In my last post I wrote about how content and grateful I feel. And why shouldn’t I? I didn’t have the easiest start in life, but I am now one of the most comfortable creatures on the planet.
I live simply, in a cheap but nice apartment. My indulgence is travel, and last year I got to go to Colombia with two great friends, Lynn and Roxana. Now Colombia is in the news almost daily, since its next-door-neighbor, Venezuela, is imploding and Colombia is taking in its refugees in a model way.
And I got to spend a month in Australia with Heidi and other friends and see the place through their eyes! My interest had been tepid going in. Would it be like Canada, with kangaroos? No offense, Canada, but you’re not exactly exotic to an American.
But Australia grabbed my imagination and heart. I would love to go back.
Back in Australia. But not for long.
You may have wondered, as I wrote about snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, if I saw coral bleaching. Yes, I did. However, we were told that bleaching is normal, to a point. It’s part of the ebb and flow of weather conditions. I’m not an expert so I can’t say how much is normal, but as with most things, it’s more complicated than your friends’ Facebook posts would have you believe.
As I walked into the office of the resort, I knew from Jim’s face what he would say.
“They’ve found your passport. Someone at the casino-cum-liquor-store turned it in to the police.”
“So if I had waited a day, I wouldn’t have had to change all my plans and lose a day here.”
“Do you feel lucky, or unlucky?” Jim asked.
“Oh, lucky, definitely. I’m nearly 60 and have traveled all over the world—that’s lucky. And nothing like this has ever happened to me before, so that’s lucky.”
On the “not lucky” side, I didn’t know if my passport had been cancelled and I had a lot of hoops to jump through before I would be allowed to exit the country.
You may wonder why I didn’t retrace my steps and try to find my passport. I don’t know. This didn’t even occur to me until I was in Sydney. In an urgent situation I go into “just-deal-with-it” mode, instead of “figure-it-out” mode. I would not make a very good detective.
This was an instance where it would have been preferable to be traveling with someone. I know for a certainty that if Lynn or Heidi had been there, they would have suggested, “Let’s go back and check at all the places you stopped,” and I would have done it, and probably avoided all this drama.
I went out for s last walk around Palm Cove. These are Holdens, the Australian car brand that started out as a saddle maker in the 1850s. Heidi had told me that every Australian family drove a Holden Colorado or Commodore in the 70s and 80s. Then this venerable company declined and was bought by GM, which shut down all car manufacturing in Australia.
You can still buy a car called a Holden, but it is merely a re-branded import of some other car company’s model, made in Thailand or elsewhere, with the Holden lion insignia slapped on.
This is a Skoda. I love that name; it sounds like a disease. I saw all models and makes of cars and utes (trucks) in Australia but if I had to guess I’d say the majority were Toyotas.
I walked along the beach. Aussies have beach safety down to a science. There were signs about sunburn, rip tides, and marine stingers.
These kids had everything but their faces covered, just like Minnesota kids in winter.
Night came and I was still hanging out; I like this photo of a young woman being asked to snap a photo of some senior holiday makers, as they call vacationers.
Back in my room, I read, then tried to force myself to sleep but my nose was stuffed up and it was futile. My mind was also stuffed up with worries about the next day.