Monday, 29 September 2008

Interesting Times

Let's have a party. Do you know these people? No? Well, this is Jamaica. See Poland talking to India? Oh, hello Greece. Oh, and Bulgaria, of course, how are you? Sri Lanka, great to see you! How's it goin', Barbados? Have you seen Taiwan? Oh, talking to Ghana, is she? Hey there Japan! Oh, Italy, meet Luxembourg and Switzerland. France, these are Spain and Norway. Australia's over there, talking to The States. Here come Brazil and Chile, and trailing them is born-in-Germany-half-Ghana-half-Lebanon. She speaks Mandarin too. Zambia, Korea, Finland, Mexico, Philippines, Denmark... Right. Ok, now we're all together. Let's have some beers. And then some more. And more.

Now, tell me. Tell me what it's like to work on the oil rigs in Nigeria and on the fields of Kazakhstan, tell me about running down the slope of an active volcano, tell me about politics in India and what it feels like to be a radio star in Asia. Tell me what you saw in Zanzibar, how you cruised the Caribbean and sailed through the storm in New Caledonia, survived pneumonia in China and civil war in South America, got rich at a casino in Yemen and spent it all in Djibouti to arrive penniless in Alaska. But let's change the subject. You could tell me about writing scripts and articles and books and about animation and design and sculpture and drama and sociology and psychology. And about working and living and studying and breathing and seeing and learning and tasting and loving and sharing. Tell me about you.

Tell me about courage and pride and the need to survive, about pleasure ecstatic and pain mortifying. Tell me of friendship and love, of magic and awe, of the beauty within every living thing. Now tell me of tragedy and misery, of pain and suffering, and tell me how you rebelled and fought and broke out, how you grew over it and then brushed it off, flapped your wings and flew away in the sky over the sea towards the setting sun.

May you live in interesting times. They say it's a curse. For the one chopping and mixing the stories, so far it's been a blessing.

Note: This is all true. In the same sense that a fruit salad is all fruit. Ingredients: some of the people I've met in the last 10 days, and a few of their stories. Chop into small pieces and mix. Decorate. Serve cold. Allergy advice: Contains nuts.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Stranger in a strange land

A calendar impossibility confirms it: I've fallen into a time warp tunnel. I'm positive I've been here for two weeks: I know it, I feel it in my bones. But out there in the real world, the planet has only spun three times. On the plus side, that means I've only had to pay for 3 nights' accommodation.

I'm in London. Should everything turn out right, I'll be based here for the next 10 months, enjoying (slash suffering) an Erasmus scholarship at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

This is a strange land, and I am a stranger here. Fortunately, so is everybody else.

For the next 10 months, I will probably be living, studying, working and breathing in this unbelievably dense spicy boiling soup of a million mysterious exotic ingredients. This might well turn out to be my most challenging adventure yet.

Wish me luck.

Downunder - Best of

The biggest adventure ever told (by yours truly)

15 flights, 5 rental cars, 1 truck, 1 4WD, 5 ferries, 2 cruises, 4 trains, 3 coaches, 3 taxis, 1 motorcycle, 2 bikes, 1 surf board, 1 kayak, 1 parachute, 1 bungy cord, 23 hostels, 70,000km and many, many litres of beer were required for the living of this adventure.

Many stories, many photos, many memories. This is my pick from the lot.

Here are, in no particular order, my favourite posts:
A taste of Thailand (I)
A taste of Thailand (II)
In a place called Alice Springs
When (a poem)
The Wet
Fraser Island
The Other Side
Thailand Hopping
Out of Rottnest
The Pinnacles trip
I made it (from Townsville to Airlie Beach through floods)
Tassie is an island's name

And here's the all-time popular favourite:
I survived cyclone Helen

And finally the best photo-centered posts:
The Ghan
The Rocks (Uluru, Kata Tjuta, King's Canyon)
Croc country
2008: New Year

Downunder - The gallery

Thousands of words.

Downunder - The map