As I opened the door to my room I couldn't believe I had finally made it. No, I'm not talking about the 27 hours it had taken me from the time I left my previous hotel in Honolulu, I am talking about making it to Australia at all. It is a place that I had wanted to visit for years - literally - but I had always been put off by the huge distance and the offensive travel time. But here I was. I dropped my bag on the floor, went for a quick walk around town, then came back and turned on the TV to be greeted by a newsreader who introduced himself as Bazza. It may not have felt like it when I arrived in Sydney - wearing shorts, t-shirt and flip flops - to learn that it was just 7 degrees, but I had arrived in Oz alright.It is now 24 hours later and I've had chance to have a more-extensive look around the place. Don't get me wrong, I loved my time in Canada and the States, but I reckon I'm really gonna like it here. I reckon I'm gonna like it a lot.
There is a proper public transport system and there are pedestrians on the street. People will smile and greet each-other as they walk or stop in cafes which sell sandwiches which feature proper cheese and French bread, quote the prices including tax and who pay enough that the wait-staff don't demand tips. As you walk along the street you can stop at small independent shops which sell healthy food in sensible size servings.
You drive your Saab, Renault, VW or Peugeot on the road rather than on the pavement and the other drivers will slow down and let you into the traffic flow then give you a ‘no worries' nod when you wave to thank them. The police patrol on foot or on horse-back rather than in cars and they don't bust pedestrians for jaywalking when they dare to cross the street.
You find buildings of all ages, many constructed of brick; hotels with stairs rather than elevators and windows which open instead of having air conditioning rattling away as you try to sleep, there are proper pubs within walking distance and even a curry house. I feel at home here already. And, as an added bonus; it's sunny too. You don't get that back in the ‘old-country' all that often.
I guess it's good news that I like the place - given I'm here for the next three months! In a couple of days I join up with a three-week tour up the west coast and through the Kimblerley region before leaving Australia for a bit when we reach Darwin. I'm flying to Malaysia for a few days before heading south to Singapore for the Grand Prix. After that it is back to Australia before doing the more traditional east coast route. I can't wait!
Originally published on - and Copyright retained by - Boogity, Boogity, Boogity
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