Last year I blogged about my brush with an English bobby and commented that it was almost 25 years since my first big trip, when my parents took my sister and I campervanning around Europe for six months. Well, with 2010 upon us, it really is 25 years ago now, so it seems like a good time to relive some of these travels. Remember, this is way before digital cameras, or the internet, or even cheap phone calls – if I remember rightly, my Mum phoned home once a month or so to basically check that none of our relatives had died, and otherwise we had precious little contact with Australia.
Anyway, to be absolutely precise, our journey began in Hong Kong. Wisely, my parents decided to break up the long flight with a three day stopover in Hong Kong (long before it returned to Chinese control), which happened to coincide with my 9th birthday. On the day of my birthday, they treated me to a day out at Ocean Park, and you can see us there in the picture below.
I vaguely remember enjoying my day out at Ocean Park (which, by the way, still exists – check the Ocean Park website), but there are other things that struck me more memorably. Remember, this was the very first time I had left Australia – the first time I’d left the south-west of Australia – and here I was in Asia. I recall being surprised, if not shocked, by all the high-rise accommodation; I drew a picture in my diary of the washing hanging in the windows. I was amazed that the coins looked so different, and they had a particular coin with frilly edges which fascinated me. Strangely, I don’t remember being concerned by suddenly being surrounded by mostly Asian people, a fact that struck me much more prominently when I moved to Japan a couple of decades later.
Anyway, I’ll be highlighting parts of our big trip throughout 2010, so stay tuned for more instalments of my experiences from 25 years ago in Europe (and Hong Kong!).