Second Time Around travel blog

I have gained weight this trip. No one to blame but me.

Australia's food is based on English norms. Add to that a huge assortmemt of ethnic foods brought in by waves of immigrants.

Brekkie (breakfast) can be full hot (eggs, bacon, beans, stewed tomato, cold toast) or simple cereal and toast. Coffee in hotel rooms is usually instant, not little coffee makers one finds in the US.

Lunch and dinner have English foundations. I love the meat pies and enjoy occasional fish and chips. Just about anything from Italian to Thai is available.

The baked goods, unlike New Zealand's awful offerings, are excellent. I cannot pass up a decent muffin or carrot cake, and there have been many.

"Bogan" is a term applied to low life slobs. I sat behind a couple of bogan blokes on the Darwin-Perth flight. Tank tops with beer ads, unkempt hair and beards, and the F-bomb used as an adjective whenever possible.

Aboriginal folks are 3.75% of the population. Many suffer from the ailments of white society that Native Americans suffer: alcohol, diabetes and worse from sugar, unemployment, early death.

Recall our encounter in Alice Springs. A local friend told me we were fortunate in that Aboriginal kids there love harassing tourists. They also love breaking into cars. That explained the high steel fence with spearhead tops that surrounded our hotel there.

The national Australian scandal is the captain of the national cricket team having been caught on live TV cheating by tampering with the ball. Front page stuff.

Prince Charles was in country to represent the Queen at the Commonwealth Games. His wife was rumored to have yawned and read a magazine during his opening speech.

In Darwin, I offered to do laundry with the disclaimer that the odds were higher that something would go wrong than if Mo did the laundry. I did the laundry. I checked pockets as one should, but not thoroughly enough. A stray lip balm got through into the dryer, melting and permanently ruining a few items. I bought her a replacement pair of outdoor pants at a testosterone-infused hunting-fishing store.

Mo claims I am going deaf. She usually tells me that when there's some kind of background noise going on.

I have had leg and knee pain that discourages me from stairs and trails. Maybe it's simply being 66. Maybe I need a new hip.

The constant movement and change is exhausting. There have been moments when Mo has asked me if I want to do something and all I can do is stare.

We have come to the conclusion that four months might be a bit long for us. One month is too short for me.

Mo likes to tell people about the three stages of travel: go-go, slow-go, and no-go. We are entering the slow-go stage for sure. I'm not sure how many more times we can travel with backpacks.

You may recall I had a serious question for the tarot reader. My decision is to what extend I want to pursue play writing. If I am to be totally serious, I'd have to come out of retirement and start a new career with nothing. Do I really want to do that?

Yet the people I am meeting would make such wonderful characters.

When I finish a blog piece, I read it aloud to Mo for her guidance. Many an inappropriate comment has been duly edited away. I love my adventure buddy.

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