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The National Museum

After the Presidential Palace our tour took us to the National Museum where they have two shiploads of treasures removed from Peking for ‘safe keeping’ by the fleeing Nationalists when they set up here in 1949 after losing the mainland to Mao and the Communists. They also ‘saved’ China’s gold reserves.

Posterity will no doubt see it as the greatest art theft and gold heist in History.  Photographs were not permitted.

By now it was lunchtime.  Our tour involved visiting the town of Tamsui at the mouth of the Tamsui River.

 

Note that a few of these photos  - and obviously the ones with me in them - were taken by Clint, our guide

 

This was one of the sights of the early Dutch East India Company trading colony.  Other early traders included the British who introduced tea and camphor, sugar and bananas - still important agricultural exports but unfortunately for us ‘packages’ more time was allocated to wandering down the tourist shopping street and sampling the street fare for lunch than for visiting such ancient points of interest.

 

 

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Travel

Denmark

 

 

  

 

 

In the seventies I spent some time travelling around Denmark visiting geographically diverse relatives but in a couple of days there was no time to repeat that, so this was to be a quick trip to two places that I remembered as standing out in 1970's: Copenhagen and Roskilde.

An increasing number of Danes are my progressively distant cousins by virtue of my great aunt marrying a Dane, thus contributing my mother's grandparent's DNA to the extended family in Denmark.  As a result, these Danes are my children's cousins too.

Denmark is a relatively small but wealthy country in which people share a common language and thus similar values, like an enthusiasm for subsidising wind power and shunning nuclear energy, except as an import from Germany, Sweden and France. 

They also like all things cultural and historical and to judge by the museums and cultural activities many take pride in the Danish Vikings who were amongst those who contributed to my aforementioned DNA, way back.  My Danish great uncle liked to listen to Geordies on the buses in Newcastle speaking Tyneside, as he discovered many words in common with Danish thanks to those Danes who had settled in the Tyne valley.

Nevertheless, compared to Australia or the US or even many other European countries, Denmark is remarkably monocultural. A social scientist I listened to last year made the point that the sense of community, that a single language and culture confers, creates a sense of extended family.  This allows the Scandinavian countries to maintain very generous social welfare, supported by some of the highest tax rates in the world, yet to be sufficiently productive and hence consumptive per capita, to maintain among the highest material standards of living in the world. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Easter

 

 

 

Easter /'eestuh/. noun

  1. an annual Christian festival in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, observed on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or next after 21 March (the vernal equinox)

[Middle English ester, Old English eastre, originally, name of goddess; distantly related to Latin aurora dawn, Greek eos; related to east]

Macquarie Dictionary

 


Easter, as always, is heralded by a retail confectionary binge. Thus for weeks the chocolate bilbies have been back in the supermarket - along with the more traditional eggs and rabbits. 

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Opinions and Philosophy

Six degrees of separation, conspiracy and wealth

 

 

Sometimes things that seem quite different are, when looked at more closely, related. 

 

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