Published: June 22nd 2006April 10th 2006
'Wait for us'
If you look really hard you can see us in the background,trying to keep up
It finally came to pass that paragliding and Bright was ending. We had many flights in many directions. Gills farthest straight line distance was 25 kms which took 2 hours, she then made it back to our camp in record time by being offered a lift all the way back by the owners of the field in which she landed! In fact she arrived back in plenty of time to receive my ‘please come and get me’ phone call after my landing. I wasn’t lucky enough to get offered a lift by the land owner but as the flight was 56 kms straight line (96 kms by road and nearly 4 hours by air!) it wasn’t going to be quite that easy. As Gill and I aren’t competitive in the slightest she was more than happy to come and collect me (honest), and then on we both went to collect Chappo (our adopted mentor) who broke his 100kms distance personal record. The day was an epic for us, and for many other pilots who, by the end of the day, were scatted over many miles trying to get back to base to compare notes.
After 3 months of flying we
both ended up with about 45 hours air time and many good flights. We will go back. Although we have placed a few hurdles for our return. One of them being the parking ticket we didn’t pay, and the other is immigration who want a damn good reason why we overstayed our visa by 2 months before they will let us into the country again (well - for at least 3 years, but more of that in a while).
We left Bright with a week to get to Sydney and sell the van. After a pleasant few days wending our way through the mountains (and calling in to my Auntie and Uncle - thanks for having us again) we arrived in Sydney and started working through the list of jobs to be done before leaving Aus: Get refund for Gills Doctors appointment, contact NZ bureau re. work permit, sell van, change RTW plane ticket, and check on tax refund for gliders. All went reasonably well except initially selling the van, apparently not that easy if bought in another state.
We had the option of trying to sell the van (Marvin) in an underground car park ‘car market’. All
it would take would be a fee of $70 and the loss of a week of ones life to a god-forsaken hole which should’ve had the disclaimer “abandon hope all ye who enter here”. Opting for a less depressing end to our time in the country we took an offer previously made by a sleeveless shirted, mullet topped chap who worked in the trailer park slum we’d opted to stay in for economy. We later discovered the hard way that we shouldn’t have trusted him as he buggered off with the tools and didn’t tell us he wasn’t going to buy the van - 3 days before we left. We did sell Marvin in the end, for $100, but we left in the knowledge he would be tidied up and resold to a loving home full of joy.
We did have some nice times in Sydney although it’s not our city of choice if we moved to Aus (it would be Adelaide - but it’s a moot point as were not allowed back in the country). We managed to meet up with Nicky, an old friend and ex work colleague from Bristol who travelled, liked it here and stayed.
Landing place of Marks epic flight
Stop grinning and get in the bloody car
Thanks to Nicky and Russell (other half) we had a lovely night and meal, and stayed in a real bed instead of the $15 back up tent we were in because Marvin had gone to his happy place.
Also, Sydney IS a lovely city. We had a really nice day out using the $15 ‘all transport’ ticket, ‘sight seeing’ - the city, the city from the ferry, the bridge, the opera house, the opera house at sunset from the ferry, Manly beach, pubs from outside AND in - you get the idea.
The immigration incident! Don’t laugh, but apparently an electronic visa lasts for three months, not six. You’d have thought someone might have brought this to our attention - ahh, but they did. Gill, when reclaiming her doctors fee, argued so self righteously with the claims women that her electronic visa did last for 6 months and she was entitled to the money, that she convinced officialdom to give her the $55 they ‘owed her’. It wasn’t until we were pulled to one side during flight check in, left there with no idea what was occurring, and then having a serious chat with an official that we
had any inkling as to the predicament. I suppose we were dealt with lightly as their justice was simply to refuse us an Australia visa for three years, although we can - if we wish - plead our case with an Australian embassy and explain why we were so stupid and why they should let stupid people like ourselves into their country.
And finally (I know this is long, but Australia is BIG) our GST on the gliders. This was not a small sum so we were counting on it. It was refused on technical grounds - the invoice was for over a thousand dollars and the shop hadn’t put our address on it; an address, we explained, we didn’t have!!! But as the bitch said “it’s in the rules, I will abide by the rules - as you always should” (now picture that in your head in the whiniest Aus accent you can think of!!!)
So - that’s the end of Aus. We had a lovely time here and would love to come back to paraglide and to see the northern part of the country which, we’re told, is most beautiful. For now though dreams of bigger
Thorstens German nibbles, made for Marks birthday
mountains, snow, kiwis and a more ‘kitted out’ van spur us on to New Zealand - the land of the long white cloud.
There are more photos below