The Bus in Snowy River

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

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Snow! In Australia! Alright, I shouldn't be too surprised, given that we've just driven into the Snowy Mountains, home of the Snowy River (and therefore, home to The Man from Snowy River. So far no sightings of The Man). When we pulled up to our hotel for the night, in Jindabyne, there wasn't any snow yet, just a cold, cold wind sheeting over the lake. The old town of Jindabyne is drowned down there, left ghostly for scuba visitors when the lake was created in a huge hydroelectric scheme.

Dinner is in the hotel bar and restaurant and it's been set up by the bus company for us so we're all feasting on chicken schnitzel, chips and salad. While we wait for it we begin what will be a tradition by the end of our four days: drinking beer while playing texas hold 'em poker. And betting---with matches. We're hardcore! Everyone thinks we're dangerous dynamos, especially when at the end of the game, after the winner stops crowing, we carefully count out the matches and return them to their boxes.

The next morning we got up to Laurence pounding on our door with the bad news: the planned trip up to Mt. Koszczsiozcko (I dunno--you look up how to spell it) was cancelled due to an impending blizzard on the mountaintop. So no inner tubing or skiing. We pile glumly onto the bus just as it begins to snow, which perked us right up, especially since the bus heaters were working overtime to keep us toasty.

Half an hour down the road the snow had begun to blanket the fields and we had a good laugh at the shorn sheep who'd been decked in blue mackintosh coats and the cows mooing in despair at the white drifts over their grass. Laurence pulled over, we all piled out (dressed completely inappropriately) and threw handfuls of snow at each other. Snowball fight! In Australia!

The plan now was to go early to our night's destination, a small farm in the middle of the Victorian High Country, only accessible by winding for three hours down a slippery dirt track in an unwieldy bus. We all chatted and laughed and pretended not to notice whenever Laurence muttered swear words as the bus began to slide and spin out of control. Then he would get it back on the road and pick up the microphone to yell cheerfully: "Wasn't that great, family? If we start to tip everybody get over to the other side of the bus!"

Two hours later there was no sign we had ever been in snow. The sun was out, making the largest, fullest rainbow I've ever seen.
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