Friday, September 30, 2005

Days Off

We've had a couple of bad weather days recently so we've had to find ways to entertain ourselves. They have something of a tradition here at the Canungra Classic called Red Faces (named after an Australian television show much like our Gong Show). All of the flying teams put together some sort of silly act designed to make them (or others, as was the case with Curt's spoon fighting act) look as foolish as possible....they do a really good job of it. But, it's great fun and I think a tradition we should start for the Flytec meet. For the most part it stays pretty G-rated, although the Brits may have taken that up to a PG for their stripping act. I was asked to be a judge, which I thought consisted only of giving a score...until it started and I realized I had to be in front of everyone, coming up with some witty comment about each act. That's not exactly my forte.

Yesterday, our second bad weather day in a row, we decided to head down to the Gold Coast and do a little shopping and a little bowling! Jonny is quite the good bowler and if he had only listened to the expert in the lane next to us, he would have been even better. As with most everything else, he beat us all, hands down.

Bowling Tourny

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Red Faces

Belly Dancing

Today was the first day we had to cancel for bad weather. Actually the weather was quite nice, there was just litttle or no lift and it was blowing over the back. It was good - gave everyone a chance to catch up on stuff. I was hanging out over at the Airborne camp when the topic of belly dancing came up. It turns out that Monica is quite a good belly dancer. She had heaps of the coin and sequen covered belts for everyone to give it a try and pretty soon everyone was out there trying to get their hips to move in ways that they don't necessarily want to go. It was good fun to see all the boys shaking it, including Jonny and Scott. Monica was already very good and Lisa was a very fast learner looking just adorable in all the garb.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Random Shots at Canungra

I've been having a great time driving here for the Mongrel boys. So far only one minor incident with driving on the wrong side of the road :-) I picked up Gabor the first day and in searching for the others I had to make a u-turn. I just pulled right into the wrong lane and drove away. Poor Gabor, sweet and quiet, didn't say a word. He just sat in the passenger seat silent, frantically pointing toward the left lane. I finally noticed him out of the corner of my eye, thankfully before there was any oncoming traffic. Silly guy! I told him next time he ought to scream or something....who knows how long I would have gone on otherwise!

Other than Gabor being way too polite, the driving here is incredibly easy. Without coordinates and without really having much idea where I am, I seem to drive straight to everyone where ever they land. There's definitely something magical about this place (or it could be that there just aren't that many roads :-)

We saw a giant paddock full of kangaroos the day before yesterday. They all think it is hilarious that Corinna and I get so excited and have to stop the car and take pictures. As soon as I get a decently close up shot, I'll post it.

I'm working on my Aussie and have heaps of new words in my vocabulary and even some new grammar. I was told recently that I could instantly be picked out as an American when I put "already" at the end of a sentence. Apparently that's something they don't do. I'm putting the new words and new rules to use already!

Old Friends

Louise and Curt came up to visit yesterday. Curt is living down in Byron Bay now and that's apparently just an hour and half drive from here, so they came up to say hello. Curt is looking great and much healthier than last spring :-) Louise is looking lovely as always.


Aussie pilots have a slightly different fashion sense. Here's Gabor in his tights. There's actually a rival team called the MAFITs (Men Against Faggots in Tights). They're funny people here :-)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

These are some of the beautiful birds that feed on the deck out front.

Another airplane shot of the Gold Coast

Arriving at Syndey Airport

Isn't this cool! It's taken out the window of the airplane!

Miami Beach...the start of our long journey!

Tequila Sunrise

Well here I am in Australia…finally. I woke up the first morning here in Beechmont and was convinced that I was in heaven. It was certainly worth the slow trip!

