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Showing posts from October, 2007

Averting Childhood’s End

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Photo: Graham Munro
Virtual worlds and cyber communities are no substitute for the wide open spaces. Get out from behind the computer and recall a time before ADSL urges Roderick Eime.

Hands up everyone who remembers when exploring the local creek meant squishy mud between your toes, tadpoles and even yabbies, not broken bottles, abandoned shopping trolleys and forsaken whitegoods.

Sometimes it’s those most simple of pleasures, those “priceless” moments that leave the enduring and lasting memories. What happened to them? Transformed I fear into virtual worlds of social networking and on-line swashbuckling.

Stricken with visions of a childhood disappearing down a broadband connection, I pried my two under-14s from in front of their flat-panel monitors and spirited them two hours away from a corrupted Sydney to Turon Gates. Just out of Lithgow and secreted in a fairytale setting on the namesake river, the 6,000 acres are set among glorious river gums and rolling paddocks stretching all the…

Japan: Before the Rising Sun

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“One hundred thousand years before the Children of the Sun walked this land, the Ainu lived here.” So says the ancient Yukar Upopo (hero legend) of the ancient Ainu race.

One of the most rewarding and exhilarating experiences still possible in this era of instant gratification, synthetic theme parks and virtual existence is to delve into strange and foreign cultures as we travel the Earth. Indigenous cultures and unique dialects are disappearing almost daily despite the growing worldwide respect for these precious anthropological artifacts. Amazon Indians, Australian Aborigines, Melanesian islanders and many Asian ethnic groups are struggling to retain their disintegrating heritage on this globalised planet.

Today, many committed and conscientious travellers urgently seek out these struggling cultures in an attempt to learn and understand a little of our vanishing world before it’s too late. As these modern explorers set off to mix with the famous Masai of Kenya or the serene hill tr…