What a long way home it is. Kind Jenny and Graham walked with me to the station, Graham pulling my bag. I had managed to buy the train ticket the previous day, so did not had to use a Machine. Going by train is easy and pleasant.
My airline is not all that comfortable. Hard seats, and by no means flat. Even though the flight departed in the early afternoon, food was served as soon as possible, and then shortly after, the crew pulled down all the blinds, turned of the lights and left us all to it, and who knows what they all did in the meantime. At 4 pm I did not want to sleep, especially not in daylight, so had to turn on my inadequate little light in order to finish my novel.
The transfer in Bangkok went smoothly, unlike on the journey to Rome, where we all had to run as fast as possible and then go through transit and security, even though you would not have had time to do a single thing which might possible and conceivably have affected security or otherwise endangered and person, aircraft of thing. However it was better than the trip across, as fewer passengers were about.
Once in the lounge, I sat near another woman, who looked distressed and had a problem. She had dropped her wallet, containing her passport, somewhere, probably in the security area and did not notice it straight away. The Thai staff were good: they notified everyone possible, and a man came and took her away to do more checking. When I had boarded the plane, and was settling into my seat, she passed me. Someone had found the wallet, and handed it in, and they were able to get it back to her. With 15 minutes to spare, and of course, her luggage already loaded. They said to her to run, get there as fast as you can. Whew! Happy endings are good!
Home. Sweet home. Late last night. I managed to get into my house, to unpack at a basic level, fell into bed, and slept. Today I have done more unpacking, loaded my photos onto the computer and looked cursorily through them. (Some are very bad. Others, quite good. They all tell a story. In fact, lots of stories.)
Memories are rather like volume by displacement. Having been away from the usual environment, I have trouble finding the previous memories of what I did, where things are kept, where I put things. It is all most disconcerting.
There is something about travelling for about 24 hours, exhaustion perhaps, which makes you exceedingly glad to reach the destination, and to replace the realities of the past month with the everyday ones. Even tedious things like recalling the passwords of the stay at home life, and collecting the mail, all of which was stuffed into my letter box, along with some mail for three other people whose addresses are not anywhere near my house.
An Italian class started again this morning, but I did not wake in time to even think about trying to get there. I had trouble remembering what day it was, or how much time had elapsed since my arrival home. Then there was checking the email. And discovering that the home phone was completely dead.
Aargh! That meant ringing Telstra. How tedious a process this is. They want to know how many telephones I have. Then they say to unplug all but one. They ask about line splitters or other such ilk. Finally they tell you that Yes, they have detected a fault in the outside line. This fault appears to occur at regular intervals, but having to deal with such nitty-gritty the day after arriving home feels like being slapped in the face with a wet and spiky fish. I had to do all of this using my exceedingly basic mobile phone, which was only half charged. Look, I have no intention of trying to fill my ageing and not very technically competent brain with this sort of stuff. What I want is for someone to come to the house, come inside and tell me how the phones should be plugged in, and fix it all up, leaving clear printed instructions for any future catastrophes, all as part of the service, but No, it seems that you would have to pay extra for this.
The trip home was not too bad and I did get a small amount of sleep. I also felt faint at one stage, and the crew gave me some oxygen. But once we had landed, Customs and immigration were very efficient and pleasant, they come around and ask the relevant questions as you wait for your luggage, tick you off, and out you go. A taxi was readily available, on the journey I heard about the fires, and then arrived home.
It seemed too soon to go out and do a proper food shop, so I ventured out locally to buy milk and a couple of things, then decided to have coffee and a sandwich at a local cafe. All I wanted was a sandwich in brown bread with cheese and salmon, nice, plain and not large. what arrived was a large toasted bun with too much in it. I could not bring myself to complain and send it back, but I asked why they had given me it toasted when I had not asked. Oh, said the waiter, it is because we use frozen bread. Oh, I said, blankly.
Never mind. It is good to be home.