Adventures in Driving on the Left

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January 2nd 2012
Published: January 13th 2012
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I have discovered that I suck at driving on the left. I know that not much is really that different, everything is just opposite, but I'm just really bad at it. Everything, from shifting left handed to just backing up has been a scary experience. Besides a near head-on collision because I was driving on the wrong side of the road, I haven't had any other severe mishaps, but the rental car definitely took the brunt of my inability to be an ambidextrous driver.......until this week, I had completely forgotten what a burnt clutch smells like.

Anyways, Christmas came and went, and you would have hardly been able to tell here in Brisbane. Of the last 6 prior Christmas's that I've had abroad, 2 have been in Hawaii, and 4 in the Caribbean, but this was, by far, hands down, the least that it has ever felt like Christmas to me, here in Australia. Aussies do celebrate Christmas, but, for better or worse, it has not become quite the commercial holiday that it is in the States, and there is hardly anything that will tell you that it is Christmas besides a lack of people working during the holidays. I
Cape Byron LighthouseCape Byron LighthouseCape Byron Lighthouse

The most easterly point of Australia.
spent most of the day at the beach kiteboarding on Christmas day, on my new 9m kite, as it was blowing over 25kts consistently, and then had a traditional American-style Christmas dinner onboard.

Being in Brisbane allowed me to get up to the Sunshine Coast for a weekend, and also down to Byron Bay for a few days, with a quick stop in Surfers Paradise. Byron Bay was a really cool place--a scenic beach town that wasn't overcrowded and did not have much development on the beach at all. It was the nicest place that I went to along this part of Australia. The coast reminds me a little bit of Southern California in the slightest way, minus the millions and millions of people. There aren't that many people in Australia to begin with, about 20 million, so there are population clusters, but there is also a lot of spread out open space in such a large country.

We joke about how everything in Australia is trying to kill you, between the snakes, jellyfish, bull sharks, great white sharks, saltwater crocodiles, crazy insects, rough seas, shady pubs, etc., they have it all here.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Christmas Day KitingChristmas Day Kiting
Christmas Day Kiting

No wetsuit required--just had to hang on in the gusty wind, and not crash as the water was 6" deep for several hundred yards out as the tide was dropping. Also bobbed and weaved around the jellyfish.
2 Deadly Brown Snakes2 Deadly Brown Snakes
2 Deadly Brown Snakes

Snake Patrol was out in full force, and we saw them catch these two brown snakes just outside our hotel. Apparently, they can kill you in a couple minutes...
Baby PythonBaby Python
Baby Python

My friend's baby python.
Snake TruckSnake Truck
Snake Truck

Those checkers along the side are used to measure the lengths of snakes they catch.......!!!!
Australian IronmanAustralian Ironman
Australian Ironman

We happened to be passing by an Aussie Ironman competition--the events were a little different than what you see in the states--they included a soft sand run, a rough water swim, a paddle on a surf ski, and a paddle on a kayak.

14th January 2012

Your driving adventures remind me of Dad in Ireland. But of course, there are no snakes in Ireland........XXXOOOOXXXX
19th April 2012

snakes in paradise
I like your blog. Interesting, informative, witty and well-written. Found you when googling my friend George Ellis, the snake catcher of Byron Bay. He has picked up over 3000 (yes, three thousand) deadly Eastern Brown Snakes in Byron Bay. People get bitten in the main street. Seriously. If you laid out all the snakes George has caught, nose to tail, they'd stretch over ten kilometres. Six miles. Yours is the only mention of our deadly secret that I've seen on the internet. Well done. And, a few years ago a Canadian (Hi Trevor!) forgot what side of the road we drive on, and we hit head-on around a blind corner, at speed. Broke my ankles, wrists, knees etc but Trevor got more pins and plates than me. I'm pretty good at wheelstanding my wheelchair, but walk fine and got my paragliding licence since then. Remember, the steering wheel belongs near the middle of the road. If you saw a landsailer on the wide, white beaches, tearing up the sand on a windy day, that was probably me. I race kiteboards down the beach, them in the shallows, me on the sand, and they look fantastic from a speeding landsailer. Another good thing about the beach, it's easier to see the snakes and avoid them. It's a long life, quickly over. Enjoy!

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