Michael gave me breakfast, which I didn't pay for, although it might not have been free. I figured that was only fair after being subjected to his racist views last night.
Bumped into three young guys on the highway, cycle-touring in the other direction (against the wind) the poor buggers.
Me : "Where did you start from?"
Guy : "London."
Me : "No, I mean, where did you start cycling from?"
Guy " "London."
They had ridden across Europe via the Rhine and Danube, beside the Black Sea, via Iran, Nepal, China, Thailand, Laos, Bali, then Darwin to Melbourne, to raise money for an anti-child trafficking charity. Camping mostly, they carried masses of gear (a woman drove a support vehicle now they were in their home country of Australia). Inexperienced cyclists beforehand, they did no training with fully laden bikes, had almost fallen off when starting out had nearly given up after the first day's mileage of 125 kms. One of them had been through a showerless stretch of eight days! They had just come from Townsville, where they had emailed the Holiday Inn before hand to tell them about their charity. Not only had they been put up for free, but each was given T shirts and visors.
In Townsville I had to ride up possibly the steepest hill so far (20%) to reach the home of my cousin, Angela, and her boyfriend, Dave. Both doctors in the local hospital, they have been living in the city for the last couple of years. What a house! Huge, modern, open plan and with amazing views over the CBD, port and ocean. We had a tasty dinner of chili and tortilas, followed by pecan pie. We discussed the differences between the UK and Oz, especially the health systems, which they believe to be better here. They love the climate too of course and think generally life is much better here, and although they don't think wages are better (in relation to the high cost of goods and services) you wouldn't think so by looking at their house. They live in the Castle Hill area, one of the posher districts - because of the views - and some of the other houses are twice the size and worth a couple of million. Not being used to air conditioning, I was surprised at how quickly my room cooled down when I adjusted the remote control from 25 to 18 degrees. They don't have screen windows and doors, perhaps because the rich people think they look a bit cheap.