Back in the Day

Old Feb 28th 2023, 5:58 pm
  #196  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by morpeth
Paris I still like. Luckily before going to Switzerland, in Indonesia many of my friends went to the French school in Jakarta- so I have lots of places to stay when I visited France.I was in Paris last June, still some wonderful places, but sections are rapidly declining.I recently watched a French series on Netflix set primarily in Paris, scenes that would have been unimaginable 40 years ago. While hotels too expensive, I chose and Air B and B which worked out extremely well. The people seemed friendlier than the past.I also like the music scene in France, as there is much interest in world music compared to the UK or USA. Political correctness which I thought would never come to France, has reared its head- can be a minefield in conversation now.I agree there are still villages in France that can be charming, and like Italy more of a dedication to good food. The first thing I always do when arriving in France is rush to have a decent coffee as I prefer how they roast their coffee.
My only visit to Paris was "back in the day", in 1970, when we stayed in a grotty little hotel on the Ile de la Cite, for five dollars a night, if I recall. We were working in Nassau (Bahamas) at the time, and a client of mine lived in Paris, so we included it on our list of places to stop. I phoned him up to arrange a meeting. He called for us at the hotel, in a Rolls Royce, for goodness sake - worth about the same as our whole hotel! And he and his wife took us out for a meal in Montmartre at an outdoor cafe. I guess he reckoned - correctly - that we didn't have clothes suitable for a posh place indoors!

We spent the rest of the week wandering around the Left Bank (is it?), eating Arab food. The area was genuinely Arab, at the time, and most times we were the only Europeans in the cafes. It all reminded us of our cheapo travels through the Middle East five years before. I wonder how authentic it is now, and how safe for strangers!
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Old Feb 28th 2023, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
My only visit to Paris was "back in the day", in 1970, when we stayed in a grotty little hotel on the Ile de la Cite, for five dollars a night, if I recall. We were working in Nassau (Bahamas) at the time, and a client of mine lived in Paris, so we included it on our list of places to stop. I phoned him up to arrange a meeting. He called for us at the hotel, in a Rolls Royce, for goodness sake - worth about the same as our whole hotel! And he and his wife took us out for a meal in Montmartre at an outdoor cafe. I guess he reckoned - correctly - that we didn't have clothes suitable for a posh place indoors!

We spent the rest of the week wandering around the Left Bank (is it?), eating Arab food. The area was genuinely Arab, at the time, and most times we were the only Europeans in the cafes. It all reminded us of our cheapo travels through the Middle East five years before. I wonder how authentic it is now, and how safe for strangers!
In the 1970s in university in Switzerland we used to go to Paris on cheap package train trips, staying at the worst hotels for sure, And often walking around at all hours getting back- never did I encounter the slightest safety issue or concern



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Old Mar 2nd 2023, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by morpeth
... cheap package train trips, staying at the worst hotels for sure, And often walking around at all hours getting back- never did I encounter the slightest safety issue or concern
Ahhh, memories of cheap hotels! Here's an incident from our travels back in the day, in Iraq or maybe Turkey. I wrote home about it, and this is from my letter to Mum. Slightly dramatised, but why not?!

We had reached the street when the landlady called us back. "Oh, all right", she said. "I'll give you fresh sheets, you cheeky young buggers." "For the same price?" "Yes, of course for the same price!." So we went inside again and watched while she re-made the bed with freshly washed sheets and pillow-cases. Not particularly clean, but un-slept-on since they had last been bashed on rocks in the local stream. No black hairs from last night's occupant, for instance.

She had been indignant at our indignation. "But these sheets are fresh! They've only been on the bed for ten days, for goodness sake." She held out her hands for me to count her fingers. The conversation was all in fluent Arabic or Turkish, at least on her side! We had long ago learnt the words for "clean sheets", and I figured out what the ten fingers meant. She'd made a mistake showing me the ten fingers, though actually it was the greasy black hairs on the pillow that lost her the argument.

