On 27 April 2011 the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 30 July as official International Day of Friendship, with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
The resolution places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.
To mark the International Day of Friendship the UN encourages governments, international organizations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.
Little bears are friendly every day 🙂
They are celebrating the International Day of Friendship with a group hug 🙂 hot chocolate and biscuits and showing off their international costumes. V&B have made a cities of the world range of cups which is a perfect fit for today. They are up to 12, they have more work to do.
Time for a song 🙂
Amigos para siempre
Means you’ll always be my friend
Amics per sempre
Means a love that cannot end
Friends for life
Not just a summer or a spring
Amigos para siempre
Flags of countries little bears have already visited, some of them several times. Amazing, isn’t it?
Flag of countries yet to be visited by little bears. They expect a beary friedly welcome!
In 1998, the UN Secretary’s wife, Nane Annan, named Winnie the Pooh as the Ambassador of Friendship at the UN. Winnie the Pooh is, of course, the perfect Ambassador of Friendship. He is adorable and timeless. He believes in diversity and welcoming all friends. Pooh is an optimist and a ‘people bear’. He is committed to his friends (and honey!). And, he is wise WAY beyond his years, especially for a bear with very little brain 🙂
We’re living in 2015, the year in which Back to the Future’s time-travelling Marty McFly purportedly finds us getting about on hoverboards and flying cars and wearing Nike self-lacing shoes and self-drying jackets.
We’re still waiting to hear from Nike on their self-lacing shoes, especially the shoes for little bears 🙂 , but in the meantime, it turns out that Lexus has made a hoverboard of sorts!
Lexus caused some serious buzz earlier in the year when it teased visuals of its gorgeous-looking ‘Slide’ hoverboard, part of the automaker’s ‘Amazing in Motion’ series of high-tech research concepts.
At the time, details were sparse on how the hoverboard could actually levitate. Was it real? How did it work? Lexus wasn’t giving much away, only indicating that the Slide was a real, rideable hoverboard that used magnetic levitation to achieve frictionless movement, with liquid-nitrogen-cooled superconductors giving the board its misty, futuristic appearance.
Now the company has provided another tantalising glimpse of the Slide in motion, bringing on board British professional skateboarder Ross McGouran as its official ‘hoverboard test rider’ to help pique our interest. Not that it really needs any piquing at this point. Just seeing this thing smoothly levitate across the pavement is enough to keep our eyes glued to the screen.
Lexus isn’t shedding any further light on the Slide’s technical operation, but the language the company uses suggests it’s the same kind of maglev-style lifting as the Hendo hoverboard that caused a splash last year.
This means it would only levitate above certain kinds of metallic, magnetic materials. So, despite the implied suggestion in Lexus’s promotional video, it won’t work on the concrete pools and ramps at your local skate park, but specially designed paths or skating facilities would enable the Slide to lift off the ground.
As for what it’s like to ride? McGouran says skaters have another thing coming, as the sensation of an entirely frictionless ride bears little relation to the grinding and carving feedback provided by four wheels and a timber plank. Apparently it’s like floating on air!
Canadian Catalin Alexandru Duru currently holds the world record for the longest hoverboard flight, managing a distance of 275.9 metres last year. His hoverboard is based around a quadcopter, so it’s not as sleek or as mobile as the one Michael J. Fox stepped on all those years ago. It’s also said to have the ability to fly “dangerously high” and for the time being, there’s no word on a finished version of the contraption that might actually go on sale.
Also active in the hoverboard-building game is US-based startup Arx Pax. The company’s Hendo Hoverboard uses magnets to stay in the air, but in order to achieve the required stability, travel is restricted to a pre-defined linear track.
It’s likely that the creation unveiled by Lexus has some similar kind of restrictions on it but let’s hope the technology can be quickly iterated and improved. Once hoverboards are out of the way, we can move on to time travel, flying cars and everything else promised by 1980s blockbusters 🙂
It’s Sunday morning and little bears are out and about in South Bank again.
