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I am now in Brisbane, or 'Brisneyland' as one good local friend puts it. My feet hardly touched the ground between Cairns and here in my haste to catch up with my paralympian friend-from-school-days Farrel, before he flew from warming up near here at the Gold Coast to Sydney for the BIG games, to play tabletennis. I found him at his hotel the day before he left, and we had a good chin wag for a couple of hours. In the end the timing could hardly have been better, though I had to skip through some fabulous places on the route south. But I had two weeks of blisteringly sunny weather to help me blaze my trail. But the last day in, when I decided to side-step over to the Sunshine Coast rather than stay on the main highway, it rained with avengeance.
So I'm tempted to go back up the coast for a short rest, if there's time, to try and see it in all it's sunsoaked glory and soak my weary muscles in the Pacific surf.
I can, and probably will, do that at the Gold Coast too, on my more leisurely way further south, but it looks a lot more commercial down there.
And I'd also like to take one last snorkelling look at the Great Barrier Reef back north. As I head away from the tropics, I will sorely miss those underwater wonders. But I'm sure other heart-surging adventures await me.
My immediate plans are to rendezvous with a number of Brisbane friends and then to pop down to Sydney, using public transport (yeuch!!!) to see Farrel blow away the opposition with the ping pong ball, see him collect his Gold, come back to Brisbane and then point my Iron Pony Sydney- and Melbourne-wards once more.
Quote of the last two weeks; "I couldn't ride a bike when I joined the army!" : told me by Alex, an retired WorldWar2 serviceman, who kindly let me camp, fix a puncture, and mend two spokes in his back garden, AND fed me Hungarian Goulash for supper and pork ribs for breakfast, in some backwater town with little inviting accommodation for my quiet, low budget style.
Bane of the fortnight: Dive-bombing Magpies, now top of the league of Australian animals for drawing blood, overtaking March Flies, Mosquitoes and SandFlies.
A**hole of the fortnight: Someone who dropped a beer bottle under my wheels at high speed whilst overtaking me in his great, dirty four-wheel-drive. Goes right to the bottom of the bravery table. I was glad to be wearing my cycling-glasses when that exploded glass everywhere.
Laugh of the fortnight: Nothing laughs harder or funnier than that plucky Aussie bird, the Kookabura.
Warming act of the fortnight: A free hot shower for my birthday at a nowhere gas station near my tent in a place called Glenwood, up the track a ways.
Sweetness of the fortnight: Pulling a stick of cane sugar at the corner of a vast field, hacking off the tough jacket, and chewing the juicy sugar out of it, on the spot, under the scorching sunshine.
And, of course, it's always a highlight to get your email.
A galaxy of thanks to you. All Hope and Success to you.
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