14 January 2010 | Brisbane, Australia
...that's a really good question. Two and a half years of this vagabond lifestyle, unfortunately overlayed by a global economic kick in the groin, have conspired to dramatically lessen our collection of "fun tickets" (ie money). Combining that with a waning interest in living like gypsies, it was relatively easy for us to decide to end our cruise here in Australia. A bit easier said than done, but we're working on a few different plans, and will pick the most practical one soon. Stay tuned...
In the meantime, life in Brisbane has attained a certain normalcy. School is back in session aboard Meridian, after much time lost to passages and holidays. We are mastering the mass-transit system here, and think nothing of hopping a ferry to cross the river so we can catch a train to visit someplace that may or may not warrant visiting. All good fun. We even took the train to visit Sydney...14 hours each way! The return leg was an actual red-eye. Note to self: Self, don't do that again.
Actually, Sydney was great, and we had a terrific time. The city itself is beautiful, as it drapes around Sydney Harbor. New hi-rises blend with 19th century stone manors to create an image of modern permanence. The harbor rates as one of the best natural harbors in the world. Huge, well-protected (even though I'm soon to be a self-proclaimed land-lubber, I still have a soft spot for all those suckers that still elect to live on boats) and with a beautiful shoreline, its a tremendous resource, and there's no wonder why the country's largest city sprang up on its shores.
Nancy worked her renowned internet magic to secure a great hotel suite, at a terrific price. Our room was actually 2 stories...living space above, and sleeping rooms below. After living on the boat for so long, it was like moving into a mansion. The hotel itself close to everything we wanted to do, especially the National Maritime Museum.
We spent an entire day at the Maritime Museum, and part of another. Accompanied by Glen, Marilyn, and Jaryd, our very good friends from Tin Soldier (they just can't shake us), we toured a post-WWII era submarine, a naval destroyer, and an authentic replica of Captain Cook's "Endeavor". Cook is credited with "discovering" Australia, and is both a popular, and reviled, figure here. The replica ship is exact in every detail- it was fascinating, and a bit humbling, to see how these people lived. Remind us to tell you about the "seats of ease" sometime. You'll never take your toilet for granted again.
But alas, our time in Sydney came and went quickly, and soon we found ourselves back here in Brissy. Not a bad place, but not as bright and shiny as its big sister to the South. That's OK, though, because we can't afford any more distractions as we decide upon, and act on, our future plans. Anybody interested in a fully-outfitted cruising boat, lying in Australia? Going once, going twice...