We touch Australia at 6:30 AM on Sunday October 12, 2003.
It's overwhelming for me to return to Adelaide after 4 years and I can imagine Enrico's excitement arriving for the first time in a new continent which is so different, distant and fascinating, but its uniqueness and largeness is what hits the most. Our emotions were so blatant that after picking up our 80 kg of luggage we were stopped and checked at customs...We should have expected it since we were bringing electronic and chemical materials with us!!
The packages and suitcases pass through the X rays; a sticker with the letter Q is put on one of these, and we are asked to open this pack...inside there are functional foods, which are severely forbidden. We explain why we have these: a scolding and then off to kiss the red earth of Darwin.
We are filled with joy at the sight of the green, the sun, and the people: this is Australia!
We go to the rental place and wait for it to open. We fill in the papers and pick up the 6-seat camper, a beautiful Mercedes, symbol of a world championship won the same day by Ferrari.
We start to load up our luggage and I realize that I had forgotten one of the bags with my cyclist suit on the airport's conveyor belt.
We glance at each other and then away through Adelaide's square streets, again towards the arrival point. We retrieve our luggage, call the shipping company keeping the Maiale and in a few minutes we reach Chris, the kind Australian who has been guarding the Maiale. We start the long job of unpacking the materials ending up with an exchange of products: we offer Mussini's balsamic vinegar, arrived by air to make us feel more at home, and we receive a pair of hats, Australian of course, and a nice cup of black boiling coffee.
We greet and thank everyone, and then we leave for Eudunda, about 100 km from Adelaide, halfway through the last stage of the WSCC.
It is six in the evening and we have been seated for 22 hours in cramped seats: we need to stretch out our legs and mostly we are stimulated by the desire to cycle in this vast and silent continent which brings us to unload the bicycle and pedal for a few km.
You won't believe it but at 6:30 in the evening the sun is already below the horizon and the cold forces us to put the bicycle back inside the camper.
We reach Eudunda, a town of 950 people which seemed like the Far West: dark in the streets and in the homes but warm and hospitable folks.
We go to a road house to eat and drink something and the friendly local people talk to us, curious to know why we came to Australia.
We order and surprise: we find out the only food they have is pizza, and what pizza!!
The stuff on it causes us to drink three mugs of beer.
The music is loud, there are three TV's tuned to three different channels; we are tired, we greet everyone who wishes us good luck; we cross the road and go inside the camper to sleep under two layers of stuffed covers: we are at 450 mt and we feel it.
Good night. Tomorrow will be exciting: I turn 33 years old and the Maiale will make its first steps in Australia...what better present could there be?