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August 22, 2003


You won't BELIEVE what happened to me last night...

I was in an Irish bar here in Antigua, and I was having a little glass of wine with my Swiss friend, Julia. We were speaking in English, and a young man at the bar interrupted us to ask me where I was from. I could hear that he was Australian, too, and he said that he hadn't encountered many of his countrymen on his trip so far.

I said I was from Sydney, he said whereabouts, I said Drummoyne, and where did you grow up?

"Out west a bit" he said, "Near Wagga - do you know it?"

I said "I sure do, as a matter of fact I was born in Griffith."

"Well, I'm from a very small town just near there," he said, "but nobody's ever heard of it."

I said "What's its name?"

"Binya!" he said.

I started to laugh.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Conlan" he said.

And I slapped the bar and laughed very loudly.

"You're my cousin!" I said. "My name's Gilbert."

I had no recollection of Brendon Conlan, nor he of me, but I do remember his sister, Nicole, who is my age.

Brendon and I laughed a lot, then he told me he'd been working in New York for the past year, which made the whole thing even funnier.

We didn't know what to say after that. It was too weird. We could only laugh. He left to meet some friends but we'll meet later tonight, I guess. He seems like a very pleasant person.

So what do you think of that?

NOTE: For those non-Australians, Griffith is a largeish town six hours southwest of Sydney. Binya isn't even a town, really, as I don't think it has any houses in it. Maybe a few. It has a meeting hall and a school and a petrol station and that's about it, if I remember correctly. Its people mostly live on farms in the area. My grandfather and my uncles had a farm there for many years. Brendon and I are related on my paternal grandmother's side. We're third cousins or something like that.

And here are some of my brother James's fond recollections of Brendon and his brother on their farm at Binya:

"If you see Brendon again remind him of the emu story - he, his brother and I on a 4 wheel motor bike, after throwing mud and rocks at a pack of emus, getting chased in full flight by big mumma - very scary. God, we were young and silly - the driver used to also spit in the air straight ahead and then duck as it came back so it would hit the person's face sitting behind him....!! I had one of the greatest holidays of my youth with them!"

Posted by Sarah on August 22, 2003 11:28 AM
Category: Guatemala

Unbelievable - it's a small world afterall. Great story and have fun together.

Posted by: Sean on August 23, 2003 07:20 AM

I have been thinking of you about twice weekly for the past couple of months. I'm happy to hear you are safe & living life to the fullest. I'm embarking on my first encounter with change in the form of moving to Melbourne. I've taken heart from your abilities to tramps about the globe and hope I can manage this albeit small shift. Your meeting with Conlon smacks of `stories to tell the grankiddies' around an open fireplace weraing designer matching ughboots. Love ya, take care Mel xxx

Posted by: Melinda Lake on August 25, 2003 05:07 AM

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