They are particularly taken with the Watermall at the Queensland Art Gallery. At the moment it displays ‘Island Currents: Art from Bentinck Island and the Torres Strait’ a celebration of the art and culture of some of the state’s remote island communities.
No longer on display, Yayoi Kusama’s work Narcisus garden made spendid use of the Watermall.
Narcissus garden 2002 and Soul under the moon 2002 are environmental and architectural extensions of the ‘Infinity net’ paintings. In this incarnation of Narcissus garden, hundreds of reflective balls were set afloat in the Gallery Watermall. Each of these mirror balls represents the sun and is a three-dimensional version of the polka dot that is found throughout Kusama’s work.
The Watermall extends outside the Gallery and little bears continue their exploration.
Look, dinosaur footprints! Let’s follow them…
Little bears are off to Queensland Museum in search of more dinosaurs.
Where do you suppose the dinosaurs are hiding?
Did you hear something?
Time for little bears to go home. They have had a splendid time in Queensland… and made lots of pawsome friends.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane is the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary, with over 130 koalas. You can cuddle a koala, hand feed kangaroos and encounter a large variety of Aussie wildlife, all in beautiful, natural settings.
The bears took the Mirimar boat cruise from the Cultural Centre Pontoon on the Southbank.
The cruise aboard Brisbane’s most famous river boat, MV Mirimar, takes you 19 kms upstream through some of the city’s most attractive suburbs and most interesting wildlife habitats and takes approximately one hour & 15 mins to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Lone Pine is home to around 130 koalas, and around 100 different species of Australian native animals.
Having to sleep 19 hours a day in the fork of a tree may not sound very comfortable to us, but a koala couldn’t ask for a more luxurious bed!
As sleep experts, they certainly know the best positions and poses; some almost look like contortionists as they twist and turn in their sleep. The fur on the koala’s bottom is densely packed to provide a ‘cushion’ for the hard branches it sits on. The koalas have white dots on their bottom which help the koalas camouflage so they are hard to spot from the ground.
Lone Pine’s 130 koalas live in different homes around the sanctuary, according to their age and gender. These homes include the “Boys” (your typical teenagers), the “Kindergarten” (toddlers running amok!) and the “Retirement Home” where the oldies go for a more quiet and relaxed lifestyle 🙂
Koalas have a thick, woolly, carpet-like fur. This coat protects them from both high and low temperatures and also acts like a raincoat to repel moisture during wet weather. The fur varies in colour from light grey to brown with patches of white on the chest and neck, inside arms and legs and inside the ears.
Koalas spend almost all of their day up in the trees, meaning they have an arboreal lifestyle. These accomplished climbers can rapidly ascend tree trunks, as they are very well equipped for climbing.
Koala hands and feet have long sharp claws and thick pads for cushioning. With three fingers and two opposable thumbs on their forepaws, they have fantastic grip. On their hind paws they have a ‘grooming claw’; the first and second toes are fused together and there are two claws on this toe. They use this claw like a little comb to clean themselves.
Interestingly, each koala’s hand print is unique, just like our fingerprints.
And of course, you can meet the koalas 🙂
A beary common misconception is that koalas are bears and people refer to them as ‘koala bears’ due to their similarity in appearance to bears. Calling a koala a ‘bear’ is scientifically incorrect. Koalas are marsupial mammals not placental or ‘eutherian’ mammals like bears and humans. The name is simply ‘koala’. Marsupials are animals that have a very short gestation period and their young are born at an early stage of development. The majority of their development occurs in the safety of a pouch.
You can also meet emus and kangaroos.
I say, you are a bit shorter than the usual visitors we get around here!
The emu is the world’s second largest bird and can run up to 50km/hour. They feed on leaves, grasses, seeds, insects and fruit. The female lays 6 to 12 dark green eggs each year. The male then incubates them and raises the chicks. Emus are found in most habitats throughout mainland Australia. However, they are no longer found in closely settled areas.
