President's Report - February 2012
After a busy year of travel last year, my New Year’s resolution is to travel less and enjoy being at home. Somehow I managed to visit Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), South Africa, Switzerland, Chile (including Easter Island) and Argentina, not to mention a couple of trips to WA. Sadly I didn’t get to drive a Pug in any of those places, though I saw plenty.
The travel highlight was definitely the holiday that Sue and I made to Chile/Argentina/Easter Island. Peugeots are fairly common in South America, making up about 10% of cars on the road in the areas that we visited in southern Chile and Argentina, including models (e.g. 206 wagon) that were not sold in Australia. In the rural area of southern Chile, around Puerto Montt, Pug vans (Partner) were the most numerous model.
We made a brief trip across the Andes to the mountain resort town of Bariloche in Argentina, where I was surprised to find a plethora of older cars – 504s, including many utes, were still common. At one point I had to look twice when I spotted a late ‘50s Ford Customline in a carpark, clearly being used as a daily drive. I confess that when I was a young country lad, in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, a Customline was my dream car (along with most of my mates).
Bariloche was also notable for the huge number of Renaults on the road – something like 20% of cars. On the way home from southern Chile, we spent a few days on Easter Island, 4-6 hours flying time west of Santiago, depending on winds. Even on Easter Island (Rapa Nui to the locals; Isla de Pascua to Chileans) there were a few Pugs, including a rare (in Australia) 306 wagon, and there was even a Peugeot clock at the airport.
Recently, I was in Mildura for a conference, also attended by local club member, Graham Taylor. The conference was held at the well-known Grand Hotel, which also houses the famous Stefano’s Restaurant. We didn’t eat at Stefano’s this time, but we did eat at the Seasons Restaurant, also in the Grand, which was excellent. Graham drove his RCZ and I drove my 508, so we took a few photos down by the river and outside the hotel to mark the occasion. Interestingly, the Grand Hotel sports a rampant lion above the entrance, so our Pugs were in good company.
Our first club meeting for 2012, on Tuesday 28 February, will be held at a new venue – The Weston Club at 1 Liardet St, Weston. As usual, the meeting will start at 8pm, with dinner from 7pm. Members are encouraged to join the Weston Club ($5/year, with discount for multi-year membership), but otherwise can be signed into the club by an existing member.
Finally, there will be a welcome-to-2012 BBQ at 5.30pm on Sunday 18 March. The venue will be at our place - BYO drinks; food provided.
Keep on Pugging,