Well here I am…down under…..writing from "the other side". It’s strange and amazing to be here all at once. It still doesn’t truly feel like I’m here. I could be anywhere… It certainly doesn’t feel as "far away" as it truly is.
We stopped in Hawaii…a great break after traveling some 16 hours just to get there. Our flight was delayed in Vancouver by almost 4 hours. All I can say is, thank heavens they have a great airport there with seating that allows a person to stretch out.
Hawaii was hot and sunny…just how you’d expect. So many things had changed since I was there last. In fact it was hard to recognize. The new development of the beach front and hotels and upscale shops is amazing. Also the new strict laws regarding drinking was a shock. The one thing I remember the clearest from all my vacations there so many years ago was the Happy Hour Drinks starting at around 1 in the afternoon basically going on forever. Even now at the Luau apparently there is no open bar. The tourist areas have been scrubbed clean. I would have liked to have left the over commercialized area of Waikiki to visit some of the "real" Hawaii but we only had 2 days there. We did manage to stay in a great hotel on the opposite end of Waikiki which was a peaceful oasis away from the crowds slathered in coconut oil. On the way back we’ll have more time to spend exploring.
We managed a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial and hiked up Diamond Head. Robert is still paying big time for not wearing a hat or sunscreen. I’m not sure just how many times he will peel. He looks like a lobster.
After Hawaii we had one looooooong flight to Australia. I didn’t manage to sleep at all and was beyond burnt out after arriving in Sydney only to have to wait for almost 3 hours before boarding for Adelaide. They are crazy mad with security and import export security. In fact, before we were allowed to deplane we had to wait while the cabin is sprayed down with some sort of chemicals and then we were in quarantine for about 10 minutes for it to take affect.
Now we have been here for 3 days and are finding it very easy to adapt. In fact immediately upon our arrival we noticed just how similar almost everything was to home. It is scary when you fly half way around the world only to realize that not much has changed. The food is basically the same, although they do call french fries chips like in England. The shops are mostly the same, ToyR Us, Foot Locker, Starbucks, The Body Shop etc. The music is the same. I would say that the landscape is different, a mix of LA and Victoria in BC with a bit of Arizona’s desert mixed in.
The culture and problems here are strikingly similar to Canada. Immigration policy problems, economic development issues and Free Trade Agreement issues with the US, corrupt politician issues…energy concerns etc.
They even have some of the same TV commercials. I do have to say overall the TV choices are lame…but we’re not here to watch TV anyhow.
Adelaide itself is very pretty. Lots of gardens surrounding the central part of the city and a Central Market similar to St. Lawrence Market or Grenville Island in Vancouver. The produce looked nicer though.
We are looking forward to a trip to Kangaroo Island where we are hoping to see more of the "real" Australia that has not been commercialized. We will spend 3 days there trying to see wild life in the wild.
This area is very well developed for wine and food…we totally lucked out! We will be taking a day trip to taste some of the wines of the region on Friday, I can’t wait.
G’day for now!