You do look cute! Better keep my wings to myself…
I’ll hide you in my pouch and bearnap you!
You can’t trick us, you don’t have a pouch!
Lone Pine is home to Red Kangaroos, Eastern-grey Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies, Red-necked Wallabies and Pademelons.
Kangaroos and their relatives come from the family Macropodidae. This family is split into two subfamilies; Sthenurinae which is represented by a sole member, the Banded Hare-wallaby, and Macropodinae which is represented by five groups including kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, rock-wallabies, pademelons, quokkas, tree-kangaroos, hare-wallabies and forest wallabies. The term ‘macropod’ (meaning ‘large-footed’) is often used to describe members of this family. The differences between kangaroos and wallabies include kangaroos being bigger in size and the base of their tail is thick unlike the long, thin tail of the wallaby.
They all have powerful legs that act like springs, big feet to help them hop, and a long tail to help them balance. The larger kangaroo species can jump up to 3m high and 9m long with one bounce and hop as fast as 70 km/hr.
The dingo is a medium-sized, lean dog weighing between 13kg and 24kg, with males usually heavier than the females. An average male stands between 52cm and 63cm. Colouring of the short, dense coat varies depending on environment but can range from sandy to ginger to red to black to white. Usually dingoes will also have white markings on their feet, tail tip and chest. They have pricked ears for good hearing and a bushy tail.
Pure dingo skulls and jaw lines differ from domestic dogs and dingo hybrids as their forehead is flatter and the jaw line more square. Like wolves and other wild dogs, dingoes have larger carnassial and canine teeth than domestic dogs or dingo hybrids. Dingoes also only come into heat once a year, unlike the twice yearly, non-seasonal heat of domestic dogs. Another major difference between dingoes and their domestic relatives is vocalisations. Dingoes can growl, whine and howl but cannot bark.
The dingo is an opportunistic predator, primarily feeding upon mammalian species including kangaroos and wallabies, rabbits and rodents, sheep and cattle. Birds, lizards, fish and even human refuse contribute to the dingo diet. Dingoes are the primary mammalian carnivore in Australia and are appreciated for their help in controlling European rabbit populations.
Dingoes are gregarious and monogamous. Though they may spend a large portion of their life solitary, occasionally they will form packs of 3-10 individuals. These packs range from casual hunting groups to close-knit family packs.
Dingoes are thought of as being a native dog of Australia, however it is not truly a native species. In fact, there are no truly native Australian species of placental mammalian carnivores. Fossil and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that the dingo arrived in Australia about 3500-4000 years ago with Asian settlers on boats. Dingoes are believed by some to be descendants of the Indian grey wolf (Canis lupus pallipes).
Dingoes can be found throughout most of mainland Australia (absent in Tasmania) in alpine, desert, woodland, grassland and tropical regions.
Kookaburras are the world’s largest kingfishers and can live up to 20 years. They are monogamous, meaning they pair up for life. They build their nests in tree hollows or termite mounds.
The laughing Kookaburra’s call is used during courtship to define territories and is often sung in chorus with family members.
During the breeding season, September to January, one to five eggs are laid at 24 hour intervals. They hatch after 25 days.
When the young have fledged they stay around the nest for several years to help raise the next clutch of chicks. These helpers are non-breeders; it is only the senior pairs that breed.
Like most kingfishers, the laughing kookaburra has a large beak, but unlike others, it doesn’t use it to catch fish. Instead it eats lizards, frogs, insects, rodents, worms and small snakes.
These owls are named for their ‘barking’ call. The large, yellow eyes of the Barking Owl mark this bird as a type of hawk owl. Prey is hunted with keen eyesight and seized in powerful talons from the ground, from trees and even mid-flight.
