|"Oshi's Book of Travel" Wilpena Pound, South Australia|
Monday March 13th, returned home in the morning from Adelaide. The 19 hour flight via Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and then on to Kansai International Airport was very exhausting. Tired, very tired. However, the trip was very enjoyable and left us a lot of wonderful memories.
We took part in a 10-day dialysis tour, staying in the Wilpena Pound Resort located in the Flinders Ranges National Park in South Australia, where steep mountains like craters were created by geological uplifting and weathering over a long period of time. 28 people took part in the tour, of which 11 were dialysis patients. From Japan came myself and my wife and another couple from Kanazawa. Australians and British made up the rest of the group. We met many wonderful couples and had an excellent experience. Everybody appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves (has a good face) and were charmed by the experience. Thanks Nancy for inviting us to come on this tour.
The "Wilpena Pound Resort Tour" organised by our friend Nancy who is also a dialysis patient, was a well-planned and interesting program with everything inclusive, even all the sightseeing trips and meals. On the second day we took a 30 minute sightseeing flight in a Cessna and saw the spectacular landforms of the Flinders Ranges. Thanks to Nancy I had the chance to take a second flight and saw a 7 colour rainbow shining in the evening mist, making a dramatic contrast with the steep rocks formations.
On a 4WD tour Sam, our Aboriginal guide, showed us wilderness where kangaroos, emus, sheep etc. enjoy the wide-open spaces and scenery. Flinders Ranges is a dry region that is mostly a rich reddish brown colour. Areas such as this are called "the outback" in Australia and have a lot of low-bush type plants growing everywhere.
At dinner we enjoyed a wide selection from a menu consisting of soup, salad, hors d'oeuvre, main and dessert. The taste and amount of food was great too. Dialysis staff and participants all dined together very comfortably. Furthermore, the wine was cheap (compared to Japanese prices) and wonderful. What a happy life !
After dinner we often went outdoors to look up at the countless stars in the heavens that left us totally speechless. We were able to clearly see the Milky Way, the Southern Cross, the Orion, and the Big Magellan Nebula (to name a few). It was a very valuable time, quietly looking at the stars in the night wind and enjoying Akemi's company. On the ground there were wild kangaroos eating grass. Kangaroo behaviour is very cute. We saw for the first time a mother kangaroo sucking a baby. W hen we tried to feed them they put out their paws as if to say, "Please give me food". So cute.
We dialysed in a room of a cottage that had 4 dialysis machines and a water purification facility. I had dialysis there for that week. The staff, 3 nurses and an engineer, were so friendly and gave us a warm hearted welcome. Their efforts to remember and communicate in Japanese were greatly appreciated. They learned ketsuatsu (blood pressure) and ja mata ne (see you later) quickly. One night after dinner, Tony the engineer, who has played an aboriginal instrument called a didgeridoo since he was 6 years old, entertained us by playing for us in a forest. Really amazing. Candle light and the didgeridoo's ancient sound melting into the forest, a very moving experience.
On the last night at "Wilpena Pound Resort" we had a farewell party and presented mementos to Nancy and the dialysis staff. We were deeply impressed with the speech in Japanese by Di, who is teaching Japanese in Sydney. Time seemed to be passing slowly but before we knew it the week had flashed by and it was time to return to Adelaide. At Wilpena Pound Resort, set in a land of wonderful nature, I was able to really relax with my wife.
In Adelaide we went sightseeing, shopping and even took photos of koalas in the conservation park nearby. Our last dinner was at an Italian restaurant, La Casalinga, owned by our acquaintance Enzo, a kidney transplant patient. The dinner was the perfect way to finish our tour. Really an excellent taste!! We exchanged addresses and enjoyed the beautiful night-lights of Adelaide. I hope to visit Adelaide again to see Nancy. Nancy, thank you so much.
One thing we learned from this trip is that distances in Australia are much bigger than those in Japan, and that public transportation isn't as common as well. The next time that we go to Australia, we'd definitely buy or rent a car. Renting is a great option for trips of 2 weeks or less in duration. Any longer than that and you'd really want to buy a car with the intent to resell it before you leave. Before you purchase a car, try to perform an Australian comprehensive car insurance comparison online in order to get the best deal on your temporary purchase.