Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Leaving Down Under

The weekend before I left back to Bangkok we left in Lisa’s trusty Toyota to drive the Great Ocean Road. A twisty, turny thing with landmarks along the coastline and lots of history (shipwrecks, escaped convicts, and, um, surfing movies?). We also saw koala that were literally hanging out above the road. Lisa got a great picture of one on her super duper camera.

The whole drive the sun was reluctant to show itself and it even rained a little but the views were still incredible and I managed a quick dip in the ocean between raindrops. We all took about a million pictures. One of the highlights was the tree top walk where you walk these long catwalks/scaffolding things around an old forest. (photo Ali took of me on the catwalks at treetop walk.)

We saw the 12 apostles, famous Australian image, I’d say arguably as famous as the Sidney Opera House with rocks along the shoreline popping up in pointy formations. However one had collapsed within the last year and Ali and Lisa were a bit disappointed, as it didn’t look quite the same. We also only counted 9 possible apostles but weren’t entirely sure.

I still found the site rather spectacular and enjoyed the whole trip, even Lisa’s daredevil hairpin turns at breakneck speeds and Ali’s climbing on ledges and swinging catwalks scaring the bejeezus outta me. (pic: winding turns evident on TomTom/GPS)

(Pic of me near cave where two survivors from a shipwreck waited out a storm). I wanted to remark a bit on the countryside landscape as well. At higher altitudes the grass was green and almost lush, but most everywhere else the grass was yellowed and the grazing cows at pasture were rail thin with ribs visible from the road. Looking out over these vast drying fields you could really get a sense of how serious the drought in Australia is. With my vivid imagination it wasn’t a big stretch to imagine things getting worse with crop shortages, cattle corpses feeding the flies and such… but then we got back to the ocean and I perked up and got a little less fatalistic about global warming and little more optimistic while watching waves crashing against the shoreline. Ali asked me why I felt optimistic and I told him not to question optimism… doesn’t questioning optimism then define pessimism in some way?

The whole visit wrapped with a massive BBQ at Wendy’s with various and sundry meat products. The desserts were to die for as well. As had been my trend on this leg of the journey, I ate until I found it difficult to sit upright. Then Wendy insisted we watch some documentary of a house in San Francisco built by some crazy widow and we rested and digested until we got to the point were we could walk instead of waddle to our respective cars. (The photo is of a stone cooked tenderloin I got at a seaside joint on our trip - truly delicious! And fancy!)

Ali and Lisa saw me off at the airport and we enjoyed surprisingly yummy airport salads before my departure. I noshed on a goody bag of chocolate Wendy made for me on the plane as well and tried not to think about leaving my friends :(

Some other highlights about being Down Under
The stars: Orion was upside down. Thought that was interesting. And I got to see the Northern Cross which is a star formation that you can only see from the southern hemisphere and appears in the Australian flag.
Aussie Slang: I don’t even know how to start Australian Slang. I don’t have a favorite per se but I do like how they seem to “chuck” everything – chuck a u-ey (make a u-turn), chuck a sickie (take a day off), etc. For more Aussie slang feel free to visit this site: http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html



Post a Comment

<< Home