bush walk

overgrown lizard


I met my friends Jeff (from New Zealand) and Carolyn (from Australia) in Manly, just north of Sydney.  On the way out of town, we stopped at Homebush the site for the 2000 Olympics.  A bit of a ghost town, but you could imagine the energy a few months earlier.

In the Blue Mountains we went on several "bush walks."  The area was surprisingly tropical with huge ferns and waterfalls.  Jeff was wigged out about poisonous snakes and spiders and kept telling us stories.  It's no wonder I woke up thinking there was a snake in the bottom of my bivy sack.  I was just ready to unzip it and crawl into the darkness with the real poisonous creatures when I realized I was dreaming.  We only saw one snake on the trail and loads of huge lizards. 

On the way from the Blue Mountains to Mt. Buller, Jeff and Carolyn were brave enough to let me drive the rental car on the wrong, or should I say left side of the road.  It didn't seem that strange, but I did play with the windshield wipers by mistake when I'd go for the turn signal.  When we went through a small town, Jeff tested me by screaming out for ice cream and pointing to the other side of the road.  I calmly passed the ice cream shop, applied the brake, made about 40 turns, and legally approached the store front.

In Melbourne I hooked up with Paul, a friend I met in
Chamonix France on my '97 Alps tour.  Paul, his fiancÚ Sonia and roommate Scotty were kind enough to adopt me for a few weeks.  They are fantastic hosts.  They spoiled me with my own room, unlimited access to the Internet and use of their washer and dryer. 

The first two nights I went to BBQ's.  The old barbie thang is really true.  The Australians are really big on, "throw another snag (i.e., sausage) on the barbie" and who is the weirdo clogging the barbie with veggies?  :~)

I tried hard to not be a tourist in Melbourne.  I chilled out, watched videos, and bladed along the beach.  OK, so I sound like I'm on vacation, but I didn't run around to see all of the sights.  I also made an attempt at introducing the x-mas cookie to Australia.  Yes, I baked them.  I should have sold them on the street corner, maybe next time.

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