Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My travels have taken me places that always surprise me. Tasmania was one of them. An island very close to Antarctica, and in September they were just coming out of winter the temperature between 30-50 degrees. It was pretty cold for my southern constitution. Some thermal underwear and I was off to explore. Flying into Hobart was amazing, the mountains and the sea reaching the shoreline with so much beauty. The road to the city from the airport was scenic and just not what I expected. Still early in the tourist season I was having a very hard time locating a tour of any kind. The tour operator had done everything in her power to find a tour for me. I took a bunch of brochures to study, I figured I had the day to figure it out. Walking outside the Tour office with a handful of maps and brochures, fumble now with the map of the city, perhaps I could walk the historical parts of the city to start. I am traveling alone on my 30 day tour of Australia and this is only my second stop.

As I continued to get my bearings trying to figure out north, south or whatever on the map a lady came up to me, looked me in the eye and gently took the map from my hand, situating it the way it should be, she points behind me and says the water is a good landmark. I must have really looked like a tourist and I guess she wanted to have a little fun. On my right side I heard laughter, not quiet laughter either, all I could do was laugh back. I guess it was pretty funny. We walked toward each other and made introductions, two ladies from S. Africa, named Debbie, (the wild one) and Carol (less wild). They also had a handful of brochures and a map. We started talking and realized we had the same thing in common, no tours available due to lack of tourist. The girls had a rent a car though. They asked if I might join them, I replied immediately with enthusiasm. We were going to tour the city together, our first tour by foot was the Historical Hobart Pub Tour along the wharf at Battery Park, that sounded like a winner to me. There were many beers to sample and the Irish influence predominate. I have heard that there is an Irish Pub in every city in the world. So far I have found that to be a true statement. The beer in Tasmania is all brewed right here on the island and boy do they take pride in their product. (After 30 days in Australia was finished I found the Tassie beer still the best.) We continued to walk around the city, we found the State House and fantastic memorials of the past inhabitants that were made into a wall. I can't explain it but it was a beautiful way to memorialize the people here.

Carol and Debbie suggested taking a ride up to Mt. Wellington, a short ride from the city, the road was full of twists and turns, with streams running along side the mountain road. We arrived at the summit and it was covered in snow, the urge was too strong to ignore. What would you do after all? You bet a snow ball fight, Debbie and I must have had the thought simultaneously, we tried to race each other to the snow bank and started rolling the snow in our hands, quickly making and throwing snowballs. Debbie hit me twice before I could hurl the first one at her. My shot landed right in her jacket pocket. We were having a great time, when Carol cut into the fun so we could continue to the over-look. By the time we got there we were frozen to the bone and now wet. It was nice to get out of the cold. The view, well fantastic just isn't the right word.

Back to the city after our journey, we continued on our walking tour, the girls insisted that we have a traditional South African snack, what they called a "breadie", the contents of this snack was a bread roll of course, inside is french fries, vinegar, salt, tomato and cheese. It was pretty good if you need the carbs. The day was ending and it was time to part ways, exchanging emails and saying our good-byes with big hugs like we were friends forever. We still stay in touch and the Christmas greeting always comes.


Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, March 02, 2008

Have you ever known someone for years, but didn't really know them? Well, I think that you don't truly know anyone until you travel with them. My sister-in-law, Margo and myself had been planning a trip to Africa for about a two years, the time was nearing for us to depart on our adventure I told one of my old high school buddies about it, she was so excited she invited herself. I thought the more the merrier, I hooked her up with my travel agent and she booked the tour with us. It's going to be great, 20 days on Safari in two countries. This is just one event that shows you get what you give. Unfortunately the trip was now near it's end.

It has so far been a painful relationship with my friend, lets give her a name so it makes my writing easier I will call her Prissy, if it wasn't for Margo I think that I would have thrown Prissy to the lions. Let's see, so you understand some of the things that she did to irritate us. Prissy constantly made me feel as if I was stupid. She wanted to be treated like a queen and wanted people to wait on her hand and foot, she argued with bartenders about the prices, hotel staff about extra towels, who got the bathroom first, it was always her, I can go on and on. This trip was dedicated to Margo who is my favorite person and long time friend, through thick and thin. Now Prissy on the other hand was making her way to the people you most want to sacrifice to a Volcano.

Let me get back to the story, that should be enough background for you, Prissy was just a bitch. Our last safari location was three days in the Serengeti and I tell you what they save the best for last, I didn't think the tour operators could beat the first location.

The morning beautiful, our cameras packed and ready for the morning Safari, traveling down the bumpy roads in search of animals to photograph our guide slows down and stops under a tree. Me and Margo pop our heads through the top of the van, since we were on the far side of the van at the time. Prissy, who I didn't mention is nearly blind was sticking her head out the window to look at the Baboons and banded mongoose that were just outside. Margo and I shooting photo after photo, when we noticed a Baboon in the tree above us, actually right above Prissy. I was irritated with her and to my self I said "Wouldn't it be great if that Baboon peed on her" Karma kicked in and payday was here, as soon as my thoughts passed to my buddy in the branches, he peed on her face. Prissy never did see the Baboon, me and Margo tried to contain our laughter along with our guide, who also was irritated with her. Prissy, did I mention she also has germaphobia. Prissy said "What was that?" and wiped it all over her face, I guess she thought it was dew from the branches. We never told her the truth. Karma, karma. It was the beginning of the day and we knew that she would spend the whole day with Baboon pee pee on her. Couldn't happen to a nicer person.