After waking up, we had breakfast(eggs, etc) and it wasn't too long til we landed in New Zealand. I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy the long leg of the trip was.
I had a quick stop in New Zealand to switch planes. On the flight to New Zealand, I had the light breakfast, since I had just eaten on the other plane. The movie was K-Pax, which I'd seen in the theater, but watched to pass the time. It was dark and rainy outside when we landed. The Aukland airport is the nicest large airport I've seen. They have shower stalls in the bathroom!|
As we landed in Melbourne, there were thick clouds and it was lightly sprinkling on the ground. I couldn't see Melbourne from above because of the clouds, but the very first thing I saw as we descended through the clouds broke were the Golden Arches of McDonald's. I found that fairly amusing.
Before we landed, they gave us customs cards to fill out and they played a video which stressed the heavy fines for giving false information. First the ask if you have ANY food. I have a pound bag of M&Ms and a couple granola bars. Then they ask about hiking/camping gear. Well, I figure my sleeping bag is pretty obvious as it's attached to the outside of my backpacking pack...and I have my hiking boots inside. I decided to conveniently miss the part about about the hiking gear, but I note that I have some M&Ms. Once in customs, I ask the guy about the M&Ms, offering to throw them away if that will help. But I was sent to the "Red Line"...thinking great, how long is this going to take...the line was VERY long! Fortunately I saw there was a guy checking on us in the line. I got his attention. He stamped me clear and I was sent on my way. I didn't even have to wait in the green line...so it really worked out for the best. As soon as I exited the customs area, Georgie was there waiting for me. It was so great to see her after 2 1/2 years since our chance meeting in Death Valley.
We headed to her house in St. Andrew's. She warned me that it was a bit crazy at her house. That her friend Angie was in between moving and she and her two daughters were there...and another friend, Cerise was staying there. No worries, the more the merrier.
St. Andrew's is a great little town...very small. We stopped at the General Store to pick up her mail on the way home.
When I got there, I met everyone...making a very conscious effort to remember all the names. Angie and her daughters, Tally(3) & Sasha(1)...and Angie's dad, Doug. Cerise and her friend, Callin. We talked a bit and I tried vegemite. I'd heard about it so I wanted to see what it was like. It's a spread that goes on toast that is salty. Though not bad, I definitely decided it's an acquired taste. Then a few of us walked over to the "market", which is like a combination of a swap meet & and the Art Walk in Santa Barbara. There was a guy there who was a rock man...a slow moving statue and he put on a nice show.
There was a music festival near by that evening and since I wasn't jet-lagging at all, we decided to go. Georgie rang a few friends to see if they were interested. Georgie and I went over to the music festival early. We ran into a friend of hers, Kaitlin, and her friend, Andrew. We watched a couple mediocre bands, then headed for home to meet up with the others before the band she really wanted to see played later that evening. Adam and Kathleen showed up and we headed back to the music festival. Things had really picked up. The music was better and the atmosphere was rockin'. A lot of people were dancing, kids and dogs were running around. "Those Bloody McKenna's" came on the were GREAT! I still am hoping to track down a copy of their CD.
We went back to Georgie's and sat around talking for a long time, polishing off a slab(case) of Cascade beer. Out of all the the Australian beers I tried on my trip, Cascade was my favorite...though Boag's is a close second. Both are Tasmanian beers. It looked like Cascade was bottled for sale in the U.S., so I'm going to see if I can find some here.
After only my first day, I could tell I was going to love it in Australia...and it just got better each day!
Mar 01 | Mar 02 | Mar 03