Australia One

Travel ain’t what it used to be. I am in Australia and I have to say the trip across the Tasman Sea was the best I’ve ever had. Usually the plane is full but on this one there were two people per three seats. The only aircraft I’ve travelled on with fewer passengers was an Air Canada flight from Chicago a few weeks after the Twin Towers went down. There I could literally choose which row I wanted to stretch out across. This wasn’t quite like that but I did have a whole row to myself – at the back of the plane where I was offered tea straight from the hot, bubbling source. That is no big thing for me. Never before have I been offered tea that was anything other than tepid and over-ripe. I had two cups of this hot, perfectly brewed beverage and it was wonderful. I also got to take the mask off to drink it. Everyone was masked up and it was no surprise we took a while to eat our play lunch. I bonded with the young man in the next row over Trent Dalton (writer of “Boy Swallows Universe”). It was one of those things were you have a good convo and exhaust your topic and then keep running into each other in various queues. Luckily he had his “ute in the carpark” and we finally parted ways. The airport at Brisbane could only be discribed as empty. We were ‘the international flight’ and the boys from customs AND immigration were itching to do their thing. The target for the day was elderly women travelling alone. I saw two being escorted to a room out of the back – one in the company of a man discussing fines and jail time. By the time I’d done the passport machine (twice – forgot to take my mask off for the first photo) and was at almost at the the front of the queue, social distancing had been abandoned. The woman ahead of me commented that she’d been visiting family in NZ and was pleased to be home. She’d lived in Queensland for 30 years but it counted for nothing when she too was led off out into the back never to be seen again. Saved me though.

The reunion was brilliant. So wonderful to feel those girls and look two out of the three in the eye. Thankfully the third, though growing as much if not more than the others, still has a little ways to go for that. That’s what I couldn’t get over. How much they’d grown up. And, as it is with all these things, the build up is massive and we followed the script through a great meal and lots of conversation before the kids all got tired and the reality of being a third of a teenage triumvrate, surfaced. The youngest is off to camp today (Monday) so that’s an emotion right there and the need to make the most of our time together weighs on us all. A clever Mum has offered a couple of days off school and today my son is taking us to Costco. What more can a woman ask for after all this Covid crap? I get to hug and annoy my grand-daughters, am licked all over by dogs, have a brandnew bed in my own personal suite and I am grateful beyond words to know that life is finally giving us a reality I can work with.

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