Category Archives: australia

xmas in oz

Australia_2009-12-13_NullaborWA_009No, I’m not in Oz. Only in the archive. I’ve finally made it to the 2009-2010 Australia trip. Only one year left! And who isn’t burning for an update? Today I’m on December 15, 2009: Cactus Beach, Eastern Nullarbor, SA, image 8,263. Wow. What a country.

These joyful Christmas kangaroos were tied to the campsite kitchen door at Fraser Rage Station, on the far Western end of the Nullarbor.

While I admit I’m never thrilled about the cold, NYC is especially pretty and festive this time of year, and I’m glad it’s still my home. Editing the Australia photos confirms that—though it was an amazing trip in a truly stunning country (with the weirdest, coolest animals in the world).

Going through the photos makes me want to tell the stories, of course. The scenery is so stunning and gorgeous. Once again, I’m looking back to tell stories about trips in the past, because I didn’t want to spend too much time on the computer while traveling, and because I didn’t have time when I got back. Time does give interesting perspective, though. On a 5,881 mile road trip, you can be sure there are fantastic tales.

Few Australians make that trip across the Nullarbor, and many think it’s crazy (particularly in a 1997 Holden Commodore station wagon, affectionately known as Green Dragon). For all the traveling Aussies seem to do in the world, many don’t see much of their own country. Strange, but I certainly didn’t mind the pristine, empty beaches. So beautiful.

Update: I made it to December 17, 2009! The birthday of not one, but two great-nephews (HB Porter & Isaac!). I’m stopping for now on image 8360, one year ago today, with the realization that I did not shoot at all on the stretch in South Australia from Port Augusta, down the B82, with its cute towns, to Adelaide, over to the Great Ocean Road, where I picked up on December 20th.

welcome back to america

The first words spoken to me when I returned to the States were by the immigration guy in San Francisco. “New York, huh? You live there? By choice?”

Hmm. Yeah.

I marched on to baggage claim to wait 50 minutes for my bag to pop out. After a 1.5 hour delay because of “weather” in SF, we flew on to NYC. Once over the tri-state area I was flabbergasted by all the congestion. There are probably more people in the NY Metro area then the entire continent of Australia. Good word. Do they really need me here, too?

My bag arrived quickly this time. The airport was quiet as it was nearing midnight. I caught a cab for 20 miles that cost a fifth of my 10,000 mile flight to Sydney after being told that the supershuttle I’d reserved would require a 90+ minute wait. That’s the service one gets with a reservation? Sit until past 1:30am after 27hrs in transit? Welcome home. Imagine living in a place where someone can pick you up from the airport. Sigh.

When I loaded up on groceries the next night, after a few hours sleep and a full day of work, I tried to imagine someone in Australia rolling over my foot with a cart and not even looking up, much less apologizing. No. Wouldn’t happen. Yet here it’s commonplace, I grumped, as I flexed my crushed foot. At Fairway? It’s premeditated.

Some people love this and everything else about New York, but the older I get and the more I get out, I realize that it just isn’t normal, healthy, or pleasant. Unless you’re a millionaire, New York is an entirely uncivilized place to live. Yes, there are lots of nice moments. Like the MTA guy who let me in without paying because none of the vending machines were taking debit or credit cards and I needed to buy my monthly pass. And the baby seated next to me on the train home who grabbed my thumb and held it the rest of his ride, unbeknownst to his mother because of his puffy coat. But these don’t quite make up for the angry bodies pushing onto the trains and up the steps, not to mention the lack of infrastructure to handle so many people. Why weren’t the four machines taking cards anyway? One only took coins! People think they’re tough because they deal with this stuff all day. Bullshit. They’re numb. I know. It’s not a great way to be. Get out for a while and breathe. Stretch out. Relax. Ahhh.

Anyway, I get like this often, especially on return from a trip. Let’s hope I finally do something about it. And soon. Far too quickly I’ll be back to thinking it’s normal.

9465 kilometers (5881 miles)

The path from Perth to Springbrook National Park, with lots of little and big jaunts in between. I’m working on different maps, but this is the idea (care of google maps). The flags are places we stayed at least a night, or had an especially interesting experience. Though it was a lot of driving, we stopped a lot and snacked on food from the esky (wait, sudden realization. Does the aussie word “esky”, or a cooler (or ice box), which I’ve been saying daily for the last two months, derive from eskimo? Oh heavens) and drank coffee from the thermos. Our longest drive was on xmas eve, just under eight hours, from Melbourne to Canberra.