Page 3 of sapere18 Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » Australia » Tasmania » Launceston August 6th 2009

Angela cheerfully collected me from the bus station after I mistakenly told her to be there an hour-and-a-half earlier. I did not ask the fifty-three year-old much; she was already doing enough to help me. I was prepared to walk down the road for a while for dinner, a concern at such a late hour since restaurants in Australia close so early. Instead she prepared me a hot meal of chicken, rice, and potatoes, which I hungrily gobbled up. “You’ll be sleeping in the den, out in the back. Follow me.” It was a dark, dreary, and chilly night in Launceston. She led me out in the direction of a faded campervan, in her backyard so long it had taken roots into the soil. But for one thin set of white Christmas lights on a naked ... read more
Lovely Place
Innocent Enough
Yawn or Growl?

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » Kings Cross August 4th 2009

Every city in the world has “that” part of town. You know, where all the problems are. Longtime listeners to ABC Radio Sydney lament its downhill spiral into squalor and social breakdown. No one goes there anymore, they say. It’s not safe for children. Whatever you do, warns one caller, don’t go there after dark. There might be trouble. Fashionably dingy yet decomposing Kings Cross is the antidote to spic-and-span Darling Harbour and the Central Business District. It is where the populace prefers tie dyes over business attire. Within minutes of surfacing from the subway station it was clear to me “that” part of town is where I needed to be. Change the language and add a few red neon signs and it could be Amsterdam or Hamburg. Kings Cross makes perfect sense. I belong here, ... read more
A Dose of Reality
Boehmian Cafe

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Adelaide July 28th 2009

Never have I traveled so far and been so close to home. It is a country town of one million plus with a few skyscrapers. It would be unfair, even rude to say that the best thing anyone could do in Adelaide is leave. South Australia’s humdrum capital is in desperate need of the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it’s because I pulled into town in the middle of the winter. Perhaps it has more to do with being a nine-to-five city that rolls up its sidewalks to dismiss the workforce back to its lofty and leafy suburbs. The city council of Hartford, Connecticut could apply to be a sister city with Adelaide. In terms of liveliness, my capital city never looked so vibrant. Hartford’s social ills give it an excuse. In Adelaide, it’s TGIM (‘M’ ... read more

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Broken Hill July 22nd 2009

Even the name evokes how the Outback can impact the psyche. Arrival in Broken Hill makes me grateful that I paid attention back in tenth grade chemistry class. The next oasis west of Wilcannia, it is a vibrant, eye-pleasing, if isolated community dependent on the price of the ore extracted from the nearby mines. The area is rich with elements, compounds, and minerals. By the time I pulled over next to the police station on Argent (Latin for silver) Street, I had already passed street signs for crossroads such as Iodide, Oxide, and Chloride. I checked into the Black Lion, one block below Argent on Bromide Street and two blocks above Cobalt. Mendeleev would have loved this place. Mining has shaped Broken Hill since the first Europeans staked their claim in the 1860’s. As with the ... read more
Nice Doggy
Broken Hill

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Broken Hill July 20th 2009

The fuel gauge read over two thirds. All I needed to do was get to the next town. According to my road map, there was a gas station one hundred ninety kilometers away. I started out and only cast a limited glance at the gas station. Soon enough it and Cobar were a disintegrating dot in my rearview mirror. Ahead of me lay four hundred sixty kilometers of hostile, arid, and stunted wilderness. Oncoming vehicles make their presence known every ten or fifteen minutes. The only ones westbound are diesel trucks making deliveries to outlying communities. Itching to reach Broken Hill by mid afternoon, I opened up the four cylinder engine; no obstacles, vehicular or animal, would get in my way. Once out of town, there are no speed cameras to photograph offenders. At one hundred ... read more
Sage Advice

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Broken Hill July 18th 2009

“Whatever you do, watch out for the blacks.” The comment caught me off guard. I had been in town out for less than two hours. The bartender was warning me about my next stop where I would do nothing more but fill up the tank. “Even when you go into pay, lock your car. They’re everywhere.” He unsettled me, although temporarily. I took another sip of Tooheys and deduced he was speaking of the Aborigines. My only contact with one prior was squeezing by the doorman at a nightspot in Sydney. I remember my nose rubbing against the man’s upper chest. I had already decided I was going to like Cobar, no more than a whistling intersection and gateway to Australia’s empty and incomprehensible vastness. I like Cobar by and large because it isn’t Sydney. I ... read more
The Road to Cobar

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » Surrey Hills July 15th 2009

He finally got his wish. Even when I told him where I was going to spend the better part of the month, he found a way to inject an element of trepidation into my veins as though it might force me to reconsider. In years past, conversations between us with something to the effect of: “Why won’t you consider it? It’s a big place, lots to do, and the folks are very friendly.” My father would then squint in anticipation of the answers he knew were coming and did not want to hear. “No, Dad, there’s just no challenge. There’s no edge.” If he was trying to direct me back into Western Europe, I had an easy out. A summer or significant portion thereof in Europe would destroy my budget in a matter of weeks. Only ... read more
Burger King Knockoff?
Skyscrapers in the Shadows
Harbour Bridge

North America » United States » Tennessee » Crossvillle July 12th 2009

You’d think he’d done this a time or two before. But he had the same experience on a wakeboard that I did on a cello. Tim, whose prodigious house Zack helped build, had taken him out on his speedboat around Lake Holiday. It was Phillip’s moment and he knew it. The excitement he could hardly contain had him begging for the OK from Tim to jump off the boat and grab the line. The advantage to having Tim around is his instructive and soft pitch. “Now, you’ve been snowboarding, right?” He made an immediate connection with Phillip, and put him at ease. The novice was comfortable enough to tell his master when and how hard to thrust the engines to pull him up. It was he giving the orders, not receiving them. He bobbed up and ... read more
Current Davidson Project
Up on the First Try!

“Hey, Rich, wanna a Beerita?” A what? I deduced what Felicia had asked me, but I asked her about its contents anyway. Zack’s newly married twenty-two-year-old daughter put the transparent plastic pitcher down and rattled off the primitive recipe, perfectly suited for a tank-top-and-swimming-trunks crowd on a Fourth of July weekend. In order to count, her eyes shot up into the upper right of her sockets and she recalled, “Let’s see…three beers,” all out of a can and unquestionably awful, “one can of concentrate,” whatever that is, “and one can of tequila.” Wait, tequila comes in a can? After a pause, “Oh, and some limes, of course.” She poured me a dose of the concoction. As I took a look around, Phillip was already splashing feet first into the lake, having fallen in love with the ... read more
Floating Apartment
My Recollection

North America » United States » Tennessee » Knoxville July 6th 2009

“Come to think of it, Rich, we’ve never been to a game over there”, Zack reflected when I firmly broached the subject. Whether he and Penny decided to join us would never sway my plans to drag Phillip ninety plus miles to a AA baseball game. “Good, then you’re in?” “Yeah, we’ll do it!” Under other circumstances, I’d mention that he should ask Penny, but instincts told me she would be on board. “We just have to make a stop at a Lexus dealership to pick up a garage door opener that was forgotten.” Uh oh, problem here. When it comes to baseball, I do not fool around. To arrive late for a game would ruin the night for me. It is almost as repugnant as leaving before the final out, even if one team has ... read more
With Children In MInd
At & T Field
Tommy Lasorda

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