Pans and injuries

In the time that I’ve been away, I’ve managed to: scrap the knees and shin on the same leg twice, cracked half a toenail, somehow contract an infection of a nail cuticle (probably caused by hang nail) that made the finger swell, got a gash across my hand from the toilet door (!), grew numerous blisters and ankle bruises from walking too much, suffered a mild heatstroke and a sunburn on the face in the Australian sun. Also got my hiking shoes ripped good, tore some other parts of my clothes. The maladies of travel, as small as they are, remind me that I’m still partly enjoying myself and still away from where I usually live.

I leave Sydney today, wryly looking at the scars gained during these 17 days and think, inadvertently, about all the people that I’ve met over differing circumstances, the most unusual meeting was over a non-stick teflon pan while frying breakfast one morning. An elderly lady – formerly from Australia now living in Kiwiland – was frying pancakes (albeit rather badly), I tried to cook them too. It worked out somehow as we formed a mutual understanding of sharing leftover bacon fat.

I moaned over the loss of the red rental car and the freedom to visit everything at a whim. Forced to rely on only the feet and my oft-complained-about walking speed, I covered the city centre over and over again, trying to convince myself that Aussie fashion wasn’t as bad as it seemed, ending up buying chocolates and household cleaning products instead to bring back.

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And I went whale-watching again, seeing in less spectacular fashion, humpback whales’ blowholes and not much more from a distance of 100m. Squashed together with a strange (and sometimes stupid) group of people, the boat’s left propeller got caught in a fishing trap, rendering it nearly useless; we limped along the coast drearily and essentially stopped whale-watching at that point, saved from boredom by jumping dolphins who saved the day once more. Although I say goodbye today, the lack of regret and longing that accompany the end of every trip is unusually absent; my only gripe being the long flight back. Sydney, like London, felt intimidating the more I read about it in the travel guides, until you actually step foot and realise that – with some help from the very genial people in the visitor information booths – it’s sort of manageable.

Suddenly, there was too much to see: a potential day trip to the Blue mountains, a day down Bondi among (fake?) tanners, or to go to the Manly shore to do ‘manly’ things like swim with sharks in Ocean world, go for a performance at the Opera house instead of just walking around it.

Cheerios Oceania, I’ll definitely miss you.

Sydney the great

Ah, Sydney, the consummate city, to which I was introduced not via its famed beaches and tacky surfing stereotypes but via the bad traffic and even bad-der drivers. “I don’t have to give you any way, you’re in my lane,” the old lady driving the van vented defiantly at another van as she wove her steady way […]

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Memories

Kathryn the proprietress embodies the resilient spirit of those living in Christchurch who were badly affected by the quake yet chose to remain amidst the city’s reconstruction efforts. The long term effort, as she insists, is eventually good for the economy and employment prospects, with the added advantage of social bonding in the years to […]

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Whale of a time

Tourist tours thrive in Kaikoura, a small coastal town with a huge variety of marine life to boast of – it was for this reason that I wanted to see whales, after being severely disappointed that the tours had been cancelled for a few days. With nothing else to do, the seal point at Point […]

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Heading East

The Pacific Coast Highway (SH 35) is a motorway that stretches the entire rugged East Cape of New Zealand’s North Island, and also touted as one of the most scenic drives in the world. We completed our journey along this magnificent but incredibly difficult 420km stretch (possibly longer, since we started off at Rotorua towards Opotiki) first […]

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Eau de Rotorua

We sped in to Rotorua (as fast as we could given the 3-hr journey that was supposedly meant to last only 1.5 hrs)  and stepped out to the disturbingly familiar fart-like presence heralding geothermal activity. A hasty lunch of Fish and Chips at Oppies – which is a bizarre fast food stand that is a melange […]

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An eternity in …

An eternity in hell, I swear, is akin to sitting for an interminably long time in a plane to goodness-knows-where. Forget the fire, brimstone and the false preachers folks, the aeroplane, the A380, the 777…cattle class, coach, economy, is the new hell. An eternity in the plane later with no sleep and a rushed stopover in Sydney, […]

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