; lest I reveal my impending success to my neighbour.

Winning is Everything!

I could feel it in my soul, I was just moments from victory which would serve as a befitting culmination to nine months on the road.

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Victory would easily surpass the wonders of the Serengeti and Victoria Falls, the majesty of Machu Picchu and the arduous splendour of the Inca Trail.

There could be no greater prize than victory in Bus Bingo!

“dieciseis” yes

“Ochenta y ocho” (dos gorditas?) yes

“trece” yes

Nueve, say nueve, screamed the only blank space remaining on my card, its nakedness teasing and taunting me.

Please say nueve, I silently pleaded, I begged, I implored, I demanded…say nueve and victory will be mine.

“dos”

“BINGO!”  cried the man in row three.

Nooooooo!!! I wept internally.

Nooooooo, it can’t be. Victory was mine. It was destined to be. The stars and the cosmos had aligned to place me at that very spot, at that very time, for the sole purpose of winning bus bingo. Now it had been snatched from my grasp, as had the prize of a bus company t-shirt and a pouch containing…I’ll never know.

Following the heart crushing defeat, I’d searched for some kind of explanation, some meaning to this cruel twist of fate.

Why did this happen?

What does it mean?

What are the wider implications?

I’d kept staring into the darkness outside, searching for answers, until I reclined the seat further and further and fuuuurrrr…

Brutal.

Brazil Fights Zika with DEET Infused Olympic Torches.

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The Brazilian Government has promised to stamp out the Zika virus with unique DEET infused torches in the lead up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The torches will emit DEET which acts as a repellant to insects and will be distributed to citizens throughout the country in an attempt to wipe out the destructive virus before the beginning of the games on August 5.

“There will be no Zika in Brazil” declared embattled President Dilma Rousseff.

“These specially designed Rio 2016 Olympic Games DEET Torches (trademarked and patented) will destroy every Zika carrying Aedes mosquito and ensure that every athlete, resident, spectator, official and visitor will be safe during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

The announcement of the special Rio 2016 Olympic Games DEET Torches follows the release of the official Brazilian team uniform which is a full length, hi-tech, permethrin treated skin suit designed for optimal performance.

The thousands of torches will also form the centre-piece of extraordinary daytime Carnival events throughout the country.

Carnival normally occurs in Rio de Janeiro during February, but local governments have been instructed to organise Carnivals every day and to force every resident to parade and dance through the streets of their neighbourhood, while holding aloft their Rio 2016 Olympic Games DEET Torches (trademarked and patented).

“Participation is mandatory, but G-Strings are not” explained Rouseff.

“Infact, it is advisable to wear long sleeves in order to prevent bites from Aedes mosquitos.”

The fight against Zika will also be carried out in homes throughout the South American nation. Residents have been instructed to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene, and to use their Rio 2016 Olympic Games DEET Torches correctly.

“The local government told us we must use the Rio 2016 Olympic Games DEET Torch every day” said Rio resident Rodrigo Alves de Costa, before elaborating on the instructions from compliance officers,

“We are not allowed to let the flame go out until the final moment of the closing ceremony and we were told to only use the official Rio 2016 Olympic Games DEET Torch, with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games insignia, to control pests. If we use other methods or other brands, we will be fined”

Rousseff would not comment on claims that the torches will be taken back from residents the day after the closing ceremony and returned to the IOC.

Image: Igor Lepilin

 

 

 

38 Players, One Club and Grant Hackett Nominated for Frownlow Medal Honours.

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A total of 38 players, one club and Grant Hackett have received nominations for the prestigious Frownlow Medal, even before the winter football codes reach the halfway point of their seasons.

The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. The first medal was awarded to Sydney Roosters and New Zealand representative Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

The West Coast Eagles AFL club joined the list for a racist tweet while Grant Hackett was nominated after being recruited by Collingwood in the hope that the club will win something in 2016.

A mysterious penis from the Wests Tigers is in the running as are the eleven unkown Collingwood players who tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.

The judges are yet to decide whether Parramatta Eels player Kieran Foran will be nominated for misuse of prescription medication.

A full list of nominees is provided below.

