My hosts mercifully gave me a day off on Friday. I needed it, since I was honestly tired of hearing myself talk. Duncan, who has now blogged about my visit, and his wife, Ennis, drove me to Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. From there, we walked north along the gorgeous beach to Surfers Paradise and had a leisurely breakfast as we watched “nippers” being trained.
We arrived back at Duncan’s in time to hear Sarah Palin ramble incoherently about various topics and watch Gwen Ifill like a deer-in-headlights refuse to ask any follow-up questions. Biden, I thought, was his usual knowledgeable self, if a bit dry.
(BTW, I think this is interesting to note: People in the States, and here in Australia, often talk to me about how the dominance of the U.S. is waning, how India and China are already the ascendant global powers, etc. But, here in Australia, at 11 o’clock in the morning, the U.S. vice presidential debate was played in its entirety, both on television and radio. And I imagine that also happened in most Western countries yesterday. Do the Australians cover the Chinese financial markets with the same eye as the U.S. financial markets? No. Do they broadcast the parliament of India like they do the U.S. Congress? No.Globalization has surely relativized the dominance of the U.S. in world affairs, but from where I sit on the other side of the globe, the U.S. still captures the imagination of the world in a way that no other country does. And, of course, the transparency of our political machinery aids in this.)
Duncan drove me to the airport and I had an eventless flight back to Sydney. Fuzz retrieved me, and we made our way through rush hour traffic back to his place in The Hills. Along the way, he told me many stories about his consulting work with youth ministry in Egypt, which sounds fascinating.
Carolyn and Fuzz then took me to dinner at their favorite seafood place and, as you can see below, ordered the seafood platter which means that we ate far too much food, complemented by a fine Australian white wine.
Like I said, it was good to have a day off.