Going Down Under: Travelogue of Australia and New Zealand

“Where were you so many days? I did not see you in the morning with your newspaper and did not see you with your glass of beer in the evening. Your long absence worried me.” The tone of annoyance in Lulu’s [my parrot] voice was unmistakable.

“I had been to Australia and New Zealand. For twenty days. What a tour! It took me back in times when I was a child and had great admiration for a New Zealander friend of my father. I always had fascination for NZ.”

“Your mind travelled back in times and you travelled down under. Lot of memories, eh?”

“Yes. The dead sit at your table long after they are gone.”

“If you quote Mitch Albom you must mention it. Etiquette, man, etiquette.” Lulu is not the one to get impressed easily. “This was perhaps the right time to visit NZ.”

“Oh, yes! The autumn makes it verycolourful. The landscape appears as if it is painted in watercolour. Bright colours. Many hues. And a very pleasant weather. All you need is a camera and a beverage of your choice in hand.”

“A beverage of your wife’s choice to be accurate. You obviously can’t have one of your choices when she is with you.” Lulu winked as he spoke. There are some realities you accept, when you marry a person of strong will, right?

“The journey is long and Qantas added ten more hours with their delays. I deeply suspect that the Qantas guys were trained by Indian Airlines in managing time! Our tour guide reeled off several rules saying you can’t carry this and that… they levy heavy penalty…. he frightened us. But it was a pleasant experience with NZ customs. The officer, obviously a man of Indian origin asked if we were carrying any food. I said yes, some snacks. He asked ‘Indian snacks? Those fried and salty things?’ I nodded when he smiled and said ‘go.’ Oh, what a relief.”

“Complying with any rule or law makes an Indian nervous. You guys are just not accustomed to it, right? And did you see the statue at the airport?”

“Yes. A huge one. We proceeded to Rotorua. Beautiful and picturesque road. Rotorua means ‘the second lake.’”

“What did you do there? What’s that pic about? Announcing their marathon? Did you run marathon there?”

“Nah! We watched something which you do not see in India.”

“What is it, man? Tell me.”

“Wait for two days to hear that story. Let the suspense build up.”

“Eeeeeeeh!” Lulu protested, “Don’t do the Arabian Nights trick on me.”