Thursday, September 10, 2015

An Australian Holiday from A to Zed

  A is for my accent which slides and changes based on who I’m with. So far, I’ve been pegged as an Australian, New Zealander, American, Canadian, Brit, and even a generic “European!”

B is for tasty treats we can’t get in Papua New Guinea (PNG) like blueberries, sliced ham, peaches and grapes!

C is for clean! The stores were clean! The roads were clean! The sidewalks were clean! Even the train station platform was clean!

I even got to improve my in-hand dressage skills.
D is for dressage, my favourite equestrian sport, and the focus of ten days of my trip, where I helped out at an upper level barn and was able to take lessons, watch clinics, and be in a lovely horsey environment!

E i is for etiquette on a train. Rule 1: Don’t acknowledge the existance of any other person. Ever. Rule 2: Always stare at your smart phone. If you accidentally look up, remember Rule 1.

F is for my being oblivious to Western-style flirting after not being exposed to it for years...

G is for eating successfully gluten-free eating during my entire time (quite a feat while traveling)!

H is for hay bales. We don’t use hay bales to feed our horses here in PNG and so getting to hang out at the horse barn, with their gorgeous fences, beautiful water troughs, elegant stalls, perfect arenas, awesome shavings pile, and of course, their shed of hay bales, made me very happy!

I is for the icy cold weather in Melbourne (well, compared to my home state of Minnesota, it was nothing, but compared to my life in PNG, I was shivering under 5 layers!)

J is for the jolly and beautiful countryside of Australia that is a lovely change from PNG jungle!

See the baby in the pouch on the left?
K is, of course, for the many kangaroos (and don’t forget the wombats and wallabies) I saw roaming around the various parts of Victoria. The babies were pretty cute!

is for the scary left turns that happen when you’re driving on the left (or right) hand side of the road. I can’t remember anymore and so midway through the turn I’m panicking WHERE DO I END UP??? WHERE AM I?? AHH!

M is for the many medical appointments which finally shed some light on my several years of chronic fatigue—there are multiple underlying viruses and parasites in my system that need to be eradicated. Yay for treatment plans!

is for traveling at night which we don’t do in PNG...and so it was very strange!

O is for being overlooked when I’m wandering through town. For once, I’m not a celebrity!

P  is for visiting cool paintings at the Melbourne Art Museum (even more fun, their exhibit was “The Horse”)

Q is for how quickly everything happens in Australia! After living at a much, much slower place, I was rather taken aback by the speed at which everyone lived and spoke and shopped and travelled and planned...

R is for restaurants; we don’t have many restaurants in PNG, and we get to visit them even more rarely, so it was fun to go out to eat with a friends a couple times and enjoy Greek and Argentinean food!

S is for “sticky beak” and all the other fun Aussie expressions!  (And no, it does not mean a giant bird beak covered in honey...but to take a look out of curiosity.)

T is for all the travel challenges I experienced this time around. Ah well, I made it, and flights and departures and customs can’t all go smoothly every single time!

U is for the apparent unconcern people have for security issues (which are constantly in the back of our minds in PNG)—for example, no extra locks on doors, no bars on windows, no alarm systems in houses and no security guards checking your bilum (PNG string bag) as you enter and exit stores!

Melbourne from the sky!
V is for the cool view of Melbourne from the tallest lookout in the Southern Hemisphere!

W is for the wide aisles in the grocery store.  I know this sounds weird, but aisles in PNG are usually really narrow and crowded, and so this made me really happy...

X is for both eXpensive and ineXpensive...which is what prices look like when you keep trying to filter too many currency exchange rates in your head....

Y is for when you look like you ought to belong, but you don’t, the global traveler’s conundrum.

Z is for the zillion lovely new friends I made!