If this is what 39 looks like...

This trip is happening only because my friend Pam, an Air Canada Jazz pilot, had an interest in going to Australia.  At first, months ago, I was excited about the prospect of spending a few weeks down under especially because it has been 10 years since my Millennium Adventure Down Under.  But as the dates and plans started to take shape and we realized it would be barely over a week’s visit, I started to have my doubts.  I mean, who in their right mind goes to Australia for 8 days???  That’s pure madness.

But then I remembered who I am!

And off we went, pretty much the last two standby passengers to board a full 777 bound direct from Vancouver to Sydney.  Our hopes of an upgrade to the fully-reclining-to- 100%-horizontal seats were dashed.  Every Business Class seat was occupied by a paying customer.  Rats.

Whether it was the No-Jet-Lag homeopathic I took every 2 hours, or the litres of water I drank, or the 15.5 hour direct flight, we arrived quite alert, awake, and refreshed, ready to drive the 3 hours to Canberra on the wrong side of the road.

The best part about driving to or from the A.C.T. (Australian Capital Territory) is the chance to stop in the Southern Highlands region, to which I was first introduced in 1986 when I went on the Havergal/Frensham School exchange.  So today we stopped in Moss Vale for a light lunch and a chance to stretch.

I tried to point out as much Australiana as I could to Pam – mostly flora.  (Didn’t see any ‘roos until the next day.)  It was so fulfilling to be back on the Island Continent that I had loved so much. 

We arrived at the Palethorpe’s in Canberra just after 4 pm.  Our history with Helen & Hardy is dislocated, but they are awesome people, and I am lucky to know them – their son was once married to one of my best friends!

The weather was hot and sunny, and Pam & I were anxious to get our hearts pumping, so we faithfully trudged up Mount Ainslie and enjoyed looking down on the meticulously planned Canberra, appreciating the lifestyle of such urban proximity to nature.  After this exercise, we were treated to an al fresco meal of fish and veggies done on the BBQ, and fresh mango for dessert (and though I’m officially allergic to mango, I was compelled to eat ¼ of one of the luscious fruits – don’t worry, it’s not an anaphylactic reaction that I have).

Next best thing to attending a match of the Australian Open? Watching it while IN Australia!  At least the time zone thing isn’t an issue.  And promptly at 10 pm Pam & I promptly wilted, and slept like logs until 6:30 am.  That was generally the theme for the entire week.  No jet lag to speak of.  Good thing – you can’t afford to have jet lag for an 8 day trip.