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The Meaning of Life Explained
11th Nov 2016 - 14th Nov 2016
The Lucky Country

One of Australia's monikers is "The Lucky Country", originally applied sarcastically in political circles back in the 60s(?), it's come to represent the sunny climate and, generally, sunny disposition and decent living standards of its residents.  

The trip comes full circle as we fly from Hobart, Tasmania on a Friday back to Sydney, which is, superficially at least, the epitome of luckiness, to meet up with sister Ann, husband Eddie and clan.  They live up the coast from the CBD about 40 minutes or so in Collaroy and the shuttle battles through the gnarly traffic in the rush hour.  This trip is the first time Abby and I have met Ann and Eddie in person.  Not going into  the background on that here, but it made for a momentous occasion.  On top of that, at Ann's house we also meet up with sister Clair, who had flew in from Belfast, Northern Ireland the previous day.  A celebration is in order so we head to the local social club for a night out.  The club I.e. the "Dee Why RSL" is a big operation with 4 restaurants, 4 bars, live music, and a casino and everyone has fun. On Saturday morning, with the group in varying degrees of dehydration, Central Sydney is the destination via the Manly ferry.   On a sunny day the ferry makes for a spectacular entry into Sydney, ending up with the iconic view of the Opera House, bridge and the CBD skyscrapers as we cruise into Circular Quay.  The Rocks, the view from the bridge, the Opera House, the Botanic Gardens, all very familiar to those who've visited here, but great anyway.  That evening Des, Abby and I are left off in Manly center to get into trouble.  Manly is a surfing beach town and gets very lively on a Saturday night in late Spring as the strong security and people presence indicates.  The locals are, indeed, having a good time and, so we do, eventually ending up at "The Boatshed" where were is a decent band doing classic rock covers.  Abby and I are running out of steam and cut out at midnight to get a taxi back to Collaroy: Four weeks on the road has taken a heavy toll.

On Sunday afternoon, Ann & Eddie's kids come over for a BBQ, meaning Barry, his wife Alyson, their kids Rory & Emily, daughter Nicole, her husband Matt and their kids Olivia & Caleb.  That's a whole lot of family to meet for the first time in one go.  Ann, and a supporting cast, put together a wonderful spread and it's a fitting finale to the visit and the whole trip.

Des is heading onto Thailand the following afternoon, and Abby and I have a 5am shuttle pickup the next morning to get to the airport for our flight to Hong Kong, and then onto Portland Oregon, wrapping up our time in the Lucky Country.  Much thanks to everyone who let us stay with them and everyone we saw from the extended family.

From the monsoonal Top End to the desert Red Center to the wine country of Adelaide, the hipsteriffic metropolis Melbourne, the natural wonderland of Tasmania and surf city Sydney, it's been a hell of a trip.  Sill want to know where all the bloody kangaroos were, though.

Next: Iki Masho!
Previous: Save the Little Devils in Middle Earth!

Diary Photos

Manly ferry approaching Circular Quay

The crew taking it easy

Opera House and ferry

Mystery structure

Circular Quay jacarandas

Mini Jabirus at the Quay

Renovated shipping storage building in The Rocks

The Australian Hotel in The Rocks

Ann & Abby on the bridge

Eddie, Des and Clair on the bridge

Sean, Abby, Des, Eddie on the ........

Abby & Sean, wait for it, on the bridge

The Bridge

Chinese glamorous grannies at the Opera House

Sydney CBD from the Botanical Gardens

Eddie, Des & Clair on the ferry

Ann & Abby on the ferry

Rory, Caleb and Olivia (hope I got the names right)

All the Sydney family except Barry, Emily and me

4 brothers and sisters

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