August 24, 1999 - Cowe, Victoria, Australia

I woke up just before we began to pass over Australia. While we passed over the continent mother and I both looked out to see the seemingly barren wastes of the interior. Not a lot to see.

We were both tired, it had been a long time since we had slept well but nonetheless after making it through customs (and commenting to ourselves about how very general the customs declaration was worded which would indicate that leather shoes would have to be declared) we picked up the car right away. As a sign of how asleep we were, I accidentally got into the wrong companies rental car (hey, what's this, this is supposed to be automatic!). We picked up a few maps from the car rental agency which proved to be of little help whatsoever in getting through Melbourne to the south, where we were headed.

We had a great deal of trouble getting through the city, faced with endless streets that did not allow turns in the direction we required. Eventually, after heated debate we found a reasonable road south (confirming the information from a local petrol station attendant).

We have noticed that in general the places we have passed are very clean, very new looking. A lot like many Canadian cities (and seem to be the same size, generally speaking) with many middle-class families. There are lots of different looking trees and the sounds of different birds is a bit disconcerting.

We headed south along road we had no record of on our maps, to eventually end up on Philip Island and in Cowe. The first B & B we stopped at was very expensive so we returned to a lower priced hotel which is not too bad. It is not fantastic but clean and very adequate.

After unloading all of our baggage we headed into the centre of the 'town' to look around. It looks a lot like a tourist town with tacky souvenir shops and fast food restaurants but on a small scale (no large chain restaurants for example). Nice walk right beside the ocean also.

We ended up returning towards the hotel and eating right next door. The prices seemed to be very expensive, but I was expecting things to be perhaps a bit cheaper than Canada, but they are still much cheaper than the UK. I had a wonderful meal of 'bay bugs' (a cross between a lobster and a crab, closer in size to a crab and shaped like a lobster – a mild but very nice flavour) and a beef steak (very nice).

We are on Philip Island to experience a few interesting things…let's see what happens tomorrow after the tired driving of today.

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