People seem surprised to hear that I made seven trips to Australia between 1975-1995. I was 65 when I made my first journey down, just before Scott Graeme Lockhart made his world debut. Friends were leery that I was going down by myself at such an age, but if I worried about being decrepit, that would be my concern.
Gosta Baeckstrom made my travel arrangements for that first trip. I broke my trip at Los Angeles - staying with Tom Kline's parents, G.E. and Marcelite, in Pasedena - and Tahiti.
Tahiti was incredibly beautiful. My hotel was inexpensive, but still stunning. If I walked outside my room door, I was right on the beach. Oh, it was lovely. There was a dock. When I walked out to look around, there was a big pen of sharks. I beat a hasty retreat. I was not afraid of them, I just did not want to look at the ugly critters.
There is no describing the beauty of Tahiti - it is beyond description. The hill that rose behind my hotel was covered with flowering trees.
With all that beauty, it was still perhaps the loneliest time of my life.
Gay & Willard had gone to Tahiti on one of their trips to Australia and Gay very much wanted me to see the island. She underwrote a bus trip around the island.
The difference between her trip and mine was that her Own True Love was by her side. All that beauty made me miss Pete, who had just died the year before, and feel so alone with no one to share it with.
The loneliness was compounded because the Tahitians I had contact with tended to be very sullen and spoke French and very little English. Waiting for my plane to take off to Bali, my next stop, I went to buy a newspaper or a magazine - they were all in French. There was not even anyone in the airport - they all went home between the flights.
Now, Bali was another cup of tea. Unlike Tahiti, it was a British possession and everyone was friendly and beautiful. It seemed strange to hear the natives speaking impeccable English. I could have kissed each and every one of them. If you have ever seen the musical SOUTH PACIFIC, it captures the big smiles and friendliness that I experienced.
Love to all - KRL, world traveler