I lucked out on my flight from Santiago to Auckland, NZ… The seat next to me was unoccupied so I got to throw up the armrest, spread out and throw off my shitkickers, which smelled suspiciously similar to Cool Ranch Doritos. I didn’t really sleep though – made the mistake of watching action movies (inc. Expendables 3… ridiculous but totally sweet) and I was way too pumped to nod off. As a result I was kind of out of it when I landed in Auckland and got a little shit when I wasn’t following directions very well, not because I was being a dick or a turr’ist, but just because my brain was fried.
After a short layover I flew into Melbourne and I was way too wired at that point, for a few reasons:
- I’d checked my hobo bindle in Santiago. I’ve mentioned it before, but basically it’s my tent and my sleeping bag wrapped up in a hi-viz hoodie and tied down with bungee cords. Due to being “improperly packed” (as the airline put it) I had to sign off on a waiver effectively saying my stuff is shit and if it gets fucked up it’s my fault. I didn’t really expect to find it at the baggage claim in Melbourne.
- I had to pick it up in Melb despite my final destination being Adelaide because I had to clear customs in Melb. When filling out the immigration card I had to check “yes” to several questions that I knew would get me flagged. One question was a bit obfuscated but was obviously wondering whether I’ve been in a yellow fever area (yup). Two others involved being around freshwater areas for fear of biocontamination (yup, not just me but my tent too, if it made it to Melb).
- I had virtually nothing left – a few ratty t-shirts, one pair of pants with a hole in the arse, not a hell of a lot else… I look like a straight up bum despite having shaved up my beard before leaving Santiago. And I’m supposed to be getting in here on a 457 work visa. Riiiight.
- I had less than two hours to get off the plane, get my shit, clear immigration, clear customs, re-check my hobo bindle, go through security again and get to my next plane
Amazingly, it was a piece of cake. My bindle was one of the first pieces of luggage off the plane and it was intact. I got flagged at customs but they just asked if my tent was clean and said have a nice day. The Qantas desk was empty when I went to check my baggage so I went straight up to the front. Nothing to her. With that out of the way I passed out immediately upon taking my seat and slept hard through take-off and right into Adelaide.
So yeah, that’s it. Almost six months of roaming and rambling, a pretty damn good run. I’m staying in a hotel for the time being, I’ve picked up a bunch of new clothes that don’t have holes in them, re-learned how to tie a tie, and I’m back to work.
It’s hard to wrap my head around being “settled” again but I’m stoked, no doubt. I’ve been to Adelaide before but either I’d forgotten or never realized what a cool city this is. It’s a nice-looking city, a good mix of classical and modern architecture with a nice park-lined riverfront. Aussie birds are everywhere – rainbow lorakeets abound, and I’ve been squawked by a cockatoo at striking distance from above my head. There plenty of wingless “birds” here too – I don’t know if it’s because of the university, the season or what, but there are a ton of attractive ladies around. Great restaurants too – in the last couple days I’ve eaten Italian, Malay and Korean food and there are dumpling shops everywhere. It sounds like I landed here at the right time as well, just before what’s locally known as “Mad March”, with a month-long fringe festival kicking off this weekend, an arts festival at the end of the month, a few rock shows (Soundgarden + Faith No More next weekend), World Cup of Cricket just down the road and V8 Supercars next month.
It may sound odd but I’m actually glad to be back to work too – I need to clear out the cobwebs upstairs and get my game back, for sure. Along with a lot of my focus being diverted by work, another part of the reason that being off the road hasn’t really hit me yet is because I don’t feel like I’m off the road. I’ve lived in Australia in the past but this neck of the woods is mostly new to me, and there’s enough happening here both in and out of the city, that I don’t see myself getting bored or antsy for a long time.
With that in mind, Murphy and I are already cooking up plans for the next trip, and we’re going to keep this blog alive, tossing up pics and stories about short trips we take in the meantime, and possibly some “Throwback Thursday” style posts of past adventures.
Until then, ciao…