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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Continuing down Memory Lane

Driving in Australia has been slightly better than I expected. I think I can attribute my comfortableness with it to my time spent in Southeast Asia... and renting the mopeds and the cars over there. It's a genuine learning curve to just suddenly hop on and be confident driving on the lefthand side of the road.


People who do this need to be praised.

Like me...


Because I’m used to being on the righthand side of the road, I tend to veer too far over to the left when I'm driving. On more than one occasion, I have hit the curb or the gravel... and it's alarming.


Seriously.

Disturbing. Frightening.


It takes a lot of concentration for me to stay focused on where I actually am on the road (not kidding) to prevent myself from floating over too far. Sometimes if I’m turning onto a country lane, I will suddenly, and naturally, find myself barralling along in the right-hand lane... and I temporarily freak out, thank the heavens above that no cars were coming in the opposite direction and then correct myself immediately.


This car I rented is bizarre.


It can almost drive itself. I can set the speed limit, let my foot off the accelerator and the break... and the car will just take over. It seems to have this uncanny ability to know where the vehicle in front is... if it's slowing down or speeding up... and my driving will act accordingly to either that speed or the speed limit posted... without me driving at all. It either nudges me or tries to self-correct if I veer over too far.


I have never had a car like that before.


I’m also continually confused as to which side I need to enter the car. Watching me try to put my seatbelt on is comical, as I'm repetitively reaching to my left instead of my right... and no matter how much I try to retrain my brain, I always turn on the windshield wipers as opposed to the blinkers.


Other than that... it's been grand.

No accidents.


So far.... Fingers crossed.


I’ve experienced a lot of rain. I think I jinxed myself a few weeks ago when I said I couldn't remember what rain was like anymore... as Mother Nature has now gone out of her way to remind me.


I remember now.

Thanks for helping, MN.


I don't know what goes on and off more... the windshield wipers or the air conditioning. Between my hot flashes and the frequent pockets of downpours... it's been a real toss-up. Good thing I’m travelling on my own, as no one in their right mind would be able to tolerate the chaos of my car right now.


Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold.

Wipers On. Wipers Off.

Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold.


The scenery has been spectacular... when the rain clears, obviously.


Everyone has been warning me about the hazards of hitting kangaroos... especially at dawn and dusk. It has made me immensely nervous while I'm on the road, so I am ever vigilant, searching side to side... and ready to brake instantly.  I feel like every time I happen to hit the highway, it's perfect conditions for a roo to jump out at me.


So far so good… though the trip IS still young. 


How would I afford to cover the damage if I hit a kangaroo?

The simple answer? ... I wouldn't.

It would probably destroy the car... and ultimately, my bank account.


There should be kangaroo insurance.

I think that's how they ding us...


Anyway... I didn't happen to see any kangaroos.,.. and no koalas... and no emus... and I also didn't see any snakes.


Sad...


I've loved my time driving through the countryside of Queensland... and it was during these drives that I embraced the tourist in me. I frequently pulled over to take photos… or wander through a remote village... or stop for a snack in one of the local greasy spoons.


Thank goodness for GPS to guide me around. I don't think I could have done it without that assistance. I remember back in 1995, a few of us had piled into a small car, venturing the long distance from Bundaberg to Sydney, with nothing more than a paper map, the open road and our wits about us.


Actually... our wits were not really about us.

Not at all.



This was my journal entry recollection of that drive we made so long ago...


There was quite a crew of us heading south, but on this particular journey, was Donna, Ashlynn, myself... and Blue at the helm. He had offered us a ride to Sydney, in exchange for gas money, and we graciously accepted. I'm not sure how much we contributed to filling the gas tank, as we all left Bundy broke. Three months of picking fruit had not been as 'fruitful' as we'd anticipated, due in the most part to our foolish spending... but we had high hopes for striking it rich in the southern grape fields.


It could NOT have been easy... but guaranteed, it was fun... for us, at least.

I can't recall a whole lot from this particular trip.

1. Donna and I sat in the back and drank for almost the entire journey.

2. Donna had to pee a lot, which made Blue crazy with so many stops.

3. Blue and Donna fought a lot.

4. Ashlynn yelled at Donna a lot.


That's about all. This was a 14-hour journey that must have felt like 100 hours to Blue... but he was VERY tolerant of us. Especially Donna and I. But in addition to the multitude of pee stops, the bickering and the backseat party, I also remember one more thing... the LAUGHS were non-stop...



We were so young.

I miss those days. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time... and properly each detail of the best days so that I could properly relive them in my mind. Memories you think will last forever fade faster than you think.


I had left Ethel in Hervey Bay and I was headed to Rainbow Beach. It looked like a fun place to spend the night... and yes, from time to time, I do need a little bit of ME time and... believe it or not... "sightseeing" time in between my memory lane visits.


Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach were on my radar and I managed to hit both. I was on my way to Noosa and they seemed great stops to make along the way.


They were.

Definitely.

The beautiful beaches, the dunes, the boutique shops...


loved it...


I don't know what it is about me and my computer. I seem to attract problems, regardless of what I do.


All the time.

Every time.


Anyone who has ever read my blog knows this. I leave Canada with my computer and things fall apart. My computer had died and there seemed to be no possible way that I was able to revive it. I pinpointed each computer shop around me, and I was determined to hit them all until my computer was up and running. The main problem was that 1. I didn't have the proper plug-in and 2. my cord wasn't the official one needed to properly power the computer.


Had I taken care of all these issues before, my computer and I would have been tiptoeing through the tulips... but I never do... until it's too late.


After two repair shops were unable to assist me, I finally found myself desperate in the third, and final. They had to keep my computer for almost an hour before it finally powered up again.


Phewf...


I think I am officially done with travelling with this heavy, annoying beast.


If I ever speak about going overseas with it again... stop me.



My next stop was Ben and Bronwyn... just outside of Noosa. I worked for Ben and Bronwyn at Laggans Bakery & Deli, in Lake Louise... in 1996/97. It pains me to say it's so long ago! Another trip down memory lane... and believe me, I had a LOT of fun working at Laggans.


I was overwhelmed to have reconnected with them and was thrilled when they offered for me to stay a night in their incredible home.


They were so lovely. Then AND now!


We caught up on what had been going on with so many people we knew from our years spent in the Lake, laughed about different things that had happened and reflected on good times gone by. I couldn't have asked for better tour guides. We strolled along the seaside boardwalk, wandered through the very quaint & boutique town of Noosa Heads, walked along the shores of a couple of the area's most stunning beaches... and even attempted a short hilltop hike, but the cloudy weather prevented us from appreciating the spectacular view of the valley. The weather wasn't fabulous, but the downpour managed to hold off and we only encountered the slightest bit of drizzle on our adventures.


Ben and Bronwen's house was not only a stunning example of Queensland architecture with its enormous highrise balcony but also a visiting spot for many of the local birds in the area. I managed to get up quite close to a Kookaburra for a few photos. It wasn't scared of me at all... and definitely wasn't moving until it had received the treats it flew in for.


So I was back in Noosa… thirty years later... and once again, the memories came flooding back.


I feel like the main force behind this blog right now is memories. Absolutely.


Back to Noosa...


Thirty years ago, a small group of us from Bundaberg made our way here to spend Christmas on the beach. We all booked in at a lovely hostel with a pool... and as soon as we were in and settled, we let the chaos begin.


Drinking. Smoking. Loud music. Loud everything. Catapulting ourselves off the roof into the pool. Typical 20-something behaviour.


I had remembered it differently we got kicked out on Christmas, but it was actually Boxing Day. My mind has the uncanny ability to screw old memories up from time to time. I think it's the old age brain creeping in.


Of course, we were too obnoxious & unruly to be permitted to remain in the hostel for one more minute and very early on Boxing Day morning... we were kicked out and BANISHED to the beach…


“Get OUT!!!”

Now.



What better way to celebrate Christmas than to head down to Noosa for a couple of days of holidays? Sunshine, a beautiful coastal town, sandy beaches... and us drunks. What could possibly go wrong when 20+ dirty, tomato-picking rowdy louts hit this seaside community?


I think we only had three days off from the killing fields of Bundy, and we intended to use all 72 hours to our advantage...


Destination: GOOD TIMES...


With less than 72 hours to spare... we got right into the thick of the celebration immediately.

Our non-stop party mindset was overwhelmed AND overflowing with a combination of celebrating Christmas, much-needed days off, a beach holiday, being free from tomato farms.... and being out of Bundaberg, albeit it, temporarily. We were delirious with beach fun fever, probably a bit too much sun... and too much beer and rum and wine.


After spending Christmas Eve in an intoxicated stupor, we decided to continue the tradition for the following day, every waking moment of Christmas, at our backpacker's hostel in Noosa, was spent in party mode.


Without much regard for anyone NOT in party mode, we embraced the festivities with full force. In the pool, out of the pool... party, party, party.


Dawn to dusk... Dusk to dark... Into the darkness and beyond...


So Christmas was FUN.

Boxing Day?

... not so much.


Our crew was just a little toooo rowdy for this particular location. We got politely asked to leave... aka "kicked out."


NOW.


I think they gave us 2 minutes to pack up our belongings and hit the road. After much consideration of how to solve our problem... we came up with; "We'll sleep on the beach!"

Not. A. Problem.


There is not a lot I remember about Boxing Day on Noosa Beach. We continued the intoxication tradition that was AND wasn't working out for us so well.



Ahhhh... good times.

The memories just keep flooding back...


I really do LOVE this.

Reliving the memories... making new memories...

This is exactly what I live for.




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