Boy, it's tough to watch the situation in Queensland, Australia. It's nearly impossible to imagine that a stretch of land the size of France and Germany is underwater in the Australian state, normally known as a place of nearly endless sunshine.
Global warming? Who knows. All I can say is it's heartbreaking to watch, and it's made all the worse by stories on the devastating impact the floods will have on tourism in the area. The latest report from International Business Times suggests damages could be around $100 million.
Queensland authorities, meanwhile, have an uphill battle to convince folks to visit. As the IBT reported, while Brisbane has been getting a good soaking, "many tourism businesses in Bundaberg, Gladstone and Agnes Water (there's a town with a bad name for a time when there's flooding) remain open" and are easily accessible by air; a vital point considering the conditions of some of the roads.
"However, this has had no positive effects on business as tour operators in the state are reporting of surge in cancelations of Queensland holidays packages. According to media reports, the water level is expected to be constant for the next three or four days."
It won't help the current situation, but if you were thinking of visiting Australia in the next few months it wouldn't hurt to drop some coins in Queensland. While I'm thinking of it, it wouldn't hurt to do the same thing in Haiti, and help a local hotel owner or restaurant owner make a bit of money.
It's almost baseball time. Spring training, that is. Which means tons of action down in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks each have their spring sites in the Phoenix area now, which is home to 15 ball clubs - including the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
That's the same number as play in the Grapefruit League in Florida.
Unlike Florida, where teams are spread all over the southern half of the state from Orlando down to Tampa and Ft. Myers and all, all 15 Cactus League clubs are in the Phoenix area, which makes things easier for fans who want a bit of variety.
Scottsdale officials were in Toronto the other day to talk about the Four Seasons Hotel (see photo) in town and the natural parkland their city has to offer, as well as new bridges and a new musical instrument museum that sounds pretty cool; very interactive and all and probably fun for kids and adults both.
I've never tried any, but they also say Arizona wines have come a long way of late, and that some restaurants in town specialize in Arizona grapes.