Saturday, 16 July 2011

Open Thread - Saturday

Oh, do we miss Australia! Our son Paul had been there for nearly two years and we decided to surprise him. We had been conspiring with his Australian girlfriend for a couple of months. At the last minute, our other son, Billy, was added to the surprise. We arrived in Melbourne on November 1, 2009. Justine told Paul that a distant cousin from England had just arrived, should they go and look him up?

So they came to our hostel. Justine texted us and we got ready. We sat in the veranda, with our backs to the road. Paul thought one of the guys looked like Billy, but went "Naah, it can't be." When he finally saw all three of us, he said WTF a few million times and we became very emotional.

Billy was having a bit of an existential, financial and romantic crisis in England and we thought a change of scene would help him, so we asked if he fancied a year in Australia on a working visa. He jumped at the opportunity, but his last minute ticket and visa put a big dent in our finances, so we couldn't travel around as much as we had planned. In the end, everything worked out very nicely, what we really wanted was to spend as much time as possible with Paul.

Billy took a while adjusting to life in Australia, but eventually got a good job as a personal trainer in Melbourne, then managed to get a farming job in Queensland, which enabled him to obtain a second year's visa. He got out of Queensland two days before the big floods hit, back in December!

Both boys are in Melbourne now. Paul will be staying on, as he applied for a resident's visa. Billy should go back to England by October.

And we're still waiting to win the lottery so we can move to Australia...

The garden of our hostel, The Olembia, in St Kilda

Alexander the Great, the hostel's cat

Luna Park, in St Kilda

Billy and Paul outside Luna Park

Juz, Billy and Paul

Tram in Acland St, St Kilda

This is Peter's avatar, taken in "Ramsay St", the set of  Neighbours,
an Aussie soap opera very popular in Britain.  

Great Ocean Road, Lorne

Beach in Lorne. It was rather cold, so it was very quiet

Sunrise in Lorne, from our motel veranda

A committee of cockatoos in Lorne. They're everywhere!

Lorne again. Peter posed with some local ladies....

Back to St Kilda, we went to see some tiny penguins at the beach

Finally, here's a picture of a shop very near our hostel. It always reminded us of a certain person...

Furniture shop in Barkley St


I just realized that I didn't mention the wonderful people we met over there. The young people of many nationalities staying at the hostel are still our friends on Facebook. A charming French girl came to visit us with her mom and her aunt last year. We kept in touch with so many lovely young people, it makes our lives richer.

Now, should I mention the Americans? The first one was a middle aged woman from Michigan. She was quite nice, but completely clueless about everything, from her alarm clock to politics. We didn't talk too much. Then there was a thirty-something guy from Arizona, conservative, religious and badly in need of a clue. He loved talking to me, trying to show me the error of my ways. Luckily, he only stayed three days. Needless to say, he liked Sarah Palin. The best American people we met were a Jewish couple from New York, he an University lecturer, she a social worker. They restored our faith in Americans after the first two encounters...

What's traveling without the people we meet, eh?