"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Aussie Journals, Ch. 1, Bula, Kia Hora and G'Day, Mates

Ten p.m.
Whatever day this is…
Muskeg Manor
Moose Pass, Alaska

Bula, kia hora, and G’Day mates,

Forty six hours after I was discovered and dragged (kicking and screaming) from my hidey-hole at the Sofitel Resort and Spa on Fiji, I pulled my truck up to the garage door of my own little home. That duration covers actual flying time, a seven hour layover in Los Angeles, yakking for three hours with Patti after she picked me up at the airport in Anchorage, spending the night on her sofa bed, yakking some more, stocking up on necessities before leaving Anchorage, and the long hundred mile drive home.

I also popped into Costco to replace the Nikon CoolPix camera that apparently took up permanent residence in the seat pocket of a Qantas jet. Or, perhaps in someone else’s pocket. Thus, no photos to accompany this missive.

In addition to the little moose that jumped out onto Minnesota Drive to say “Welcome back” as we drove from the airport to Patti’s home early this morning, the Dall sheep were out to welcome me home during my afternoon drive home, as were the bald eagles. So many vehicles had pulled over to the side of the Seward Highway to watch me drive past, that the State put out temporary 45 mph speed limit signs for safety.

Oddly, all of those vehicles were parked at hooligan fishing holes along Turnagain Arm, so I guess the welcome committee folks were planning to do a little dip netting for the oily little fish after I went by. With gasoline prices cringing just a tenth of a cent below the four dollar mark, I reckon many of us will be multi-tasking now when it comes to driving. I watched for the belugas, but I was ahead of the tides in the arm and there wasn’t enough water for the cute white whales. I’m quite certain, though, that they were blowing and waving their tails from the depths of Cook Inlet, so I sent telepathic greetings their way.

Stepping out of my truck at home, I breathed in pure mountain air flavored with sunshine, and went in to the kitchen for a drink of well water that comes from the faucet at near freezing temperatures. Home, almost. There was a large empty spot in the living room until I retrieved Pablo from the parrot-sitter. Now it’s home.

For the next few days, I am faced with mounds of laundry and mail, yard and garden projects, and catching up with all things Moose Pass. I am proud to say that according to Patti’s bathroom scale, I did not gain any weight on my trip, which is nothing short of miraculous, considering what I have been eating and drinking for the past 27 days. In fact, I actually lost a pound. Again, according to her scale. Tomorrow, if I am able to sleep well tonight and gather the courage, I will check my own bathroom scale.

If I’ve got this whole tricky date-line, time zone thing correct, I left the hotel in Fiji at 7 p.m., May 24, and 46 hours later arrived home around 7 p.m., May 25. I am tired but not sleepy. The sun is shining on the mountains at a quarter past ten this evening. I am back in the land of 24-hour daylight.

My head is spinning with visions of kangaroos and camels, a massive red rock in the middle of the Australian Outback, a koala named Hugo, didgeridoos, a one-platypus aquatic show, tiny blue-backed penguins making a break for safety, drinking kava by the seashore, canyon walls coming far too close at 40 mph, and going back to the hotel in “a round-about way.” In between snoozes on Alaska Airlines last evening, the muse made a brief appearance and I jotted down her thoughts and suggestions. Well, at least I know she isn’t still in Fiji. We’ll see if she pops up again.

My wallet is thinner by far, and my credit card, once in danger of warping from friction-generated heat, has returned to its normal state. But my soul! Much like my giant-sized expandable suitcase, my soul is overflowing with the memories of friends, fun and adventures.

More later,


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