Thursday, September 21, 2006
What a Long Strange Trip
Have arrived in Brisbane after what can only be described as a marathon flight. The first leg to Singapore took 12 hours, then after a two hour stop it was upwards and onwards for the final 8 hourr leg to destination Oz. Travelling by plane is one of those activities best undertaken in company - on your own the whole experience is only marginally better than waiting for hell to freeze over. It's also impossible to sleep due to chattering people, crying babies, stewardesses who wake you up to offer you food - on this trip a succession of breakfasts was on offer but lunch and supper were eschewed - and pilots who seem to think it's a big joke to hurl the plane around in turbulance, and do a kind of 'now you see it, now you don't' with the 'fasten seat belt' sign.
Getting in to Oz is actually more difficult than getting out of the UK. Here your luggage is x-rayed and you get searched on the way in, whilst you're exhorted every few yards by signs warning of the dire consequences waiting anyone attempting to smuggle in wheat, grains, animal feed, sweets, Marmite sandwiches, or other dangerous foodstuffs - airports tend to reveal an enormous amount about a nation's obsessions and psyche, of which more later.
Having made it through customs I was enormosly pleased to see the hulking figure of my mate Wilf - the original 'tall guy', who immediately whisked me away to bar in the seedier area of Brisbane, where he insisted we 'sink a few beers.' Thirty hours without sleep and I was already getting my first taste of Oz nightlife. After that it was back to his place to talk long into the night about schooldays, and who will and won't be attending the re-union. At the top is a pic of his fantastic house - like many in Oz it's on stilts and surrouneded by a verandah.
Tomorrow....ten hour road trip to Dubbo!!