By now, you probably know I’ve left Australia and am enjoying being back in New Hampshire. I never announced that I was leaving until after I actually left Oz. The purpose of this was so I could surprise a couple of my family members. I wrote the following blog while sitting in the airport in Sydney on August 27 (Sydney time) waiting for my flight to depart. I forgot to post it when I returned home.
August 27, 2009
The final 10 days of my Australia trip were fun. I initially thought they would be grueling because all I would be thinking about was going home. But, they proved to be relaxing.
I was pretty hurting on cash and knew I’d have to get creative with meals for 10 days. Thank goodness I am a master of the grilled cheese. I bought some incredibly cheap bread and cheese, and some apples, and had grilled cheese sandwiches and apples for most of my meals for a week. One might think that’s awful, but I don’t think you understand how much I enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches. It was heavenly.
The rest of that week I listened to a lot of Red Sox games on the internet and slowly packed a little every day.
On my final Saturday night, I went to an ice hockey game with the York Brothers, as well as a few of the guys we play hockey with. It was great to see some ice hockey even if it was pretty awful. It featured the Sydney Bears vs. the Canberra Knights. Mike and Curt have a couple friends I’d met a couple of times on the Canberra team.
The Knights and the Bears were the league’s worst two teams. They were telling me this was Australia’s best hockey league, but I honestly think I could have contributed out there. I’m sure the top teams have some solid players. I think there are a lot of European and Canadian players on the better teams, so there has to be talent. But on this occasion, it looked like men’s league.
The next day, Curt York had his final soccer match of the year. He was playing in the championship game, which in Australia is called the Grand Finale. It’s hard to explain but I’ll try.
Where I live, there are tons of soccer leagues. Or rather, levels. So each town has their own team, for example, Curt plays for Lilli Pilli (Yeah the name of an actual suburb) and Lilli Pilli has around 16 teams. Curt was telling me it is the largest football organization in the Southern Hemisphere.
Anyway, if your team has success in the league it is in, then the next season the team moves up a level. So Curt’s team was playing in the Level 6 Grand Finale, and if they won, would move up to Level 5 next season.
It was a gorgeous day for a soccer game. I think it hit 75 degrees and was sunny all day. I walked a good three or four miles to the game, underestimating the walk. So I missed the first 15 minutes or so. When I arrived, Lilli Pilli was up 1-0.
Right before the end of the half, a Lilli Pilli player and a Miranda player collided while attacking the ball and the Lilli Pilli player broke his leg! It just sounded bad. I didn’t have a great look at it, but I heard it. The ambulance took forever to get there, and the game ended up being stopped for 90 minutes while they took the poor guy off to the hospital. (Or as that sentence would read in Australia….”…ended up being stopped for 90 minutes while they took the poor guy to hospital.” They don’t use THE when referring to the hospital)
In the second half, Miranda scored on a penalty kick and seemed to have the momentum for the remainder of the game. Neither team could score until the second overtime, Lilli Pilli got a breakaway and capitalized. They won 2-1. It was an exciting finish.
It was good to say goodbye to Curt’s parents and a couple other friends I’d met along the way.
On my final night in the Shire, Curt and his girlfriend Paivi, Mike, Eoin and his girlfriend Steph, Bryce and Mick took me out to dinner to say farewell. I was really touched by this. I wasn’t expecting anything really. I chose a Mexican restaurant that I had wanted to try for a few months because I didn’t have Mexican food my entire stay in Australia. It was okay, a little overpriced. In Australia they don’t give out free nachos and salsa. But I had a beef enchilada. It tasted great.
It was sad saying goodbye to all of them, but goodbyes are sad. In the morning I got up early and said goodbye to my roommate Steve. Jeff then brought me to the airport where I had to wait six hours for my flight.
And that was the end of the post. I should have documented the rest of the trip because it was fairly eventful. Here is what I remember from that flight home...
Written on September 17, 2009
My flight home from Sydney consisted of three flights: Sydney to Fiji, Fiji to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Boston. The flight from Sydney to Fiji is the one I will always remember. I was in the aisle seat, with an Australian guy sitting next to me and a British woman who was about 20, sitting in the window seat.
Prior to takeoff, we talked about our travel habits and if we liked to sleep or move around. The woman seemed nice and I felt it would be a smooth ride having her there.
Let's fast forward to the middle of the night. It's dark, I'm sound asleep, just like most of the rest of the plane is when I awake to the sound of someone vomiting. Is it the guy next to me? Nope. But it is the nice British 20 something woman next to him. What a nightmare. Can you imagine that this plane has probably 400 or more passengers and the woman in MY ROW throws up! What are the odds?!
It was a long night of cleaning up for that young lady. I was so turned off that I didn't help her much. I don't think I should feel guilty about that. The Australian guy who was sitting next to me was pretty horrified but did a decent job at helping her out at first. Eventually he and I just went and stood by the bathrooms for what seemed a good half hour. Luckily for him, there was one empty seat left on the plane so he was able to sit there. I, on the other hand, had to sit there all night.
At this point, I took advantage of the "Free booze on international flights" policy and ordered a couple of Jim Beam and Cokes. I watched a couple movies to distract me. Honestly there wasn't much smell so it wasn't unbearable, but the sick British woman now was sitting right next to me because here seat was just a mess.
The rest of the night I stayed awake making sure she didn't deliver a repeat performance. A couple times I thought sure she was going to lose it again. My attitude was a tad on the annoyed side. This woman had told me she was on one of the beginning legs of an around the world trip. I guess as someone who considers himself to be the lowest of the low maintenance travel companions, I can't understand why some people travel when it is such a hassle to get from point A to point B.
The rest of the flights went smoothly. LAX was great to spend eight or nine hours in. The first thing I had was a Burger King Coffee, then several Bud Lights. I made it home about 36 hours after I left Sydney.
Look forward to more blog posts coming soon!