The Barking Owl hunts at twilight, searching its woodland habitat for mammals, reptiles, insects and even other birds. Prey up to the size of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos can be caught. Any food too big to be swallowed whole is torn up with the sharp, curved beak and eaten piece by piece.
Little bears are out for a stroll on South Bank in Brisbane. The promenade provides views across the river to the CBD.
A lagoon, artificial beach, playgrounds, Ferris wheel and restaurants line this pleasant precinct. A journey through South Bank’s public art works is always a rewarding experience; the pieces are diverse and creative, and they each tell their own unique story.
Little bears are admiring the Clem Jones Promenade mosaics which are scattered along the Promenade and reflect its cultural and recreational identity.
Along the walkway there are two friendship stones.
This stone is a symbolic gesture of friendship between the city of Daejeon, South Korea and Brisbane, Australia, of the commitment of co-operation and friendship that these two cities intend to have into the future. The fifth-largest city in South Korea, Daejeon is the locus of science and technology.
The Australia-Japan Friendship stone was erected in 1994 after the holding of the Tenjin Matsuri Festival in Brisbane. Tenjin Matsuri Festival is normally held in Osaka. As a cultural exchange in 1994 it was held in Brisbane. With a history of more than 1,000 years, Tenjin Matsuri, which is one of the three greatest festivals of Japan, is also the world’s greatest boat festival. It is a summer festival held at Osaka Tenmangu Shrine dedicated to Sugawara-no-Michizane (845-903), who is deified as Tenman Tenjin, the patron god of learning and art.
They also came across something very strange indeed…
A paved rainforest walk! Nothing like this on the Scenic Rim!
Expo ’88 was held in Brisbane in 1988 to celebrate the Bicentenary of the First fleet founding the colony of Australia. The Southbank Cultural Centre is a legacy of Expo ’88 that woke up the River City from its cultural slumber. For the artistically inclined in the early 1980’s Brisbane, the only place to be was elsewhere.
In just a few years leading up to the 1988 fair, substantial buildings to house the state’s library, art gallery, museum and performing arts companies were constructed to form the city’s creative heart.
Little bears start at the State Library with muffins 🙂
The next stop was the Queensland Terrace on Level 2 of the library for the Tea and Me display. Cabinets designed specifically for tea cups and tea sets line the walls of Queensland Terrace. The Tea & Me teacups evoke the humble ritual of tea taking while simultaneously being reflected, multiplied, fractured and glorified in kaleidoscopic patterns over the glamorously mirrored ceiling.
Sharing stories and memories is at the heart of the Tea & Me project. Tea & Me represents Queensland in this space through the tea cups in the cabinets and stories on the website.
The next stop is Queensland Gallery of Modern Art for a Japanese art exhibition.
‘We can make another future: Japanese art after 1989’ surveys the Gallery’s collection of Japanese contemporary art. The exhibition focuses on work made during the period known as Heisei in the Japanese calendar, running from 1989 to the present day. The exhibition brings together artistic responses to questions of a fixed Japanese identity and also reflects on the physical, spiritual and natural worlds, and engagements with the burgeoning field of popular culture.
Increasingly cosmopolitan in character and operating with an unprecedented level of international mobility, the art of this period offers a sophisticated reflection on the social conditions behind art’s production in Japan.
Beginning in 1989, Heisei has seen significant challenges for Japan, but it has also been the period of ‘Cool Japan’, with widespread international interest in Japan’s contemporary cultural production. As well as 25 years of Heisei, this also marks 25 years of the Gallery’s public engagement with the contemporary art of Japan.
‘We can make another future’ profiles several overlapping themes for this fascinating period in Japan. The exhibition explores the emergence of the digital sublime; responses to the rich field of consumer culture and new technologies of representation and communication; and critiques of national and sexual identity through figuration and performance.
Time for a wonderful lunch, at Torba on the Southbank.
