Tuesday, February 28, 2006

And finally after enduring British Airways for 10 hours we finally arrived home:

Monday, February 27, 2006

In our final days in San Francisco we biked across the Golden Gate bridge, took a trip down the California coast to Carmel and Monterey (of Steinbeck fame) and Tom lent us his car and we spent a glorious weekend in the Napa valley wine region tasting and hiking;

Golden Gate Bridge

Coast road


Up the mountain

Sadly all over – at least for now. Back in London March 1.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The high point (literally) of our San Francisco visit was being flown around the Bay today by Tom in a 4-seater Piper Archer - perfect weather and a great experience. Here are some photos:

Downtown Golden Gate Bridge

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Here are San Francisco images:

After a few more days in Brisbane after Thala beach, then following 12 sleepless hours across the Pacific and the rigours of US immigration we are happily settled in San Francisco.


Tom has been an excellent guide and host, but the culture shock is still there. SF is an interesting mixture: American brash plus genuinely friendly and helpful people – interesting, often stunning, domestic architecture; where we are there is free wireless internet (courtesy of which this blog is being updated), and apparently there is currently a left wing political rennaissance that is being funded by a bunch of venture capitalists! Many remnants still of 1960’s flower power and a thriving gay/lesbian scene – something for everyone it seems, although we haven’t detected a very vibrant theatre or classical music culture. SF also seems a shade more aware of the world beyond America than is the US in general, although the TV is as appalling as elsewhere.

We have explored a lot of the city (and Oakland and Berkeley across the bay) on foot and hardly any of it is dull. The (publicly owned) public transport is very good and cheap - a sad contrast with London. Even the weather has been sunny, though a bit chilly. There’s plenty more to do and see in and beyond the city – hopefully another update before we leave.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The workshop in Brisbane seemed to be appreciated – did an extra day with Ross Homel and his criminology researchers looking at modelling level 2 aggregated variables with measurement error. Final day spent at superb botanical gardens at Mt. Co’otha. Must also mention that we lived a luxurious lifestyle at the West Quay apartments for a week – view from balcony over City botanical gardens:

On Feb 4th we flew up to Cairns and then on to Port Douglas in the tropical rain forest area to stay at Thala Beach lodge, which is another rather luxurious place where the rooms are separate bungalows scattered throughout a hillside just up from the beach, with an emphasis on conservation. Here is a view from the balcony along the beach and the pool. Port Douglas itself is just a tourist resort and all along the coast here an enormous amount of development for the tourist industry.

In the middle of our stay I gave a talk on the PISA study to a group at James Cook university, kindly organised by a friend and colleague from IOE days, Val Klenowski who now teaches there – and who joined us for a couple of days at Thala Beach::

A couple of trips from Thala Beach; one to the Great Barrier reef and the other through the forest by train and gondola.