Last Saturday was Australia Day, the National Day of Australia, my unofficial second home. To belatedly celebrate that day I today ate my ANZUS Brekky of “Tony Tran” Bread with margarine and Vegemite along with a mug of Macona coffee.
Sherman, set the WABAC Machine to the late September 2011 in Healsville Victoria Australia. Today we are going to visit the Healesville Santuary!
Whenever Traveler Nell and I visit her homeland of Australia we try to balance time with her friends and family with getting out to do particularly Australian activites. In our last trip we managed to accomplish both aims by visiting the Healesville Sanctuary with her parents.
Healesville is one of the locations of ZOOS Victoria and a place where you can have a “Magic Moments” encounter with a native specie such as kangaroo, wombats or koala. Guess which one I picked.
In the State of Victoria it is illegal for a non-authorized person to touch a koala so whenever you see a celebrity holding one they are in some other state. This meant my close encounter would be of the Second Kind.
But that was just fine because “Benny” was uncharacteristically awake and active, at least for most of the encounter. Now the traditional explanation for koalas typical torpor is that they are drunk from the toxins in eucalyptus leaves of which their diet consists. But that is an over simplification. In fact their metabolism requires so much effort to digest the gum tree leaves that they need to sleep immediately after eating. Regardless the reason, I thought it a good idea.
*Benny may not have been his name, though I think it is, I just don’t remember.
Two years ago on April 25 I woke up at 5:00 or so; and with my in-laws headed into the heart of Melbourne for the ANZAC Day dawn service. Together with tens of thousands of similar minded people we gathered at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance to pay homage to the brave lads that traveled halfway cross the world to fight the Ottoman Empire and for all the brave men and women who have served their country in the years since. Here is an article describing this years service. For my American friends I would say it is a like A combination of Veterans and Memorial Days, except solemnly observed by almost all.
The other thing we did that day was head to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the annual clash between the mighty Magpies of Collingwood and the Essendon Bombers. That year the Magpies prevailed in a walk, thrashing the Bombers by 65 points.
|2010||Collingwood||18.12 (120)||8.7 (55)||90,07||Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood)|
Unfortunately this year we do not have the luxury of fantastic tickets and Social Club passes. We have an overseas flight in less than two days and the game is scheduled to start at 12:40 AM! It appears as though the FoxSoccerPlus channel is broadcasting the game live (even though it is listing St Kildare v Freemantle from last week.)
I’d love to stay up and see if it indeed is being broadcast but with one last day of work before our holiday, I think it is time to sack out.
Update: Fox Soccer Plus HD is re-airing a half hour program explaining the AFL. I hope this bodes well for an ANZAC Day replay tomorrow night.
For Immediate Release Traveler Bill Industries
Dateline: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Traveler Bill Industries is pleased to announce that, for the first time in three years, a Travel Log Project is being undertaken. Last week Traveler Bill sent his Director of IT Traveler Nell to her hometown of Melbourne to accompany Traveler Bill Industries newest employee and travel logeuer, Walter O’Bea in his trip to Australia.
Walter “Walkabout Wal” O’Bea grew up in Albany, Western Australia on the wrong side of the Rabbit Proof Fence. He’s traveled up and down the country from Albany to Port Albany. He’s looking forward to the trip and meeting all of the people with whom Traveler Nell purports to be acquainted.
At a welcoming ceremony in Regent, Walkabout Wal reports meeting two of Traveler Bill’s biggest fans. Lola Potente, an old school chum of Traveler Nell and her work chum, Peony Stockton.
Peony revealed herself to be, quite possibly, the biggest Traveler Bill barracker outside of Traveler Bill himself. Her fandemonium proved not just by her reaction to an audience with Traveler Bill’s duly appointed representative, but by also scoring a 105% on a comprehensive Trivial Bill quiz. (The additional 5% earned having “Julie and Julia’d” the entire Edi-Bills recipe book. ) As a result, it is hereby announced that Ms. Stockton has been appointed Honorary Chairman of the Traveler Bill Admiration Society: Southern HemIsphEre (‘TASSIE’ for short). From his offices at Two Traveler’s Plaza Traveler Bill issued the following statement. “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Ms. Stockton on this momentous occasion. It is an honor well earned.”
Traveler Bill is asking for you to support by helping out a great organization, the American Heart Association. If you are comfortable making a secure online donation, the link on the left hand column of this site will bring you to his donation page. (Please note the AHA’s website requires a minimum donation of $25.00) If you prefer to make a donation of any size by check you can send that directly to me by post. Please email TravelerBill@TravelerBill.com to request the mailing address.
I am in the guest room of Traveler Nell’s parents house in a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Wide awake at 4:00AM, I’ve been up for the since 12:30 AM (after sleeping 4½ hours. I am spent the past hour in a half cursing my Circadian rhythm and Foxtel for opting to show the Seattle/Texas baseball game instead of Yankees/Tampa Bay.
All in all the trip was quite an experience. Traveler Nell has made the trip several times so she has this down to a science.
•We left Two Travelers Plaza at 3:00PM on Thursday afternoon heading to JFK international airport.
•Arriving at approximately 3:45 we headed to the Business Class check-in for Qantas since Traveler Nell is a long time member of the Qantas Club. There was no line as we were several hours early.
•After check-in we were screened at the First Class security check point which was also completely empty where we were processed within minutes and were headed to the British Airways “Terrace Lounge” where Qantas Club members are welcomed.
•On our way to the lounge we passed a Best Buy Express vending machine. It was amazing. Filled with all sort of nerdly goods from portable TV’s to a wide range of iPods to Garmin gps. Unable to resist we picked up a pair of Sony Noise-canceling headphones. A God-send these turned out to be to drown out engine noise.
•In the lounge we grabbed a gentile sufficiency of shortbread cookies (biscuits) and I recklessly tried the shrimp salad and watercress finger sandwich. It wasn’t until the bite sized morsel was heading down the alimentary canal did the thought of foolhardiness of eating fish in an airport strike me. (Nothing happened)
•At the lounge we had complete reign over the satellite television room. The lounge was fairly busy so the lack of company was surprising, though not unwelcome.
•At 6:30PM we headed to the gate, boarded the plane and settled into our seats. The flight to LA was delayed by ½ hour due to congestion. Luckily we made this time up in the air.
•Compared to many airlines, Qantas is head and shoulders above with regard to the long haul travel. Between the food, the entertainment or the crackerjack service, it was the best air-travel experience I have ever had. I wont describe the meals as that is a trademark of Traveler Nell but believe me when I say they (or at least mine) were good.
•Landing in LA on time a little before 1:00AM Eastern (10:00PM local) we had 1½ hours before our connecting flight so we headed to the British Airways/Cathay Pacific/Qantas lounge at LAX. There was a nice little buffet of both Chinese and Mexican dishes.
•We headed to the departure gate to catch our flight to Melbourne and learned we would be on one of the 747-400′s decorated with Aboriginal art
•Everyone was on-board in time to take off on time of 2:20AM Eastern. Unfortunately there was an ill passenger that delayed leaving the gate by 15 minutes. Then there was a delay in being able to leave the gate. Once we were in line to take off the sick passenger decided the couldn’t fly after all so we returned to the gate and we placed at the back of the take-off line again. (This is where I had my first taste of sleep; napping until the plane took off an hour and a half late.)
•Once in the air the excellent entertainment came in handy. My only comment on the movies is to say was it really necessary to show the Lawrence Taylor/Joe Theisman leg break tackle so many times at the start of The Blind Side?
•The flight from LA to Melbourne is 15 hours long. I’m going to repeat that and let it sink in. The flight from LA to Melbourne is 15 hours long.
•According to the Traveler Nell long-haul Westerly travel guide you are to stay awake until 9 hours out of your destination. Alas this advice is terrific if you can fall asleep on planes.
So basically except for an hour here or there I cannot. All told I estimate that I slept no more than four hours from the outset of the journey to when we left the airport at 8:00PM Eastern (10:00AM local time) 29 hours door to door or 37 hours since I woke up the day before. I took an hour nap yesterday afternoon and slept a good 4 ½ hours last night.
When I return home there will be 2 months until the Start! Wall Street Heart Walk. Support me and help out a great organization, the American Heart Association. If you are comfortable making a secure online donation, the link on the left hand column of this site will bring you to my donation page. (Please note the AHA’s website requires a minimum donation of $25.00) If you prefer to make a donation of any size by check you can send that directly to me by post. Please email me at TravelerBill@TravelerBill.com for the mailing address.
Today when I left work I started what will be the longest time without reporting to work I have had since I was a Junior at high school. Ever since I was 16 and working at Wendy’s I have not been without a job for any extended time period. I left Wendy’s for the K-mart. When I was in college I worked part-time shifts at the Campus Center as a short-order cook. When I left school I worked at the now defunct Citgo as a cashier as I sought full time employment.
After that point at age 22, I have been working full time pretty much constantly. Every time I would change jobs I would work to the last Friday and start on Monday. When I moved to New York City I took less than a week off and that time was spent working on the move. Since that time the longest vacation I have ever taken is two weeks back in 2002. Even when I was laid off last summer I was only out of work for two days before I received a call from an old boss asking whether I would be interested coming back as a temporary employee. The way I figure the Universe will not let me go without work for too long.
Well tomorrow I am heading off to Australia with Traveler Nell. We’ve been planning this trip for months and it will give me the opportunity to meet her friends and family and to receive the Traveler Nell Reality Tour. We’ll be spending time in Melbourne, Tasmania and Sydney. Keep an eye open here and at Jenelle‘s site for updates on our trip.
The only exception to this, of course, is the seven weeks I was on disability in the late winter and early spring of 2007. I given 8 weeks for my valve replacement. And even though I needed and additional open heart surgery, I was back to work in seven weeks.
And it’s thanks to organizations like the American Heart Association that I was able to recover so rapidly. Help them by supporting me in the Start! Wall Street Heart Walk this June. If you are comfortable making a secure online donation, the link on the column to the left will bring you to my donation page. (Please note the AHA’s website requires a minimum donation of $25.00) If you prefer to make a donation of any size by check you can mail directly to me. Please email me at TravelerBill@TravelerBill.com for the mailing address.