6 November 2005
Having not travelled internationally since 2001, well before HighwayOne was conceived, this is my first international postcard.
I left Perth Friday night, flying into Brisbane to visit Dave and Laurie until my Sunday flight to Auckland. No sooner had I arrived than the guys suggested a trip to a place I'd never heard of, Alstonville. One of Laurie's former workmates left the Brisbane rat race behind in favour of this small northern New South Wales town where she now owns the Main Street Café.
Laurie had been keen to visit for a while, and given that he’d just taken delivery of his new Jeep Cherokee, the temptation to take it for a cruise was just too great. So two hours south of Brisbane, we partook of the best hamburgers in northern New South Wales and met the lovely Sandy. They’ve got my vote, anyway!
Since we’d be so close to Byron Bay, I prevailed upon Laurie to return via that infamous town. It’s widely known as the bush retreat of the rich and famous. I almost expected low flying mobile phones to be a common sight in the town, or perhaps that’s just near Russell’s place! It’s also long had a bit of a bohemian reputation; From our flying visit, all that really struck me was how packed with people the place was.
I say flying visit, because we had to be back in Brisbane quite early since the Kookaburra Queen was departing the Eagle Street Pier at 7:30 and we didn’t wanna miss it. The cruise was by way of the Coles Christmas party, where Dave used to work. I obviously only knew a handful of people on board, so when I wasn’t able to contribute to the conversation, I soaked in the views as we traced the Brisbane River’s long lazy loops through the inner city on a four-hour cruise.
I arrived in San Francisco earlier today after 15 hours in the air and a two-hourish stopover in Auckland. On the way into town via BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), for a while there it seemed that every station prompted a Tales of the City quote in my head!
Brian: "Candi, Colma, your name tag.” Candi: “South San Francisco actually, but it was too long to fit on the tag.”Daly City:
Norman Neal Williams (talking about his ex-wife): “She ran off with a tile salesman from Daly City.”
After catching up on missed sleep this afternoon, I headed out this evening to the LoneStar, San Francisco's world famous bear venue (among bears, at least!). I felt just as much at home there as I do at any bar or pub when I'm there alone: Not at all! Bought myself a bottle of water and played wallflower for ten minutes before fleeing, even before I'd finished my drink! Ah, well, at least the walk there and back was good exercise.
I promise to do better on the photo front from here-on in. Given that I was walking alone at night this evening, I didn't want to advertise "Tourist!" with my rather conspicuous camera, so I left it at the hotel. These then, are all from the trip down into northern New South Wales. I was particularly stunned by the first one, which I snapped of a driver in a car we drew level with, eating fruit salad while driving at freeway speeds! Maybe he got his license from a fruit salad packet?
Cheers, Rob ;)