CHECK IT OUT!!

caravanersTwo new posts on THE AUSTRALIANADIANS AND A ‘VAN NAMED “FLUFFY.”!  More adventures of my husband and I as we take on the wonderful world of caravanning across Australia.  Share the adventure, pictures, info about Australia and fun.  Mostly poked at ourselves but hey … everyone is fair game.  If they didn’t want to end up in my blog … they shouldn’t have ever left their home, hit the road, and then parked anywhere close to our caravan.

WONDAI. PART ONE.

and

WONDAI. PART TWO.

Deliverance.

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Finally!! The big day. We are going to pick up the caravan, fill it full of all the treasures we had bought, and start the long drive towards home. Every detail had been taken care of. We had a whole week to make sure we had insurance and all the necessary bits and pieces that add several thousands of dollars to your already hefty purchase. We now knew that we had to buy a even more stuff, and we had voted on which children we could sell for the best price.

We got lost on the way to the dealer. Mainly because we could not figure out how to work the new Hema meant to lead us through the wilderness of Australia and never get lost. Either we were incredibly dumb, really old, or crappy shoppers.  All we knew was that we already sucked at being Nomads and we hadn’t even been allowed to hook up the caravan to our truck yet.

The phone rang. It was a 20 something receptionist asking where we were and telling us we were supposed to be there a half hour ago and people were waiting on us and had other things to do. We really liked her immediately. Then, when we tried to explain to her that we had not been given any time, she informed us that the people doing the hand over would have explained all of this to us. We told her they hadn’t because the show was closing down for the day and everyone was in a rush and no one had phoned us since then. She rolled her eyes. I could hear her over the phone. This whole “Grey Nomad,” “caravaning” thing was starting to get on my nerves. It is like once we signed on the dotted line we had entered this alternate reality where everyone was treating us like we were seniors in a Giant Nursing Home of a life where everyone wanted to pat our hands, scold us, and tell us that our perception of reality was not at all real. All that was missing was someone coming at us with a spoon of gruel making airplane noises.

We got to the dealer and she was just as pleasant in person. When I tried to address her accusations, she dismissed me with a wave of her hand saying “whatever, we don’t have time to argue this right now, I have papers for you to sign.” Derek talked. I was too busy giving her the stink eye and wondering what the heck had happened to my laser destruction beams and why she was still sitting there and not busy vaporizing.

The men in the back were much more pleasant. They stuffed a couple of folders in our hands and began what would be 6 hours of non-stop instructions on how everything worked and what else we absolutely had to have and did we want them to put it on now, they only had a little bit of time, but could do it right now if we wanted . . . $1500.00.   Derek calmly sorted through all of that and I tried to make sense of 5,000 buttons, and sequences, and warnings, without much success because somewhere into hour 2 of non-stop instruction with terms that made no sense to me all I could hear was “whaw whaw whaw whaw whawddy whaw don’t ever touch whaw whaw.” Continue reading

Prologue 4: Waiting in Melbourne Part 2.

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We decided to take the trolley to and from anywhere we had to go, and leave the car where it was.  I informed Derek that I would not be going with him to get the car.  I would wait down on the street for him.  I kept reminding him of that, telling him several times during the day that I did not want, under any circumstances, to ride in the elevator again.  He didn’t say anything, in that vague kind of not saying anything way when you are not sure if it means “ya ok, no prob, you can wait for me” or “ya ok, no prob, you keep talking and believe whatever you want but you are coming with me and that’s that no need for me to discuss it with you further.”  Derek is like that, he keeps his cards close to his chest.

Meanwhile,  we trollied our little hearts out.  All these young people kept standing up and offering us their seats, the ones that say they are reserved for the handicapped, mothers with small children or the elderly.  Derek was quite put out that they were offering him a seat. I am not sure what he sees when he looks in the mirror.  Maybe he thought that  he had put on some weight around the middle and they thought he might be pregnant.

