President's Report - November 2008

Greetings All,

Last month I spent two weeks in Brazil, including several days in Rio de Janeiro. There is a PSA Peugeot/Citroen manufacturing plant at Porto Real in Rio de Janeiro state, producing, among other models, the 206 SW which was never sold in Australia, but proving to be very popular in Brazil, judging from the number on the road in Rio. In Rio I also spotted a 306 wagon (very rare in Oz) and a 307 sedan (i.e. 4 doors and a regular boot), which I confess I never even knew existed. I travelled extensively through the country of inland Rio de Janeiro state, and visited several delightful, small towns, where we stayed in pousadas (the Brazilian equivalent of a B & B), all of which were excellent. At one pousada, I had my first encounter with a toucan - what a silly beak!

Picture of Toucan

Fascinatingly, the further out in the country we went, the more apparent were VWs, particularly "old" beetles. I say "old" because I saw a 1996 beetle for sale in a car yard in one town - they were still being made in Brazil up until the late 1990s!! Interestingly, I had to have a Yellow Fever vaccination to go to Brazil. Well, that's not quite true - I actually had to have a current Yellow Fever vaccination certificate to get back into Australia from Brazil. I duly had the vaccination a few days before leaving Australia and suffered mild side effects (general tiredness and some nausea) during the first couple of days in Brazil. Since I did not go anywhere near the Amazon, the vaccination was probably unnecessary, but I still had to have it, apparently. Anyway, I returned to Canberra from Brazil in time for the club AGM at the Canberra Services Club.

I'd like to thank our after-dinner speakers, Jim and Scott Taylor, who gave an excellent illustrated talk on their recent participation in the Red Centre to Gold Coast Rally. I would also like to thank the outgoing club committee for their excellent support over the last year and welcome the very familiar incoming committee for the year ahead. Since we were unable to fill two committee positions (Secretary and Social Secretary) at the AGM, nominations for these positions will be sought at the upcoming club meeting to be held on Tuesday, 25 November at the Canberra Services Club.

As usual, we will meet for dinner at 7 pm, with the meeting to follow at 8 pm. On Saturday 8 November, I represented the club at the Telopea Park School Fete. Despite threatening rain clouds in the morning, the afternoon was fine enough to take the black 203 for a run. Rick and Ros Phillips brought their black 206 CC, and the two cars received many admiring glances. Barry McAdie also displayed his Renault Alpine (not black, but a fine machine notwithstanding).

At one stage an older gent posed next to the 203 while his son took his photo. I strolled over and he said how much he liked the car. Then he said, "What kind of car is it?" and I left him extolling the virtues of older cars, regardless of make, and reminiscing about his particular favourite - an EJ Holden!! Oh well, no accounting for taste!

Don't forget the upcoming events "Marques in the Park", the club Christmas BBQ and of course the next club meeting. Sadly I will be away again and will miss the Marques in the Park event and the club meeting. However, I will be back for the Christmas BBQ on Sunday 7 December which will be held at the Pillans Pug Palace, 30 Aspen Rise, Jerrabomberra, starting at 5 pm. The club will provide meat; please bring other goodies to suit.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad