It was great to fly to Brisbane, Australia on the 30th of January, as I felt a sense of the project progressing. Some friends kindly put me up for the five days I spent there. The balloon arrived safely and I was relieved to hear that it went through Biosecurity without any problems. Australia is well know for its strict Biosecurity regulations. A friend of mine who was also shipping balloons there at the same time, was pulled up by Biosecurity and told they weren’t clean enough. They were held for around 3 weeks while they were cleaned, at quite a cost.
Coincidentally, the truck went through Biosecurity on the same day as the balloon. It also had no problems and I went to check it out at the garage it was being stored at. There was no damage from shipping and all seemed to be in order. I will take possession of it sometime over the next few days.
While in Brisbane, I talked with UNICEF Australia about school visits and how we can work together. I also went to look for various items that will be needed for the project such as hardware, recovery equipment and useful things for the truck, I contacted DB Schenker about shipping and storage, and sorted out various paperwork.
I left Australia on the 4th of February and headed to Turkey for 13 days to see my Girlfriend, (who lives there). It was the last time to catch up with her for at least a few months. I also caught up with friends and worked on the project. Organising the project keeps me busy seven days a week, no matter where I am.
The coming week will be a very busy one: I have to take ownership of the truck and organise the Carnet for it, pick up the balloon from the DB Schenker warehouse, organise shipping of the balloon and truck to Malaysia, buy various supplies for the trip ahead and arrange school visits in Australia. The schools that I will visit were confirmed yesterday. There will be more about that in my next post.