The Wombat!




2 February 2000 – The day is starting out mostly cloudy.  It is a day to pack & get ready to bid adieu to the Land Down Under.  I’m looking forward to home, but I’m leaving with the feeling I would like to return and see all the other parts I didn’t see & spend more time in some of the places I did visit.  It has been one hell of a trip.  I’ll send this off & add some notes after I get back.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym.  I feel blobby.  I packed up 15 kg worth of paper & mailed it, very expensively, to me.  I then took the car in.  As I expected, they “couldn’t” just put in thru to my credit card account as a credit so they wrote me a cheque.  I tool the cheque to the Post Office, but they couldn’t deposit it in my account.  I next tried the bank on which the cheque was written.  They couldn’t deposit it either.  However, for only $30 they rewrote the cheque in US $.  Off to the bank early on Friday. :-)  Over the last two days I have paid my respects to KFC & McDonald’s.  I’ve been to them more while here then in all my previous years.  Now to finish packing.


3 February 20003 February 2000 – I awoke to a beautiful sunny summer day in Sydney.  A fine day on which to end my trip.  Ian & Karen headed off to work & I waited for my ride to the airport.  The drive there was fairly quick, however, I wonder how the roads will hold up during the Olympics? If my calculations are correct, I got up at 1500 on the 2nd, Albany time.  It looks like a 34+ hour day.  Oh well, I should get 4-6 hours sleep on the plane.  The trip went smoothly.  I didn’t have a problem in LAX going thru customs & getting over to my flight.  We arrived at JFK a little bit late.  It was snowing lightly with a temp of –5.  Welcome to winter. :-)  When I got to the gate, the earlier flight was still there, delayed.  I managed to get on it, but with delays I arrived in Albany about the same time as I was scheduled.  However, I did arrive just before midnight.  I left Sydney & arrived in Albany on the same day. :-)  The house was warm.  As I was a little bit early & wired, I decided to start the hot water.  I did drive out to the supermarket for a few things.  It was strange to drive on the right.  By the time I got back I had enough hot water for a shower.  Then to bed. 


I said with a sigh, “I’m back!”


Some observations & comments.


It was a great trip & worth the time, effort & money.  Since everything goes in three’s, I can sum up the trip thusly. 1.  The weather was good.  2.  The Aussies were great.  3.  The women are beautiful. 


Driving is a challenge in Oz.  Basically the sealed roads are too narrow.  The unsealed ones are generally rough, but wide.  I wonder where the road dept. got its standard for lane width, probably from the Romans.  Shoulders/verges would be nice, too.  Except on the very few 4-lane roads, you won’t find any.  One stretch of national highway I had driven over a week or so earlier was the scene of a serious collision between a road train & a bus.  Of course, once more than about 75 km outside of a major city there is very little traffic.  No need for 4-lane roads in Oz, but it would be nice if the major 2-lane ones were wider.  Nevertheless I managed to drive about an “earth,” 35,500 km, without an accident or is that “1 Clarke” as Clarke Orbit is 35,700 km in height.


 The Toyota Starlet was pretty good.  While serviceable, the “Repeller Company’s” cruise control was the pits.  I felt it was dangerous.  I had to depress the clutch completely, letting the engine race, to disengage the CC or actually step a little bit on the brake.  Neither is good if one is skidding.


Driving on the right was interesting, & still is, at first.  I have found myself moving to the left.  I banged my left hand on my door reaching for the gearshift now back on the right.  I have turned on the windshield wiper instead of the turn signal & vice versa.  After 5˝ months one does settle into new patterns.


I did find the average Aussie to be a slower and more considerate driver than one may find in North America.  They do, except, say, during Rush Hour in Sydney, stay to the left except when overtaking.


If my tale of fun raises some questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me about them.  I just love to talk about this trip.  :-)

Eddress :