Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 8 in which we make our way to Canberra

Sunday morning was fun, but a little bit sad because we were leaving our new friends.

It was all so ironic. Previously I thought of Tasmania as a huge scary hassle. I was so worried about it. Now I worried it would be the best part of our trip. What if this was it? What if the best part had already come and gone? What if nothing else was fun? Well, at least we had the hope of Tracey and her family maybe coming to Sydney. I think that made it somewhat easier to leave.

We all hung out in the morning. Jack took photographs.

Tyrone had a newspaper that he was reading. When he was done, I asked if I could see it. The front page had an article about the Victorian fires. I think Tyrone said, if they still lived in Victoria, he'd be fighting the fires.

I didn't realize the significance and severity of the fires. I think I saw bush fires as a normal part of Australia. It's like fires in California, tornadoes in Texas, and blizzards in Wisconsin. They just happen. It's part of life. It wasn't until later that I realized how incredibly horrible these fires actually were.

Tracey drove us to the airport. Originally, she was going to take us while Tara stayed home with Tyrone. But then Tara wanted to go with. I was glad about that.

In the Launceston airport, you can go past security without a boarding pass so Tracey and Tara were able to sit with us at the gate. Before that we had gone to the store. I bought a chocolate bar with honey comb. Australia seems to have more honeycomb candy than we do in the US. Tracey bought me some candy as a gift. It was incredibly sweet of her and totally not necessary. But I definitely loved and appreciated it. Oh! This is when she sang the praises of musk candy. I had heard of this strange phenomena, but had never had the nerve to try it. She told me I should. I kept that in mind. If I was brave enough to try Vegemite, I might be brave enough to try musk candy. Yeah.

Tracey bought Tara some cheese Twisties. Jack wanted some too. Tracey offered us the chance to share, but Jack sometimes has issues with germs and sharing food. We got our own bag because lord knows we all need those extra calories.

We said good-bye. I actually don't remember much of that at all. I guess I blocked most it out of my memory.

I do remember Jack twice saying to them I'll see you in one year, six months, and seven days. I think he said it at two separate points. The exactness and duplicity of his statement made me think perhaps he was making some kind of profound psychic statement.

Well, it could still come true. We did see them again much sooner than that. But who knows, maybe the next time we see them will be in six months. That'll be in August.

I guess we'll see. But if we do end up seeing them, we'd have to argue. Was it a psychic prediction or a self-fulfilling prophesy?

I don't think Jack heard and/or registered the possibility of our Tassie friends coming to Sydney in a few weeks. He must have missed that conversation because he acted very pleasantly surprised when I mentioned it to him later. What he wanted originally was them to come to America. We mentioned that several times. Even though we don't think Texas is all that exciting, we want our friends to visit. We also talked about them coming to Disney World with us one day. We're part of the Disney Vacation club and we go there pretty much every year. It would be great to have friends with us. Jack absolutely loved that idea. He went on and on about it. He started planning when we'd all go and what exactly we'd do each day. We had to explain that the Disney idea was a maybe type thing in the far future.

On the plane, Missy Higgin's Special Two was playing. Well, at least according to my notes it was. I don't really remember. I guess I should trust myself.

I enjoyed hearing Australian songs on the radio in the car. I usually only hear those songs on You-Tube or I-tunes. It was fun hearing them in a more spontaneous setting.

Speaking of the car, Tim did very good driving!

 No, I didn't try driving. I have enough trouble driving on the right side of the road. Actually, it's not the switching sides that scares me. It's the roundabouts. Those things terrify me! I have no idea how Tim figured them out; but he did.

Anyway, I don't praise my husband often because he gets too much praise already. And his head is so swelled it may burst any moment. But I say will I'm incredibly impressed with his driving in Australia. I'm still in total awe.

Google Maps had led me to believe it would take more than three hours to get to our Canberra Carotel Motel and Caravan Park. I was a bit nervous because the office closed at 8:00 on the weekends. Our plane was due into Sydney at around 3:00. I figured it would take about an hour to get off the plane, get our luggage, and rent the car. That would leave us four hours to get there. The thing is last year it took us so long to drive places. I pictured us coming in past nine.

I had written an email to the holiday park telling them we might be late. They were very nice and told us not to worry. The caretaker would check us in. That made me feel a little better.

Fortunately, we didn't end up being that late. Last year we were without a good navigation system. This time we had our beloved TomTom. It was incredibly helpful. We even had a chance to eat a relaxing dinner in Goulburn. I thought we'd be so rushed that we'd have to survive on the snacks from the airplane or grab more junk food from a convenience store.

