Goodness, its been ages since I last updated this blog, I do apologise. In my attempt to get up to date as quickly as possible, I am going to shamefully summarise the last month’s key points in one large entry… horror, I know, but necessary.
Getting to know you
After girlie roadtrip, Kath departed and Melli and I headed on to Italy. In Bari, we ended up waiting several hours for a bus that had broken down, but we entertained ourselves with the ‘Getting to Know you’ game. Its an excellent one – you ask the other person a random question, ie. ‘What did you want to be when you grew up?’, or ‘Describe your happiest moment’, or ‘What food could you eat every day for eternity’, etc. Then you answer the question as well, and then its the other persons go. Its a great game!
We finally got on the bus to Naples. We were very nervous about Naples, as every person and book we had gleaned for info warned about the dodginess and corruption of the city. Over the next few days, we had many occasions to go in and out of Naples train station, and can now attest that it is every bit as dodgy and scary as they say. People with dark circles under their eyes, and an aura of evil and corruption stare at you, encircle you, stand close behind you… Melli and I were constantly on full guard, and were always fine, but my goodness, there were some icky moments.
Pompeii was a highlight. It wasn’t at all what I expected. I’ve been to loads of ancient ruins, and thought it would be the same, a small area with some random vague ruins. Oh no… Pompeii is truly a full city, with avenues, streets, buildings, markets, baths, etc, all still very much in tact. And its vast, we walked around for hours, and still only saw a fraction of it. And its wonderful fun, especially at this time of year, when there were no crowds but it was still warm, we often had ruined palaces and market stalls entirely to ourselves, so we amused ourselves by role-playing in the deserted ruins: we were wool merchants, sacrifical victims, noblemen’s daughters, etc. It was a wonderfully evocative day.
Another fun diversion was the island of Capri. We went there for two days of peaceful walking and exploration. Its every bit as stunning an island as they say. We also went on a boat trip circumnavigating the island, exploring the caves scattered throughout the coast. It was gloriously beautiful, and perfectly climaxed by a visit to the Blue Grotto: a water cave you have to visit on a tiny dinghy (exorbitantly priced, what scoundrels!), but once inside, the water literally glows with a bright sky blue light. Its undescribably peculiar. Our dinghy driver sang opera as we splashed for all of 3 minutes inside the cave, then he proceeded to request a hearty tip, which after the 20 euro boat trip, and the 8 euro dingy ride, we thought a bit excessive… we gave him a euro, and he gave us the most withering stare you can imagine. We were haughtily indignant.
We had planned to explore the Amalfi Coast, but after seeing Sorrento, which was the umpteenth resort town that was completely dead off-season, we decide to give up on the rest of the coast and head down to Sicily a day earlier. We boarded an overnight ferry, and in the comfort of our own cabin, proceeded to have a dress-up and dance disco with my little ipod speakers. We had a ball! Sicily was lovely. We would have loved to have been there for longer, there was a lot to see and do. We did manage to go for a hike in a beautiful seaside nature reserve with our hostel owner, which included one of the yummiest sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, but other than that, we just explored Palermo. The main limitation was that I got terribly ill on my last day, and couldn’t get out of bed.
Change of plans
My original plans were to go to the south of France after Sicily, whilst Melli was to return to Canada via London for a night. I was heart-broken at the thought she was finally going to spend a night in London, and it wasn’t going to be with me. It was just wrong, after 4 years of living there, for us never to have coincided. Then it hit me… I could go back! I didn’t HAVE to be anywhere, and frankly, I didn’t think I could handle another seaside resort town dead off-season. I was tired of travelling, and wanted a break. And I missed my friends in London, and I missed London. I had lots of administrative things I still needed finalising, and it would have been so much easier to do them in London. So, on a whim, I bought a one-way ticket to London with Melli. It was the BEST thing I have ever done.
My flight back to London was easily the worst flight I have ever had. I had a fever, and I hadn’t had time to buy any pain-killers. I boarded the flight, and begged a Ryan Air attendant for some Panadols. The usual ensued… avoidance, ignorance, deference to anyone else so they didn’t have to deal with the request. In the end, they said they couldn’t give me anything due to blah blah, and they couldn’t ask anyone on the plane either because blah blah… I was aghast. The pain in my head escalated, and I became delirious with fever. I writhed and moaned as the agony engulfed me. It was the first time I have endured flight turbulence without fear, because I actually thought to myself “If this plane crashes, at least it will take me out of this misery!”. Finally, some kind (and no doubt disturbed) fellow passenger donated some pain killers to me, and in grateful blindness, I consumed it, and began to feel vaguely human again. The horror was not over yet though. As the plane started to descend, my congested head started to hurt, and the pain got worse as we descended more. The pain became like a knife, with the pressure so strong that I felt my head was going to explode. I began to get really worried… I wiggled my ears, my nose, swallowed, blew my nose, but nothing would even vaguely lessen the agony. I started to wimper, yes, indeed, I did. Melli, bless her, grabbed a flight attendant and asked for some chewing gum. The useless brainless child working on the flight said, “Oh, she’ll be fine, there’s nothing we can do”, and Melli retorted with “No, trust me, chewing gum works and she is in pain”, but of course, the moronic child of ignorance that Ryan Air uses as staff washed his hands of my distress and walked away. Luckily, again, a fellow passengar had heard my moanings and offered me his gum. So somehow, I managed to survive the flight and the landing, exhausted and in dire pain, but alive!
Night of madness
Once off the plane, Debbie in London called me to confirm whether we were all going out that night… I said that I didn’t think I could make it, after being so ill. Debbie asked if I was sure, there were going to be lots of friends there… aaah, she knows me well, that Debs. Suddenly, it was as if all the pain and anguish vanished, and I felt ok again. “Oh, you know, I do feel a lot better, maybe I can make it out afterall”. Melli is staring at me in horror, mouthing “Are you mad??!! You cannot go out tonight!”. But its amazing what potential fun can do for my immune system… I not only made it out that night, but stayed out til 10:30am… and oh my goodness was it worthwhile. I finally, FINALLY, have my two best friends, Melli and Debs, together for the first time, see them get along, and have a wild and wonderful night of great dancing, finally, after so many disappointing attempts during our holiday, was worth the week of illness I still suffered after that night. Thanks to Broc as well for making it out, and entertaining us girls!
My time in London was heavenly. I didn’t do that much partying… just a little. But I mainly relaxed, strolled around, caught up with friends, got my yellow fever injection, bought my hiking gear for Africa, arranged more shipping to Sydney, tried to fix my ipod, etc… dull things, but not really. I was able to help Debbie move into the flat she just bought. I was able to have a final special night with Philippa. I got to spend time with a harassed and stressed Kat. I was able to get a massage from two very kind friends. And I could attend Stephen’s charity auction, which had a poetic beauty about since I organised the first one, and it was lovely to see how glorious Ste could make the event. All in all, I spent a nurturing and needed two weeks in London, a perfect end to 3 months of very intense travel.
I am now in Spain, again relaxing, this time with family. Lots of food, alcohol, and bowling. Aaah….
OK – I am now up to date!