Happy Thanksgiving to you! I'm sorry that I didn't send any postcards from Australia, but I was thinking to wait until I got back to Thailand so that I could write a more detailed latter and send some pictures.
I really had a good time with Dad. We met at the airport in Sydney, but I arrived an hour late because I accidentally set my watch to Melbourne's time! As we got ready to depart to New Zealand, Dad suddenly remembered that he left his passport and tickets in the transit lounge. After ten nerve-wracking minutes they were found and brought back by the flight attendant. I thought Dad was going to have a heart attack on the plane!
New Zealand was truly a beautiful place. We started in the southern island and drove to the northern island. The southern island is much less developed and more scenic than the north, with lots of rivers, waterfalls snow-capped and mountains. We also saw lots and lots of sheep, which make driving difficult because they often walk in front of the car).
In Australia we began in Melbourne, a beautiful city of parks, gardens, street cars, great food, and architecture. The only problem, however, is the weather, and I think that we experiences four seasons in one day!
We drove up to Philip Island, and at dusk saw thousands of tiny penguins commuting from the ocean to their burrows in the sand. It was an amazing sight.
Next we drove to Sydney where we stated in King's Cross, the red-light/nightlife center of the city. Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We took a cruise on the harbor on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon, which was fantastic ... so many sailboats!
We then flew to Brisbane and began our 2,000 kilometer drive to Cairns, passing through sandy beaches, pineapple and sugarcane plantations, rain forests, and the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns was a fun and lively tropical city. One morning we took a boat to the reef, went snorkeling, and saw the colorful reef by submarine.
From Cairns we drove north to Port Douglas, which is a new resort town. Then it was up to Cape Tribulation on a bumpy, muddy dirt road, passing through sandy beaches and rain forests with gigantic ferns.
Now I'm back in Chiangmai. The weather is beginning to be beautiful with warm days and cool nights where I need to wear a sweater on my motorcycle.
Today I'll begin my first Thai language class at 11 AM. I've picked up quite a bit of Thai, but it's best to have a teacher. I did have a few chances to practice my Japanese in Australia because there were so many Japanese tourists .... mostly honeymoon tours with hundreds of newlywed couples traveling together and covering all of Australia in six days. Exhausting!
It sounds like you had a great time in Spain. Thanks for the pictures! Are you planning any trips in the future? I'll send off this letter as soon as I get my photos back tonight.
Love to everyone. Please write!