Skip to main content

Sydney & Back

I have to post about our road trip to Sydney the weekend before last - and before they recede into the background of memories. Long drive, and in a way I was reminded about my countless Delhi-Jaipur trips or Delhi-Pushkar trips. Different experiences but each unique in their own way.

The first thing that you notice here are how good and well-maintained the roads are. And if, some parts of the roads are on repair, you are warned well in advance by sign posts and speed limits which are followed strictly. Was I impressed? Yes, but guess what, I missed the ocassional bumpy rides, the potholes and bullock carts and camels on the way.

Driving to Sdyney via the Hume Highway takes nine hours, and apparently, it is not one of the mosts scenic drives. The breathtaking drive is via the coastal route, which takes longer. I found this one beautiful, nontheless.

For miles on end, I saw cattle, sheep, horses grazing on vast stretches of green, an ocassional pond, small hills and all kinds of trees. We also passed through some of the bush-fire ravaged areas of last year and they were stark by the saplings of trees planted and tall barren black trees that looked, at a glance, like some dark figures standing. I asked Lolo where one earth these 'stray' animals came from. Not stray, I was told. They belonged to farmers, not that I saw any sign of them. Well, some of these farms stretch to as many as 20,000 acres and the animals, all marked, graze and live in the open. I thought aloud, what if they got stolen? "Not very easy to knock off a cow, no?," came the reply. But, of course!

And then I also spotted some lovely houses. I thought, who in his right mind, would live in between nowhere - no malls, no people, no town nearby. I was again, reminded of Sumer, a power plant near Barapani in Shillong which had few engineers' quarters, one market place and one tea stall, a favourite haunt of  the power plant workers. A handful of families lived there. It was so scenic and beautiful and it was a place my aunt took us every weekend in the early '80s because my cousin brother was working as an engineer in the Power house. He had a lovely big cottage on a hill top but what lingers about those memories are my constant state of fear because there were hardly any people. I even felt scared to be left alone in the huge bathroom!!

But ask an Australian and most will tell you how they love farm life and the solitude of things. A farm experience is on my wish list though but with good and big company!

Onward, we broke our journey into two parts, drove four hours from Melbourne and stopped the night at a town called Holbrook, a submarine surprise for me. You wonder how the submarine came to this quaint sparsely populated town. And then you see the museum and all the information put up which says during World War I, when Australia was in war with Germany, Holbrook was known was Germanton. Obviously, you couldn't have an enemy name.

So, the story goes that about this time a certain Lt Norman Holbrook became the first naval Victoria Cross winner of the war for his gallantry in sinking a Turkish battleship with the submarine he commanded. It was soon decided that the town could do no better than be named after a great war hero, and so in 1915, Germanton became Holbrook. Ever since then it has maintained a special link with submarines, according to writer Bill Condon.

After a dinner of roast pork and steak at the town's popular cafe, Lolo and I did a tour of the submarine. There were a few onlookers like us and after a fill of photo ops, we retired for the night. The next morning after breakfast, we drove four-and-half hours after a break for lunch and gas fill and reached Sydney's western suburb call Blacktown. And in the process, missed one of the worst storms of the decade that hit Melbourne.

On the way back, we did a nine-hour run stopping at a few places. There were Mcdonald's, KFCs, Subways and very good rest areas for truck drivers which had well-maintained toilets. Over here, truck drivers have a strict log book and cannot drive for kms on end. But what I also missed was the dhabas and a stop for 'karak chai'.

After two days of fun and frolic with some of my friends, and ten days later, I am still a bit Sydney sick.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Mad Man Or A Boor

What does one do when one encounters a mad dog? Or what does one do when one encounters a man with pre-fixed notions about everything in life, most specifically of women who live alone and give him some importance? The two are equivalent to me and basic intelligence says avoid the paths they tread like plague. But I chose to tackle them head on. I almost got rabbies.

The mad man said [sic] "You sound like a very desperate person. A single and frustrated woman who is looking for anyone to leave a comment on your blog so much so that you wouldn't even spare a spammer." Spammer being, the first comment on the previous post is apparently a spam, an advert for T-shirts. Bummer! I thought it was a handsome Spaniard or Latino, so I had replied "Hi Rodrigo", hoping to take the conversation forward offline. Anyway! All this the mad man found out. I didnt. Sure, I dig comments because I love the spontaneity and intelligence of my friends. And I didn't invite the mad m…

Them Versus Us

Taking off from the Shilpa 'Shitty' issue (I love the surname and that comes from my ever so humorous and intellectual friend Latha or Lotty with love and Angel No. 1 to some :)), here are some reflections on being a north easterner in the capital of the world's largest democracy. Also, Lotty, on a serious note, says I should have a NE angle to what I write. She has a point. I have enough material there, enough to give vent to.

I begin with 'oye Chinky'. When I came to Delhi in the mid 1990s to do a professional course, I wasn't sure what the word meant. Maybe I was too busy paying heed to my new found independence and the certain sense of security -- the fact that I could go to the market even at 10 pm without the peering eyes of the army or the CRPF personnel patrolling the streets and stiffling our existence. It wasn't until my course was over and I got myself a break as a sub editor with the country's premier news agency, that I had my first hand exp…

Glam Gurumaa

Have you ever met a so called godwoman or godman in person? Well I did and I have to talk about this one. On Tuesday night, I got a call asking if I would like to come and meet Anandmurti Gurumaa. My knowledge about ‘spiritual people’ as they would like to call themselves is zero because I have never taken interest in their ilk and India being full of conmen in the garb of spiritualists you tend to look at them with suspicion. I had a friend who stayed for weeks at a house cramped with people in a shady lane in Delhi and they were all fighting and scrambling for the baba’s attention. The baba would perform pujas during the evenings, make them drink and wash with ashes and they would pour heaps of money buying the essentials. The people went to him for all reasons – to sort marital discords, business failures, illnesses, and even vengeance on enemies! It was frightful. I had gone to meet the friend but after a few hours scooted away more scared I would pick a bug from the unhygienic su…