The Trip.

Andy Kovacic , a unique talent.

If you want to get lost, use a GPS (Global Position Service.) I Googled the GPS and over 90% of users get lost. Worse, some have driven into rivers, canals, trees or even the sea. The problem is that roads change quicker than GPS’ map updates. It means that, at times, when you are firmly told to ‘turn right or left within fifty metres’, you should ignore it, the road has long gone. The female GPS voice sounds as if she can’t be mucked around with. “Turn left ,turn left now” she commanded often. I feel intimidated and sometimes squirm by my own GPS, stuck centimetres away from my face by a plastic suction cap. How is it possible?

Just over the border in Queensland we did just that. It was 9pm and dark. I obeyed the satellite lady and promptly turned left into a green field and hit a pitch black Angus cow right into her udher udder. It could have been worse. Imagine turning into a new shopping mall with a mum and a baby pram on their way buying a dummy?
This is what the world of navigation and satellite has turned us into.

Over 40% of roads change yearly and the advice is to download maps at least twice a year. No matter where one turns, the internet is lurking somewhere to take your money. The maps on Tom-Tom downloads costs $ 99.-per country. Having paid $89.- for the gadget, I am tempted to just keep buying GPS’s with updated maps.

We were away for eight days and apart from GPS troubles and the Angus udder, we were blissfully away from internet or anything remotely connected to keyboards or a mouse. It was heaven.

The address that I had put into my GPS was inner city of Brisbane. We left Byron Bay as happy as Larry and I was even whistling. The night before we enjoyed beautifully hypnotic and suitably amplified music by Akova and in between sipped a quiet Sauvignon Blanc. We ate some delicious culinary unchallenged dead flat-head fish cooked in butter, garnished with parsley, lemon and garlic. We danced and were rocking. The waves were pounding on sands metres away in sympathy with the music’s drums and the proudly navel exposed stomping crowds.

The estimated time to reach inner Brisbane was 2hrs. When the time had passed we were still uncomfortably away from any inner city. Last time I could have sworn Brisbane had buildings over one story high and certainly not clad in fibro. ‘You have reached your destination,’ she of the GPS voice announced. Helvi and I had been quiet for the last fifty km’s as not anything resembling Brisbane had passed our window.
I asked Helvi if Toowoomba was part of Brisbane or Ipswich? ‘I don’t know’, she answered.

The street’s name was right but it wasn’t inner city Brisbane. A boy was sitting on a car tyre. A lawnmower was rattling away with a sun burnt man in a singlet staring at us. We were hopelessly lost and I took things in own hand. I ripped the suction cap held GPS from the window and strangled it on my knee. It made a last gasp, gurgled a final ‘turn left’ before it went all funny and black.

We stopped and I phoned my inner city sister. We were 39 km’s from Brisbane.
‘Why don’t you use a map,’ she told us.
Why indeed?

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6 Responses to “The Trip.”

  1. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Eek! We are still map-based for preference, but a few weeks ago I became the owner of an iPhone. On our way to a funeral last week, our spare hour reduced to a few minutes as I tried to co-ordinate an inadequate paper map with an aerial (buildings but no names) view of a strange city. There are no instructions from the phone (thank goodness) and watching it, I could at least see when we started heading away from our destination. However, I think if I had attended to the road itself, instead of map and phone, we would have given our hearts an easier ride.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I must admit that most times when using our GPS we are relatively free from entering paddocks with grazing cows. 😉
      Many years ago we lived on a farm at the East of Holland. It was the first time my parents, fresh from Australia and living about 60k’s from us, decided to visit us. Dad drove and despite our directions and maps, got lost in Germany.
      When they finally arrived, poor dad was red-faced. Mum shushed us into not asking embarrassing questions. He managed to drive into a totally different country before getting back into Holland and finally arriving at our place.
      The GPS would have come in handy!


      • berlioz1935 Says:

        This remains me of getting lost at the Swiss / French border near Geneva long before the time of GPS and smartphones. Imagine this. We staid in a hotel in France and needed petrol as we wanted to travel next morning to Italy through the Mont Blanc tunnel. The only place to get petrol was in Switzerland, only a kilometre or two from our hotel. But it was difficult to get there and back. We had to use an express way, change on and off ramps. We found the petrol station but got hopelessly lost on the way back. It was in the dark to. We went back to the petrol station about three times and started again. Suddenly we were at our hotel and still today we don’t know how we did it. It was pure luck. We thought we would be stuck in no man’s land for ever and ever.

        The drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel was a horror 11 km horror trip and it is not recommended for faint hearted.


      • gerard oosterman Says:

        That sounds as if you stayed at Chamonix. I only travelled by trains and on foot in Europe. In Germany people drive at 160 km an hour in the SLOW lane.
        I find driving much more of a trial now and prefer walking. Still, walking to Brisbane is out of the question.
        Berlioz, can you remember during that time being lost how you reacted?
        I generally become impossible to live with when I drive without knowing if I am on the right track. My dear wife tells me to change behaviour and always think of “What can be the worst that can happen?”
        That’s easier said than done.


  2. Andrew Says:

    Greetings from beautiful Helsinki, Gerard. Day 3 and we love this city. Mrs Ha was checking property prices this morning. Tomorrow we land in London and start our week with GPS. I am not looking forward to it but I think we need it for inner city stuff. If I hear a woman’s voice ordering me to do something I suspect it will be Mrs Ha. Helsinki on the other hand has been a doddle. One metro line running East – West. Even we couldn’t go wrong.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I thought you would like Helsinki. Finland used to be ‘the forgotten corner of Europe.’
      I would not mind living there either. The way things are here at the moment! Australia has lost it’s humanity, I am sad to say.
      Watch this space.
      Enjoy your holiday and say hello to Mrs Ha.


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