Monday, 17 March 2008

Homeward Bound

Tasmania, Day 5, 10/03/08

Unlike the previous Tasmania posts, this one is actually written back home with the hindsight of a week passing by and under pretty boiling conditions of rising mercury. It's a good test of memory, so let's go with a summarized account of what I remember from that last day of ours in Tasmania, exactly a week ago.
The most notable element of our last day in Tasmania was Dylan finally appearing to be substantially better. To quote Lionel Richie, he slept all night long (all night!). It made a huge difference; we felt alive again. And to celebrate our rejuvenation, we decided to dedicate our last day to the ex-convicts area of Port Arthur.
Port Arthur is a peninsula type area (the area is actually called the Tasman Peninsula). Because it's connected to the mainland through a very narrow stretch of land (the width of a standard road), it was used by the British as a special prison to host the nastier of Australian convicts back in the convicts' era (which by most countries' standards of history would be fairly recent). The area's main features are some great beaches, a national park, and a museum type exhibition of the old convicts' camp.
We didn't have time to any of those. We basically just drove around, had ourselves a lunch, and stopped at the very basic lookouts to admire the view. And there was definitely much to admire: the views were quite spectacular! I didn't expect much of the area after my sister told me she found it quite depressing, but it appears she just took a tour of the camp whereas we drove around. The area was the most spectacular and approachable of the Tasmanian areas I have seen so far, and it reaffirmed my impression that Tasmania is some sort of an inferior New Zealand lying just an hour's flight away from us.
The place we had lunch at was selling postcards, which reminded me that my dear friend Haim used to collect postcards sent from different places all over the world. Being that Haim is a Looney Toons fan, he would have probably loved a postcard from Tasmania, or so I thought. So I started the acquisition workflow on one of them postcards; quickly enough, however, I remembered that Haim didn't give me his new address after he moved and that he knows I don't have his address. So there went the postcard notion.
In typical fashion we were a bit behind on getting to the airport, having extended our drive around the peninsula. Before getting to the airport, we had to stop at a gas station to fill the tank the way you do before returning a rental car. We approached the airport through the town of Sorell, some 20 kilometers from Hobart. According to the map given to us by the rental company, the place has three gas stations, and shortly after you leave it there's another. But then it was time for the day's drama: the first gas station was closed; the second was open, but the third was a BP and we get discounted gas at BP, so I drove onwards. Alas, the BP was also closed, so we continued to the last gas station. That last station had such a massive queue that in order to join the queue we would have had to block the roundabout next to it. So we had to bite the bullet and either do a u-turn or pay the penalty.
Avis charged us a $35 gas fine. At least they didn't say anything about the nice scratch I've added to the front spoiler...
The flight was OK, given circumstances, and home was nice to be back in. So was the CR-V, which we sort of learnt to appreciate even more during the trip (although I will restate how deeply I fell in love with the Tiptronic gear). Since returning, though, Melbourne has been so boiling hot that I do my best to avoid the desktop, which means that I hardly got to process the trip's photos so far and blogging was minimized, too.
The most dominant memory I take from Tasmania is roadkill: Tasmanian roads are so full of dead marsupials that driving feels like going to the zoo. Allow me to venture that they don't clear them off the roads, which might explain the CSI like condition some of the bodies are in. For the record, the only Tasmanian Devil we saw during the trip was a roadkill one.
The lessons from our first away mission trip with Dylan are simple: take it easy, plan for extra simplicity, get a room with a bath, get an extra room for the baby, brace yourself for the flights, and most of all - try to avoid taking a sick baby with you.

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