We were chums again, and I paid her in advance for the night's lodging. It wasn’t bad value for fifty cents. It wasn’t even the worst accommodation we'd had in our travels. What we referred to as The Bridal Suite had been pretty dreadful, in some other town a week or two before. I'll tell you about that some other time!
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Old Mar 4th 2023, 4:12 pm
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Over in the Maple Leaf Forum in the Canadian section, my thread "Life's Turning Points" has some recent reminiscences about our and our parents' religious experiences, back in the day. But this present thread here seems a more appropriate place to report my own memories of the religious observance in the sheep-rearing district of Hannaford on the Darling Downs in the 1940s and '50s. We didn't have a church, but every three months one of the Bush Brothers came by and conducted a service under the "bough-shed". The Brothers was a non-denominational Protestant organisation that sent its flock (all ordained ministers, I think) around to places like ours out in the bush - just to keep the flag flying, I suppose. The bough-shed comprised eight high posts in the ground with a roof of tree-branches on top of chicken-wire, giving shade for about fifty people. There was a service with hymns and hymn-books - my Mum played the piano - and a children's service afterwards. The whole thing took half an hour, after which the adults stood or sat around with tea and sandwiches, and we kids did what kids do. That was it. The padre went off with his selected hosts, and drove next morning to his next appointment.

And no, I can't for the life of me recall where the piano came from. Sorry! One of our next-door neighbour had one, so they must have carried it down for the occasion each visit. To my certain knowledge it had never been tuned; but then ours wasn't a very tuneful choir, and not at all fussy...
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Old Mar 8th 2023, 11:51 pm
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I've just come across an amusing article online about the dodgy things kids did "back in the day". This article was titled "Of course we drank from the garden hose". I don't think I'm allowed to give the link, but it might be findable if you Google those words. Old codgers bragging about drinking the hot/warm water from the garden hose because it was to hand, and saved the bother of going inside the house where one might get snaffled for some chore! Other unsupervised freedoms in those times included riding in the back of pick-ups ("utes" in Australia, then and now) while standing up and leaning over the cabin, and of course swimming without adult supervision. Comments to the article mentioned collecting empty bottles for which shops gave a penny for each: good pocket-money, there! No seatbelts, no bicycle helmets or kneepads.

Out in the Queensland "bush" where I was brought up, snakes and redback spiders were ever-present dangers, but we were taught where not to play - and our parents generally gave us credit for avoiding those places. Nobody died, though I suppose there were a few close calls.
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Old Mar 13th 2023, 11:38 pm
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Some recent reminders of "back in the day", for me... Monday last week - tea and cookies out on my verandah with Marlene & Patricia. Marlene and Ian live here for half of each year, but Pat visits her here occasionally. Linda & I knew them back in Nassau days, and I shared an office with their husbands some time in 1968-69. English and Canadian, respectively. Then on Thursday a cafe lunch with John & Jean, who lived here 30 years ago before retiring up in New York and visiting Cayman once a year. The week rounded off with a phone call from Gail in Australia; She and Martin used to live here until ten years ago, and we keep in touch on WhatsApp. Nice. All of it was nice. An active social life, by my standards!

Does anybody else have occasional visits like those, from old and almost-long-lost friends?
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Old Mar 14th 2023, 6:51 am
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
Some recent reminders of "back in the day", for me... Monday last week - tea and cookies out on my verandah with Marlene & Patricia. Marlene and Ian live here for half of each year, but Pat visits her here occasionally. Linda & I knew them back in Nassau days, and I shared an office with their husbands some time in 1968-69. English and Canadian, respectively. Then on Thursday a cafe lunch with John & Jean, who lived here 30 years ago before retiring up in New York and visiting Cayman once a year. The week rounded off with a phone call from Gail in Australia; She and Martin used to live here until ten years ago, and we keep in touch on WhatsApp. Nice. All of it was nice. An active social life, by my standards!