We ate at Tamnak Thai. The man who worked there was very friendly. He was originally from the UK and joked that we shouldn't worry. The chef was from Laos. I'm not sure if the joke was targeted at British cooking or white people cooking Asian food.

We were the only ones in the restaurant. I tried asking him about why and when he came over to Australia. I was kind of confused about his answers. At one point, it seemed he came over as a young adult. But at another time, it seemed like he came over as a child. Then he said something about coming over because of the restaurant. Maybe he came over as a child to Australia, but then came to Goulburn for the restaurant. It intrigued me that he was in Goulburn. I picture most people moving to Australia and ending up in one of the big cities....at least at first.

At one point, I was talking to Tim about something I might have figured out. For the past year or so, I've seen the word gaol quite often. I thought Australia had a whole different word for what we call jail. But somehow in Australia I had finally figured out the two words were pronounced the same way. The guy who owned the restaurant overheard me and said he did the same thing when he first came over.

After dinner, we drove to the Carotel.

One thing we noticed right away is there were a lot of big ants. Jack was very nervous about that and I was nervous about him being nervous. His fears can be a pain in the ass sometimes. But I shouldn't talk. So, can mine! We both have annoying fears.

Oh! Remember how Jack freaked out about Tracey's house? Well, now it was Tim's turn. He was in a bit of a crabby mood when we got to the Carotel. I'm guessing he was exhausted from driving. It probably takes a lot of brain-power to drive on the side of the road you're not used to.

Anyway, he started bombarding me with questions. I don't think he liked the look of the Carotel. Do we have our own bathroom? Does it have air-conditioning?

I told him yes....well, maybe....on both accounts. It's not that I didn't check those things carefully. It's just I figured there was the chance I might have misread something or I might have made a little mistake.

I lucked out.

We had toilets and air-conditioning.

We had ants on our porch which terrified Jack. And I'm not talking about swarms of ants. I'm talking about one or two. But they were pretty big and menacing looking. I'll give him that.

I can't remember if we unpacked first or went to the grocery store first. I guess it doesn't matter.

At the grocery store, I bought laundry pegs. Tracey and I had talked about the differences in American and Australian laundry. Australia is much more eco-friendly. Americans use dryers. Australians hang their clothes outside on a hills clothes hoist. In America, it's often actually frowned down upon to hang your clothes outside. It's seen as low class. It's seen as making property values go down. Fortunately, I think that's changing somewhat--at least in more progressive communities. But when we came back to the states and were staying in an Hawaiian hotel, I was disappointed to see a notice saying guests were not allowed to let wet clothes dry on the balcony. We were supposed to take it down to the provided dryers. I can imagine it might be a problem hanging clothes from the actual balcony. It could fall on people. But why not allow people to hang them on the chairs. Or why not provide the little drying racks that Australian holiday parks provide? It was a beach hotel so it would be nice if we were allowed to hang our swimming suits and wet towels outside. Well, Tim said screw the rules. He did it anyway. And he pointed out to me that a lot of people did the same thing.

Some rules are meant to be broken. Definitely. And as Jack said as he helped me edit this entry. Did you show them what you were made out of? Did you hang the clothes? Ah, my little rebel.

But back to the grocery store trip. I bought laundry soap to go with the laundry pegs. We bought two types of cereal--Weet-Bix Apricot Bites and Milo Cereal. I think we all ended up preferring the Weet-Bix. I think we just pretty much bought breakfast food and snacks.

We bought licorice bullets. I love those! We bought Shapes which I also really love. And I bought musk sticks.

I tried them. Maybe that night. I thought they tasted very odd, but not too horrible. It kind of reminded me eating Bernie Bott's Jelly Bellies. It's like eating something you've never expected to eat. It's something you're used of smelling, but not actually putting in your mouth. It's weird eating something that tastes like soap or grass, but it's actually not that bad.

Musk Sticks. I could deal with them.

Well, yes....until Tim tasted one and said it tasted like a urinal tablet. I had never heard of a urinal tablet before, but his use of the word urinal succeeded in making me lose any interest in eating musk flavored candy again.

In the room, we relaxed. I think Jack wrote some short stories. He likes writing fan fiction.

Tim watched TV and relaxed.

I don't remember what I did. I probably took notes and photographs. Maybe I read my book. I forgot which book I was reading by this time. It was probably Toad Away by Morris Gleitzman.