Been a bit quiet on here recently but I’ve been working on a few blogs regarding tips for travellers, information on things to see and do, keeping fit while travelling and more. They’ll all be up, along with more photographs and memories, very soon.
As I write this, I’m sat in the kitchen/dining area of the Hostel I was staying at. I’m sat here cos I’ve already checked out and I’m killing time before I head out to the airport this evening. And where am I heading? Home!
At 2.40pm GMT, I’ll be rocking up to the airport in London and into the freezing English winter. Today it’s exceeding 30 degrees here in Melbourne. I don’t own any clothes that are remotely suited for conditions anything other than slightly overcast so I’m hoping that my Mum will have the foresight to bring me a jacket!
I don’t know how to describe how I feel right now. I’m half incredibly upset that this leg of my journey has come to an end and half excited to get home to my friends, family and all of the comforts which I’ve come to miss so much out here. A decent bed and a spot of privacy will be welcomed with more than open arms. I damn well expect I shan’t leave my room for days and will spend the majority of the time completely naked - because I can!
But, I’m already in the process of filling out my application for a Canadian Working Visa, so don’t go anywhere. It might not be georgedownunder anymore, but it’ll certaintly be georgesomewhere!
I’ll write more very soon, I just wanted to say thank you, Australia - you’ve been awesome.
And all those who’re reading this from home - I’ll see you very soon.
Oh, and Merry Christmas everyone - I’ll be flying in a Santa hat. Just saying.
View from the 88th floor of the Eureka Sky Tower, Melbourne, December 2011.
Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney | November 2011. A little piece of serenity amongst a buzzing city.
Cappucino from the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Cockle Bay. Was incredible. Plus, I like the shot.
‘I’m never drinking again’ I dishonestly promise myself as I struggle to hold down a Macca’s on the way to the airport. Needless to say my last night - doubled in potency due to it being Ryan’s birthday and doubled again due to it also being Meg’s – was a big one. I was upset to be leaving Brisbane with so many bars still unvisited but we made a damn good job of making a whistle stop tour of them all on Friday night; Bowler Bar, Fringe Bar, Alloneword, RG’s, Rics and beyond. My initial ‘I’m-not-going-to-drink-too-much-I-don’t-want-to-be-hungover-on-the-plane’ declaration was stamped out when, on arriving at the bar, a friend of a friend who I’d never met placed a quarter of a $95 round in my hands. I have no idea what the shot was but it wasn’t pleasant, even the chaser seemed to want to run away from it rather than chase it down. But the night was a go from there. Jagerbombs, Skittlebombs (Cointreau and Redbull – delicious and, in my opinion, far superior to Jagerbombs), shots, beers, champagnes, ciders and vodka were all common place.
Cue drunken activity, dancing, making friends and the like and fast forward a few hours - I find myself in the CBD and it’s daylight.
“To bed!” I exclaim and share emotional goodbyes with my Australian compadres, made easier with the notion that I perhaps, definitely, maybe, absolutely will be, potentially, possibly be back in the New Year.
“You better be!” I’m told.
I wake up far too early given the circumstances. I’m still drunk. I eat some cereal, happy days. I begin packing and ruthlessly throwing out items that I’ve grown weary of or haven’t worn or I’m keeping as a memory. “Memories are for girls!” I scream as I plunge the items deep into a bin liner destined for the bin or charity. With this, I free up a good 4kg or so of weight in my bag allowing me to save money in baggage prices or, more likely, fill the empty space with Tim Tams and tacky Australian souvenirs to give out as make shift Christmas presents. Surpriseeee! I can’t wait to see your attempt at masking your disappointment as you open a poorly wrapped present revealing a $2 koala keyring, tantamount to getting you nothing at all, which will inevitably wind up in a box in the loft until one day it resurfaces in the distant future to be sold at a carboot sale for ten pence.
Anyway where was I? Oh yes, Brisbane.
I finish packing and the reality of the situation dawns on me – I’m leaving! I feel nauseous, or is that just the hangover? This place has really felt like home to me. Meg comes home from work and we hang out for a final few hours before it’s that time. A quick scan around the room to ensure I’ve not left anything and my bags are swept up and deposited into the backseat of Meg’s car.
Forty minutes and one more emotional goodbye later and I’m in the queue for the check in desk. I’m a little early. When I finally reach the counter after being herded through the winding queue like some sort of lemming, the check in guy – he looked like a Gary, we’ll call him Gary – beckons me to come forward. I present my boarding pass. I’m not asked for ID of any sort. Gary Looking looks perplexed.
“That flight leaves in ten minutes?!” he thinks aloud, “That’s in ten minutes!”
The hashtag #facepalm pops in to my head as I silently congratulate Gary for his alertness and diligence.
“My flight doesn’t leave for another 2 hours, the 6.40pm to Sydney - currently delayed until 7pm” I assure him.
“Is that information current?” he challenges.
“As current as the departures board”
By this point I’m getting a little annoyed with Gary and his barrage of questions. I’ve noticed a small piece of paper on his desk which he’s using to find the flight numbers to enter in to the system; I can clearly see one of them says Sydney 6.40pm. In an exceptionally English way, with a gentle smile, I reach over and tap the correct flight.
“Oh” he says with a smile. “Haha.”
“Haha”, I laugh with him. In my head I think ‘#not’.
In a feeble attempt at flattery, Gary tells me I look exceptionally able bodied (#oohmatron). With this he presents me with a leaflet dictating the responsibilities of someone in an Emergency Exit seat. It all seems harmless enough – be able to open, lift and throw the 15kg door but only after inspecting whether it’s safe to do so blah blah – and for extra leg room? Sign me up.
My time at the airport is uneventful and without incident. It’s – what’s that colour the walls are painted in rented housing? – Magnolia! It’s Magnolia; it’s not offensive, but it’s not pleasant either. And before long my flight is called; I board, appreciate my leg room, greet my neighbours and get stuck in to my book, saddened to be leaving Brisbane behind in the jet stream.
Sydney Panoramics, November 27th 2011. So pleased with how these came out. Makes the horrendous sunburn and aching feet worth it. Loving the new camera, this setting in particular. Expect more of this from Sydney & Melbourne alike.
Brisbane! I love this city! Panoramic view from the Goodwill Bridge. South Bank on the left, CBD on the right.