I arrived “home” in the UK this morning without incident. Long-ish line at immigration, but baggage in place (a good thing, since I realized at the midway point in Bangkok that my house-keys were in my checked luggage) and a nice driver to pick me up and take me home, via the remarkably quiet early Sunday morning M-25. But back up about 24 hours (I’m not sure anymore what the time change and the travel time actually add up to, so bear with me…)
My last morning in Sydney, I hit the “Museum of Sydney” which was okay, but made better by (a) being across the street from my hotel and (b) having both a great bookshop and cafe. I partook of both. Books on the Harbour Bridge from the shop, and brunch in the cafe. Typical Aussie moment: sitting in the cafe, a bloke comes in and says, “G’day mate, you still on brekky?” I’ll miss that accent and that lingo now that I’m back in England! After that I took a stroll through the botanic gardens, both along the waterfront and deeper in the gardens. I tried hard to get the iconic Sydney shot, the Opera House with the Harbour Bridge in the background (all my previous photos were from the area between the two landmarks) but the lighting was poor and I’m not going to post my sub-standard efforts. It was a nice morning, and with my having arranged late check-out with the hotel, I had a leisurely morning and early afternoon before making my way to the Sydney airport around 1:30.
I went to the Qantas counter to check in, and had a most amusing agent. He took my passport, and looked at the photo and then me, said, “your hair is much longer now.” True, my passport photo was taken in my post-divorce very short hair phase. I’m back to my more normal shoulder-length locks at the moment. “It’s much more attractive now,” he said. I giggled. What more can you do? He pulled up my reservation, looked up, and said, “Oooh, DOCTOR” which again made me giggle. I doubt very much he was being flirtatious, just Australian. And I loved it.
Spent my last Aussie dollars on silly souvenirs, a Sydney hoodie and an opal pendant with a boomerang. Enjoyed the long ride home. Read a complete book on the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, picked up at the Museum store that morning. When finished, watched anything that resembled a cooking show, to the extent that the French onion soup bubbling away on my cooktop right now is the recipe I watched on the plane this morning. When I went to Australia at Christmas time I watched cooking shows on the way there, and then made quiche every day for a week in my rented flat. This time I was staying in hotels so I waited to watch cooking shows until I was on the way home, and now I’ve got both the soup going and a sponge for ciabatta bread. I love being inspired by cooking shows. I swear, if and when I give up science, it’s cooking that I will turn to.
Just think, 5 years ago I had not been to Europe. I’ve lived here almost three years. Two years ago I had never been to Asia (Singapore) and a year ago I had never been to Australia. And the best part? Now that I’ve been to Singapore twice and Australia twice (and plan to go back whenever possible) it’s time to start planning my next adventure. On the table: China, Japan, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and I just had an invite to go with a friend to Machu Picchu. Lots of thinking to do before I decide what to do next. Lots of logistics to arrange and work schedules to work around. But hey, this is the reward I get for the ridiculous hours I work. Childless, divorced, currently lacking in hobbies and only averaging a trip or two to the gym per week (although my post-trip resolve says that has GOT to change). A bit of travel is pretty much all I get for fun these days. And when living out of a suitcase becomes your definition of fun… look out!
But we are truly back to my regular life, at least for the next few weeks. And that means a job in England, cooking as much as possible, and following the Ashes. Book reviews from the trip to follow. But now, having made it awake past 7 pm, I’m over and out.