Who among you remembers the days when travelling meant finding and figuring out the vaguaries of foreign payphones, searching for change in the appropriate currency, and speaking briefly lest the change run out? Neither do I. Even I have become accustomed to instant communication, wherever, whenever, and with whomever I wish to communicate. Toward the end of making that possible for me here on the other side of the world, I spend some time this morning at various phone stores in the Hobart CBD (Central Business District for the acronomically challenged) comparing minutes and megabytes and domestic vs foreign calls so as to get the most economical SIM card from a company that actually provides service where I will be travelling. It turns out that with the exception of Hobart, most of Tasmania is ignored by telecommunications satellites. Nevertheless, I now have an Aussie phone with prepaid minutes that will work some places, sometimes, with some people. Yay.
While Lindisfarne (the neighborhood (suburb? town?) where I am staying across the Dewent River from the afroementioned CBD) is nothing to write home about, the Hobart waterfront and neighborhoods spreading uphill from there are quite beautiful, especially on a warm sunny day. I visited the Maritime Museum becasue it was across the street from the Tasmanian Museum of Art and History which was closed for repairs. It proved to be good way to gain an inkling of the evolution of Hobart from its discovery by Europeans in the 17th century through the convict settlements during “Transportation,” through its heyday as a whaling center, the development of its fisheries, and on to its reputation as a yachting mecca. There was no mention of the eradication of the indiginous population, so I knew I wasn’t home. Such an oversight would no longer be tolerated in a public museum in the US.
After lunch I finally got up my gumption to pick up the car I reserved and drove across town to meet some friends of friends who snowbird in Hobart, spring and fall in Boston, and spend their other summer in Chappaquiddick. I didn’t hit anybody, didn’t turn into on-coming traffic, and only turned on the windshield wipers instead of the turn indicator 80% of the time. We watched some sailboat races from their balcony overlooking the river, walked the lovely artsy parts of town I hadn’t yet seen, ate some local oysters and apricots, and had wonderful screen-free conversation. I think that is only possible when one’s company are octogenarians. I hope my intelligence and stamina increase to their levels by the time I’m their age!
I drove back “home” over the bridge to watch the sun set over Mt. Wellington. Because, alas, there are two new bush fires burning to the NW of the city, the sky was particularly dramatic.
Must go make some choices as to where to go next. South? East? North? Stay tuned!