Leaving for Sydney was hard; I sobbed from the moment I got out of my father’s car at the Gautrain station in Sandton. Leaving Sydney itself was easier, for reasons I’m still trying to work out. This is my trek back across Gondwanaland, told in pictures.
This is the tree kangaroo I bought from Taronga Zoo, and donated to the Lane Cove house as a thank you and a memento.
Here it is with its other animal friends (this is only a fraction of the collection):
Chris kindly drove me to the airport; we said a quick goodbye before I stepped out and hauled my suitcase, crammed to capacity, out of the back. It weighed just 8,6kg. I checked in and went through passport control, effectively relinquishing my permanent residence visa. The moment where I ticked “Australian resident leaving permanently”, and how I felt about that, is where I’ll start the ebook.
This is the plane where I spent over 15 hours (counting the time between boarding and leaving).
It felt very long – though the flight to Johannesburg is easier in some respects because it’s during the day, and I spent part of it asleep – it seemed to drag on forever. I’d planned to catch up on my movie viewing, but gave up on Django Unchained because the sound quality was so bad (not being able to catch half the dialogue in a Tarantino movie renders the experience pointless), fell asleep during Lincoln, had the same sound issues with Zero Dark Thirty, got bored with Amour and eventually watched a French costume drama about Marie Antoinette because it had subtitles.
This is the guy next to me. He drank about 6 beers (Qantas is generous with refreshments). This mean that he kept getting up to go to the toilet – which meant I had to get up too.
This is the photographer from You Magazine who arrived at the hotel to shoot me for an article about workaholics.
Because I was only in Joburg for one night, and they needed it done by Monday, I got off the plane, checked in, took a shower, and posed with my laptop. Hopefully the editor doesn’t choose a shot where I look fat. (I still need to blog about food in Australia – it was excellent – and having eating so much on the plane, an emergency diet is called for.)
This is the scene in George Airport the next morning. It turned out that some of the cast members of Sewende Laan were on the same Kulula flight.
This is my view of Plett once my parents fetched me.
We had a couple of near misses involving taxis on the way back. The Garden Route looks similar to the coast of Victoria and our drive along the Great Ocean Road, though the towns there don’t have informal settlements or electric fences.
This is a dead gannet I found on the beach.
I plan to use it as a reference for some new work once I get back to Joburg. My trip to Australia exposed me to so many messages about environmental destruction and extinction that I want to explore this more in my art*.
* “My art”. It sounds so presumptuous, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what I do qualifies as art, except in a technical sense.