A Travellerspoint blog

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Nance here with an update.

rain 23 °C

On the coast. It’s raining, but it’s coasty. Played in the surf of the Pacific Ocean, my first visit to this ocean, having only been to the Atlantic before. Had Indian Food for dinner, it was colorful, surprisingly so, but tasty. They do like their spices in their food. Ate at George and Kirsten’s restaurant last night and it was delicious. Jeff’s been driving us around, I haven’t drove yet, someday I will, I’m really in no rush to. I like to drive yes, but mainly out in the open where I can go nuts, not in all the hills and around the city that we’ve been in yet. Went to “Shopping World” here on the coast, they act like it’s a big deal a huge shopping center – it’s a mall, and a small one at that. Nothing really worth all the hype for us jaded American Consumers. It does have distinct Australian influences though, two of the corner stores are grocery stores, and a third is their version of Wal-Mart (named creatively “The Big W,” of course we went into it, it really is a Wal-Mart, as an American I felt right at home in it). Those are things you wouldn’t see in an American Mall. The Food court was a mix of American fast-food (KFC, McD, and Subway) and Australian fast food, King Donut, Mandarin Asian and some place advertising that they grill stuff. It’s the closest to America I’ve felt since getting here. Not saying it as a compliment, I was getting used to and kind of liking the small town mid 20th Century Americana feel Australia has going for it.

Posted by owensj11 06:26 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Buying a car and then driving it.

Totally separate, yet intense experiences.

rain 12 °C

So I've been in Australia for a week now. My cousin and her family have put us up and we have started to get our shit together for the coming year. One of these things being a car. Now I've never bought a car or even went car shopping a day in my life, but even I could tell the people worth talking to and those who aren't. We waited for my other cousin Keilley her daughter Bianca and my Uncle who were keen to help us as they could, for a ride down to the coast because Gympie did not have much in the way of used cars in our price range. Keilley had found a few dealers with cars in the Under $5000 range and the first one we can to was Pam's 4WD.

Now it was a dreary day and had been raining on and off all morning so we hurried and got under the roof where Pam had a myriad of cars to look at and that was when we saw her. Pam. She had a hairdo not uncommon to most baboons, a deep tan that had become a lovely leathery hide as she aged, and about 4 teeth left in her head. I was smitten. She came right over thinking I guess that we wanted to spend several more thousand than we could afford because upon hearing what we were after she kept telling us how much everything was worth and that we should just spend more. Needless to say we did not buy a car, but that memory will haunt me forever.

After that we called upon a few more and were getting nowhere. The other dealer had just sold the "only" car under $5000 he had so I was getting a bit nervous we might have a harder time than I thought we would. We had two appointments with private sellers that afternoon so we headed to Hungry Jacks to plot a course for the rest of the day. The first appointment was for a Holden Apollo, which is just a Holden branded Toyota Camry, and it sounded too good to be true. Everything looked great and the bloke selling it was quite a talker. Come to find out he was actually a car broker and had just happened upon this little beaut and couldn't pass it up. We looked it over and it looked quite good...and then we took it for a test drive. Drive was fine, great really, AC worked, radio was fixable, and she drove good. Then when we got back parked it we found that it leaked oil, a lot of oil. He said he'd already had someone look and it and that he would have them do it again and we could come back Friday, which we did not. Our hopes for a great car for a great price were dashed, but we figured it couldn't hurt to look in on the last one and we did already say we were coming.

As we pulled up we saw that the car was parked on the street. A little Toyota Corolla Hatchback Sport ed. Wasn't too bad to look at, but he was asking the very top of what we could reasonably afford and that had me worried. From the moment he stepped out and shook my hand I felt better about the car though. He was an ex-firefighter and the car was his son's who was going up to an island to teach and wouldn't need the car. Looked this one over, had a smaller engine than the Holden and that was good considering how much petrol is over here, and wasn't bad for a 16 year old car. I was the one who drove this one around for the test drive and I quite liked it. Sporty yet wasn't a pinch clutch or anything, really a good drive. Then when we got back, checked for oil leaks (there were none) and we decided to make an offer. After everything was said and done it was still about $300 more than the Holden and I wasn't convinced it was worth what he was asking so we made an offer for $500 less than the asking and waited..."I'll have to call my son and see what he says..." Ok then call him, we said. No answer. If you said $100 more I'm sure it'd be fine but since you're not, I'll have to call again. Sure. He calls. No answer...hmm should we offer the other $100?...Then his "Young bloke" rang back and it was GOOD! Yes then we finalized and paid the man and I had just bought my first car. What up.

I'd driven once when I was here in '07 and that was about it. So when we bought the car somebody had to drive it the hour back to Gympie and so it began. Nancy and I taking to the open road. It went fine that night driving back because I just followed my Uncle the only difficulty being shifting with your left hand instead of your right. The next day however we drove to the Queensland Transport office to transfer the car into my name and then went to fill up the tank. Now I had been consciously thinking about what side of the road to be on nonstop since we bought it, but in the petrol station there was a bit of a queue and as I got ready to leave the car behind me was inching forwards so I hurried to make room and as I pulled out onto the road still making sure the wanker behind me didn't damage the Corolla I pulled straight over to the far right which over here was oncoming traffic. Nancy was going ummmm....UUUUMMMMM.. as a car began to round the corner coming up just as I realized where I was and swerved back to the left, no harm done. But Nancy gets to tell everyone how I almost killed him, what a pansy sheesh live a little right?

Posted by owensj11 01:49 Archived in Australia Tagged driving Comments (0)

5 days...

I can't believe that we are leaving in 5 days. Well I can believe it because that's what is going to happen, but it's hard to comprehend that we are going to be somewhere different, say, when Christmas comes, I've never spent it away from the fam and, well, they've never spent it without me so it'll be tough. They'll survive though and I'll be hitting up the beach so it evens out.

Posted by owensj11 06:49 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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