My last post told stories from my recent trip to Cambodia. What I didn’t tell was the story of my travels upon leaving. We left for the airport at 6am local time, flying to Beijing via Guangzhou. I called my favourite driver to pick me up when I arrived in Beijing, and he took me straight home. He also arranged for another driver to pick me up 3 hours later to go BACK to the airport. Next was a flight to Perth in Western Australia, via Singapore. Cambodia, China, Singapore, Australia – all in 30 hours. Okay, so technically I didn’t enter Singapore, since I didn’t cross customs, but I’m counting it in this case!
Once in Perth I picked up my rental car and drove to the home of China friends Jo and Bruce; I love visiting them whenever I’m in town. I met them in Beijing years ago, and attended their wedding ceremony in Zhuhai, even going to Macao with Jo to buy her wedding ring. We’re all bilingual (Bruce is Chinese) and so conversation is a relaxed blend of whatever-language-happens-to-come-out. There’s also something very lovely about speaking Chinese in Australia.
They also understand the culture-lag I experience when I “come home” so it was a nice way to ease in. For example, I made the mistake of going to the local shopping centre by myself. I got a little shaky, overwhelmed by, well, everything! Strangers speaking English to me, people speaking English all around me, lots of new products on the shelves, much of the familiar stuff repackaged, and (of course), self-service checkouts. And so, so, SO many choices. It was much better going back with Jo and Bruce later on – less people, and some extra support!
It was a restful three days, starting to decompress. I watched the first two seasons of Downton Abbey, played with the boys (fielding endless kid questions), and marvelled over the clean air – being able to see so far so clearly! It’s amazing how I’ve adjusted to seeing only a short distance. Although what threw me most wasn’t the long long distance view, but the short distance clarity – that what I could see 200-300m away was crystal clear blew me away. I’m accustomed to the blurring effect of smog.
One particularly lovely thing was hanging out at a local cafe, across the road from the beach. We sat on a sort of verandah overseeing the beautiful blue ocean, and the beautiful blue sky.
Soon I was on my way back to the airport, ready to fly to Broome – my fourth climate in 5 days…