Kangaroo on the menu for Harry and Meghan Down Under

Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry smell traditional native Australian ingredients during a visit to Mission Australia social enterprise restaurant, Charcoal Lane, in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Phil Noble/Pool Photo via AP)
Updated 18 October 2018
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Kangaroo on the menu for Harry and Meghan Down Under

  • The pair will only spend a few hours in Melbourne, but had a jam-packed schedule that included a meal featuring native Australian foods
  • Meghan was inundated by flower bouquets and baby gifts following their announcement

MELBOURNE: Chargrilled kangaroo was on the royal menu Thursday as Prince Harry and his pregnant wife Meghan arrived in Australia’s second-largest city Melbourne, where they were greeted by thousands of screaming fans.
Clutching flowers and waving flags, the crowds turned out to welcome the pair, who were delayed in traffic after flying in from Sydney on the third day of their tour Down Under.
The pair will only spend a few hours in Melbourne, but had a jam-packed schedule that included a meal featuring native Australian foods and a trip to a beach.
“I love everything they stand for. As a human being you have so much to look up to with them,” one young fan who had been waiting since before dawn told national broadcaster ABC as the pair mingled with the crowd.
A teenage girl cried tears of joy and threw her arms around the prince as she clutched a hand-written banner with the words: “Been here since 4am. Loved you since I was eight.”
“You’re gonna get me in trouble,” Harry joked as he embraced her.
Meghan was inundated by flower bouquets and baby gifts following their announcement on Monday that Meghan was expecting their first child.
The US-born royal also put on a dinosaur pasta necklace made by a five-year-old boy, who was wearing his favorite pilot uniform outfit, for the rest of her walk.
“I made it with pasta and dipped them in gold paint and threaded the string through,” he told news.com.au.
The Duchess was wearing a tan trench-coat, believed to be by Paris-based Australian designer Martin Grant, a navy dress by the breakthrough star of local fashion Dion Lee, and holding a Gucci Sylvie clutch.
The loved-up husband and wife mostly mingled with the crowd separately, but when they were together, they held hands and the Duchess periodically stroked Harry’s back.
After the public meet-and-greet, the couple spent some time with the Victorian Governor Linda Dessau in an official reception at Government House, where the Duchess of Sussex stole the hearts of local sports fans by handballing a football used in the Australian Rules game.
They then headed to a restaurant that mentors indigenous chefs with chargrilled kangaroo and wild boar on the menu, according to broadcaster Channel Nine. They will visit a school before finishing up at South Melbourne beach.
The couple will also follow in the footsteps of Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth during her 2011 visit by taking a tram ride in Melbourne.
They are due to return to Sydney later this week for the opening of the global sports championship the Invictus Games, which was set up by Harry for wounded military personnel after his decade of service in the army.
The couple’s more-than-two-week official visit will take in multiple stops in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand — all parts of the Commonwealth, a group of predominantly former British colonies.


Soviet-era motorcycle sidecars add to Cuba’s retro appeal

Updated 21 March 2019
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Soviet-era motorcycle sidecars add to Cuba’s retro appeal

  • Ranging from rusting relics to the pampered and the pristine, hundreds of old motorcycle sidecars rattle through the streets of Havana

HAVANA: Cuba’s love affair with 1950s-era American cars is still intact, but the communist-run island also has a lingering attachment to a stalwart of Soviet-era leftovers, the motorcycle sidecar.
Ranging from rusting relics to the pampered and the pristine, hundreds of old motorcycle sidecars rattle through the streets of Havana.
The retro appeal gets a lot of attention from tourists “but here it’s common, normal,” says Enrique Oropesa Valdez.
Valdez should know. The 59-year old makes a living as an instructor teaching people how to handle the sidecar in Havana’s traffic, where riders seem able to squeeze the machines through the narrowest of gaps.
And they’ve built up an intense loyalty among the mend-and-make do Cubans.
“They’re very practical,” according to Alejandro Prohenza Hernandez, a restaurateur who says his pampered red 30-year-old Jawa 350 is like a second child.
Cheaper and more practical than the gas-guzzling, shark-finned US behemoths, the bikes are used for anything from the family runabout to trucking goods and workers’ materials.
“A lot of foreigners really like to take photos of it,” says Hernandez. “I don’t know, I think they see it as something from another time.”
Cuba lags several decades behind the rest of the world due to a crippling US embargo, so the makers’ badges on the ubiquitous sidecars speak of a bygone world.
Names like Jawa from the former Czechoslovakia and MZ from the former East Germany, as well as antiquated Russian Urals, Dniepers and Jupiters.
Havana’s military acquired them from big brother Moscow at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s and 70s, for use by state factories and farms. Over the years, they gradually filtered down to the general public.
That’s how Jose Antonio Ceoane Nunez, 46, found his bright red Jupiter 3.
“When the Cuban government bought sidecars from the Russians in 1981, it was for state-owned companies,” he said.
Later, the companies “sold them on to the most deserving employees,” he said. His father, who worked for a state body, passed the bike on to him.
“Even if the sidecar gets old. I’ll never sell it because it’s what I use to move around. It’s my means of transport in Cuba, and there aren’t many other options,” said Nunez.
Valdez himself has a cherished green 1977 Ural.
“I like it a lot, firstly because it’s the means of transport for my family, and secondly because it’s a source of income.”
And it costs less than a car, still out of reach of many Cubans.
Settled on the island with his Cuban wife, 38-year-old Frenchman Philippe Ruiz didn’t realize at first how ubiquitous the motorcycle sidecar was.
“When I began to be interested, I suddenly realized that I was seeing 50 to 100 a day!”
Renovating a house at the time, he saw that many sidecars were being used to transport building equipment.
Through an advert on the Internet, he bought a blue 1979 Ural a few months ago for 6,500 euros.
“It’s a year older than me and in worse shape,” he said. “Soon he had to strip the bike down and “start repairing everything.”
With few spare parts available in Cuba, “people have to bring them in from abroad,” which slows down repairs.
But he has no regrets. An experienced motorcyclist, he’s discovered a whole new side to his passion by riding the Russian machine.
“It’s very funny, it’s a big change from the bike because we cannot turn the same way, we can’t lean, so you have to relearn everything but it’s nice.”
“It’s especially nice with the family because you can put a child in the sidecar, my wife behind, and suitcases,” he said.
In future he hopes to take advantage of the interest in the old bikes to rent it out.
“I think it will be a bit of a change from all the convertibles here.”