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Proper Update

My head is still reeling from having been travelling some 31 hours travelling (and from bowing indiscriminately to everyone since Japan) and I'm completely lost as to where I am in time and space, but I have still retained my ability to speak English (just about) and am wandering around in my head in a happy daze going *oooooh, spring!* *showers* *sunlight*

I can't believe I am in Australia, on the opposite side of the world to where I started from. Mind-boggling pretty much that we've just traveled halfway around the globe, and are wandering around the streets of a place that's so distant we are unlikely to see it again for quite some time.

The first leg of the journey (to Osaka) was pretty good, we got bumped up to Business Class and travelled in style and luxury and bittersweetness, thinking This is amazing, and it's unlikely to get this good again and After this, Economy is going to seem like Hell .

Even the food was good. Like genuinely good. Sushi for sarter (served daintily on seashells and garnished with what looked like a marijuana leaf, but sadly the resemblance ended there) and tuna of various styles and states of cookedness for main course and for desert a white chocolate mousse that made my toes curl and my heart melt. Lush doesn't begin to describe it.

It was good. It was all so good.
And so surreal - even right from the start- sipping champagne and nibbling fermented soy nuts, watching sumo wrestling (hypnotic) and listening to Japanese pop music (strangely mesmerising - I was especially entranced by the English words/phrases that make cameo appearances in the lyrics).

I couldn't sleep, despite the user-friendly nature of the Business Class seats (which ranks them significantly higher than Economy, which is dire but exceded by Greek Ferries) and so killed time watching various movies, and wondering whether Angelina Jolie had had a nose job.

The service was phenomenal, the hostesses materialising out of the darkness like genies and acting as thought they were running a small and cramped but sumptuously caring hotel - as they went around adjusting blankets, pulling down shades, bringing drinks and scented hot flannels (although not, alas, the honeycomb face masks which only the bigwigs in First Class get).

Flight was pretty good though- no incidents or turbulence - and my knee and feet swelled and ached, but nowhere near as impressively as Lynne's. Japan seemed very welcoming and easy to find way through - the transit lounge wasn't bad and had some traveller- freidnly seating which allowed you to stretch across a whole row of chairs.

Practised some poi to kill time and give some recreation to arms and spine, and then Lynne and I played a Yug variant of Rummy with the Minor Arcana from the Tarot.

Kansai Airport seems a league above most others I've frequented as it is equipped with showers, and seats you can stretch out across, and free internet access and shuttles to ferry one about between terminals.

It felt funy to have been flying forward in time - my body clock has completely lost track of what's going on but then orienteering and time-keeping wee never my skills to start with. And although in Japn my self-esteem had got a great boost through the opportunity to shower and have clean skin and clean teeth and clean clothes, my lower back had begun to ache (which would transmute to spasm on flight to Aus).

Apparently there was an earthquake in Japan every single day, although most of the tremours are so slight that people don't feel anything. At least that's what Lynne told me and i hav eno idea where she got it from.

The second leg of the Journey - Osaka to Sydney via Brisbane was considerably less delightful- the plane was packed and the body head of all the trapped human beings kept me warm throughut the flight but also gave me the sensation of not being able to breathe properly and my head is still vaguely spinning. Didn't manage to sleep properly - listened to more Japanese pop, used great creativity to attempt to find a position which allowed me to straighten my legs and somewhere in between contemplating whether my spine hurt enough to warrant prostrating myself in the aisle to do yoga stretches I finally drifted off to sleep (having unsuccesfully attempted to anaesthetise myself with alcohol earlier on) and woke too short a time later and bereft of other entertainment options watched 13 going on 30 (without the sound, as it was marginally less appalling that way).

Australian airport made me nervous with their strict criteria about things you aren't allowed to bring into the country, and the fines and keeness with which customs officials want to inspect your luggage and the dim view they take of undeclared items -

all in all this spurred me to hitherto unprecedented heights of both honesty and paranoia so I joined the Quarantine line where people inspect your belongings and tell you whether you're allowed to bring them into the country or not.

Conversation with Custom official

C.O.: What items of wood do you have?
Me: Er. The handle of this fan. And maybe a couple of toothpicks.
C.O.: Yes, that's fine. And it says here that you have been near farm animals in the last thirty days.
Me: Yes, I patted some cows about three weeks ago.
C.O>: That;'s not a problem.

My mother's tales of people who had been eaten by sharks and abducted by scorpions did not scare me nearly as much as tharanie's tales of people who had been persecuted by the Customs officials, so all in all until I left the airport I was in such a state of tension that I wasn't even able to appreciate the water going down plugholes the wrong way.

I would tell you more of my impressions of Sydney and Australia so far but at the moment they are likely to be tempered by my hallucinations from lack of sleep, so I'll type up further adventures anohter time.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
mzwyndi
Sep. 11th, 2004 08:32 pm (UTC)
The water doesn't really go down the plugholes the wrong way. It's a myth.

