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Published: January 13th 2012
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 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.
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