Monday, October 29, 2007

full circle

So, back in Sydney. Back in Manly. The sun is shining and everything is familiar and comnforting and beautiful.

Back at Manly backpackers - a new lick of paint, a few things moved around but still the same old place. Music cranked up on weekend days. Lively, lovely people. Full of Poms and some of the old crew - Paul and Michelle, Jimbo and Ash, Russ, Lindon and Tall Guy...

The bus journey was hell - 14 hours long overnight and very little sleep but good company in the form of a Scotsman I met on the Nimbin trip and an Irish girl. We drove in from the north, down the freeway until there it was - the harbour stretching out infront of us. Small boats bobbing along, ferries chugging back and forth, Tthe Opera House winking away in the sunshine. The bridge stood proudly over it all and I felt full of emotion and fondness and awe. It felt like a triumphant return.

Back on the ferry to Manly - that trip I did everyday with Danielle and we took together last February as we headed south for a new adventure. How much had happened since. How many things I have seen and how much distance I have covered, these were turning over in my mind as I came 'home'.

Because Manly is just a beautiful place - a stunning beach, lovely wharf, great shops and trendy cafes, average but fun nightlife and a real community feel. There was the Honolulu Grill where Steven took me for lunch on the day I arrived and there were the volleyball nets where we used to sit and sunbathe at the weekends. In the distance is Shelley Beach - host to many, many barbecues - not least that on Christmas Day with Danielle and her family and our close friends.

If this post is self-indulgent - screw it. I've had an amazing time in New Zealand. I've seen penguins and dugongs, watched whales breach in two different oceans, swam with whalesharks and seen countless kangeroos, emus, kookaburras, snakes, spiders and lorikeets.

I've eaten bushtucker and learned about aboriginal art, life, culture. I've climbed to the top of an amazing waterfall (Jim Jim) and slept in a swag in the outback.

I've flown over the desert and barrier reef, and helicoptered over the amazing Bungle Bungles. I've flown a plane and ridden a chopper in 1770. I've dived one of the world's best wreck dives (SS Yongala) and scuba-ed on the Great Barrier Reef.

I've tasted amazing wines at Margaret River and average ones at Hunter Valley. I've cooked snags on a stone in a campfire in the Blue Mountains and worked in the rat race at Darling Harbour.

I've waited tables, poured pints, made beds, worked in a strip club, pandered to doctors and production managed magazines for a massive company.

I've made lifelong friends and met people from all over.

And now it is over.


This weekend I've met up with Steve again, drank red wine with him,smoked a shisha with him and joined him and John for a 4.5km run at 7am along the soft sands at Manly followed by breakfast at the Honolulu grill.

I don't ever want to leave. But I really do. I have four weeks in New Zealand to come and then home to see all my family and friends for Christmas. It's not such a bad life...

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Blogger Steven Lewis said...

Excellent post, Sprattpacker.

9/11/07 16:44  

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