Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sketches of Oz






I have a quite enviable position as a travel writer, in being able to take numerous trips per year.  The flip side is when the rate of travel is so great that I am left with little time to write it up.  I took a series of trips from late 2015 to late 2016, yet found myself reading about the places I visited, rather than writing about them.  I will post a number of sketches direct from my travel notes.  First up, a brief look at Australia, December '15...

The plane curls in over the Blue Mountains...

...the land below is all dry earth, parched trees.  No wonder my Australia clients gush about all the rushing water in Japan...  

...airport security is quite elaborate for a former penal colony...

...Nicole Kidman stands ten meters high on a billboard for Emirates...

...kids argue in a Volvo in Rush Hour traffic. My own taxi driver pops his gum...

...the beautiful Georgians lining Argyle Drive, hung with posters petitioning their survival...

...watching the red sails in the sunset of the Opera House over dinner...

...James Bond henchmen moonlight as crew on the ferry out to Hobart's MONA.  Bouncing on the trampoline set at the edge of the cliffs, feeling dizzy at the thought of pitching over the nets.  Finding more inspiration in a glass of wine out in the garden than in the art within...

...driving clockwise around Tasmania.  A living forest literally teeming with life, but for the road kill.  I've never seen so many dead animals before.  At least they break the monotony of trees, eucalyptus a perpetual grey corridor.  To reach a town brings relief...

...Strahan a small and quaint village built on a large cove.  Sadly the boats aren't running due to the cold weather.  The chill stays with us up to Cradle Mountain, creeping into the corners of our cabin, defeated once and for all in the fireplace.  We keep our hike the following day low, amongst the scrub, upper torsos perpetually in sunlight.  Above, the landscape is ruled by lingering snow...

...a series of good meals in Launceston, burned off with walks amongst her Victorian finery...

...the wild scenery of the east coast:  Bay of Fires, Wineglass Bay.  Encountering dozens of kangaroos on the hiks to the latter...

...after pints at Iron Horse Brewery, spying a kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree...

...Bicheno quiet and shuttered on an low season Sunday.  Finding the only restaurant to be Chinese.  Outside, a Singaporean family bickers in a mix and match of two dialects...

...Port Arthur like a cathedral, despite tragic history new and old.  Peace walks across wide expanses of lawn, darting in and out of ruined buildings...

...having a devil of a time at the Tasmanian animal rescue and rehabilitation center.  Amongst all the soft cuddlies, a Tiger snake lazes fat and bloated beside a log...

...a handful of days in Melbourne, walking, sipping, eating.  Having a chance meet with a friend on the rooftop of a bustling Siglo bar, then running into another friend at the very restaurant he had recommended a year before...

...the long queues outside every coffee shop at 9:10 every weekday morning.  It's as if Melbourne punches their time cards, then ducks back out for their first cuppa...

On the turntable:  Chet Baker, "Stollin'"

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