I enjoyed my recent trip to Australia—or, as I like to call it, The Place Where Some of the Coins Are Huge, Most the Flowers Are Purple and All the Birds Are Really Weird. I went there to attend a writers’ retreat with two writer friends.
See below for about 50 photos selected from over 200 in total. (About a quarter were out-of-focus shots of flowers, and another 25% were of a very cooperative kookaburra that sat still while I took photos of him for 20 minutes.)
My list didn’t do me a lot of good, though, because most of the time I was inside the resort, and the fee for the workshop and lodgings included almost all the meals. Nevertheless, I did manage to get different denominations of bills and at least one of the special-issue coins, along with samples of three different portraits of the queen from different eras of coinage.
I couldn’t believe—I still can’t believe—how HUGE the 50-cent coins are! I didn’t think any country in the world had coins this bulky.
Here’s an Australian 50-cent coin next to a current Singapore 50-cent coin, a current US 25-cent coin, and one of the old Singapore 50-cent coins, which until now I thought seemed big!
The embroidered flag patch I bought in the airport was expensive, but looks to be of good quality. I resisted buying any plastic keychains shaped like kangaroos. The pens were free, courtesy of Greenleaf Press (the organizer of the retreat) and Montville Country Cabins (the workshop and retreat venue where we stayed).
What should have been a twenty-four-hour, three-airport trip from Atlanta to Singapore turned into a thirty-plus-hour, five-airport trip.
I watched another seven-and-a-half movies.
The reason my trip got longer was that at some point while we were flying over Canada, someone on the plane had a stroke. We backtracked to Minneapolis/St. Paul to get him off the plane and then the plane had to be refueled and paperwork filled out.
I missed my connecting flight at Tokyo Narita Airport because of the delay. Delta issued new tickets, but I had to collect my luggage and wait for Delta to put me on a bus to the Tokyo Haneda Airport (about an hour away). Delta gave me about $20 in meal vouchers which I used to buy a nice dinner at a katsu restaurant.
It was a lot of extra travel time, but it wasn’t really so bad for me. I spoke with a guy who had been on a flight from Florida to Atlanta before being re-routed on the flight from Atlanta to Narita, and his new flight to Seoul took off a couple of hours after mine.
Obviously the one with the worst luck was the man with the stroke. I hope he’s okay…
I remember what they said to us at Mammoth Cave: once you start the tour, there is no magic button to get you out if something goes wrong underground. Similarly, it takes time to come back from the sky when something goes wrong on a plane.
Whenever I visit a foreign country, I try to collect one each of all the bills and coins in use; my husband also likes to have a set of his own, so I assembled one for him this time too. Nine different bills! Six polymer and three paper.
Since the coins aren’t worth much, I didn’t run across any in use. I did see some at a stall selling postcards, stamps, and other items of interest to tourists, but they were glued on to a dirty old cardboard “collector’s album” with some undoubtedly fake/replica ancient coins and some random, beat-up coins from other countries (including an American penny next to a label that said it was a nickel). No thanks.