The Touratech gear was needed (as much as anything ever is to meet ones level of comfort and security), but it was still a massive hit to our budget. Combined with the painful exchange rates and the fallout of our recent spell of misfortune, we are about $3000 to $4000 over what was in our rough budget.
What to do? We know that we could slum it much harder than we are. But what then? Is that still the trip we want to take? What good is it to have a 12 month trip if 6 month of it are not what you want out of life? On the other hand, what is the alternative? For now, our conversations always come back to one point: We want to have the trip that we want, and if the money we had only takes us to Asia, then so be it. We set our own goal and we are accountable to no one but us if we want to change it. Or if circumstance dictate we have to.
The big ? as well as part of our hope is that we don’t know how the money situation will develop from Timor on-wards. It may all work out fine, or we may have acquired a debt in the “developed world” that we can not pay back. Nothing we can do for now, only to move on.
With the money low and both of us not 100% fit health wise, we decided to have a low key day. First, another round of shopping to get us the paper maps we need for Australia. In the end, I decided on Hema “handy maps”, scaling roughly on a state level. Nina also picked up some obligatory post cards.
The sightseeing part of the day was set aside for a visit to the Melbourne Museum. One of these museums of a bit of everything, we focused on the Geological and the First People exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre (part of the Museum). While the exhibits in the geological section kept our interest and were cool to look at, it was none the less a very traditional museum experience. Glass boxes and text blocks. Maybe I am a bit spoiled by Te Papa … 🙂
In an atrium right behind the entrance they have re-created a small patch of native rain forest, complete with a couple of native fish and bird. I am looking forward to get out and experience some of this first hand sooner rather than later.
The visit ended on a real downer for two of us with a walk through the First People exhibition. It was a bit like reading the latest reports on climate change: All very depressing and the small victories all have a bitter taste. On the chance that I will offend someone: The story that cut deepest for me, coming from a very different remembrance culture of WWII: After all the injustice of colonization and fighting a “just war” against a people led by a mad man and his ideology of “lebensraum”, the returned veterans got land grants further cutting away at “Aboriginal Stations / Reservations” – only the white veterans, of course …
One good thing: New Zealand, I am proud of you. Not all peaches and roses, and hard battles had to be fought, but looking at your competition, you have done mighty well. Ka pai (and keep it up!).