Dear Beast Crew
April – July 2006
The start of the new adventure has begun.
Greg spent many months negotiating prices for the shipment of the Beast to South America from an alarming US$6,000 for a RORO (Roll On Roll Off) to a more reasonable $2,000. In reducing the price we had to reduce the height of the Beast to squeeze her into a 20' container and reduce the height of the car from 2.70m down to 2.28m. Our headache was further enhanced by comment that had been made by a mechanic when the Maggiolina and tyre rack were put on, who said that neither would come off as they were firmly glued on. After a month of stressing about the excessive price of a larger container, we worked out that the roof appendages had been attached with sealant and could be easily removed and we lost a total of 20cm from the height of the vehicle.
We still needed to lose about 20 cm in height to get the vehicle into the container. The options available to us included lowering the tyres, putting the hubs on some wheeled trays and rolling her in or making some custom made wheels. Talking to various mechanics and Alexis's Dad, lowering the tyres was ruled out due to the bulging and distortion of the tyres. A conversation with a fellow 101 driver, lead us to Anthony of the British 4WD garage in the outskirts of Melbourne. The effervescent Anthony managed to source some wheeled trays which unfortunately wouldn't support a 3.5 tonne lump of steel and aluminium. Anthony volunteered to make up some small metal wheel rims and to help stuff the Beast into the container.
The stress of the past few months has all culminated in one day at the Melbourne Docklands. At the beginning of July, Alexis, accompanied by Anthony and Bill, put the metal rims and we drove the Beast into a 20 foot container. She was strapped down in the container to stop rolling and prevent being smashed against the side during the sea voyage. We braced the rims with wood to stop movement backwards and forwards and we closed the door. The Beast now has to endure a 45 – 50 day trip encased in a big metal shipping container to Buenos Aries in Argentina, South America. The massive container ship, the Golden Wattle, will travel up the coast of Australia via Singapore and onto Buenos Aries where we will have to battle with customs to get her released to conquer the Mayan, Aztec and Salsa nations!
Adriano is still slaving away to write down the aboriginal languages of Western Australia . He managed to find 50% of the one of the groups who refused to help him write down the language but then found the other 50% of the population. They unfortunately refused to help, so the only 2 people that speak one of the aboriginal languages are going to let it die out. He is still putting together children's books and enjoying weeks out in the bush.
Alexis and Greg have now headed home to the UK for family weddings. They will fly out to Argentina to meet and reassemble the Beast in September for the next leg of the trip across to Chile, down to southern Argentina before heading north to Brazil and across to Ecuador, Central America and then the USA and Canada. Hopefully Adriano will join them later in the year. We will update you all when we head south to the southern hemisphere again, and tell you of the scenes from the cracking ice floes in Ushuaia to the snow capped mountains of the Andes and on to the forests of the Amazon.
Thank you to all our Australian mates for accepting the travelling Poms into their lives, showing us your wonderful country and we hope you will all keep in contact with us.
Notes from Australia:
? There are only an estimated 60 Land Rover Forward Control 101s in Australia.
? Football and footy refers to Australian Football League whereas Soccer refers to football (confused?).
? Australian English - A 'nature strip' is a grass verge. The word 'heaps' is used to classify many or a lot of things. Sweets are called 'lollies'. The word 'pokies' is used for slot machines. A chicken is called a 'chook'. If you 'pash' you are kissing. 'Superannuation' is the word used for pension funds. A 'robe' is a wardrobe. 'Dim Sim' is used for dim sum. A 'bottle shop' is an off license. To 'dink' is to hitch a lift on a bicycle. To feel 'crook' is to feel ill.
? If you want a house that faces the sun, the rooms facing the north are the sunniest rooms.
? Many place names across Australia come from Aborigine words - Canberra – an aboriginal word which means 'meeting place', Kooyong – means camp or resting place, Kurri Kurri - means 'to hurry along' or 'to go very quickly', Wagga Wagga - means 'place of many crows', Moree - means 'long waterhole' or 'rising sun', Wollongong – means 'hard ground near water'. The area would have been named because it was so close to the water and Toowoomba - means 'place of melons'.
? Popular female Australian names include Bronwyn, Vesna and Liesel.
? Australian summer school holidays occur during Christmas and winter holidays occur during July.
? The famous Australian leather hat worn by station owners is called an Akumbra.
? Australia 's first police force was made up of a dozen of the best behaved convicts.
? The world's oldest flower was found in a fossil near Melbourne. The Koonwarra plant has two leaves and one flower and is believed to be 120 million years old.
? The Australian breed of dog is the Blue Heeler which is used for biting the legs of cattle for herding purposes.
? Over 1,000 Australians die from skin cancer every year.
? The beloved dish of Australia is the Chicken Parmigiana with entire webpages like www.superparma.com dedicated to where to find the best.
? There are four types of Boomerang - the "hook", the "hunter", the "club", the "V". All were used for hunting and warfare but only the Hunter will return when thrown.
? A 'B and S' party is a Bachelors and Spinsters party thrown in the country. You dress in your best outfit, make a one off payment is paid and as much alcohol can be drunk as is possible.
? There are 441 airports across Australia.
? 95% of the world's opals are mined in Australia.
? There are 6,000 species of flies and 1,500 species of spiders in Australia.