Does anybody else have occasional visits like those, from old and almost-long-lost friends?
While I avoid social media and so forth, WhatsApp has proven to link up with old friends or people I knew. Through a whats app group from my university found out .one classmate lives in Amsterdam a few years ago, now if I travel through Amsterdam I let him know and we may meet for coffee- hadn't seen the person for 50 years
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Old Mar 14th 2023, 1:10 pm
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
Some recent reminders of "back in the day", for me... Monday last week - tea and cookies out on my verandah with Marlene & Patricia. Marlene and Ian live here for half of each year, but Pat visits her here occasionally. Linda & I knew them back in Nassau days, and I shared an office with their husbands some time in 1968-69. English and Canadian, respectively. Then on Thursday a cafe lunch with John & Jean, who lived here 30 years ago before retiring up in New York and visiting Cayman once a year. The week rounded off with a phone call from Gail in Australia; She and Martin used to live here until ten years ago, and we keep in touch on WhatsApp. Nice. All of it was nice. An active social life, by my standards!

Does anybody else have occasional visits like those, from old and almost-long-lost friends?
Yes. Now and then I fly to Bali to meet up with friends who are passing thru on their way to or from somewhere else - nobody seems to want to come visit me in Surabaya where I mostly hang out, and I have to say I don't blame them. Also occasionally I do a fast air journey from Melbourne to Sydney to meet up with others who mostly seem to be jetting to or from New Zealand. Oddly, most of my friends prefer Kiwi to Aussie, which mystifies me, but they are almost all older, and it may have to do with their viewpoint that New Zealand is a more, well, "comfortable" country to visit and travel around in than Australia.

Very few Canadians make it as far as Australia or Indonesia. The few I do meet, usually in the hotels I stay at in Sanur (Bali), seem to be passing thru' on a whirlwind 7-10 day Jetset tour of several Pacific and Asian countries, which reminds me of the old film, If It's Tuesday It Must Be Belgium (this dates me, oh well). Maybe it's just too far for most to travel from Canada. Also fewer Americans nowadays than used to travel pre- the horrific events in New York in 2001.

In 2018, which was the last time I flew across the Pacific to Canada to fix up life matters for my late Mom (who passed away in 2021 at the great old age of 102), the Melbourne to Hawaii flight took so much out of me that I had to "crash out" (remember that?) in a serviced apartment in Waikiki for two days to recover from the jetlag. So I had perforce, two completely wasted (and expensive) days in that wonderful city before I went on to Vancouver, which also drained me of a lot o energy.

Now I no longer inflict such long flights on myself, preferring the 5-8 hours I have to spend in jets to get myself to Indonesia or Malaysia. As I reckon many of us oldies do. Age and the indignities of post-World Trade Center 2001 air travel, have wearied us. In many ways it's sad that ocean liners no longer traverse the globe to everywhere as they did pre-1960 when the age of flight took over, but in this hyper expensive for everything era we now live in, they would be unaffordable for most of us anyway. A lost age...
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Old Mar 14th 2023, 4:27 pm
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Originally Posted by JDWoowoo50
Yes. Now and then I fly to Bali to meet up with friends who are passing thru on their way to or from somewhere else - nobody seems to want to come visit me in Surabaya where I mostly hang out, and I have to say I don't blame them. Also occasionally I do a fast air journey from Melbourne to Sydney to meet up with others who mostly seem to be jetting to or from New Zealand. Oddly, most of my friends prefer Kiwi to Aussie, which mystifies me, but they are almost all older, and it may have to do with their viewpoint that New Zealand is a more, well, "comfortable" country to visit and travel around in than Australia.

Very few Canadians make it as far as Australia or Indonesia. The few I do meet, usually in the hotels I stay at in Sanur (Bali), seem to be passing thru' on a whirlwind 7-10 day Jetset tour of several Pacific and Asian countries, which reminds me of the old film, If It's Tuesday It Must Be Belgium (this dates me, oh well). Maybe it's just too far for most to travel from Canada. Also fewer Americans nowadays than used to travel pre- the horrific events in New York in 2001.

