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What to say about OZ and the holiday which took most of February of 2005, - after 18 years away from our home city of Brisbane (except for a few days after Tiananmen Square time) it was good to get back and check it out! Seeing all the South Bank that was developed for Expo 87, which was after we left Brisbane, the new bus corridors, high rise apartments and all the other changes that happened over the times have certainly made good improvements to the city. It also it helps in seeing it with bright blue skies, no rain in sight and nice balmy weather that we had.

Brisbane is what Marg and I tend to call our home city, although, like I said we have not lived there for 18 years. But we met there, working in the same hotel in different restaurants and on different floors. After a while Marg realised that the person getting drunk in the bar each afternoon after work was not such a bad person after all, and we have been together ever since! Australia at that stage was also the place where you owned large 8 cylinder cars, like my Statesman De Ville, bought houses on credit card advances and always had a job to walk into. Over time though, it changed like all places, credit became more expensive,Brisbane became bigger and moved on from its large country town status and things started tightening up from the apparent freedoms that we seemed to enjoy. It was a good place to be in then and like all things,a time comes when we need to move on and it all changes.

In some ways the city has not changed all that much, certainly bigger and now with a four or six lane freeway nearly continuous to the Gold Coast, the city is still recognizable as our own little piece of the world. You now worry though over having one glass of wine and driving home, as the chances are you will be stopped, you need a license for this and licenses for that, walk here, do not walk there, wear a helmet and do not drop a single piece of paper onto the ground! It all gets so sterile after a while that unless you live in the timeless outback, it becomes a bit like a regimented regime that seems to have lost a bit of that Aussie spirit! Part of the reason we live in Asia is still a bit of the frontier feeling that we have, agreed, many times frustrating, but nevertheless, more of living life. Anyway, lets see if we ever move back to Aussie to settle or whether it was just part of our lives at that stage! There is always so much to see around Australia that we have not touched at yet, that it is tempting to consider this adventure for our retirement years!

On this trip though, we visited Brisbane as I said, and also traveled to Perth for a few days, overnighted in Byron Bay and then I went to Cairns for a couple of nights to meet a close friend of mine, so a bit of traveling but not too bad. We hired a car for a couple of these trips and it is easy driving in Australia with well-behaved motorists and very good roads with every one behaving themselves and following the rules. Mind you, once back in Chennai and you are into the world of character driving again, flowing around bullock carts and three wheeler push-bikes found in the middle of the road, missing cars and potholes by inches and generally being pushed, shoved, scattered and driven along by a crushing sea of vehicles! What fun! In addition, there are no speed cameras here, but after a few trips to NZ and OZ, I feel a bit of a lucky charm there, or else the tickets have not caught up yet! Marg stayed in Brisbane and caught up on items of her own, including time with Brenda and Fred, our great ex-neighbours from Tooth Avenue days, who gave us such great hospitality while we were over there. We went past the old house and peered through the bushes, so to speak, and have put the ghost to rest that we should have stayed and not sold up, as the bit of street that made up our world had changed of course, but not for the better we feel. It seems that we would have moved out of there a long time ago, if we had of stayed anyway. The pictures below and on the following pages are to give an insight into a little bit of Australia, that, if you have not visited yet, I hope that you shall one day!

This ornamental pool is another example of artistry works being made for the public enjoyment. This pieces was seen on the landscaped greens and gardens at the Esplanade in Perth
Animal life is everywhere in Australia and these pelicans were just of the shore in Cairns city, not far from the city hustle    
Another sculpture on display, this time in Brisbane at the South Bank complex
An aborigine performing in King George Square in Brisbane, with a lotof the indigenous people trying to eek out a living near poverty
Sit down and have a cup of coffee and lorikeets or these cockatoos will no doubt come and check out what is for supper. While not too shy, they will come quite close to get a bite to eat
This school of metallic fish was part of a set that was the back rest on park benches in Perth on the Esplanade. The benches were arranged around the palm trees and made an excellent visual effect
Typically Australian and outside a souvenirshop, this full sized stuffed kangaroo with his corked hat and bucketof opal rock
In Perth and one of the many statues that have been erected to beautifythe city. There is quite a lot of sculptures or artistic touchesscattered around the various cities
Australia is sailing and way back in 1983 Marg and I went up to the great Barrier reef, where we jumped aboard the Gretel !! for a days sail. The boat was a failed contender for the Americas Cup
This egret was seen in Brisbane cleaning up the tables. While most places have sparrows or crows, Australia has to do something better and have egrets do the work! 
An ornamental sculpture in one of the many parks that are scattered through the cities
The Australian statue outside the Town Hall in Brisbane showing a scenefrom the First World War and of kangaroos. A lot of Australia'sidentity was forged during the Boer and First War
In Australia when Marg and I first moved there, you could by a house on a credit card cash advance, as we did with this one that needed doing up, but then again, we had nothing else to do for a few years and no money left anyway!
Eighteen years later and we visited the house that Willi built, or not quite - seven years of renovations and landscaping sure made the house nearly new again with great paved gardens
Some of the bush near Brisbane and there is a lot heard about the Australian bush and koalas and kangaroos, and in this area, there were meant to be both
Gum trees and the symbol of Australia along with the Koalas that feed on them and the kangaroos that wander through them. Only problem is, they burn very fiercely when they do catch fire and the bush fires are all consuming
In 1987 we sold the place, here with it finished with terracing and painted boutique style pink, with split pine flooring and red cedar windows, to begin our travels overseas and the life of the expatriate
The lizard was spotted in the middle of Brisbane city on the South Bank, soaking up the sun and waiting for a tasty bite to come along
Some of the ground at Paddington, which was not very wide, but 50 meters long and dropped 50 feet in that distance, so it created quite a challenge to landscape nicely
We lived here for just over seven years after returning from Britain and then came the call to go across to Germany, so the car was sold, the belongings packed and the cats found homes for and nearly 20 years later the belongings are still in storage!
Paddington, the suburb where we lived and the house is actually on the opposite bank in this photos. With not too much money, you could have a very good lifestyle in Brisbane, our large country town as it was then, but now a sophisticated city
Australia is the house with lawns and gardens and only slowly moving into apartments. With greenery and peace like this, why give it up for four walls and a balcony five floors up!