Archive from November, 2011

We’re in Australia! [#2]

australia

 

After we arrived in Brisbane we needed to get ourselves over to the domestic terminal for our final flight to Townsville.
We were tired. We were stinky. (well, I was stinky anyway)
We needed some food.
We needed to brush our teeth.
All was accomplished when we finally got to our last boarding gate.
We both fell into the chairs nearest the gate and looked around the terminal, in awe of where we were.
“Hey,” I said to Pamela, “we’re in Australia.”
She smiled.
After 5 minutes, Pamela had crazy legs and red ants in her pants and couldn’t sit still so she was up and went to check out the few gift shops near the gate.
I just sat and looked around the busy terminal with people flitting about like so many fleas on a used and abused mattress.
It was then that I noticed a smell, a very nasty smell, the smell of something ripe and obviously gone bad.
Maybe even a badly soiled mattress smell.
It didn’t take long to realize the source of the smell.
It was yours truly.
I must have been too tired to engage my gag reflex.
A shower would be the first thing on my agenda when we got to Chateau Harrod.

On the short flight to Townsville we looked out the little oval bubble of a window at the alien terrain below us knowing that there were people we knew down there.
It was at once a bit strange but oddly comforting.
After we landed, we grabbed our bags from the overhead compartment
(giving me yet another nice big whiff of my seriously stinky underarms).
We came through the gate to see six smiling Aussie faces; Moe, Mark, Mel, Steve, Caleb and Lucas.
[Mel being Moe’s daughter]
Moe came running up to me and threw her arms around my neck before issuing a bear hug of leviathan proportions.
She had tears in her eyes and I was wondering if they were there because she was
#1)  happy to see me and relieved we were both finally there or
#2) the natural repellant that was partying all over my body made her spring tears like she was cutting 100 onions.
Turns out she was just relieved and happy.
We all hugged and got hugged which is a really nice way to enter a country you’ve never been to before.
It was our first (and not the last!) time meeting Mel, Steve, Caleb and Lucas.
They were as warm and welcoming as we thought they’d be.
No surprises there.
It was like we’d already met but hadn’t seen each other in a long time.
It was very comfortable.
As me and Mark loaded our bags in the car, I looked at Pamela and said,
“Guess where we are? We’re in Australia!”
(a reoccurring theme, btw, right Kel?)

We pulled into the driveway of Chateau Harrod and both me and Pamela just stared at a house and its surroundings that we’d only seen via Google Earth and weekly Skype calls.
After a guided tour of the house and our simply amazing bedroom we felt like we were ‘home’ in a particular way.
We both forgot about how tired we were (second wind, thank you) and immediately started unpacking while laughing and telling stories about our multiple flights.
I stepped out the backdoor in the kitchen and into the brilliant Australian sunshine and stretched, both arms over my head.
Good God, it was time for a shower.
I was attracting flies.

There were oh, so many little things we enjoyed while in Oz, some we expected and others that caught us off guard.
The shower at Chateau Harrod was one of those surprises.
The bathroom was small and modest, sporting a toilet with a power that could flush away the body of Elvis in the wink of an eye.
The shower/bathtub had two tallish windows that opened out onto the sideyard but still allowed for privacy.
The sun poured in through the window and seemed to illuminate every single droplet of water coming from the showerhead.
It was not unlike bathing in a sea of shooting stars.
And those stars can get you clean as a bastard, let me tell you.
I could have stayed in the shower all afternoon but where’s the fun in that?
We still had our first real Australian Barbie to attend at Mel and Steve’s and the bus would be leaving soon.
I looked into the mist-covered bathroom mirror and said, “Holy shit, we’re in Australia.”

To be continued . . .

Ps. the post pic?  It made me belly laugh but the ‘Danni Minogue’ thing simply killed me . . .

Nov 5, 2011 - anniversaries, Life, Love    9 Comments

Twenty-eight

me and Pam

I knew from the first time I saw your beautiful face that you were meant for me.
I love you more deeply today than I did 28 years ago.
I didn’t think that was possible.
Turns out it was.
Thank you for being the one I could always cry to, sigh to and ultimately hang onto.
True love is;
“When your heart and your mind are saying the same thing.”

