Locums for a Small World Blog

The Australian Open in Melbourne, a sweet spot for locum tennis fans

Posted by Saralynn White

Swiss tennis sensation, Roger Federer, once called the Australian Open (AO) the Happy Slam, saying, "If Wimbledon is staid, clubby and traditional, and the U.S. Open is high octane and glitz, the Australian Open
feels like a giant barbie break. There's a real festive atmosphere." Truer words could not have been spoken.

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Melbourne, the city that’s been dubbed the “Events Capital of Australia,” looks to serve up more than just tennis at the premier Grand Slam event of 2011. Story lines from Center Court (or Centre Court, as it's spelled here) include the absence of five-time winner, Serena Williams; the hot streak of Raphael Nadal, who’s coming off three major wins to close out 2010; and the possibility of a final showdown between Federer and Nadal - who've collectively taken 21 of the last 23 Majors. If Nadal wins, he’ll become the first player since Australia's own Rod Laver to win four Majors in a row.  

Off the court, Melbourne has braced itself for record-breaking crowds: More than 500,000 people are expected
to descend on the city and surrounding areas over the next two weeks. The on-and-off-court festival of entertainment attracted more than half a million patrons last year, with an official tournament attendance of 650,000 and a record-breaking 653,860 watching the opening of the Grand Slam event.

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The city of in-your-face sights and subtle charms will keep even the most fervent out-of-town fans occupied.
At Melbourne's heart, you'll discover historic and attractive laneways and arcades - most notably Block Place
and Royal Arcade. A distant relative of the Middle Eastern bazaar, these narrow streets offer a variety of posh shops, cafés for dining al fresco and vibrant bars.

To get away from the maddening crowd, tennis and travel fiends can hop on a tram and hit the outlying communities of Richmond, renowned for its authentic Vietnamese fare; Carlton, a staple for classic Italian;
or Fitzroy, home of tantalizing Spanish tapas. Local shops, parks, cafés, and a veritable plethora of bars cater continuously to roaming tennis fans with live streams of the AO - so no ace, smash, lob or let will be missed.  

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Beyond the city, the state of Victoria showcases some of Australia’s most diverse and stunning natural landscapes. Surf's up in a township called Torquay, located at the door of the Great Ocean Road. The area is famous for hot surfing spots like Bells Beach; plus, some of world’s foremost surf companies including Curl, Piping Hot and Quicksilver reside right here. A short drive out of town, Alpine National Park offers a cooler
clime and hot spots for camping, hiking, mountain biking and fishing. 

Play at the AO continues until January 30, which means it’s not too late to make the trip to Melbourne. If you're working down under now we have to say it: Advantage - locum tenens. For those of you everywhere else this year, catch some volleys on the telly and remember you only have eleven months to get ready for next year. 

Topics: Australian Open, Rod Laver, Torquay AU, Alpine National Park AU, Melbourne AU

How one lonely woman inspired the most treasured Australian holiday tradition

Posted by Saralynn White

It may be summer Down Under, but Aussies celebrate the season much like anyone who enjoys a white winter holiday, with a couple of notable exceptions - primarily an event called Carols by Candlelight.
christmas-candles-australiaIt began one night in 1937 when an elderly woman was sitting alone in bed on Christmas Eve. Her only light was a candle, but it was enough to illuminate her expression as she sang "Away in a Manger" along with her radio. A passerby named Norman Banks was strolling along historic St. Kilda Road in Melbourne and caught sight of her. It made him wonder how many people spend the holiday alone, which inspired him to create the first public gathering of people to sing carols by candlelight. A pioneering radio broadcaster who'd just completed a late night shift, Banks' sight of the woman that night led him to create the most treasured Aussie tradition.

Historically, it's said that Cornish Miners in Moonta, South Australia, would gather on Christmas Eve to sing carols lit with candles stuck to the brims of their safety hats. Perhaps it was the early start of the Carols tradition, but it took one lonely woman in a window to inspire one man of action to spread the tradition.

The very next Christmas following Bates' inspiration, nearly 10,000 people congregated at Alexandra Gardens to sing carols with a choir and the Fire Brigade Band. Following World War II, Carols had become so popular that the event was moved to the neighboring park of King's Domain. The number of carolers grew and grew, so in 1959, the newly constructed Sidney Myer Music Bowl became a permanent venue for the gathering of over 30,000 people. Most towns across the OZ nation hold a Carols concert; over 100,000 people gather in Sydney, and many major Carols events are televised to millions of viewers - who sing along at home. Carols of the Domain, as it's called in Sydney, has also helped raise millions of dollars for the Salvation Army Oasis Appeal for Homeless Youth.
Beyond Carols, two other traditions Down Under are noteworthy: advertising is not permitted to be broadcast on television or radio on Christmas day, and get this: postage for Christmas cards cost less; senders are simply required to write "Christmas card only" on the envelope to get the lower-priced stamps. It has to be said: those are first-class holiday traditions.

Topics: Locum Tenens, Australia, Christmas, Sidney, Melbourne AU

Locums for a Small World Blog

Twice a month, our inquisitive locum tenens community asks us to tackle topics ranging from cuisine and culture to recreation and entertainment. We also include great storytelling from our doctors. Have a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know.

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