Anglo-American Singing Tour of Australia by Nancy McBride
On a spontaneous trip to Australia, after a week of rain, I signed up for a canyon/hiking tour, and once I hailed down the bus, settled in only to be told I wasn't on “the list”. Eventually, the driver put me off the bus somewhere about ten miles outside of Sydney! There were two English kids there (who did not know each other) who were shocked to find I'd been let off, as they were signed up, too, and the bus wouldn't take them on either!
I was so dumbfounded I cried, and they hugged me. Then and there we decided to do our own tour. We walked about a mile and rented an Ugly Duckling car. I had to drive, being the only one over 25. We got a map and set off, driving on the left. We called our "tour" The Anglo-American Singing Tour of Australia because the kids felt deprived with no radio in the car. What a fabulous day of adventures we had.
David sat in the back seat and he was in charge of navigating and harmonizing. Edith was in charge of singing and turning off the windshield wipers when I mistakenly turned them on, intending to use a turn signal. I was in charge of driving (but sang my heart out). Our closeness was instantly palatable. We laughed so much.
At one stop, for tea, Edith felt her mother, who she missed terribly, was channeling through the lovely hostess, and there was lots of vicarious hugging and laughing and crying (on her part) nicely tolerated by the hostess, who joined us a while and held “her daughter’s” hand. To Edith, already in charge of singing and turning off the windshield wipers, now we added emoting.
At another stop, thanks to David’s navigating skills, we were at an amazing canyon lookout. We were so surprised, especially when we came upon the original OZ Tour bus driver, leaning on his van, smoking, waiting for his passengers to come back from a hike. We pinned him up against his bus and, without a word between us, confronted him with one of our best songs: "Up your a$$ OZ tours, up your a$$..."
He was so apologetic, and loved our song. Apparently, he'd received a call that he needed to save room for three people from a Japanese tour company who would promote the tour to Japanese visitors. They never arrived at their pick up point... He said what we’d chosen to do was cheaper and more fun than his tour, anyway, then gave us some great suggestions off his regular route.
Way, WAY out in the outback, I mentioned I hadn’t seen any kangaroos in the wild (they were supposedly plentiful)! David told me to pull over, quickly! I did. Then, pointing to my right, he said, “See! See over there?” I looked and looked! Then, in a moment out of the corner of my eye I saw a HUGE hopping thing in a pink shirt prancing erratically across the dusty road in front of the car. David navigated, harmonized AND fulfilled fantasies.