The menu included a delectable selection of Romanian dips (smoked eggplant, roasted capsicum, zucchini and feta) and Bats Blood merlot from Transylvania!
There is also royal caviar and scrumptious cabbage rolls.
And a delicious Moldavian lamb pilaf.
With food on their mind, little bears went to Old Government House, the birthplace of the lamington. They looked and looked, but no lamingtons anywhere in the house.
The principal room in the house was the Governor’s Library, the office of the Governor. It functioned as the administrative headquarters of the colony of Queensland and meetings were held here with the Premier and the Government Ministers.
The Governor had a comfy chair!
Hmmm, what shall we sign?
Guests to receptions entered the house through the front doors into this main reception hall and they would be presented to the Governor.
With no photographic evidence of the carpet in the house, and in line with heritage regulations, a contemporary carpet was designed especially for the Old Government House. The carpet’s theme was drawn from the tree of life wallpaper that can be seen in the photograph of the Hall taken in 1907.
The staircase shows the expertise of the builder, Joshua Jeays, who published an instruction book on the construction of handrails.
The graceful cascade of golden Swarovski crystals in the reception hall of the House was designed by Belinda Smith from Urban Art Projects. The chandelier is titled “Inflorescent” and has a flourish of 52,000 glittering rich topaz and champagne Swarovski crystals from the Czech Republic falling away from a palm branch cast in bronze.
Ms Smith took her inspiration for the chandelier from the weeping seed pods of the palms found in the nearby Botanic Gardens and the “botanic” theme of the “Tree of Life” design on the specially woven carpets.
QUT historian and Old Government House curator Dr Katie McConnel says the lamington was definitely first concocted at Old Government House by French chef Armand Galland. Monsieur Galland came to Australia with Lord and Lady Lamington in 1900 and cooked for them until they left in 1901. The lamington was born of necessity – it was Monsieur Galland’s answer to the perennial problem of unexpected visitors coming up the path. He pulled from the pantry day old French vanilla sponge cake, chocolate and coconut and whipped up the lamington. It proved so popular that Lady Lamington was inundated with requests for the recipe and thus Galland named his delectable treat in honour of his patrons the Lamingtons.
Next to Old Government House are the riverside City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane’s original botanic gardens.
Little bears are out and about enjoying the Maleny Botanic Gardens.
Maleny Botanic Gardens currently cover 14 acres, they are surrounded by magnificent rainforest and have spectacular views of the Glasshouse Mountains. The Glass House Mountains are a group of eleven hills that rise abruptly from the coastal plain on the Sunshine Coast. The term ‘Glasshouse Mountains’ was given by explorer Captain James Cook in May 1770. The peaks reminded him of the glass furnaces in his home county of Yorkshire.
Little bears visited the Fairytale Garden…
…the Zoysia Grass Island…
…and the Pink Gazebo.
Isabelle and Jay found some bananas…
…and Puffles and Jay tried out a staghorn for a chair. Bouncy!
A huge Aviary, named Bird World, was opened in November 2013. A guided tour allowed little bears to walk through and be up close and personal with the magnificent array of approximately 360 native and exotic birds of all sizes such as peacocks, macaws, finches and many more from all around the world.
Ginger the alpaca did not offer a ride…
…so Honey and Isabelle found a more accommodating alpaca at Art on Cairncross.
Time for a bit of lunch at The Terrace of Maleny. Yummy!
The Maleny Botanic Gardens offer over 6 kilometres of walking paths meandering around thousands of different plants, ranging from roses, azaleas and annuals to some of the rarest cycads in the world. All of which are complemented by numerous lakes and waterfalls – providing countless options for photography 🙂
Art on Cairncross is an art gallery that displays an array of fine art by leading and emerging artists from the region and throughout Australia. This is complemented by a fascinating range of three dimensional art from glass, porcelain, bronze, ceramics and unique leather masks through to jewellery and hand-painted silks. Some amazing pieces, well worth a visit.