Corinna and I met up in Miami last Friday with the plan to fly toward the east through Frankfurt, Vienna, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney and then on to the Gold Coast. Well, while we were in Miami we realized that the flights going west were looking less crowded. So, we changed everything and just decided to meet up in LA on Sunday and go straight from there. Sounded like a nice idea at the time, but it wasn’t as simple as it sounded. We couldn’t get on the Sunday night flight to Syndey because apparently United Airlines would prefer to take cargo over passengers. Despite the fact that there were something like 20 seats available, they wouldn’t let us on the flight because of “weight restrictions”. Of course, they weren’t soooo weight restricted as they took our luggage (supposedly by accident). Well, we worried that the same thing would happen the next night, so we hopped on a flight to San Francisco thinking we could get out of there a little easier. Ha! Exact same problem Monday night. Lucky for us Brian Porter lives about 10 minutes from SFO. In his usual easy-going manner, he offered to pick us up, he took us to a great Mexican restaurant on the Bay and then put us up at his place. We had a blast with Brian and all of his amazing collectibles. We got the grand tour of Museo de Porter, complete with an interesting shopping spree that can’t be elaborated on here (if you’re curious, just call and I’ll tell you the story – it is hilarious and a great example of ultimate justice).

After enjoying a day with Brian, we finally decided that Honolulu would be the go. As you can imagine, if we made the flight from there to Sydney, great, if not, well, that’s still great. We arrived in Honolulu just after noon and then had all day to skulk around the island before our midnight flight. We drove the coastline counterclockwise from Waikiki. It’s just gorgeous and we were fortunate enough to come across some hang gliders that had just landed next to the beach. One of them was Walter, an old flying buddy from Marina Beach who moved to Oahu several years ago. He offered us a place to stay and gliders to fly the next day in case we didn’t make the flight that night. Lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) for us, we made that flight and were finally on our way to Sydney.

So here we are now in Canungra. I am writing this from the Mt. Tamborine launch and as I said before, I have most definitely arrived in heaven. I have to say that the scenery may not be as majestic as Austria, for instance (my other favorite place). But, the Durand family and the warm friendly people here more than make up for it. After having spent so much time in European countries, it is refreshing to hang around “normal” people who don’t believe that they are superior to the rest of us. Everyone is so down to earth…I’m loving it! The Durand’s have an amazing house up on a hill surrounded by critters of all types, good and bad. Although Jonny denies it, I’m still convinced it was him that planted the snake out on the deck to greet my the first day. I am assured that the poisonous snakes can’t climb (and the house is on stilts), but that doesn’t comfort me much. The Wallabies were out munching on the grass this morning and every day there are different exotic birds at the feeder on the deck.

Here's a cool Hawaiin sunset

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I never would have guessed the DC area was so pretty! This is Tim's driveway with a cute little wooden bridge over a stream running through his property. What a great backyard!!!

Don't Bother me Before my Morning Blog!

My other car is a....

Tim let me mow his lawn on his cool riding mower. Alright, that's a lie. I didn't mow the lawn...I just jumped on a drove it around a bit for the camera :-)

On My Way Again

I'm on my way to Australia with Corinna for the Canungra Classic. Don't know yet if I will be able to compete in the meet, but if not, it will be nice to have a little vacation (because, let's face it, I haven't had one in nearly a month now :-).

I had the chance to come through DC this week - sort of on my way to Australia - to visit with Tim before he sells his incredible house and becomes a trailer-living, flight park bum like the rest of us. His place is beautiful and if I were him I would have a really difficult time giving it up. Just 20 minutes from Dulles, it feels as though you are somewhere in the middle of West Virginia...very wooded and rural feeling. He has 8 acres bordering a wonderful park with hiking trails. A few days ago we took off for a hike right out of his back yard where there are tons of quiet trails that you have to share only with the deer and foxes. I'm now starting to really regret not having come to visit him sooner. By the time I get back from Australia, he'll be down in Florida and this amazing spot will belong to someone else.

So, I leave for Sydney on Saturday, via Miami, Frankfurt, Vienna and Kuala Lumpur. Yeah, definitely the long way around, but it works out nicely because I get to go with Corinna that way. From Sydney we'll take a short flight up to the Gold Coast where the competition starts on the 24th. That will give us a couple of days to get over the jetlag and get used to the flies and snakes :-) I'm scared!!