Ian and Manda's Round-the-World Trip Diary

Brisbane Beckons

3rd February, Brisbane, Australia

Ian writes:

We'd been edging nearer and nearer to Brisbane over the last few days and today looked like the day that we'd get finally there - with the drizzly, UK-style rain and grey skies there was little point in sight-seeing, so we bypassed the Glasshouse Mountains and skipped straight past Beerwah, home to Australia Zoo (Steve Irwin's zoo). The driving was a bit treacherous at times - even in this weather the other drivers didn't seem keen to slow down; slow is all I could do in this vehicle!

By the afternoon we'd reached our destination and the weather had improved. After circling the main roads in the centre of Brisbane, we finally found somewhere to park (they really don't seem to want people parking in the centre, judging by the scarcity of parking places and the high prices of those that were there).

My first mission - collect the rego for Ethel (our newly-named VW Kombi). Because we have no fixed abode we had to provide Queensland Transport with a post office address for the registration documents - and we chose Brisbane's main post office. When I went to collect the document and the sticker for the windscreen, I discovered I had two items of post. What on earth could the other one be? Then I remembered the flash as we passed a police car a couple of weeks ago near Innisfail ...

The speeding fine letter I got that proved our old Ethel was capable of hauling ass occassionally.
The speeding fine letter I got that proved our old Ethel was capable of 'hauling ass' occassionally.

That's $150 dollars I hadn't wanted to spend. And the irony of it is this: normally, I'm the one holding up all the other traffic! On a particularly good day, I might see as many as ten cars or trucks snaking off in the distance in the rear-view mirror, the nearest ones veering in and out as they try to spot their chance to overtake the old van in front of them, namely our Ethel. But she is capable of speeding. Unfortunately.

The old lady has developed another habit that needs seeing to - she smells after a run. Anything over an hour and she'll start knocking out a right pong. To say it smells like rotten eggs is not an exaggeration, it's a real stinkbomb smell. It started after Marlborough and she has been pongy ever since. I've no idea of the cause, but I did put some oil in at around that time. Wrong oil (20W50)? Too much oil? Spilt oil somewhere I shouldn't have? If you have the answer, please let me know - this old lady's becoming an embarrasment to take into public parking areas these days!