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Another Idiot Abroad
13th Dec 2013 - Australia
Home Sweet Home

Well, that's a job ticked off the bucket list.  'Ashes cricket watched in Australia'.  Fortunately didn't specify watching England win in Australia as that doesn't look like happening any time soon.

Fortunately, the trip home was incident free.  While some kind of mishap or adventure may make for a good blog, you really don't need anything to extend a journey which already lasts in excess of 21 hours.  

However, the transfer at Dubai was a little more eventful than planned in that we had to literally run from one end of the airport to the other to get our connecting flight to Gatwick.  We'd deliberately chosen a short connection in Dubai but hadn't accounted for strong winds on the flight from Sydney.  No, it wasn't the farting French girl again.  It was the wind blowing against us all the way and what with that and obviously flying uphill to reach the Northern Hemisphere, it meant that we got into Dubai considerably later than we should have.

Luckily for us there wasn't too long a delay in customs, apart from the usual drama of Rohan trying to pull up his strides and put his belt back on, (He actually set off the alarm this time), and for the 7th time in eight flights I had to go through the extra, supposedly random, explosive checks.  I actually know the procedure as well as some of the security staff now.

Luckily, me and Rohan are fine athletes and we arrived at our gate just as they were beginning to call us in cattle class through to board, so, as the Aussies would say, 'no dramas.'

It was a blow to hear that the flight, at seven hours, was also longer than we'd thought.  Luckily, the in-flight entertainment provided by Emirates is pretty decent so to pass the time over the two flights I listened to every UK number one from 1968 to 1982.  Good variety in those days, from the Beatles to Benny Hill, T-Rex to The Brotherhood of Man!  There are also plenty of films if that's your thing, nothing there that interested me though.

Landed on time to hear the captain telling us it was 1 degrees in London, which brought a gasp from a girl nearby who was wearing just a small top and denim shorts.  So it's chilly in London at 7.00pm in December?  Who'd have thought it?  Seems this dozy Doris wasn't the only one though, as when we were picking up our luggage there were three bags on the carousel with 'West Indies Cricket team' written on them.  Not sure where those guys think they're going to get a game.

Eventually, after a pint in the newly tarted up Hamilton Hall at Liverpool St Station we got the 10.30pm rattler back to Norwich.  Couldn't believe that it was absolutely rammed.  Those commuters certainly put in a shift these days.  Fortunately, there were also no dramas on the train and we arrived in decent time back in an equally cold Norwich.

A few quick observations to finish with on Australia, I may add to these as they come back to me:

Just like New Zealanders, the Australians are incredibly friendly.  Everywhere we went they were interested in where we were from and keen to talk about their connections with the UK.  Most have been over here, many have worked here and if you believe them, just about all have managed a Walkabout bar.  Well, we all exaggerate don't we?  Aussies in England are barstaff, just like the Chinese in Australia are.  Despite the historical rivalries, they genuinely have huge respect for the English, both in sport and otherwise and without exception the people we met were really helpful in any respect and particularly when help was needed for directions etc.  They did however break out into a broad grin as soon as they realised you were a pom and couldn't resist asking if we were enjoying the cricket.

Again, like New Zealand, there is some amazing scenery.  The beaches are well known, as are the landmarks, but the Blue Mountains were a genuine surprise.  

The transport systems there are superb.  The trains in Sydney and Brisbane are so easy to use, although most things in Brisbane were within walking distance anyway.  There are a lot of free options, particularly in the City centres and for getting to sporting events.

One downside is that unlike New Zealand, there does seem to be a lot of crime in Australia.  Definitely comparable to the UK.  There were some terrible stories on the TV news most days and in Brisbane we were close to being first on the scene of a murder on our early morning walk to pick up our bus to Moreton Island.  The body of a young Korean girl had just been discovered just around the corner.  The unfortunate victim of a random attack, for which the police had charged a man by the following day.

Aussie TV is mainly re-hashed English or American TV.  They showed the new Dr Who the day after it was shown in the UK and they show all the Premiership goals on TV within a day or two as well.  As a bonus, there is no summary from Shearer, Hanson or Lawrenson!  They also get the live games on subscription with the red button option to pick the game you want.  Far too many adverts though.  Three ad breaks during one episode of Family Guy!  

By the way, in Neighbours, Karl is back with Susan, (clown) and may or may not oppose Paul Robinson in the local elections, as Susan's MS has returned.

The TV news in Australia seems to over-dramatise the trivial and trivialise the serious stuff at times.  It is a good source for finding out what's going on in the UK though, especially if a celebrity is having a hard time.  They can't get enough of scandals and gossip.

The Aussies are obviously on the up in the cricket and look like regaining the Ashes.  Everywhere we went there were fine sporting facilities, particularly at the schools and colleges.  In Adelaide here were many bowling clubs which were heaving in the evenings where they played under floodlights.  The A-League games we saw were decent entertainment and there's definitely an increasing enthusiasm for football there, with increasing crowds and excellent stadiums.  The fans there also behave well enough to mix freely and drink beer in view of the pitch.  

That's it for the blog.  Back to reality now and the process of finding a new job.  If there are to be anymore trips like this, I'll have to find a way to fund it.

In the meantime, anyone got any idea how you sign on?

Next: Here we go...........
Previous: On the way home.......

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13th Dec 2013  Australia
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