Last year, before I left my job with Parsons Brinckerhoff in Portland, I sent e-mails
to about a dozen folks in PB offices throughout New Zealand and Australia asking
if I could drop by their office if I happened to visit their respective city. I
just picked these names from a staff list and had never met any of them
before. As testament to the good will of Kiwis and Aussies, though, I
received a nice reply from each... and some rather humorous replies, as
well. A fellow in Wellington, New Zealand wrote back suggesting that I stop in
for some "chokky biscuits" (which I later translated to
"chocolate cookies"), and a cheerful chap in the Sydney office filled his reply
with all sorts of Aussie-isms, like "Gday, Mate!" (i.e.,
"Hello") and "Just give me a bell" (i.e., "Call
To celebrate my last
entry from Australia, here's my favorite Aussie singer,
once again. This is On a Bad Day.
RealPlayer. If problems, see
following months, I exchanged several e-mails with a guy named
Peter Horn who worked in the PB-Newcastle office in Australia. From his e-mails, Peter
seemed like a pleasant fellow and I was looking forward to meeting him if
things worked out.
traveled through New Zealand and Australia, I'd only been able to meet with one PB person
because of scheduling conflicts. As I got closer to Newcastle, though, I kept in touch with Peter
and it looked like a visit might work out. He and his wife Helen even
offered to put me up for a night or two, which I thought was exceptionally kind since he knew me only from reading my website.
was just a few hours north of Sydney, so based on their kind invitation, I decided
to spend my last weekend in Australia visiting the Horns before flying out of Sydney on
into Newcastle Friday afternoon, found Peter's office and introduced
myself. Peter, as I had deduced from his e-mails, was an exceptionally nice guy
and he gave me a tour of his office. After work, I followed him
out to his house in the country where I met his wife Helen, his dog Iva and
Helen's cat. Peter and Helen were both super hosts and unbelievably
kind to this total stranger, and the next day they showed me around the beautiful rolling
foothills of the Blue Mountains, one of the most scenic areas that I visited
during my two months in Australia.
did Peter and Helen put me up for two nights, they fed me, entertained me, and
even showed me the correct way to spread Vegemite on my crackers. Getting
to know Peter and Helen was one of the real highlights of my overseas trip, and
I'm looking forward to seeing them again someday.
Above left: Peter and Helen during an all-day
tour of rolling hills near Newcastle. Like just about all the Aussies I've met,
Peter and Helen were exceptionally hospitable. I wish Americans were a lot
more like Aussies!
Above right: Riding with Peter and Helen on the beautiful backroads
north of Sydney.
Travels (2001-02) >
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Australia Stories >
Friends Across The Sea