Personal Blog

Christmas in Brisbane

Although the lead-up to Christmas can be a a trying time, with everyone trying to get everything possible finished off in time for the break and the end of year, it can also be quite a beautiful time … if you can take a step back, forget your worries for a moment, and ignore the crass commercialism that comes with it all. Switch off your mind, and just enjoy the pretty lights and the wondrous look on the faces of small children. Admittedly you probably won’t see that wondrous look on the older kids, as they’re too busy figuring out how to scam mum and dad for that Xbox One, PS4, or new laptop. Read More...

Congrats Brisbane, on a well run G20

The last couple of weeks have been interesting. We’ve had lots of late night overflights by military helicopters - and landing in the RNA Showgrounds about 2kms from my house. Maybe its the sound of the neighbours’ air conditioner in this hot weather - but I seem to hear the sounds of helicopter rotors being left running for hours late at night over at the showgrounds practicing for President Obama’s arrival. There’s been a huge visible police presence and, last weekend, the city caught a glimpse of heavily-armed soldiers running around Eagle Street Pier practicing for an anti-terrorist operation. At work, we’ve been drilled to be prepared for mass protests, bomb threats, shutdowns and the unexpected (such as actions by Black Blocs which have disrupted G20 events elsewhere). Read More...

Brazilian Election

Today is election day in Brazil, when the governing Workers’ Party (known locally as Partido dos Trabalhadores or PT) face off against the Social Democratic Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, or PSDB). This is an important election, with PT facing its first real electoral challenge since gaining power 12 years ago under Lula da Silva. The government of the current incumbent, President Dilma Rousseff, has been rocked by huge corruption scandals and launched a desperate campaign to cling onto power. Rather than responding to corruption allegations, Rousseff and former president Lula da Silva have responded by resorting to gutter politics and a smear campaign. They’ve been especially vicious against the opposition candidate, Aécio Neves - referring to him as a playboy and drunkard, accusing him of beating women, and made a ridiculous assertion that he is intent on persecuting people of Brazil’s northeast like the Nazis did with the Jews in World War II. Read More...

Save Cairns' Flying Foxes

In our recent visit to North Queensland to experience the Great Barrier Reef, we passed a night in Cairns. The idea was to book a luxury resort hotel so we could make good night of things for my birthday - also splurging on a fancy dinner in a chic restaurant on Cairns’ glorious waterfront. It would be nice relaxing follow-up to our Port Douglas trip, and our fun afternoon whitewater rafting along the Barron Gorge with the nice folks at Raging Thunder. Cairns truly is a fantastic city, blessed by its natural location. Aside from the Reef, it’s located close to the Daintree Rainforest - which is less well known but harbours equally astounding biodiversity. Our so-called “resort hotel” was the Novotel Oasis. It looked nice and fancy in the brochures - and our assumption was that a well-known chain would have high standards. However, aside from being a hugely disappointing place to stay, I discovered the hotel is also playing an unsavoury role destroying the same biodiversity that visitors travel there to see. Read More...

Whitewater Rafting in Cairns

Today I had a wonderful experience whitewater rafting with the nice folks from Raging Thunder along the Barron Gorge here in Cairns. It was my beautiful wife’s plan to do something special on the last day of our holiday. Not being the outdoorsy type she was actually quite petrified thinking that it was going to be dangerous and frightening - however it turned out be the most fun we’d both had in ages. Now she wants to go back and do it again. My highest compliments go to the Raging Thunder team, and our guide Rob, for such a professionally organised trip and for their good humour along the way. Read More...

Diving the Great Barrier Reef

Today I’m in Port Douglas, North Queensland, and realised a long-held ambition to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Thanks heaps to my wife, Rose, for organising it as a birthday surprise - as well as the professional crew on the tourist vessel, Silversonic. I’m not much of a swimmer and much less a diver. Becoming a certified diver through PADI is one of those things I thought might be cool to do - but expensive and unlikely to be something I’d keep up in the long term. Nonetheless - I’ve been curious to try it just once ... and there’s no better place to start than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Guided dives with no experience necessary. Read More...

Responsive Site Redesign

This site has been languishing for the past 18 months as a result of priorities on my work, as well as my parallel Pantanal Escapes website project. However, in an effort to kickstart things again I’ve revised the site with the implementation of new responsive design. This means it should still look equally readable on mobiles and tablets, as it does on your desktop or laptop computer. Read More...
© 2015 Andrew Mercer