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September 22nd 2006
Published: October 5th 2006
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THE LAST GASP......It’s just gone 5am, first fady light, in the local jargon it’s picaninny dawn, or more locally accurate, sparrow’s fart. I’m not sure about their bodily functions but there are mobs of really rowdy birds in my neighbourhood. They all have their own tree, one full of sparrows, another doves, another pigeons, then there’s the raucous lorikeets swooping and screetching like teenage vandals, hooning around the back yard, the wattle birds in the gum tree with an extraordinarily evocative call that takes me back to summers at Rosebud.
And I'm sorry that I haven't been in contact with many of you but I did run away after 7 days back and went to Towny for a few days...but mainly, being the clever little bugger that I am, I packed my Oz phone in a box that I mailed from Idyho and it hasn't shown up yet...so, somewhere deep over the Pacific, the plaintive bleat of the "city bird" ringtone will have Fedex security personnel lining up their explosive rigged auto-robots to edge my poor parcel into oblivion......

But I digress. I’ve been trying to write the final blog, trying to make the definitive list of all the people who made it all so fantastic. I dumped the blog to stick and got it printed. By narrowing the margins to a couple of mms I got it down to 122 pages. Now I’m trying to go back thru’ it and try and distill out a few short, snappy, to-the-point little travel articles…I know, that’s all you wanted in the first place!…don’t go on..
But its morning time, big party last arvo, a gathering of the blogees, well, those of you who could make it…thanks…you’ll all get on the definitive list..Ha!
So, what’s it like being back? Everyone asks. It is a bit strange, surreal almost, like one of those movies where they go back in time and step on a butterfly, then when they return everything appears the same…then they notice a bird with fish fins, or the spelling of street names is slightly different, you know what I mean…so everything seems to look the same but there are a million subtle differences…or maybe it’s ME.
I went to the local stupormarket and had just one more (for the road?) existential crisis when the automatic(?) doors refused to acknowledge me...I shuffled back and forward...nothing, then a 95 year old, sparrow-like old woman hopped in front of me and the hydraulic hiss sucked her in just before she pecked a hole in the rubber lining...I slipstreamed in behind her....you know, it's the little things...every other item has been rearranged on the shelves...why??...another MBA endowed management hero with designs on transforming the world (as he knows it) has decided to do it different....
And, there’s a new highest building in the city, lots of new or changed shopfronts, a few new freeway exits, and everything is much more expensive, the weeds have taken over the garden again, all the trees are that little bit higher and wider, and it’s footy finals time, I went with Benno to the last, live, Footy Show, such a bizarre homoerotic parade in such a homophobic business, and Grand Final week, snore!, maybe next year for the mighty Dees, yeah, right, and to have my kitchen to cook in, and my bed to lie in, I think 20 days was the longest period in the same bed in 15 months, and not be living out of panniers or cases, and seeing my children and my old dog, and all my family and friends it’s all too much.
But, I’ve just enrolled in a teach-English-to-foreigners course, 4 weeks intensive and then maybe I’ll be back on the road again…but not for 6 months or so...maybe...

I’ve been contemplating this travel thing. It seems to me that if you go away for 3 to 6 months or so, when you come back you slot back in pretty easily. If you’re away more than a year it’s different. I feel that I’ve been away so long that keeping on moving is the natural way to go. I’ve lost 2 whole footy seasons, missed all the TV shows, lost contact with politics, the whole social fabric has unwoven, or maybe it has expanded to include so much more, and the thought of working overseas is no harder to contemplate than working out at Broady again!….So, once more, with feeling…..where was I?

Aaaaarrrrggghhhhh...it's over......back in Melbourne......15 months, 19 countries, 35 border crossings, 70,000 kms...no bike, no plans, no money, no pages left in the passaporte...but lots of memories, lots of ideas (as usual!) ....great to be back with family and friends.....
from the airport where my fabulously wonderful children, Kate and Ben, were waiting to greet me...I was surprisingly alactric, fantastic flight, window seat with 2 spares, endless hospitality... free grog.....good food...big plug to Air New Zealand...whoo hoo...6th bag off the carousel...out into the chilly Melbourne dawn...feeling fantastic...jetlag?...what jetlag?
OK, the last weeks...where did I last blog?..maybe San Francisco...after Las Vegas.....flew to LA....in fact flew to Orange County's John Wayne Airport being more accessible to Sherry and Bill with whom I spent the last 10 days just chilling out. It was a bit strange, my lethargy, but after all the rest I just wanted to relax before the last leg home...and Sherry and Bill were so fantastic in putting up with me...in the middle of a total kitchen remodel!!...and I did get to see the OC dump!....everyone who goes to LA sees Hollywood, Dizzyland, Rodeo Drive etc etc but not many touristas get to see the Orange County dump...I did! But no T-shirt, bugger!

This is soo strange being back in Travelblog land, my refuge, my journal, my memories, my regular dumping ground.....maybe I'll try and keep it up with some observations around here...we'll see....and there still needs to be some definitive last gasp blog with names and places...wither?

And just for a bonus treat…try this link….

And the photos of the blog party reflect the state I was in!

Additional photos below
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