Trip Start Oct 01, 2005
137Trip End Sep 20, 2006
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We've been welcomed by hospitable friends (old and new) and family nearly everywhere we've been. We've seen some very odd but endearing animals that hop around and keep their babies in pouches, and we've been woken up at dawn by the raucous screeching of beautiful parrots and the laughing of the Kookaburras.
For us, the most memorable aspect of our time Down Under has been travelling through the huge, empty landscapes - the like of which we just don't see in Europe - here you can drive all day and only take 1 left turn! We found the open country beautiful and look forward to returning to explore the bits we couldn't get to this time. It's hard to believe when you are in a city like sophisticated Melbourne, or cosmopolitan Sydney, that you're in the same country that has long straight roads with petrol stations nearly 200km apart!
A couple of quirky Aussie things we noticed:
Hook Turns: the most illogical traffic engineering (on a par with the Magic Roundabout in Swindon) only found in the Melbourne central district where if you want to turn RIGHT you have to be in the LEFT lane....
Aussie Propaganda: they love their country, they think it's great and they love to tell you in subtle ways, like playing 'I want to play cricket for Australia', 'We are Australian' in the tour buses, even 'Kookaburra sits in the old Gum tree' in the train stations! They EVEN claim that Vegemite is better than Marmite, but they couldn't brainwash us with that one!
Everything in Australia can kill you: particularly when you're out in the country you're warned about this on a daily basis - don't swim in the sea because the jellies will get you & if they don't the sharks will; don't swim in the rivers because of the crocs; don't walk in the bush because there are snakes and spiders lurking there waiting for you... it's a wonder we've survived!
We arrived in Australia after 3 months in Asia, and we re-entered a familiar culture. Oz isn't England in the sun, but it's pretty close! And now we move on to Africa and 5-months in the same place, which will be something different in itself given that we've spent the last 4 pretty much constantly on the move!