Rattling Down Roads Together

Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
Trip End Nov 31, 2005

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Flag of Australia  ,
Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The long awaited bus tour begins! Bought the ticket almost a year ago and here I am at the Oz Experience office finally cashing it in and getting on board a bus. Since I bought it things have changed and I'm getting a smashing deal by paying less than half what somebody buying it today might buy.

The bus from Sydney to Melbourne takes four days and contains the following people along with me:

Laurence, our intrepid guide and bus driver, a native of Melbourne, an energetic go-getter who always wants to drag us sleepy bunch up and out of our seats to look at another view. He calls us his "family" and tells us definitely not to call him "Dad," which is like baiting the hook, so that's what we call him even though he's only a few years older than most of us. Also along for the ride is Roger, an Oz Experience guide on holiday.

Rika, a blonde German girl. She claims to be so far underwhelmed by Australia, which is supposedly very popular in Germany. She buddies up immediately on the bus to Chris, a flamboyant gay Scotsman who likes to break out his Michael Jackson dance moves and Grease karaoke singalongs at the drop of a hat. Or even when a hat doesn't drop.

Martin and Caroline, a Belgian couple, who hang out mostly with Cees, a slightly older guy from Holland, and Tai, a guy from Taiwan. For some reason the fact that they all have varying degrees of difficulty with English seems to bond them together very quickly, even though they don't actually have a language in common amongst themselves (except beer, and everybody on the trip speaks that language. Except Rika who speaks a fluent vodka-and-cranberry).

Bryan, a Texan who works in Russia and has some time off and wants to go somewhere---anywhere---that isn't Russia and so chose to come to Australia for a fast and dirty eight days. He looks like Kurt Cobain with short hair. Rich and Al, two Brits who have just graduated from university together and are taking six months off to see Southeast Asia/Australia. They bicker a lot in the manner of very old friends; Al is sarcastic and has the exact accent of Westley from the Princess Bride and Rich pretends to be aggravated when he is the butt of jokes but really I think likes it. These are the three that I hang out with. Maybe life is random enough that we end up spending our time with the people that we randomly sat beside on the bus at the start of the trip.

First stop is Canberra, the nation's capital, for a bit of parliamentary mischief. Laurence, Roger and Cees go into the old parliament building and leave the rest of us with an Aussie Rules Football and a desire to see the new, under-a-grass-hill parliament building. We go in and we have to go through a metal detector. Our ball goes through an X-ray and is confiscated. Does it have a bomb in it? On the way to the grassy roof for a view of the city we decide that they might be afraid we'll toss the ball around in the House of Representatives, which, in fact, we probably would have. Maybe the X-ray machine also has the ability to read minds. On the roof a huge group of schoolchildren is hogging the elevator back down but kindly let us budge when we start fretting that we're late to get back on the bus.

Back on the bus after lunch in the illustrious Canberra Mall Food Court, we all fall asleep in preparation for the drive up to the night stop in Jindabyne.
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