Name Code Club Action
1 Mitchell Pearce NRL Sydney Roosters Filmed simulating sex with a dog, while intoxicated, on Australia Day. Video posted on social media.
2 Ben Hunt NRL Brisbane Broncos Breaking curfew at QLD emerging Origin camp
3 Anthony Milford NRL Brisbane Broncos Breaking curfew at QLD emerging Origin camp
4 Jarrod Wallace NRL Brisbane Broncos Breaking curfew at QLD emerging Origin camp
5 Dylan Napa NRL Sydney Roosters Breaking curfew at QLD emerging Origin camp
6 Edrick Lee NRL Canberra Raiders Breaking curfew at QLD emerging Origin camp
7 Chris Grevsmuhl NRL South Sydney Rabbitohs Breaking curfew at QLD emerging Origin camp
8 Valentine Holmes NRL Cronulla Sharks Breaking curfew at QLD emerging Origin camp
9 Cameron Munster NRL Melbourne Storm Breaking curfew at QLD emerging Origin camp
10 Jack Bird NRL Cronulla Sharks Involved in an incident at a bar, supporting Shaun  Kenny-Dowall
11 Dustin Martin AFL Richmond Tigers Accused of threatening to stab woman in the eye with chopsticks at a Japanese restaurant while intoxicated.
12 Jobe Watson AFL Essendon Bombers Involved in controversy which could see him lose his 2012 Brownlow Medal. Possibly first player to win Brownlow and Frownlow Medals.
13 Matthew Lodge NRL West Tigers, former. Involved in crimes in The USA while intoxicated. Spent time in US Prison. Frownlow nomination dependent on eligibility.
14 Kurt Mann NRL St George Dragons Filmed his mate throwing a goanna, posted the video on social media which included a racist remark.
15 Brad Hill AFL Hawthorn Hawks Involved in a police investigation into violence at a nightclub in Victoria.
1 West Coast Eagles AFL West Coast Eagles Staff member posted the words ‘yellow peril’ on the club’s official twitter account.
16 Mystery penis NRL Wests Tigers Unknown rookie photographed his own penis while representing the club then posted it on social media.
17 Liam Knight NRL Manly Sea Eagles Arrested for speeding and drink driving while on his P Plates.
18 Manu Vatuvei NRL New Zealand Warriors Stood down from New Zealand Warriors first grade team due to ‘attitude’.
19 Ben Matulino NRL New Zealand Warriors Stood down from New Zealand Warriors first grade team due to ‘attitude’.
20 Bodene Thompson NRL New Zealand Warriors Stood down from New Zealand Warriors first grade team due to ‘attitude’.
21 Konrad Hurrell NRL New Zealand Warriors Stood down from New Zealand Warriors first grade team due to ‘attitude’.
22 Albert Vete NRL New Zealand Warriors Stood down from New Zealand Warriors first grade team due to ‘attitude’.
23 Sam Lisone NRL New Zealand Warriors Stood down from New Zealand Warriors first grade team due to ‘attitude’.
24 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
25 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
26 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
27 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
28 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
29 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
30 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
31 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
32 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
33 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
34 Unknown AFL Collingwood As yet unnamed players tested positive to illicit drug use during the off season.
35 Daniel Georgievski A-League Melbourne Victory Fighting with a fan after his side’s loss.
36 Aaron Gray NRL South Sydney Misuse of Prescription medicine.
37 Dylan Walker NRL South Sydney Misuse of Prescription medicine.
38 Sam Burgess NRL South Sydney Using phone while driving. Posting the video on social media.

Existing nominees and their footballing colleagues have until October to impress the judges of Australia’s most fiercely contested inter-code award.

NRL Conference Based Representative Match.

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A proposal for a new representative fixture for Rugby League in Australia.

What is it?

A representative fixture played between two conferences (North and South) involving the best players in the NRL who represent the conference which corresponds to their current club team – similar to the conference system used by the NBA for their All Star fixture.

Conferences

Conference division = Sydney Harbour.

North: Cowboys, Broncos, Titans, Knights, Sea Eagles, Tigers, Eels, Panthers

South: Storm, Dragons, Sharks, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Raiders, Bulldogs, (Warriors, geographically south of Sydney ?)

This could be changed according to exact geographical locations (eg. Western Sydney teams).

Players

Any player currently playing in the NRL. Players from any country or state.

This would include players from any Australian state as well as from New Zealand, The UK, Fiji and other countries which are represented in the NRL.

This would allow the selection of players who are not eligible for State of Origin.

Players would represent the conference of their current NRL team, and could play for different conferences in different seasons if they change clubs.

To avoid complications, perhaps the fixture would not be open to players who switch clubs during a season.

Why?

To showcase the highest possible standard of NRL in the world.

This used to be State of Origin, because Australia used to dominate League, but now that New Zealand often beat Australia in Tests, Origin cannot claim to be the best in the world – even though it’s still a fantastic competition.

Currently, Australia v New Zealand Tests are the highest standard of game in the world but if other countries (eg England) continue to improve then this fixture could not claim that title.

To bring together the world’s best players in one match.

As the game expands, top players will emerge from regions other than NSW and Queensland. Especially with the success of the Melbourne Storm, players born and bred in Victoria may reach the top level but be ineligible for Origin. This fixture would give them a chance to play at the top level.

To increase exposure.

The game could be played in emerging areas, such as Victoria, rural Australia, New Zealand or even PNG or Pacific Islands, depending on logistics.

It would undoubtedly attract strong TV audiences in those regions, and The UK , if players from around the world featured in the match.

Less potential for arguments over eligibility.

Why not?

Too many fixtures.

This would compete for scheduling with State of Origin, Tests, City v Country, Indigenous All Stars, Auckland Nines, World Club Champs…and other representative fixtures.

It would have to be done in such a way that it does not clash with or dilute State of Origin.

The game could be played every second or third season.

Too much stress on players and increased chance of injury or burnout. A possible solution to this issue is that one player from each club must be selected. That creates a core group of eight players, and the rest of the squad can be chosen from any club.

Concern from clubs who may already be losing players to other representative fixtures. The game would only work if it truly showcased the very best players in the NRL.

There would obviously be a lot of logistical and practical problems to be solved to make this idea a reality, but it could potentially become a successful series.

Image: http://www.pilagroup.com.au

Sam Burgess Nominated for Frownlow Medal.

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South Sydney’s English wrecking ball Sam Burgess has been nominated for the 2016 Frownlow Medal after allegedly using a mobile phone to film his partner while driving.

The 2014 grand final hero and England Rugby Union World Cup player posted the video on social media then deleted it once his error was brought to his attention.

The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. The first medal was awarded to Sydney Roosters and New Zealand representative Shaun Kenny-Dowall in 2015. The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players who receive media attention for similarly scandalous behaviour and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Todd Carney.

Burgess faces tough opposition for the award after weeks of outstanding off field performances from players across the various codes, including many of his NRL colleagues.

Image:www.smh.com.au