Always,
~m

Ta

 

It began as an innocent and seemingly serendipitous friendship that came by the way of my personal weblog some 5+ years ago.
If you’ve read my blog before you will know the backstory of all that I am about to say.
If you haven’t, this will be a good time for reading a pretty amazing story.

How this friendship happened seems to defy any logical explanation because that’s how many friendships start.
What happened in the ensuing years is the stuff of fairy tales and Ripley’s ‘Believe it or not’ stories, all but true.
I still have to pinch myself some days though; days when I find myself woolgathering about whether me and Pamela did actually visit Australia for two simply incredible weeks this past July.
It’s taken some time to not only process the whole experience but also to figure out
just what I want to say . . .
[Interpretation: this is gonna take a lot of  posts]

We left Boston on a sunny,  pure and crystal late Friday afternoon in July –  our first destination: LAX.
Good weather, nice takeoff, flight is smooth, everybody is happy, life is good . . .  piece of cake, right?
As we crossed somewhere over Lincoln, Nebraska at approximately 30,000 ft my gorgeous wife grabbed my hand and said, “I don’t think I can do this.”

“Do what?” I said. [me thinking about the mile high club]

“Flying this far. I don’t know if I can do it.”

“Sure you can,” I said, “we’ll be fine,” as I squeezed her hand harder in mine.

“You promise?” She said.

“You betcha,” I said.

Not what you want to hear from a wife on the verge of tears and only 3 hours from your point of departure.
We still had another 13+ hours in the air to get to Brisbane after getting to LA.
This was not working out as I’d planned.
It rarely does though, right?
It was about this time that I was able to connect to the net with my laptop.
I have never loved Facebook more than I did at that particular moment in time.
“Here,” I said,  passing her my laptop, “Play Farmville or chat with someone who’s on.”
Maybe sometimes a human connection is all you really need to get you over a flying hump.
The Facebook diversion worked and we landed safe and sound in the City of Angels at 9PM (PST) Midnight (EST).
Our flights were connecting so we didn’t need to worry about our checked luggage as we would pick it up in Brisbane on our arrival on Sunday morning (thanks in part to the International Dateline)

Turned out that our 11PM flight was delayed and we didn’t take off until 1AM (PST) or 4AM (EST).
We were both sleeping in the terminal like oh, so many homeless people when our plane started boarding.
We made our way onto a V-Australia huge ass airbus and found our seats.
We were ready for some sleep.
After a nice snack we both hunkered down for a long summer’s nap, as visions of the calming waters of the great barrier reef danced in our heads . . .
(alright, I made that part up)

If anyone tells you that flying to Australia is easy and you could ‘do it in your sleep’, tell them they can go pound sand.
It is a long ass ways away and when we finally landed in Brisbane [19+ hours later] if all that we saw was two crazy kangaroos getting their freak on with some abo playing the didj, we would have left happy campers.
Truth.
That’s not what we found.
The air was different.
The sky was different.
The layout of the land was different.
The spring water was different.
The birds sound were different.
The toilet water flushed the wrong way.
And the people are friendly! [unlike some in Boston]
And they drive on the wrong side of the road (a trip unto itself!)
I think I actually shit my pants as we drove through our first roundabout.
Bringing adult diapers is merely a suggestion.

We found out very quickly that Australia was more than just an island,  a huge ass country, and a continent unto itself.
It was a place of incredible beauty and majesty, a place of tropical fish the likes of which we had never seen, wildlife that boggles the mind, food that makes us yearn for more, Cadbury chocolate that will never see the US shores and nighttime constellations that are unique to the southern hemisphere.
We also found out that Australia is a place where one very special family would open their hearts and homes to two American strangers they’d never met before.

We got our suitcases in Brisbane and headed to Australian Customs before embarking on the final flight to take us to Tropical Queensland and the home of Mark and Maureen Harrod, friends of a lifetime.

We didn’t know it then but we’d already fallen in love with this magical place called Australia.
As I looked at the Southern Cross in the sky on our first night,
I decided I should stop dreaming. I was here, we were here.

to be continued . . .

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