I love a sunburnt country

It was wonderful to be back in Australia for Christmas, and have great weather.

The first thing we notice (on every return) is our driving – it takes a couple of trips to realise that the person in the lane next to you will actually stay in the lane, and that the person coming up to the intersection or roundabout will usually stop and give way.

The food is great, but servings, especially in fast food places and shopping mall cafes are twice the price and size they need to be. No wonder we are up there with the best of them in the obesity stakes.

On the other side of the coin, when walking each morning, there were plenty of other people out exercising in some way, and nearly all greeted me. Kawana, on the Sunshine Coast, has a lovely track along the beach, but it doesn’t really make sense to allow unleashed dogs on the same paths as cyclists and runners. 

Australians, particularly in business, seem to be in the Dark Ages in terms of communicating electronically. It is infuriating to sit on the end of a phone with a machine attempting to “entertain” you, then pacify you with “your call is important to us”! However, we found some people at the Commonwealth Bank who were prepared to something not via phone or fax, and restored our faith in customer service.

Summer in Australia means beach, barbecues and cricket. Even though the South Africans won, the Tests were good to have a glance at on the TV. But, how can the powers that be at Channel 9 think that anyone likes their commentary? Maybe they are trying the Red Symons method of being popular?

The rest of Australian summer TV is excrable, which is a shame, because not everyone can, or want to, go outside every evening. The commercial channels’ “current affairs” shows are an insult to anyone’s intelligence – maybe they are meant to be commedies? Thank goodness for the ABC and SBS.

I resisted the temptation to buy books – they are heavy to cart on a plane, I’ve got plenty still to read at home, and I can usually pick some good ones up, much cheaper, in Surabaya, if I wait a bit. I read a couple of Minette Walters “murders”, which I quite enjoyed – good character development.

It was really good to be with family, although the numbers have dwindled a bit. I am very lucky to have two healthy, intelligent, lovable offspring.

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