First World Fumbles

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March 11th 2011
Published: March 11th 2011
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What a week. We have been caught in the throws of beaurocratic mania but have rode out the insanity and prevailed triumphantly. We are tired but optimistic and now, finally, ready to go wherever we want whenever we want in Oz. Our aussie friend alex who stayed with us for a few weeks back in 2008 (when he was in Canada) hooked us up with his friends here in Adelaide and they have been great to us. Overjoyed by access to a kitchen we have been cooking up a storm. During the day we have been heading downtown to search for vehicles we want to buy, try to untangle paperwork and attempt to make banks not screw us over (the last one failed but in the end we won).

In every country we visited so far we have had next to zero trouble gaining access to money and australia has throw up more monetary road blocks than all of the others times 10. Jenna's credit card simply doesn't work for any purchases and we can only get a $100 cash advance. This causes problem for those about to make a large purchase, i.e. us. When are unable to make our banks communicate for reasons i will not try to fathom as i choose to avoid thought patterns that cause crippling aneurisms. (most of the time at least) We needed to use a western union transfer from Jenna to I to get any significant amount of money and needed to use 2 transfer to have enough to buy the car we wanted. In a bout of misled altruism Jenna's bank halted the second transfer to try and avoid any possible fraud. As annoying as this was, the telephone operator who could not dial the banks number properly was even moreso. I will not bore you with further details but suffice it to say banks are the enemy and their power is great but we made them bow to our mighty will, ergo, we are better than our banks.

What does all of this mean? It means that two bike obsessed minimalists now own a freaking car and aren't sure what to do with it. I drove it home on some busy streets and found the whole experience easy enough. the though of an open, busy interstate kind of scares me but thankfully the best trips in Oz are on the country roads, as are many of the National Parks we wish to visit. Our car is a 1991 Subaru L series 4X4 station wagon; though older it is bullet proof and easy to fix and the company is sort of an aussie postcard. It's a 4 cylinder but is light and has some pep to it,a s well we can take it offroad for some outback adventures. This idea is wholly preposterous to us as we have never owned a vehicle let alone one we can drive across a desert in but we are warming up the idea and the possible road trips. Really the best part to us is that after more than 100 times each of hitchhiking we can now pick up a hiker and start to pay back the kindness given to us. (of course we will scrutinise and not pick up any old freak :P) So now that we have sold out we are on our way to Melbourne down the Great Ocean Road that skirts the southern coast of the continent. Along the way we are going to see caves, fossils, parks, deserts and penguins. After Melbourne we plan to hit up Tasmania where we have no idea what we will do and hope to see more penguins.

Our car is legally in our name and registered to us with insurance and all so don't worry folks! Finally we get to go camping, REAL camping with real camp food and open fires and instead of racoons there will be bandicoots and koalas. There is a high altitude lake in Tassie called great lake that we think would be fun to visit but who knows. Also in tassie we hope to get some work picking fruit and begin to pay back the money we've spent thus far. There is a wealth of possibilities coming up and we hope for the best.

The best is also what we hope for you folks. If you see a blue flower with no leaves popping out of the frosty ground it's a coltfoot and it will soon die and grow its leaves (sort a backwards order for plants) and it is one of the first and one of my favourite ontario flowers. You can pick the leaves and make tea out of them to help with those spring coughs. (Though we hope you don't have a cough!)

Lots of love
Brian and Jenna


12th March 2011

Car? Coltsfoot?
OK, you have been away from reality too long. Bought a car? Hard to believe! I realize that you have been gone a long time but Coltsfoot has never been blue even in the cold. It is bright yellow and is most often misidentified as a strange dandelion. Yes, good for coughs but not the first flower of the year; that honour goes to Skunk Cabbage. That being said, the Coltsfoot should put in an appearance any day now. My early date for it is March 15. (A new early date for Skunk Cabbage this year - February 18.) Watch for snakes when camping. Australia has some of the only snakes in the world that will chase humans.

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