Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Travel Fatigue

A swift farewell to my sister, nephew and niece at Adelaide airport was made all the easier for Emma misjudging the traffic. I grabbed my bags, kissed them and ran. I don't like Goodbyes, they upset me. I have to nip myself when ET goes home, and stifle sobs when Forrest Gump's Jenny snuffs her lid: I'm a sensitive boy. So crying at airports is not an option...run for the check-in desk and don't look back.

The flight to Buenos Aires is almost 16 hours on a bad day. I can't sleep on aircraft, the constant hiss of the aircon and the aches in my knees preventing any slim chance of shut-eye. And why oh why is there always some twat sat behind me constantly kicking the seat and grabbing the headrest when they get up to use the bathroom? I'm convinced there's a list of these people on the airlines' books and, when I book a flight, they seat one of them right behind me. Just to prevent any marginal comfort I may otherwise experience. This one was a constant talker, too...blathering away to his girlfriend as we took off. Typical Aussie.

"Yeah darling...we're at the end of the runway now...won't be long, eh? Another continent. Here we go...the engine's at full revs now..." the plane starts to move "Yep...here we go, we're off...Goodbye Australia, off to our next country..." we clear the tarmac and rise "...that's the wheels going back in there, up we go..." I was mentally rehearsing scenes from American Psycho, me obviously in the Patrick Bateman role.

Thankfully, he fell asleep soon after. I watched all the films I could, sleep out of my reach. Sunrise revealed the South American coastline, the Andes stretching as far as the eye could see. I stared at them, bleary eyed, as we cruised at 20,000 feet. The vastness of this continent suddenly hit me. After 9 months in and around Asia, I could have quite happily have spent another 3 months in Indonesia and left this huge expanse for another trip. I'm shattered, and do I have the mental strength to tackle another continent and its challenges with the reserves I have left? Self-doubt sets in for a while as we pass the mountains, as this takes a good hour of flight.

If Dorothy was here right now, and would give me the Ruby Slippers, I'd have half a mind to stand in the aisle of the 747, click my heels together and repeat "There's no place like home...there's no place like home...there's no place like home..." Instead, I shut my eyes and try to grab an hour's doze before Australian rubber hits Argentinian tarmac...

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