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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Wednesday, 28 August 2002
Benalla --> Albury, New South Wales, Australia

Mick and Jodie were happy enough to let me stay another day, so that’s why there is no report about the 27th. I used that day to do not-much. Lounge around, catch up with a few things, read a book, watch some television and it was apparently good to me, because on this Wednesday I was ready to get going again.

Today I would leave the state of Victoria and end up in New South Wales. And I did not have to hitchhike!

Mick and Jodie loaded up their car, got the kid in the back and they drove me all the way to Albury. It was a long road and took probably over two hours, through green hilly farmland and from highway to highway.

It was after noon when we arrived in the town Albury, maybe one-horse bigger than Benalla. And it was in Albury (say All-bry) where Mick and Jodie took me along for a lunch bite at a Japanese restaurant. This is where we enjoyed an embarrassing amount of sushi, heat up our mouth and filled our stomachs. This was good sushi! And apparently the only sushi bar in the neighbourhood as Mick and Jodie drove all the way to Albury to enjoy sushi too!

It was in the afternoon and after this lunch when I got gear together and said goodbye to the Plexes. I thanked them for their two days of taking care of me and had a stroll down the main street of Albury.

Of course there was the big Woolworth, Myer, and other big names, which appear in bigger towns.

I was invited to stay for a day in Albury by David Brunton. David picked me up from the centre of town and took me to the small apartment that he shares with his sister Jessica. He works at the electronic department of Myer in town and had taken a day off today. “I called in sick,” he explained.

In the comfy student-like living room we talked about my digital camera (as he sells them too). “My camera is breathing its last breaths lately,” I explained him and showed him my Sony Mavica camera.

“On Tasmania I once picked it up from a table and I noticed how I had suddenly two halves. It ended up that all the screws had disappeared from the covers, because the connections were broken or because – yes – the camera suffers quite a few bumps along my travels. I glued the parts together with superglue, but that is of course very temporary. In South Africa this same camera even got totally wet when I fell out of a canoe! And it still works. But after sixteen months of travelling I will be need a new camera for a next leg in this project. I’ll have to see who wants to sponsor me that…”

It was also in his living room when I discovered a small DVD-collection below the TV. “Back to the Future!?” I said with amazement. David had the Back to the Future Trilogy on DVD!

“You like Back to the Future?” David asked.
“Oh yes, I grew up with that!” David and I were both as crazy about this movie and we decided to watch the unique special features on the different DVD’s.

I am still halfway the book Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox and in his book Fox writes the difficulty of recording the tv-series Family Ties during the day and playing a movie roll between 6pm and 2am.

And for film freaks among us: Back to the Future (part one) was first entirely shot by with the actor Eric Stolz. But Steven Spielberg wasn’t fascinated by his acting and ordered to have all of Stolz’s scenes to be filmed again with Fox. And as Michael J. Fox was doing his Family Ties show during the day, most of the script had to be rewritten to night-scenes. This explains why most of the scenes in the movie take place in the evenings or nights. Great book! Great movies!


We watched a couple of DVD’s until David’s sister Jessica arrived home. She is studying multi-media at the moment and makes long hours at school.

It was around 7.30pm when we left the place for dinner-out. I was being spoiled again. We first picked up Jess’ Indian boyfriend Rohid at the local McDonald’s and got to a Thai restaurant down the streets.

Jessica has also once worked at Macca’s. “It was horrible, it was slavery,” she said. “Go on,” I said.
“You have to treat the customers as Kings and Queens. If they drop their almost empty shake, you have to give them a new one and always be polite.”
“Yes,” Rohid ads up, “if they complain about a hamburger, you just have to give them another one. And some people like to play with that.”
I kind of knew those customs at McDonalds’, but it is always fun to hear it from people who actually work there. Jessica just took off one day, when she had enough of the insults of some customers (which you have to take with a smile) and she waved goodbye to her manager. Rohid is about to leave here very soon too, for him it’s just a temporary job, next to his IT-studies. “Can I write that?” I asked him. “Of course, it’s a shit place!”

At the Thai restaurant where I was spoiled they were a bit behind on service as we all almost visited the kitchen to order our menu. This time I was smart and I didn’t go for some tongue-on-fire curry, I got Yum Neua (small pieces of beef grilled and mixed with chilli paste in a salad with cucumber, tomato, lemon juice, shallots, coriander and covered with mint leaves). Believe me it was good, when we finally received the food after an hour.

After dinner Jess and Ro went home and David took me along for some late-night shopping. It is just incredible to see a dark shopping mall and notice that one store is open: Woolworth’s. It must have been around 11pm. Three people were working there, for the rest the entire big supermarket was deserted. But for those people who want to shop at any time of the day, the shop has to be open. Ridiculous if you ask me. However it was at this supermarket where we got some drinks and snacks for at home anyway.

Back home we watched some fascinating episodes of Friends on DVD and with a fold out bed in the living room I could watch TV and update my reports with my laptop on my bed.

“Dave, can you pass me the crisps?” Hehe.

Good night Albury!

Ramon


(this was the last report written about my stay in Australia. I guess I was to exhausted to write more later this week.)