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John back to Bali after 
48 days of non-stop travel
Last month we told you of the first leg : Bali - Surabaya - Bandung - Jakarta - Puncak Pass - 
Banyuwangi - Bali.   CLICK HERE
After 5 days rest in Bali, October 12, the anniversary of the Bali bomb, John headed for Australia. As we taxied out at Bali airport we noted John Howard's brand new  $30+ million US Boeing Business jet sitting on the tarmac.
Boeing Business Jet (BBJ)
The Boeing business jet is a long range version of the Boeing 737 fitted with an executive interior. The RAAF pilots are trained by Virgin Blue Australia and fly as co-pilots on many Virgin flights. During training they wear their normal RAAF uniform. Loops and aerobatics are not permitted on 
passenger carrying Virgin flights. John Howard didn't always like flying, but after completing the QANTAS Fear of Flying course, he is now completely cured and is never out of the BBJ.
BBJ interior
Former federal Liberal  leader, Andrew Peacock became  President of Boeing Australia last year.
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The NEXT 10,500 K's
John arrived Monday Oct. 13 at 6.30 am on the Garuda red-eye Melbourne express. That night nephew Trenton threw a welcome home party at his house on the Meri Creek. John's mum, Nancy was in attendance, just returning from yet another First Fleet reunion. Next year they are planning to invite some Australian Aboriginals along.
Convict Nancy
Off to Bendigo
Bendigo, 150 km north west of Melbourne started it's life as a sheep station and was named after an english boxing Champion, William Abednego Thompson. Thompson's middle name, Abednego was a Biblical name which few could pronounce and it's 'corrupted' pronunciation became 'Bendigo' After the discovery of gold, in the late 1800's Bendigo became the richest goldfield in Australia drawing flocks to settle the region in order to 'strike it lucky'. Today it is a bustling commercial centre.
Downtown Bendigo with the famous talking tourist tram.
In Bendigo live old friends Ian, Mandy and their 3 boys. Ian works for a large employment agency and plays in a band on week ends. Ian has a shared hobby with
John. In his spare time he likes to build water fountains.
The latest fountain, Ian with Nicholas
Just in case you can't see it
The 2 elder sons Mitch and Simon are accomplished guitar players.
Ian shows elder son Mitch how to fit a neck to a guitar
Simon plays guitar
Nicholas with dog Dougle
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Off to Leongatha...
on the 135 km, 2 hour bus from Spencer St Station Melbourne to John's home town, where he was born over half a century ago.
The Memorial Hall
John's mother & brother, Ross live in Leongatha, each year eagerly waiting the annual Daffodil festival.
Brother Ross
Leongatha is a dairy centre, producing the well known Devondale brand.
A milk truck
Milk is picked up daily from the  farms, then processed into powdered milk, cheese ready for export.
A Leongatha Jersey cow
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Back to Melbourne...
for a few days of wining and dining. First a dinner party in friend Ken's salubrious apartment in central Melbourne with a view of the new dockland area.
Dockland area Melbourne
Then off to Jacques Reymond French restaurant as a guest of friend Lady Pamela Bagwash of Toorak. 9 course meal even.
 Jacques Reymond Restaurant
Off to Bairnsdale ...
Friday October 31, John returned to Leongatha. John and Nancy had been invited to teenhood friend Geoff White's 60th birthday party in Bairnsdale on Saturday Nov. 1
Saturday Morning we headed off in Nancy's car for the scenic drive through the Strzelecki Ranges to Morwell. 
Strzelecki Ranges rain forest
Morewell is the centre of the huge Yallourn brown coal open cut mine area. Where 80% of Victoria's electricity is generated.
Huge mining dredge
Stopped at Sale for lunch and  on to Bairnsdale. In the late 1800's the town was a thriving port serving the sheep farmers in the area.
Historic Pix - Bairnsdale wharf
Paynesville water front
Birthday boy Geoff and his wife Sue live in Paynesville and own  boat on which they often spend the weekend cruising the lakes.
Geoff and his boat
Make Kingston 770
Year  c1980
Length 25 feet
Power Plant Ford 4.1 Litre Diesel
Fuel 200 litres
Fresh Water 200 litres
Pvt Shower/toilet, 2 hot water systems, 12 Volt fridge, Auxillery power 2 x 60 Watt Solar Sleeps 4 in comfort.
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The Production Line Theatre Group Building, Bairnsdale:
7.30 pm, guests arrived for a dinner party to celebrate Geoff White's 60th birthday. Among the guests were old work mate friends Barry Fernandes, his wife Diane from Sydney and Ian Wilson from Melbourne. Geoff, Barry, Ian and John all worked at HSV Channel 7 Melbourne in the 1960's.
So for the old Channel 7 veterans it was a great reunion. The other guests were family and friends made over the years. Geoff's wife Sue was in charge of the catering, many local ladies lent a hand to make an old fashioned country spread one seldom sees today. Ian Wilson bought  a tape of some films he and Geoff had made during the early days.
One was a "Musical" the other a "Western" At the time we thought the films "state of the art" but compared to now, a touch amateurish. We all had a great laugh especially when Geoff, Sue and Ian appeared as teenagers.
Geoff, John & Ian
Yes!  60 candles
Many hilarious stories were told of the old television days.