In 2018, which was the last time I flew across the Pacific to Canada to fix up life matters for my late Mom (who passed away in 2021 at the great old age of 102), the Melbourne to Hawaii flight took so much out of me that I had to "crash out" (remember that?) in a serviced apartment in Waikiki for two days to recover from the jetlag. So I had perforce, two completely wasted (and expensive) days in that wonderful city before I went on to Vancouver, which also drained me of a lot o energy.

Now I no longer inflict such long flights on myself, preferring the 5-8 hours I have to spend in jets to get myself to Indonesia or Malaysia. As I reckon many of us oldies do. Age and the indignities of post-World Trade Center 2001 air travel, have wearied us. In many ways it's sad that ocean liners no longer traverse the globe to everywhere as they did pre-1960 when the age of flight took over, but in this hyper expensive for everything era we now live in, they would be unaffordable for most of us anyway. A lost age...
I hear you about long flights, and the hassle travelling can be these days. About twenty years ago on business I was flying from the West Coast to London often. I finally discovered airport hotels. I began stopping over in New York even though I can't stand the city, so I could catch the one morning flight American Airlines had- so I could arrive in London in the evening, have a hot shower, a drink, then be fresh in the morning for meetings.I also was travelling to operations we h in Mexico, took 4 flights from where I was, so stop over in Dallas at hotel with great restaurant, pool and sauna. Then take the final two flights the next day.

So besides the heat, travelling to Far Eat now not in the cars for me, though would be interesting to see Indonesia again though I would avoid staying in Jakarta, and I would dread seeing what Bali has become.

Your post made me think that over the last 40 years the travellers I have seen in the most out of the way places are young Germans.

Even with the annoyance of Brexit, let alone reduced opportunities for pensioners/students and so forth, at least from the UK one can a relatively easy break to Europe. though once in Europe I much prefer the train- and often faster that going to the airport,waiting, then arriving and having to get to the center of town.

Even getting a passport renewed was a much easier affair.
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Old Mar 15th 2023, 2:18 am
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Interesting to note yesterday's news that Bali will be banning tourists driving themselves around on motorcycles. Too many instances of insensitive and even dangerous behavior by (mostly but not always the younger) foreign visitors on bikes, who mostly drive as if road rules, safety consciousness or even basic politeness don't apply to them.

In some ways, this had to come - but it may push many younger tourists to avoid Bali in favor of other Asian destinations like Thailand.

Yes, Indonesia has greatly changed, no only in the last four decades but also since Covid struck in 2020. From what I see, the country appears to have survived Covid far better than Australia, where everything was locked down for too long, in Melbourne the entire city was shut down for 200+ days and many of the small businesses that made the city center such an interesting place to visit and walk around in, have never reopened. Indonesia also handled its Covid vaccination campaign far better than Australia, most Indonesians had their first and even second jabs before Canberra could get its act together and fix up some sort of policy for vaccinating its citizens.

Train travel in Java is still possible affordable - and even more comfortable than it was. Travel times have reduced, I can now get to Solo or Yogyakarta from Surabaya in about 90 minutes less than I used to even 10 years ago. Ditto Semarang which is an easy four hours by fast express with only two stops and the station is in the city center, so I can usually walk to my hotel without having to run the gauntlet of the feral becak, ojek and taxi drivers who regard all foreigners as walking ATMs eager to hand out fistfuls of cash to be taken short distances. Bali is by far the worst place for this now and after having visited two times in as many months this year, I plan to avoid the place as much as possible in future. Jakarta remains a mess as it always was, but some things are now easier, especially public transport from the airport to the city center. And there is always Bogor for a relaxed stay, the city is about 40 minutes away on the LRT with many stations in the city center which means fewer long walks to places I want to visit. The shopping malls are as horrible as ever, to me their one and only advantage is in the air-conditioning so I can get out of the fetid heat and humidity.

