Australia    8 - 10 July 1997

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Tues 8th - Up at 4:45AM to clear skies and 15°C in Papakura. The kids drove us to the airport and the last song we heard on the radio as we pulled into the airport parking lot was the Archies "Sugar Sugar" which is our song as it was number 1 in Sept 1969 when we dated. Spooky coincidence? Very big surprize to find Ian and Tracy waiting for us there at such an early hour. He gave me a bottle of Vitamin C tablets.
Then a couple surprizes from the United Airlines check-in clerk who wished us a "Happy Anniversary" and told us that we had been upgraded (at no cost) to business class on flight 841 to Melbourne! First thing I noticed was that the sterwardii were beautiful compared to economy's. Then it was real wine glasses and not plastic cups, linen serviettes and not paper, complimentary newspaper and larger seats (of course) with foot rests and plenty of leg room. We had beautiful crepes for breakfast followed by oo-la-la chocolates. We were wished a "HA" and given a bottle of bubbly. I said share it around with other passengers, but they said it was warm so we put into Gail's suitcase. We began this trip with only carry-on luggage. The movie was 101 Dalmations (a story about wine makers in Henderson).
During our two hour wait at Melbourne airport (cloudy and 14°C) I checked my bag in the "tester" and no way would it fit. I knew that it was 3" too big having measured it. But we had been told in Auckland that we were ticketed through to Perth and did not need to check-in at Melbourne. So we started walking through the gate at the last minute and they must have we were trying to pull a fast one by pretending to have forgotten to check-in, so we got kicked out and told to go back to the ticketing counter. I figured now we'll miss the flight. Then of all things they let my too large bag through but decided that Gail's was too big, Gail very upset and we worried about the champagne bottle being broken because thinking it was carry-on we hadn't wrapped it to protect it. They said they would mark it fragile, but they didn't. But Gail was really pissed off when several other people came on board with bags larger than hers.
Our Ansett Flight 19 took off only to return to repair a fault and we had to sit on the plane 75 minutes for that before taking off again. In-flight movie was Vegas Vacation. We got to Perth (High = 14°C and going down to 0°C coldest in 81 years) in the dark, but had no trouble finding West Beach Lagoon Resort in Scarborough. Rundown place and we had a crappy room - if you stood on your tiptoes you could see the beach out a window through the buildings between. Pool water cold and hot tub uninvitingly under outdoor stairs. We set off in search of a cafe or restaurant for supper, but everything closed. Eventually found a very greasy fish 'n cheeps shop and after a long wait we headed back to the room to eat the crappy sharks and greasies. I was very ill (for a couple days prior to leaving NZ) and really not up to do anything. Turned on the heater and cable television which was pitifully bad in selection offered with most channels running various AFL games.

Indian Ocean from our motel
July 8 Diary
Wed 9th - Perth/Clear and high = 15°C and down to 1°C. Drove to Fremantle and discovered pay boxes that issue parking permits. We did the Mariner Walk and checked out the Round House. Then we drove to downtown Perth and walked around Kings Park and the Swan river. Had an expensive Viennese coffee and muffin at Alexander's in the park. Distinct lack of Polynesians. Found Perth's largest Shopping Centre at Karrinyup where I bought a green stripe rugby shirt and promptly ruined it with spaghetti sauce at supper. Luckily, Gail was able to clean it out. We had the excellent 1993 Chandon Brut Cuvee given to us by United Airlines crew.



July 9 Diary
Thurs 10th - Perth/Clear and high = 15°C. Drove out to John Forrest National Park to walk along Glen Brook and over a dam and had lunch with 4 insistant magpies (video). We were able to see Perth skyscrapers in the distance (video). Stopped at Galleria Shopping Centre where anorexia rules. After supper we walked along Scarborough Beach in the cold breeze and watched the sun go down.

Balga (Grass Tree)

July 10 Diary
All Albums 1997 Trip Albums MalleyGram