I'm not even going to apologise for going on all these blog holidays... Actually no, I can't help myself, I'm terrible, I'm sorry... Apologies also go to all those people who write to me, and get replies weeks later, or have their words drift into binary obscurity as emails back themselves up thirty pages down. So now, from the comfort of the worlds smallest continent, I'll try and explain.
Two Friday's ago I had the fun opportunity to talk to a bunch of little people. While I tried to make funny jokes about visiting Columbus's house in the Canary Islands, and the reason for painting Constellation red was purely to increase her speed, questions about deadly snakes and whether Tasmanian devils really exist abounded. In all reality, I feel that little people are able comprehend killer animals better than small boat voyages - One seems cool, and the other makes little or no sense. At my uncles school I spoke to three classes of third graders about sailing, Australia, venom and geography. It was great fun, and I've decided to sell Constellation and invest my money in time machine research, because having your lunch made everyday, getting half day on Friday's, and playing with toys for 70% of your time, is awesome.
For some reason the above photo is my most viewed on Flickr - If that's because it looks like a little person is giving me the finger, you'd be wrong - I believe I was actually getting the thumbs up for suggesting the idea that all Australian animals are either weird looking, or trying desperately to kill you.
After nervously standing among the little people to talk, it was soon time to board a Qantas 747-400 back to Australia. Oh! How did that happen? Well, the short of the long, is that one can only stay in America for 6months before overstaying a B1/B2 visa, and potentially never being allowed to re-enter. Don't mention Canada, because their border doesn't count for 'flag poling' (exiting the country to renew your visa). Therefore I had every intention of visiting Europe, as London was the cheapest destination across the Atlantic, and Australia was out of the question. That was of course until my family pooled all their hard earned frequent flyer points together, and coupled with fees & charges, I managed to buy a ticket for less than a return trip to the United Kingdom. I kept everything hush hush, poised for a great suprise on home soil, and managed to stealthily keep my arrival under wraps and shock those that thought I'd be at least another year until Constellation's bow bumped into Australia.
It's been a great reunion, and while I've just spent two years and seven months noodling around the planet, all my friends have all been doing exceptionally well in their endeavours, and it's being such a treat to see everyone after such a long time. I continue to be essentially homeless here, and will remain so until January, when I am set to fly back to chilly New York. I've been propped up in spare rooms, childhood bedrooms and friends houses through upstanding generosity over the last week, and must thank all involved (you know who you are).
Coming home has also had its elements of complete strangeness. On the one hand, I need to look at my own photos and pinch myself, in order to make sure I've actually done what I've said (you know, all that sailing business) - As in, I wonder if I ever left. Yet conversely, I feel like a stranger, trapped in a familiar dream, almost as if I've stood still and everyone else has kept walking... Or maybe instead of walking forwards or backwards, I took a left turn down an unnamed street in an unnamed city. Really, I have no idea, and this is probably my jet lag talking... I hate jet lag, and every day at 2am New York time, I want to curl up and hibernate.
So other than general strangeness, what else has changed? Well, it seems everything is 30% more expensive, and by the tone of my friends, their wages have not increased in equal proportion. Which is of course standard story - If you artificially increase the price of things just a little bit more every month, no one notices, and no one complains. There also seems to be a myriad of fresh petty laws, Police Hummvees lining the city streets, and a wave of inner city violence to boot. Maybe it's connected to the price increase of sausage rolls ($3 guys, where are the protests!) and rent... From the looks of things, the only safe activity these days is to stay at home and play Nintendo Wii.
Anyway, it's definitely a clear sign of old age when you complain about the cost of living and violent crime... So, before I begin ranting and raving, let's leave it at that!
More frequent updates on the horizon, promise.