I no longer fly long distances, partly given my age (70s) but mostly for my own comfort. I try to plan so as to avoid night flights as these take too much out of my aged constitution. Daytime flights mean I can enjoy a relaxed breakfast, get myself to an airport in comfortable time, loll about for a couple of hours before my flight goes (assuming it leaves on time, a big hello! here to those latest airlines to go on my Bucket List, Qantas, Jetstar and Air Asia, this means you!) and enjoy a good coffee before making my way thru immigration and customs, avoiding the duty free shops and getting to the departure lounge in ample time to relax before we board the jet. Ditto at the other end when I don't have to pay inflated taxi prices and I get to my hotel in ample time to enjoy the evening and not waste most of a night due to late arrival in the country. A little planning helps here, not always (especially when one flies with Air Asia where flight delays of up to five hours nowadays seem to be the norm) but often enough to make it worth while.

Sadly, the good old days of air travel are now mostly over. Business travel is of course an entirely different kettle of fish, those travelers often have options like going business class and enjoying the few remaining perks some airlines still hand out, the executive lounges and better in-flight services when one doesn't have to travel by cattle class.

Even then it's still worth traveling in Indonesia, costs are going up but this is the same anywhere post-Covid. In my next trip here (I hope in June this year) I want to revisit Kalimantan and Sulawesi for two weeks, which will likely mean an entirely new lot of adventures - and challenges. Better I do it now while I still can and while the cities in those places - Banjarmasin and Makassar - are still relatively unchanged and worth a visit.

Interesting that I'm writing this from Malang in East Java, a place I've been visiting since 1974, very greatly changed now but still small and charming even if the traffic has increased by a hundredfold. Or Surabaya, where I will be again tomorrow, traveling by train, two hours by business class for AUD $4. I can walk to my homestay from the station without risking my life from the traffic or my lungs from the pollution. Surabaya offers little to the casual traveler - which is likely why I enjoy it so much.

As for me, it will be back to Australia on March 23, a 12 hour flight out of Singapore (not Bali) via Changi in Singapore, so easy going. I'll fly with a well rated and regarded and comfortable Asian airline (yes, these still exist) with good in-flight services without the discomfort of being on a so-called "budget" airline. The fare was higher than with the bucket fliers, but for me still win-win travel. Long may it last...

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Old Mar 15th 2023, 4:04 am
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JD thanks for the commentary.

There is a YouTube series called 'How to Act Indonesian'. It is extremely politically incorrect, but if one remembers the person doing the series loves Indonesia, and she ( Sacha Stevenson) is married to an Indonesian, it shouldn't be offensive. I find her videos hilarious if one has lived in Indonesia. She also has other videos on general topics. I assume you speak Indonesian.

I came across her videos by chance, When I Lived in Indonesia I spoke Indonesian and Betawi fluently, watching her videos out of curiosity hearing Indonesian again brought back memories. Hearing her speak Indonesian, I am remembering more vocabulary. yesterday I listened to her general update. I have heard that more movies are partially in Betawi now,

Jakarta in the 70s was in a strange way a 'small' city- few international hotels, and while traffic bad nothing like I read about today. There were just a few places like Hotel Indonesia where society met . The coolest disco/nightclub in the world, the Tanamur was open then, and for a few decades after. I used to bring back records from London to sell to the few discos in Jakarta, and Saturday morning I was the DJ at Radio Amigos which wanted an English-speaking DJ.

I had a friend who had a weekend retreat in a village near Bandung, was great for a few days relaxation away from Jakarta,Spent a few evenings watching shadow plays while there. Pace in the Villages was so laid back.

