It was only on my way to the airport that I realized a connection that I had long ignored. In Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, Chekhov realizes that the ship is the one that the original Enterprise left stranded--the Botany Bay. Named after the original spot of potential colonization in Australia by who? By criminals. Of course, in the ST universe, Khan ended up a vengeance-seeking lunatic because the planet was not stable. Would he have ended up producing an uber-friendly, and quite successful country/continent if not for an accident of seismic or spacial fate (I forget which)? That is, I find it wonderfully ironic that the source of some (although, of course, not all) of Australia's inhabits were folks sentenced to "transportation" to Australia (once Georgia and other North American locales were no longer possible after the American revolution)--crims as my interview companion put it. And we now have a country that is pretty terrific. Definitely worth the endless flight.
A few last random thoughts:
- What is it with hot cross buns? Didn't end up having one, but they were everywhere. THE baked good of Australia?
- The fun part was that the big news item during my visit was the relationship of the captain of the national cricket team--they ended up breaking up. But the coverage was almost Tiger-esque. For cricket. I spent a fair amount of time watching Aussie sports networks, and I can now see the appeal of their version of football and of rugby, but cricket is still just, well, boring. But the wife/girlfriend story was entertaining. She may have thrown her engagement ring down the drain. Good times!
- The Sydney suburban rail system is just amazing--comfortable trains, well designed signage, frequent trains, etc. Makes me wonder why Montreal's is so lame. Then I remember that public service is not the priority of parties, politicians and governments in Quebec.
- Dog's breakfast--I heard this phrase a few times. Not quite sure how to make sense of it.