From NZ to Oz

My hosts in Invercargill, Cecily & John Mesman, had spoilt me rotten; and Marie Teuwen, President of the Southland branch of Save the Children, had organised a welcome fit for a hero (and I’m only a pedal-twiddling lycra lout). It was sad to leave their company, but the show had to go on.

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A combination of one of these….

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and one of these got me from the toe of NZ, via Wellington and across the Tasman Sea, to Sydney where once again (once the bike was reassembled) I was able to display this

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to give the Aussies I encounter an opportunity to match (or even outstrip) the generosity of the Kiwis. No sooner had I set wheel outside the airport, I knew I needed local help to get across the city. A passing cyclist (and if he reads this, a big “thank you”) stopped and very patiently mapped out a route for me, which got me to the district I needed. That was brilliant. Then a couple of iPhone toting 20 somethings opened up Googlemaps and finalised the fine detail. (Of course, I could have done this for myself, but it’s much more fun asking others!).
I had to race against the fading light (sunset is over an hour earlier than in NZ) across a city that has some notoriously unfriendly cycling streets, but before the light disappeared I eventually found Dee Read’s lovely old wooden cottage
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and she gave me the warmest of welcomes. Thank you, Dee! This encounter happened through the networking power of Facebook, where a mutual friend had shared details with her own lists of friends (thank you Anne!). I thought I didn’t know Dee, until she looked at me and said she’d met me before somewhere.
Well, to cut a long story short, both her children had attended Kimbolton School in the 1990s, and I had taught one of them for a year!
It is a cliche, but it’s true…..it’s an unnervingly small world.
I will spend today unapologetically being a Sydney tourist, I have a (cheapish) ticket for Il Trovatore at the Opera House, and I’m meeting up with Richard Tulloch (another blogging friend) for a bushtucker lunch, during his break from drama rehearsals at Sydney University.
It promises to be a fascinating day.
Children in Syria Appeal: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on February 25, 2013, in Australia: Sydney to Melbourne 1000kms and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Frank – You’re right again. The world is astonishingly small. Too many years ago I got back to a flat I was borrowing in Madrid at 2.30am. An English couple in the darkness at the door could not get in. I introduced them to the Spanish eccentricity of the Sereno and the problem was solved. When I depressed the light switch for the lobby I saw that it was Mum & Dad’s next door neighbours – Mr and Mrs Clowes. Jenny will remember them. He was also our local chemist.

    But, with trips likethis, you are making the world even smaller, and in a more important way. You have been causing people on different continents to stop for a moment and think about a problem a world away from their experience, A little reflection has caused many of them to identify with what you are doing and to make a contribution, Many others will have become better informed just because you rode by. Your world is not tiny, Frank, it’s VAST. Your giving site and your understated blog make it worldwide the second you press the send button.

    So, God Bless, and may your Australian experience be at least as good as your time with the Kiwis. Your influence will do great good. Thank-you,

  2. Welcome to Australia. Take great care on our roads, particularly on the major roads where the big trucks roll.

  3. Glad you have arrived safely.

  4. Andrew, I felt a tingle in the spine as I read your comment. I don’t deserve it……but I like it nevertheless!

  5. Thanks for the tip, lazycoffees!

  6. Thanks Heather. See you both soon!

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