I spent two summers later in the,1970s in Manila, Manila was far 'ahead' of Jakarta with international class hotels, choice of western restaurants, of course English-speakers, and so forth- yet I found not as charming/interesting as Jakarta.

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Old Mar 15th 2023, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by morpeth
JD thanks for the commentary.

There is a YouTube series called 'How to Act Indonesian'. It is extremely politically incorrect, but if one remembers the person doing the series loves Indonesia, and she ( Sacha Stevenson) is married to an Indonesian, it shouldn't be offensive.
I like her guide to expat life.
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Old Mar 15th 2023, 2:26 pm
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Originally Posted by philat98
I like her guide to expat life.
She has branched out to different topics, and she has an engaging manner.

Her series 'how to act Indonesian' perhaps only so funny if one has lived in Indonesia and speak a bit of Indonesian. She really has an intuitive understanding, a bit uncommon for a North American
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Old Mar 15th 2023, 11:44 pm
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Here's a recent letter (in italics below) from a friend of mine, reporting his life in London as a young lad in the 1960s. I've tidied it up a bit - he's not a great writer - but it gives the flavour of what some young Aussies got up to! I was a properly qualified accountant - but he wasn't. It didn't stop him from masquerading as one! Cripes. Lawless times! Shades of Barry McKenzie...

Before I left Australia I was doing a correspondence course in accounting. I did not complete it before leaving but I still went. One of the jobs I was offered and accepted was that of an accountant with XXXXXX. Having been offered and accepted the job I went to a second-hand book shop and bought a book. Then I went home to my flat and read parts of it. When I started the job, if I had a problem my response was "we do it different in Australia". Then they would show me and we were away.

Our daily routine was to arrive at 9.00 and discuss Coronation Street which took about half an hour. At 10.00 it was morning tea and part of my wages was meal vouchers so up to the canteen for morning tea and more discussion on TV or Soccer then at 10.30 back to work till noon. Lunch till 1.00 then back to work. No afternoon tea so we could knock off 10 minutes early to catch the tube home to Earls Court.

Then sometimes I would get a job which was different. These jobs were hotel porter night shift, switch board operator, then one was cleaning out kitchens of some of the best restaurants in London. Boy is that an eye opener! Be careful where you eat and do not look in the ovens, yuk. I think some had not been cleaned out since Noah landed.

Another was to work in a garage pumping petrol and deliver cars back to the owners to save them coming down. You could get up a bit of speed now and again as you drove the cars around Earls Court - Rolls,Bentley,Jaguar plus ordinary ones too. Then there were jobs as security guards at the Earls Court Exhibition building. Once, we were unable to stop a motorboat engine from being stolen - but we did figure out that they used a large garbage bin on wheels and piled a bit of rubbish on top so it looked full, cunning devils!

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Old Mar 16th 2023, 3:09 pm
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Australia was like this in the '70s. A sensible attitude to work, pub lunches on Fridays. in a Sydney bank branch where I did project work in 1978, everybody downed tools at 4.15 PM (the public hours for all banks back then were 10 AM - 3 PM, Monday to Friday) and off we went to the pub for a few ales and to watch reruns of a great 1960s Canadian TV series, Wayne And Shutter, which then had an almost cult status with Australians. .

Then there were the other perks. Public holidays left, right and center. Best of all, four weeks of fully paid annual leave (vacation), with extra leave loading pay.

It's probably fair to say almost everywhere in the Western world was, excepting maybe the USA, where work was regarded with a fierce puritanical ethic, and 1960s Canada when I was young and wage-slavery for ridiculously low wages was the norm, at least in New Brunswick where those Murdoch family clones, the Irvings, dominated the employment market.

When I lived and worked in France in 1966, many small businesses in the south closed down after lunch for a few hours. Everything reopened in the late afternoon. Most businesses then stayed open til about 8 PM when everybody seemed to go out to eat and drink and then went home.

Going by the insane business environments my younger friends say they have to work in nowadays, I reckon we were so much better off back then...
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