The Impressions That I Get


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Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Botany Bay
March 23rd 2010
Published: March 30th 2010
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Past and PresentPast and PresentPast and Present

An araucaria cookii dwarfs the monument to the man it was named after. Both appear miniscule compared to the tanker offshore where the Endeavour once moored, bringing with it the first Europeans to set foot on this continent
Gangs of cockatoos fill the air. Rainbow lorikeets cavort amongst the trees. But in the distance, planes take off and land from six to midnight. An assortment of cranes across the bay mar the view of Sydney Tower and the city and an oil tanker lies where the Endeavour once anchored. Much has changed since Captain James Cook first arrived here 240 years ago.

Me? I came here back in 1991. Nine months of hell.

A sulphur-crested cockatoo has just landed on the araucaria that shades me. It stares. It glares. It shrieks. Just as I mention its presence to my travel buddy Rune, it lifts its tail and craps a mere metre from my feet then flies away.

A seemingly perfect upper middle-class suburban existence flawed by the Anglo-Saxon school system. Geeks and goons. Nerds and jocks. Seen on TV and played out in real life at Castle Hill High School. Nineteen years later, given school takes on a more serene appearance. Sure, it was a Sunday. I'll give you that. But with age came change, both physical and mental. Today these pugilistic hoons bother me no more. The opposition is exposed and the dread is gone
A City HiddenA City HiddenA City Hidden

Cranes block the view from Captain Cook's landing spot on Botany Bay across to Jackson Bay where modern Sydney is centred
revealing bogans in a bogan land.

Six cockatoos have landed in the tree above me. I'm waiting for the shit to fall.

Today the only thing with which this city can bother me are the roads. More precisely, the road signs. A two hour circumnavigation of Jackson Bay and the Paramatta River turns out to be futile. A Herculean effort to avoid toll roads turns into a panoramic tour of the inner City suburbs and a return to where we started from.

Two sulphurs have landed around ten metres from me and proceed to eat the grass. As I enter the van to get my camera, a police helicopter scares them away.

Negative - this country abandoned toll booths years ago. If we wish to avoid a fine from the tunnel operator and a hefty service charge from our camper rental company then an expensive international phone call and disclosure of credit card details will be in order.

The umpteenth vehicle has stopped next to our van. It seems the brew served in the cafe on the opposite side of the street has its following.

There is a long-standing debate which is better -
Action Day and NightAction Day and NightAction Day and Night

Take offs and landings over Botany Bay. Nowadays, planes carry visitors to and from this continent
Sydney or Melbourne. For most, the answer is clear. One may have a famous bridge, opera house and more picturesque bays, but for those in the know, Melbourne comes tops.

Damn, Cintra is smooth. The Portuguese do know how to brew a nice beer. O sabor do conquista - the taste of conquest.

It really doesn't matter though. If you have a family, there's no better place to live sans Vancouver. If you follow international polls that is. From a bachelor's point of view the country is expensive, boring and over-rated.

An elderly Aussie couple pulls up and we strike up a conversation. Friendly, knowledgeable and cultured people. Rare non-bogans. We discover the husband worked with a Norwegian at the refinery down the beach but that was years ago. They reminisce how much the neighbourhood has changed. Now he and his wife are retired and come down to the park for a walk on the weekends. As I watch them stroll into the distance towards the monument to Captain Cook I reminisce how much this country has changed since I was last here let alone since his landing.




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Breakfast BuffetBreakfast Buffet
Breakfast Buffet

A sulphur cockatoo gets his tucker. A scene that would have awaited the original landing party and still played out today
Meal of ChoiceMeal of Choice
Meal of Choice

When I left for Australia, I had visions of BBQ-ing steaks on beaches and washing them down with a beer. Easier said than done due to Australia's strict anti-drinking laws but we made it happen...
Our New Non-Bogan MateOur New Non-Bogan Mate
Our New Non-Bogan Mate

Proving they exist


30th March 2010

2 sweet
You had to go there, didn't ya. We are damn jelaous right now, whilst hoping you'd be found dead lying on that damn beach of yours in the Philipines :) We love the Oz so therefore enjoy it for us too! BR, G T H L
31st March 2010

Well, it was there...
Wishful thinking won't get you anywhere ;) Time to open up your wallet and do another trip, I'd say. Or do I remember some people talking of moving to Cairns for good? Anyhow, great to hear from you. BR to all the family
3rd April 2010

pleasure rereading you
I have been admiring your writing since your travels in South America(which I personally know)and I go on admiring it now in Australia(which I might know a bit off now from you).Please go on!problem is I tend to read it as if it was a book,and by the time the page ends,I get really disapointed there isnt anymore
7th April 2010

Enjoy Queensland!
Dear Amigo, you are correct and your incredible brain still holds all that pinpoint data including us boasting with moving to Cairns. However, when you will have kids, you too will realize that the best Cairns experience they can enjoy, is there backyard. However, we plan to come DownUnder in a few years to dicover and maybe publish a short publication entitled "Playgrounds DownUnder" Anyhow, it's nice to get feedback from you and we whish you a pleasent stay onwards.
8th April 2010

The Wage Factor
Granted, the kids would have a tough time going to school with all those bogans but substitute kindergarten teachers, I've been told, make 400 AUD per day in the Land of Oz...
8th April 2010

A tempting offer
That is a very tempting salary. Although to be honest, it is a hard job despite not seeming that hard.

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