13.07.2010 - 13.07.2010 16 °C
Packing is a challenge in itself, but attempting to find all the crap you've strewn over someone else's house over the course of a month and a half is both challenging AND annoying. One gets to comfortable - stuff gets used, stuff goes everywhere and then stuff is impossible to locate forthwith. It is a royal pain in the bum, but somehow we manage to fit all we can find into our two suitcases and get out of the door in time for one last visit to Darling Harbour for a wander and lunch. "What shall we do?"
My father snaps his fingers. "I haven't showed you the Welcome Wall."
The Welcome Wall commemorates the names and some stories of known migrants and immigrants to Australia since the very first fleet set down in the Cove under the watchful eye of the Eora indigenous people. It spans seventy or eighty metres at the back of the National Maritime Museum and is made of plates of engraved brass and copper and isn't full despite the huge number of names already greening on the surface. Reading them gives you a sense of the minutiae coming together, a feeling that collectively, these people all had a direct and tangible hand in creating this place.
We walk back along the Pyrmont Bridge for lunch at Nick's Seafood and lo! Rapture! Giant Moreton Bay bugs are on the specials board! We chow down with great excitement and the huge portions of brilliantly cooked seafood don't disappoint. Cheaper than eating on the waterfront facing the Opera House, probably because of the "lack of view" over the pretty Darling Harbour and much better food than we had there. We watch the workmen dismantling the FiFA Fan Fest sets and manoeuvring the marinas that used to line Cockle Bay back into place with barges.
After goodbyes and promises of a fairly swift return (next time maybe in the summer) we are in another departure lounge awaiting another flight call for another long haul across three continents. The good thing about flying overnight is that the plane is quite empty and we have a row to ourselves - as I write the iPad is rested on Fred's outstretched legs in my lap as he sleeps, snoring happily and covering three seats. I envy him - it is still five hours to Bangkok and our only little break in the journey. Outside there are only the faintest glimmers of life from below and we are still over Australia. My eyes are bloodshot, dinner has been and gone and I would kill for some sleep. The trick to jet lag is to not aim for a long kip but to keep napping throughout the journey - hopefully I can drop off and get a little before we land in Thailand.
Eight hours after we have left Sydney another snack is served and an hour later we are approaching a lit city. Bangkok shows far less neon and orange and instead is lined with streets lit in hazy jade green, an especially beautiful sight to welcome us to the Kingdom of Thailand, albeit briefly.
"Hopefully they won't shut down the airport in protest for 34 days while we are here." I still haven't slept.
Red-eyed and aching, we disembark in Bangkok International Airport. We only have thirty minutes here and no Baht so we just do the rounds right back to the gate we came out of, through security again and another passport control. The written language on the signs is curly and interesting and also fortunately translated - we pass smoking rooms, Muslim prayer rooms and many flower arrangements (these aren't translated).
Mainly the wait is boring, punctuated only by a man who vomits vociferously down the front of the attendants' desk. Boarding recommences at midnight through gate E2 where we are all dutifully waiting (there are no boarding announcements at Bangkok airport) and we have new blankets and pillows. It is now 3:20am Sydney time and 12:20am here in Bangkok - this equates to Tuesday evening, 6:20pm in London. Another twelve hours to England.