On 6/1/2001 I landed in Australia for the first time. I was a tourist. My brother picked me up from the airport at about midday, and after a couple of hours at his place (spent mainly having a shower - I hate long flights) we set our way to the place I wanted to see the most in Australia: Phillip Island, and most prominently the Phillip Island Race Track.
You see, it all started when back in 1989 my brother sent me the video of the first Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from Phillip Island. It was an excellent race - the lead changed 16 times, and that video had an immense effect on me: from the time I got it till the time I was recruited to the army I would watch it on a daily basis. Yes, every day. And Wayne Rainey, the American Lucky Strike Yamaha rider, became my idol.
I was 18 back then, and it took a few years for my motorcycle fever to calm down. However, back in 2000 it revived again, and I was close to buying a bike of my own (I could afford it, at last). And that was when I ended up in Phillip Island, as the photo shows.
Since then a lot of mud went through the Yarra. By now I view motorcycling as a rather fun way to get oneself injured (or worse), and motor sports in general as an effective way of enhancing the greenhouse effect.
That said, it was still nice to revisit the Phillip Island Race Track today and reignite old dreams. I do not see myself ever becoming crazy about bikes again, but I admit they're a lot of fun and it was nice to step down memory lane. We had a walk around the track (mainly the pits area), a walk around the Japanese gardens they have at the track, and a walk in the small museum they have at the track. All are documented in my Flickr page - just click on the link at the right.
Anyway, what do you think of the difference between the photos? The funniest thing about them is that I wore exactly the same pants today as I did back on 6/1/2001 - it's amazing to see how much they faded! My hairline was threatening extinction back then, and now it's much worse; and what's with all those extra kilos added during those 5 1/2 years? I was into running back then, and today I only run after the remote. And what's this thing I had on my nose? I wonder how long it would take before I need eyeglasses again.
This comparison sure makes me laugh. On one hand, the infrastructure is in a severely inferior condition; on the other hand, I think I'm wiser. It's the type of wisdom that comes with age and experience.