John, Nancy & Barry
Next day we headed of to Geoff & Sue's house in Paynesville for an excellent lunch and a cruise on their boat around the newly created lakes housing areas. Paynesville and the Gippsland Lakes are well worth a visit.
Geoff and Sue
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Port Albert
We returned to Leongatha via the coastal route through the historic fishing village of Port Albert.
Port Albert
Fishing & Pleasure boats
In the 1840ís Port Albert was a bustling port, millions of ounces of gold was shipped out from the Gippsland gold fields & provisions were bought in. By 1899 it's usefulness as a port finished when the railway was completed to Sale, however Port Albert continued as a commercial fishing centre.
The Maritime Museum
L-The Old Customs House, R-The Port Albert Pub
Nancy and I lunched at the Old Customs House Café - where we enjoyed "Fish and Chips" straight from the boat.
Toora Wind Farm
35 kilometres further on we came to the dairying town of Toora famous for their Tooralac Brand dairy products. Now they have a new industry a wind farm.
The Toora Wind Farm
Many locals are not exactly happy about the wind farm, first they say it is unsightly and ruins the beautiful hills and secondly they find the 24 hour swishing noise generated by the windmill blades not only disturbing to residents but to the cows, reducing the amount of milk they yield. The wind farm is not really any direct benefit to the town, however a brisk tourist industry has grown up with visitors wishing to see the 12 huge 69 meter high towers.
Toora Wind Generator
Toora wind farm Facts
Total output 21 Megawatts
Homes powered 6,600
Turbines 12
Turbine output 1.75 Megawatts
Tower Height 67 meters
Blade length 33 meters
Rotation 21.3 RPM
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Nancy and René with McCartin's Hotel in the background
Back in Leongatha
Mon Nov 3, René eldest daughter of brother Ross, came to visit Nancy for the day. René is 21 and engaged to be married. Her boyfriend Rohan and her, have already bought a house in Morewell. We went for a nice lunch at McCartin's Hotel.  John spent $1 on the polka machines and lost, there is a moral there somewhere.  We went shopping then had afternoon tea at Henrietta's Coffee and gift shop. Later we returned home where brother Ross served us up a traditional country roast.
 Melbourne Cup
Tues Nov 3, Melbourne Cup day. 
John attended a Cup party at Denny's house. We all watched Makybe Diva with jockey Glen Boss win. Only one friend backed the winner.
Back to Bali
A farewell party was held by nephew Trenton and Carolyn.
John & nephew Trenton
Trent, Ian, Danielle & Allison
Allan & Simon
John & niece Danielle
Joe & hostess Carolyn
Denny & Bradley
Greame, Neil & Michael
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We fly Air Paradise
0900 arrival at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport to check-in for our 11.05 Air Paradise flight to Bali. Check-in was at the new International check-in area usually used by Qantas.  My baggage 10 kg overweight, but no problem. In my duffle bag I had packed a large short-wave receiver surrounded by sheets and clothes so it was not obvious for my Denpasar arrival and customs check.
National Panasonic DR 48
The aircraft was an Airbus 300-600, Air Paradise's second aircraft. Owner, Balinese Pak Kadek has managed to use his name in the aircraft registration PK-KDK. The flight left on time.
Before take-off we were given a 250 ml bottle of mineral water, a nice change to the mandatory 100 ml orange juice you can never open. Soon drinks were served. The bar was better stocked than the usual Garuda flight with only a choice of whisky and gin. AP offered Jim Beam, Johnny Walker, Gordons Gin, Smirnoff vodka as well as a red and white Australian wine. A second drink was served with the meal. The meal was a little smaller than the Garuda offering on the same flight. But with my 1 year ticket around 45% cheaper 
than Garuda or 55% cheaper then Qantas, how can I complain. Later on in the flight we all received an ice cream. The flight arrived 30 minutes early and it was time to dual with Indonesian Immigration and Customs. Straight through Immigration - having a visa in ones passport seems to make thing simpler. I collected my bags and stacked them on a trolley with the contraband in the lower bag. I also hired a porter thinking it may help my deception. To the green channel and after a cursory inspection of my 3 plastic bags, I was waved through. Aaaah! what a sigh of relief. The radio is not an illegal import and being very old and second-hand of no commercial value. However the Indonesian Customs department are notorious for trying to extort money out of you if you have something unusual. They would have had a ball, had they found the radio. Soon I was outside and welcomed by Jamal's beaming smile and nephew Dede. Jamal forgot I was planning to bring the radio. He said "why did you use a porter?, you have never done that before". Then he woke up.
Back in Bali
The first night we went to a new restaurant in Jalan Oberoi
Rumours restaurant
It was fine - more expensive than our favourite Sobat but not a ripp-off. Jamal had spaghetti, said it was so so. I had the Tenderloin steak, good value at $5.50. Wines a little pricey $21-$46.
Leo and Erna arrive
Perennial visitors from Holland, Leo and Erna arrived this week to take up residence for 4 months, in their villa near Warung Sobat .
Wayan leaves Sobat
Waitress Wayan has decided to leave Warung Sobat after  over 2 years. She now has a new job in a restaurant in Denpasar.
From John
Thank you to one and all for the hospitality whilst I was in Australia. Everyone was very kind,  made it difficult to come back. It was great to see everyone again. I look forward to returning May 2004.
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