There’s No Place Like Home

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Feb 20, 2014

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Where I stayed
Sisters Place
What I did
Lots and lots

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wow, what a trip that was. Despite all my best efforts to plan the hell out of my first break back to Perth, it still ended up being busy and a tad stressful at times. But, I did so much and saw almost everyone that I wanted to and that was the main thing. Having spent 7 months away from home, and undertaken so many amazing world trips, I was desperate to return home and re-centre myself and catch up with everyone. I said it following my 1st European trip in 2009 and I mean it – there's no place like home. Travel is all relative - the places you find amazing in the world are only amazing because you compare them to home and what you do or don’t have. I am definitely grateful to have these travel opportunities, but it is when I go home that I really feel like it is real. I was thinking on the 24 hr return journey about the phrase "home is where the heart is"…I think this is definitely true. But the weird thing was that when I returned to my simple room in Ghana, I felt like I was back to normal life and then I thought maybe that phrase should be “home is where you don’t live out of a suitcase”! That place for me is now Ghana. I wouldn’t call it home, but it is my base. A base that is the closest thing I have to reality and a normal life routine.

So, enough of the philosophical reflective crap. Here’s the Perth summary.

My flight was slightly delayed leaving Dubai and I arrived back to the most isolated capital city in the world (Perth!) close to 2am. I stocked up on some duty free booze and then picked up my blue Holden Cruze hire car with sun-roof (the only cool thing about the car) and then proceeded to drive on the wrong side of the road leaving the airport car park (they drive on the right in Ghana) but quickly realised when there was a taxi heading towards me. Oops. Day 1 was definitely hitting the ground running with my sisters’ birthday at the Windsor in South Perth and a bit of spontaneous shopping. I felt surprisingly good – I think that jet-lag is all a state of mind anyway. I unwrapped several souvenirs for the first time since I bought them and best of all was that nothing was broken or damaged!

The initial days flew by with family/friend catch-ups, a barrage of medical/dental appointments, shopping, watching Danny Green lose his boxing match, and sleeping. 2nd weekend was a trip to the family home-town of Quairading for a very good couple of days (despite the killer hangover on the Saturday) and then catching up with a good mate for my first Aussie inspired BBQ in ages. Then family early-Christmas lunch on the Sunday followed by a visit to the final family members and to have a drink with my no-longer-a-teenager cousin! BUSY.

I managed to squeeze in an inspection of my investment property townhouse, more friend catch ups, and then the 3rd and final weekend arrived which equated to possibly the busiest 5 days in my freaking life. But well worth it! I cruised back into Boddington for the first time since I moved out on 16th February. I had thought about this moment for a fair bit. I spent 5 yrs of my life living here and it means a lot to me in many ways. First thing I did was turn that first right into town and checked out my former home to see what the new occupiers have done…not much it seems. The town hasn’t changed much either…it’s not like it has been 2 years, so I don’t know what I was expecting. The only weird feeling I had was driving down that road off Albany Hwy towards Bodd - the first time that I was driving it and not coming home. It felt a little odd. I joke in Ghana when people ask me where is my house and I say that I am homeless – a global citizen. Maybe it isn’t a joke!! Whoah, I slipped back into philosophical mode.

Anyways, within 10 mins of arriving in Bodd I had my first visitor – the Steele Man. Within an hour, I had a little 'party’ underway and all while Stacey was not yet home! Moving onto the pub was a very quiet Thursday night. It started with just me and Nort having our favourite bacon & egg burger. Yumo. Actually was great for the 2 of us to have some solo time. And then the people dribbled in and it quickly turned messy messy messy. Waking up Friday morning was a cruel reminder about how evil alcohol is. But, being the trooper that I am, I powered through with enough time for some more catch-ups and then the housewarming of the year was underway at Stacey’s. It was a great night that didn’t end until I peered out the curtain to see daylight and then ran off to bed like a vampire seeking shelter!

With barely 4 hrs sleep, I was back on the road to check out Mel’s new house under construction (beautiful views) and then meet my bestie Bri out at Quindanning for the best steaks ever. A lesson learned was not to keep a hungry pregnant woman waiting 45 mins, especially one that gets bored when left alone for not even 2 minutes. Sorry darl. See, I even wrote about it in my blog how sorry I am for my inability to obey time constraints and inconsideration of babysitting rules. It was way too brief, but witty as ever. Can’t believe that two people I know will be mum’s of 2 when I next see them! Argh.

From Quinny, it was off to my Mait’s house in Mandurah. Fun times as always even tho the both of us were a little under the weather from previous big nights. Good to catch up with all. They are also building a new house and I went out to inspect that one too. Massive house that I cannot wait to see fully constructed. I think Maitland is building my dream home…except for that fireplace, I’m still not convinced. From Mandurah, it was off to my cousin’s place for lunch (I gorged myself on 3 french fries after taking 45 mins to eat one ham+cheese croissant for breakfast – a cross between seedy and anxiety was occupying my stomach). I was anxious because I was planning to surprise my Mum Sunday night by taking her to the Elton John concert. I had bought gold class tickets on ebay a few weeks earlier and thought it would be awesome to see him live and then thought it would be a nice time for mum and I to have some solo time. But I hadn’t really put any logistical thought into how I would actually do the surprise part. In the end, it went amazingly perfect. Dinner at Coco’s in South Perth (ordered and ate in 45 mins, but didn’t feel like the awful rush I was dreading) and then a quick drive to Burswood where I managed to score the best parking spot available on one of the busiest nights at Burswood for the year (Christmas Carols). Mum still had no clue what we were going to see until we took a left turn walking towards the Dome. Very fun to surprise her. And we even arrived with enough time to spare for a toilet break and then navigate our way to our 11th row incredible seats. Seats where u didn’t even need to look at the video screens. Amazing concert, amazing moment.