We ended up jumping off in the downtown area and as Derek grabbed my hand so we could run and catch the walk light up ahead, I managed to DEEEEEPLY massage my forehead with a metal sign.  I started sobbing like a kid and he was hugging me, not so much to comfort me as it was to muffle the sounds of my wailing.  I had to hit him so he would let go and I could breathe.  He set me down on a bench seat and made me drink some water (his cure for everything) and wrapped my head with something – I suspect it was one of his tube socks.  I had a goose egg.  I was not feeling good.  What kind of an idiot walks into a street sign?  Not a young person, let me tell you.  It had to be an taller, old person.  The kind of person who just bought a caravan.  I was starting to see a trend here and I didn’t like it. Continue reading

Prologue 3: Waiting in Melbourne Part 1.

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Who knew waiting for the caravan would end up being such an adventure. We had to take our one night out of the resort and find a hotel. Ballarat was fully booked so we decided to head to Melbourne where we found a boutique type hotel room, centrally located close to the tram lines.

There was not much parking. So this “boutique” consisted of an elegant older house with an above ground tunnel attachment through the garden area, connecting it to what was once an older apartment building. It was on a lovely street, separated from one of the major roads by a nature strip and large trees. We could either park on the street, wherever . . . Including 5 blocks away, playing the “where the hell will we park now” game every time we left and came back, hauling our stuff through the city like pack mules minus the muscles and the “I could give a shit” attitude most mules possess OR (isn’t this sentence epic???) we could pay to park in the limited parking area in the back.

We decided to pay.

We assumed that “limited parking” meant that there were just a few spaces. We first drove into the typical parkade door to find ourselves in what looked like a small garage bay. The door closed behind us and we looked at each other and then around the garage for where we were supposed to park. There appeared to be room to park maybe three vehicles in a very random, angled kind of way … maybe. There were no other vehicles. And then we saw a door attached to a large container and a button. OH, the ramp was clearly there, behind the door! Right? Continue reading

I May Die.

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This is me. A Canadian, freezing in Australia.

Canadians are laughing at me. How can I possibly be cold right? Lucky me living in Australia.

I grew up on the prairies in Alberta. We went sometimes for a couple of weeks in winter without any power, completely snowed in. We only had a generator to turn on for a few hours each day to cook, to heat the house a little. We went to bed with the water turned on so the pipes would not freeze up. We even had to cover all the windows and underneath the doors and stay in one room to stay warm one really bad winter. Continue reading

The Village Speaks: Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Vincenti Girls.

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The story of the 4 Vincenti girls, kidnapped from Italy where a separated couple had joint custody is ongoing.  The world watched as the girls were made the centre of a legal and media battle with the mother, Laura Garrett, who kidnapped the girls, insisting the father that abusive and mentally unstable.

The back and forth, and finally in 2012, the heart wrenching seizure of the girls, forced on a plane to be returned to their father, was more than most people could deal with.

Daily Mail Article

Facebook Post  by Australian and Missing Children

Sunshine Coast Daily – includes timeline of events

Sydney Morning News

Sydney Herald

Lat night, an update was done by 60 Minutes when they travelled to Italy to interview the two older girls, Emily 17 and Claire, 16.

Continue reading

Perspective is a Good Thing When Someone Lets The Radicals Out of the Barn.

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An Australian group just went too far.

We have been consumed with the fate of the “Bali Nine,” which is the name given to a group of Australians who  attempted to smuggle drugs into Indonesia.  They were caught with 8.3 kg (18 lb) of heroine with a street value of 4 million.

That happened in 2005.  What followed was a merry-go-round of sentencing, all in keeping with Indonesian law, and then tons of appeals, back and forth, and the final outcome where today two of the men are expected to be executed (shot) any day now.

The families of the two young men are devastated and outraged.  Both of the men are indeed sorry for their actions and have, according to many witnesses, transformed their lives and had become assets in the jails where they were housed.

Australians want their lives spared. Continue reading

Government Assistance and The War We Wage Against Each Other.

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According to the Courier Mail, the Australian Government has another proposal to cut welfare payments. (see article here) I applaud the government’s efforts to look at everything and see where we can cut costs.  I applaud their seeming commitment to the idea that the solution has to help people, not just dump them and leave them off worse than before.  I admire that about the Australians, they seem to think a bit more before they jump, or at least make an effort to see the whole picture. Continue reading