Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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Monday itself in San Francisco was lively enough, traipsing up and over the hilly streets and traversing the 'world's crookedest', not to mention devouring two whole bags of pot stickers on foot between catching buses, trams, and trains over to the airport to sink a few goodbye beers with Andris. I was knackered long before the pilot took his seat.
I boarded the plane just before 7pm on Monday evening, knackered. I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand somewhere around 5am Wednesday morning. I then spent the best part of four to five hours sitting around like a dopey thing waiting for my final flight down to Queenstown. I finally touched tarmac around 1pm Wednesday afternoon, largely absent and considerably numb. Oh and I don't sleep on planes. I can't.
So to pull myself away from a jovial 'welcome back' supping at around 11pm Wednesday evening took no effort at all, not that I had any effort left in me. I absolutely ached for sleep.
But first I headed down to the lake. I had to see the mountains. It had been three whole months, a lifetime away. I was there all of ten, maybe fifteen minutes when the strangest thing happened. I wanted to leave Queenstown. I knew, right there and then, that I was ready to move on. I've been struggling with the idea of leaving New Zealand for some time. It's had such a profound effect, and the thought of moving on has - at the best of times - brought on one of those dull sinking feelings. But this was entirely different. There was no sinking feeling, just a mild build up of excitement at the whole idea of setting foot on Australian soil, genuine excitement at moving on.
I honestly never thought I'd reach this godsend of a moment. I've always assumed it would be such a reluctant move. But no, I knew there and then. I don't even know why, though I suspect the States trip has a lot to do with it. The whole experience over there has opened up so many ideas, possibilities and hankerings for things new, I can only go forward. There is no option but to go forward. I suppose you could say, in short, that the States has readied me for Aussie in some way. In true American style too, like the United - States - of America, has finally 'set me freeeee' as it does to so many other troubled souls.
But times do change and things move forward. I looked around a lot that first night back and remember noticing how things have changed. In a big way too. It doesn't have the same feel as it did before. The old Pig & Whistle has been replaced with a 'new and improved' Pig & Whistle. But it's not the same. It has no character. It's just like another bland Wetherspoon's found all over the UK, another construction of characterless shite.
I also noticed that a good majority of folk around town have moved on, their places taken by a new influx, by people who don't smile and start up a round of banter as you walk in. It was alien, bordering on uncomfortable and that's when it hit me. That's when I knew I've just been an idiot all this time. Comfort zones don't work, they only inhibit, and yet their crafty little chains magically find their way around your life and start to tighten, little by little, until they cabbage you. I realised I was starting to become a cabbage again. And so the path presented itself, and with such a long-harboured weight lifted from my shoulders, I headed off to bed and slept for a small eternity..
Happy birthday Crack..