I am having difficulty remembering to publish here from time to time. I started out on our trip with the best intentions of regular updates…. but this seemed to drift away. After being ill in Singapore, I recovered, and we flew to Perth to see our old friends and attend their wedding. There I got REALLY sick. And I mean seriously ill. I spent the better part of a week with fever pushing 105. In truth, when I finally did go to see a local sawbones, my fever in her office was 105.4…. a conditions she described to me at the time as… “alarming!”. She gave me some antibiotics, and truth be told, within about 18 hours I had my crisis and began to rapidly recover. I wasn’t what I would call completely recovered for at least 6 weeks, but eventually seemed to beat it. I actually pulled a muscle in my neck I was shaking so violently from from the fever chills.

Regardless, I was able to visit with my dear friends, attend their magical nuptials in the leafy fens of the grooms parents country estate, and generally enjoy their company for as long as they would have me. We enjoyed a trip to Margaret River, drank wine, beer, and saw whales and kangaroos courtesy of a fabulous guide we hired. These folks proved to be my safety net during my illness, and I shudder to think of what might have happened to me had we been on our own. They were patient, and found me a doctor when I REALLY needed one. To them I will always be beholden for their ready kindness, and their typical Aussie roll wit the punches review of life. They saved me…. and I will never forget it.

Anyway, it didn’t kill me, and I managed to enjoy the balance of the trip despite being a little shakey for much of it. Went to Byron Bay, where people go to run away from life for a while. It is slow, full of surfers, and no big buildings. I spent some of the best hours of the trip sitting in a coffee shop / bookstore, either cruising the stacks or swilling the local java, or both. The Aussies have a remarkable civilization about them that we seem to have lost. Their society still seems to support the notion that most people are good, and every now and then there is a nutter, as opposed to ur way of life where we must protect everyone from the occasional aberrant who pops up, unbidden like a whack-a-mole in our midst. Byron Bay is very laid back, although I can report that I had my first breathalyzer in my entire life in this little sleepy town.

It was actually quite amusing. It was late, raining, and I was still learning to drive on the wrong side of the road, so my driving was a little erratic as we searched an unfamiliar town for a hidden hotel. The local Rozzers were on me in a wink! They pulled me over and literally sprinted to the car and opened the drivers door in record time. I am not sure what they thought I was going to do in there should they have wasted one more second. Anyway, they were intensely disappointed to hear m,y tale, thinking they had a real winner on their hands for the lockup. They still made me blow even after I related my many failings this rainy night in a strange town.

From Byron we moved on to Brisbane. Now, I am sure, loyal reader, that you have either been to Oz or have read about it, but I am here to tell you the straight goods on the drive from Byron Bay to Brisbane. The short description is just don’t do it. Or… if you feel you have to, go straight there on the highway, and avoid that excrescence called Surfers Paradise. Even if I was a surfer, I would kill myself before I went back to that blighted coast. Hotel after hotel after hotel, after chintzy guesthouse. Bars, restaurants and coffee shops are crammed together for what seemed like 1,000 miles….. no bucolic coastal drive available there, just wretched American inspired excess in all things.

Brisbane was a wonderous place. Wonderous. Warm, inviting, friendly….. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed it’s environs. I could have stayed for the rest of my life. In truth, I regularly cursed my advanced age and lack of decent skills to relocate to these wonderous shores….

Had a great time, and I will post a few pics, as well as a few more book reviews when I get the chance.

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