That brings me to my 19th and final day in Perth. Lunch with my former Bodd boss, last minute shopping, and then packing. 30 odd kilo’s of stuff...crazy. But it was all the stuff I had longed for when stuck in Ghana. All the stuff that was listed in my phone that I nearly deleted. A final dinner with the family at the new High Wycombe pub called Boab (really nice food, and they mistakenly didn’t charge us for our first round of drinks – bonza!) and then returning my hire car after having done 1200 km (about $1/km as it turns out). With the final goodbyes all said and done, I sat on the plane for 45 mins waiting for take-off as a lightning storm electrified the sky and prevented push-back. I was surprisingly calm. I hate take-offs, but seriously this was the first time in days that I had time to just sit still and relax, so thunderstorm or not, I was calm...and exhausted. Very short stop-over in Dubai due to the flight delay (but still enough time to get some duty free scotch) and then back to Accra. I have this routine so ironed out now that it feels like second nature. However, on the Accra flight, this guy I sat next to got up and down from his seat about 10 times and clambered all over me insisting that I not get up. It was awkward and after me getting confronted with a face full of his crotch, I had had enough. So the next time he climbed up, I edged out of my seat and that resulted in him stumbling and he tore my beloved $150 noise cancelling earphones out of the socket. I then fell back into the seat and my jeans caught on the jagged edge remains of the earphone plug and tore a hole in my jeans! I couldn’t exactly fault him for breaking my earphones, but man I was pissed off. Then the final moment of concern was when my bag was not appearing on the airport carousel...and then I spotted it on the other carousel. Of course it was on the wrong belt. Welcome back to Ghana!

PS – today is 12 months since the U2 concert at Subiaco. Best concert ever!!! Sorry Elton.

Interesting Perth Observations: they drive on the left hand side of the road; merging is still a foreign traffic concept; McDonalds in Mandurah will take a Ghanaian coin as a 10c piece; I suck at Playstation; radio stations do not censor the words shit or bitch; ordering diabetic meals on a plane is a way of getting your meal before everyone else...good to know; Cottesloe has the best beach sunsets ever; I am incredibly fortunate/blessed to have my friends and family (I have intentionally not uploaded photos of many of these important people because a) I protect privacy b) you all take such horrible photos).
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mold on

What is jet lag?

According to a recently published article in The New England Journal of Medicine (Sack, Robert L. Jet Lag. The New England Journal of Medicine 2010; 362:440-7) jet lag is a “recognized sleep disorder that results from crossing time zones too rapidly for the circadian clock to keep pace.” It is a constellation of symptoms that can include insomnia, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, poor physical performance, cognitive impairment and gastrointestinal changes. What the scientists meant to say was that you are going to feel lousy. Jet lag is most commonly experienced after crossing at least 5 or 6 time zones (the East Coast-West Coast trip doesn’t apply here!). Jet lag is most commonly confused with “travel fatigue”, which is the unfortunate result of the combination of sleep deprivation, stress caused by traveling, diet changes, etc. While travel fatigue can be easily treated with a little rest and T.L.C., jetlag is a horse of a different color.

How does this “jet lag” nonsense happen?

The body’s circadian clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus (imagine a point directly between your eyes and two inches towards the back of your head…eureka, you’ve found it!). It communicates with the retina, allowing it to sense light and dark. Based upon our regularly predictable cycle of waking and sleeping, the SCN promotes alertness or sleepiness in sync with our daily routine by regulating the secretion of melatonin from the pineal gland. The system works such that light inhibits the secretion of melatonin. Therefore, melatonin has often been referred to as the “dark hormone”, because it is only secreted when there is no stimulation by external light (aka nighttime). The problem with this system is that our circadian clock does not adapt quickly to changes in the cycle (i.e. flying half-way around the world in single day). Therefore, in the same way that “motion sickness” is the result of desynchronization between visual and spatial stimuli in the setting of movement (didn’t know that, did you?), jet lag is the body’s response to the imbalance between a predicted sleep-wake cycle and a change in external light and dark stimuli.

Taken from

I heard Dr Karl on Triple J talking about taking Melatonin to fight jet-lag (the astronauts use it!), and how the frequent flyers he knows swear by it.

I myself, not being a frequent flyer, thought it was interesting, but of little use to me. You on the other hand... Looking at the little map of where you have been, you seem to be neglecting Northern Europe and Asia.

globalchild on

Said no-longer-teenager-cousin is jealous that you can get into the Emirates Lounge.

travellingross on

Wow Mold, yet again u impress me with your research skills! I still don't believe in jet lag tho. It is similar to pulling an all-nighter and getting bugger all sleep. Although what i really like about Emirates planes is that they replicate night-time with little stars all over the ceiling of the cabin. My circadian clock must get fooled by this cheap artistic creation. I will keep the Melatonin tablets concept up my sleeve tho...that could be useful. I wonder what would happen if u took Melatonin without travelling. We should run an experiment with u taking it when at home and me when travelling half way round the world.

Northern Europe is cold and Asia does not appeal to me. Although Japan is on the draft hit list next year and I would love to walk on the Great Wall if i can get a Chinese visa.

Nice profile pic Leah. You should be even more jealous now because following the Perth trip, i am now finally Gold Class and can get into any Emirates Lounge around the world and not just Dubai. whooooohooooo.

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