Eat vegemite on your toast. It's not a myth, it'll be on the table at the hotel. It's savory, not sweet, even if it does look like dark apple butter.

The thing people say to you that is not intelligible, after you pay for things, is "Good on you". I know, it doesn't sound like three words. Or two. Or one, exactly. But that's what they think they've said.

If you drink with the locals, you need to know that a "shout" is more than a round of drinks. It appears to be, at least up north, a situation in which every participant 'shouts' for a round. This can get everyone quite messy in short order, you might imagine. Of course, they don't drink anything but beer, so it's not all that terrible.
rainsinger
Sep. 12th, 2004 05:05 pm (UTC)
Heheh. I think the shout thing is the same in England, I do recall lots of people in pubs saying *It's my shout*. I may end up drinking apart from the locals as I can't stand beer - I'm very much a woosy coctails/wine kind of girl.

Whereabouts were you in Australia? :)

mzwyndi
Sep. 13th, 2004 05:39 pm (UTC)
I was in Cairns, then in Darwin, then in Brisbane... with a few sidetrips to local attractions. In 1987. Since then, I like to tell people I've seen both the Atlantic and the Pacific from both sides.

I was 18 then; it was the summer before University, and I won a trip for 2, all expenses paid, through some radio promotion for the original "Crocodile Dundee" movie. You had to fill out a slip to be considered, and I only filled one out so that my friend Michelle would... she desperately wanted to win and I was entirely ambililent.

When I won, I took her. My dysfunctional, greedy family members still cannot grasp why that was The Right Thing To Do.
(Deleted comment)
rainsinger
Sep. 12th, 2004 05:06 pm (UTC)
we gotted here just fine, but I'm still stumbling in a daze.
dubaiyan
Sep. 12th, 2004 02:03 am (UTC)
poi!
recreation for your audience too!!

*anticipating further adventures* :D
rainsinger
Sep. 12th, 2004 05:06 pm (UTC)
Re: poi!
:D
I was thinking of you yestereve as we watched a bit of The Car Man on telly.

How are things in your world?
dubaiyan
Sep. 13th, 2004 12:33 pm (UTC)
it was on Oz telly?!
Oh WOW!

Went to Bodleian today for an exhibition ... http://www.livejournal.com/users/dubaiyan/47610.html
feath
Sep. 12th, 2004 02:53 am (UTC)
Far out! Hope your back feels better soon; will be watching for more updates.
rainsinger
Sep. 12th, 2004 05:08 pm (UTC)
My back's just about recovered- but my brain hasn't caught up with the time difference yet so it's very happily floating some ten hours behind. ;)
saucebook
Sep. 12th, 2004 02:55 am (UTC)
great evocation - can't wait to hear more. but puzzled about the plug thing. surely no myth. I can remember tv footage of a handbasin on the equator where the water goes down from each side at the same time, ie no swirl. please check and report. for your reference the water here in Camden is swirling clockwise.
mooism
Sep. 12th, 2004 03:07 am (UTC)
In my sink the water goes anti-clockwise. I’m in Streatham.
saucebook
Sep. 12th, 2004 03:31 am (UTC)
Damn, I thought that the North-South divide was at the Equator, rather than the Thames. Must run a bigger bowl of water or use some more viscous liquid so I can check 100%. Of course Camden always has been another world!

Still looks clockwise with a gallon of tomato soup! Damn again, checked on google and experts disagree about the so-called Coriolis effect. So it may be a myth after all. And now I've wasted all that soup.
mooism
Sep. 12th, 2004 03:41 am (UTC)
I believe the Coriolis effect is very weak, so only manages to effect large things (like the weather). In a sink, it probably matters more where the plughole and taps are.

Don’t know whether I should be more amazed that you’ve flushed a gallon of soup down the sink in the course of experimentation, or that you *had* a gallon of soup to start with. How many tins was that?

/Dave (has no soup)
saucebook
Sep. 12th, 2004 03:22 pm (UTC)
fess up time
ok, there was no gallon of soup, it was just a notional potion. It just crossed my mind that Heinz Tomato would have sufficient viscosity to observe the effect if any. Yep Coriolis effect is probably less important than placement of taps and shape of basin. But here's another thing I don't understand - while the legend has Northern Hemisphere sinks slurping clockwise and Southern counter, with cyclones the reverse is said to hold. Not wanting to prolong the debate, but this is going to make me lose sleep.
mooism
Sep. 14th, 2004 01:37 am (UTC)
Re: fess up time
Maybe if you were thinking about it down south, you’d gain sleep instead? ;-)
mzwyndi
Sep. 13th, 2004 05:42 pm (UTC)
Coreolis effect and plugholes...

The pressure forces the water down the plug the way that the pipes are set. The coreolis effect is too weak to counteract water pressure, no matter what side of the planet you're on.
twistedserious
Sep. 15th, 2004 01:38 am (UTC)
I have still retained my ability to speak English (just about)

Did they try to infect you with engrish? *s*
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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