I know, I know... It's about time I posted something! Had a lot going on here since I got home and never had the time really to write. nothing bad, I've just been really busy.
I departed for Australia on May 4th from Miami and after an uneventful flight to Los Angeles I boarded a Qantas 747 bound for Brisbane, Queensland. After twelve hours I arrived in Australia where I had to debark and proceed through Australian Customs where the first glitch in my trip occurred...
I had forgotten a small packet of cookies I had been given on the plane earlier that I had in my shirt pocket... And food items being brought into Australia are prohibited, and me forgetting to "Declare Said Food Items" I was asked to step out of the line and have my luggage searched by a humorless but professional Customs Agent.
I was expecting the Anti-Cookie SWAT Team to come rappelling out of the ceiling at any moment since I was now some notorious International Cookie Smuggler...
All was found in order and I was cleared through customs, but since I had to proceed from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal to catch my connecting flight to Adelaide, the time taken at customs prevented my from making that flight. The gentleman at the Qantas desk was very friendly and helpful and got me on the next flight to Adelaide.
After almost twenty hours on airplanes and the crossing of the International Date Line, I lost the 5th of May somewhere... May 5th, 2010 never existed for me!
So around noon on the 6th I finally arrived in Adelaide, South Australia to be met by my good Mate, Eddie who promptly took me straight to the nearest pub! I spent the next few days with him and his lovely wife Marty who were great hosts!
On the following Saturday Eddie and I took the train into the City Centre of Adelaide to meet up with a few other mates of ours at the Strathmore Hotel for a mini-conference, adult beverages and fine dining...
It was there that my mates presented me with a fantastic honor... A plaque naming me a "Honorary Australian"! These guys (or should I now say "These Blokes?") are the greatest!
After the presentation of the plaque and a bag of goodies... We got down to some serious eating and drinking! I ordered the Stonegrill mix... A large rump steak, prawns, Kangaroo & Crocodile, chips and side salad... It was brought out raw on a slab of granite at 400C and you cook it yourself. A really unique way of eating and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Side Note: Australia is the only country I know of that you can find their National Emblems, The Kangaroo and Emu on the menus of most restaurants!
On Sunday we met up again at the Cooper's Alehouse in Adelaide for a afternoon of sampling the local favorite brew... Pictured above is (L to R) Me, Trevor, Pete & Eddie.
The following Monday I again boarded a short flight from Adelaide back to Brisbane to meet up with another mate, Colin to spend a week exploring the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.
Colin and I spent the days exploring the area around where he lives and getting some great views like the one above in Moolooaba... I simply fell in love with the area!
We also did some hill climbing... Here is a nice photo from the top of a hill we climbed near his home... This place has a name but for the life of me I can't remember it... I know the view was simply breathtaking!
For a few days Colin and I camped on Fraser Island, another place I just fell in love with! At one point I asked Colin just to leave me there and I'd just stay the rest of my life...
The place was so beautiful! The only way onto the island is by barge and you need 4WD. Another cool sight was the wreck of the SS Maheno, seen above at low tide.
Another really cool thing was the dingos. They're all over the place on the island and they'll walk right up to you!
Who could not just fall in love with the place?
Camping on Fraser Island, enjoying my most favorite Aussie Beer, Victoria Bitter, or "VB" for short!
I was in a contemplative moment above, gazing out at the South Pacific from a huge sand blow on Fraser Island...
Wishing I could stay forever...
But this had to end also, Colin had to depart the next week for some time in the Army and we parted ways at the Brisbane airport, me heading back to Adelaide and him up to Townsville. I again hopped a short flight back to Adelaide to spend the remainder of my time in Oz with Eddie.
So the rest of my time Eddie and I explored South Australia sampling the local food and fantastic adult beverages, sometimes sitting out on his lanai until the wee hours drinking beer, swapping old war stories (The difference between a Fairytale an an old War Story: a Fairytale starts out "Once upon a time..." a Old War Story starts out "I shit you not...") and basically laughing and having a great time.
In sadness I had to come home, leaving Australia on the 31st of May... I another freak of the International Date Line, I departed Adelaide at 11:00 AM on the 31st, and arrived back in the United States in Los Angeles at 11:35 AM, on the 31st of May... The 14 hour flight only took 25 minutes!
A fantastic trip, great holiday and one I'll not soon forget!
Eddie and I have already discussed next year's plans and if they can they'll be coming over here for a few weeks so I can repay some of their fantastic hospitality!
One last thing I do have to say... I have never met a group of people so damn nice! Everywhere I went everyone was so friendly... And if you ever travel to Australia, New Zealand or anywhere else in the South Pacific, fly Qantas! They really know how to treat the passengers! (and free booze on the flight!)
Thomas Wolfenden was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is an honorably discharged veteran of the US Army. He's worked in several different jobs throughout his life, spending fifteen years in law enforcement and the private security field. He has worked as an automotive detailer, ambulance driver, a nuclear medicine delivery courier, a dairy barn cleaner, and most recently has worked as a ballast regulator operator, a switchman, conductor and a locomotive engineer on the railroad. He's traveled extensively, through the United States and abroad, and lived in several States. Pennsylvania, Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky, Idaho and Florida being a few places. He has written several OP-ED pieces for various local newspapers, and had up until recently, kept a political humor blog. He's a Life/Endowment member of the National Rifle Association and a strong supporter of the.2nd Amendment. He now spends his time between the United States and Australia, with his life partner, Catherine.