Thursday, October 31, 2019

Day One: The Hong Kong Lay Over

Regular readers and friends know that I have a lingering goal. I would love to be a travel writer. It's something I've wanted for years and whenever I'm away, I will indulge myself and keep a blog of my travels.

In all honesty, this year, I knew the holiday I wanted to take. I was going to fly to Los Angeles and somehow make my way down to Boulder, Colorado, to see my friend Reindert. I might have picked up a car and driven through all sorts of interesting states - I might have flown to Denver.... It would have been three weeks, in The States, bumming about around somewhere between Tijuana, Tennessee and all sorts of places in between.

This didn't happen.

Instead, my darling adopted 'kid brother', Raj,  bless his soul, announces he's going to get married. My 'kid brother' is an 27-year-old Indian National from Mumbai (Bombay). He's awesome. But when good Indian boys from nice families reach a certain age, then the have to find a girl and get married. It's just what is done. Don't make me go into the politics of Indian Weddings and arranged marriages and the rest of the argy-bargy that goes on. (But I am looking forward to getting my hands on the Times if India's Matrimonial pages for a giggle - is just not the same...)

Raj is marrying a lovely, steady, down to earth girl from Delhi. They work in the same company. They're both based in Australia. They're a good match. She has my stamp of approval - she keeps Raj in line. This is a good thing. She doesn't like Marvel movies either, which is also good for me as Raj and I can continue our 'family movie night' traditions.

Anyway, I'm writing this from the Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong Airport. I'm stuck away in this quaint, almost British Empire room, overlooking the Lantau Island cable car, eating their dim sum, drinking their water, abusing their WiFi and I've got a shower booked in  a few hours, ready for the next leg. The six hour flight to Delhi. Which is where the fun starts.

Today's my day of reflection, since I've got this ten hour lay over here.

The plane left at 1.05 AM Melbourne time. Horrid hour. I'd been awake since 5.30 that morning and had gone and done a full day at work.

Checking in at Cathay Pacific, there were some issues. I blame Peter Dutton, and I won't go into a diatribe about the militarisation of our borders, but thankfully this was sorted out quickly. Seems the Border Farce Force computers were running a bit too slowly. Everything went to plan after that. Duty Free Gin purchases (Plymouth and a variety of Bombay Sapphire to collect on the way back), picked up some moisturiser, changed some money, bought a bottle of water. Done. I completed my routine in the allotted time, then waited for the plane.

The flight, or what I remember of it was fine. Cathay Pacific are fine - I'll see what the other three legs are like. I dropped a Stilnox about an hour in. The sleep was there, but patchy. I remember being woken by an announcement that the crew needed a medical doctor. The guys next to me slept the whole way over, not moving from their seats. No major turbulence that I felt anyway. All good.

So now I have ten hours to kill in Hong Kong airport. With all that has been going on, I decided against going into town. I'm coming back here for 48 hours on the way home, I'll do my favourite dumpling bar then. Hanging out here for a while will do.

Coming into the airport, I found an area with some loungers. Getting horizontal for an hour or two helped to relieve the Stilnox haze (which was only minor) and iron a few kinks out of my back.

I do know this is the easy part, The fun starts later tonight when I land in Delhi.

I have no idea what to expect. I know that Delhi airport, though modern, is manic. Apart from that, and the fact that the hotel will pick me up from near the Vodaphone concession stand, that is all I know.

This is the adventure.

Am I excited? I think I'm too exhausted to be excited - not from the travel, but the last few months.

What am I looking forward to? To be honest, other than not being at work, I'm looking forward to wearing Birkenstocks and play clothes for the next two weeks. The rest will follow. And writing every day. There should be some good fodder to come out of this trip.

Right, kip time, my lounge chair awaits.

Today's Song: (Because I always sing this to myself whenever I'm stuck at an airport - and still one of my all time favourite bands)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Free Talk questions

I'm sort of packing today. My couch is loaded with all sorts of clothes, shoes and heaven forbid, a apocathary's worth of pharmacy drugs. Who knew that two weeks in India that you need so many things. In my medicine cube (packing cubes are the best!) there is:

  • Berocca (Fizzy vitamin Bs - hangover cures and good for morning energy)
  • Hydralyte (For rehydrating - it's hot over there)
  • Imodium (For when you get the runs, stops runny tummy)
  • Doxycycline (Anti-malaria tablet)
  • Buscapan (Anti-spasmodic for dicky gall bladder - just in case, with all that ghee it's best I have it)
  • Paracetamol (For headaches, just in case)
  • Anti-histamines (Just in case)
  • Ventolin (After the last two weeks I've had, that has to come with me)
  • Contact lenses
  • Sleeping tablets (I have three overnight flights - a necessary evil)
  • Gaviscon (Antacid - again, I like Indian food - Indian food often doesn't like me)
  • Earplane ear plugs (Because my right ear is still blocked from being sick - I really don't need another busted eardrum caused by flying)
  • My HRT Patches (Aint going nowhere without them)
  • A multi-vitamin and a calcium tablet.

Okay, maybe I'm over prepared, but I don't have long in India - I want to make sure I stay healthy, or can get back on my feet quickly, it's best to have all of this. I know when I go to Bali, I have most of these with me - and most get used.

All my paperwork is done, my passport is ready. The adapters for both India and Hong Kong are in my day pack. I'll sort out the money tomorrow. I think I'm ready for this trip of a lifetime.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. If you were offered a job in another part of the country, would you take it?

Umm, depends where, what it is, how long was it for etc. I'd happily move overseas for work. I'd love the challenge.

2. If you were in a bank and someone started to hold it up, what would you do?

Hit the floor and play dead, or comply with the robber - which ever came first.

3. If you found a suitcase filled with $1,000,000 what would you do?

Take it to the police - and hope that nobody claimed the money so I could have it. We have a thing, if you bring in lost property, you get it back if nobody claims it after a period of time. Then some of it would be donated to charity.

4. If you had a 25 hour day what would you do with your extra hour?

Read, write, exercise, swim.

5. If you had the opportunity to be different, what would you change?

I'd love a faster metabolism.

6. If you received a lottery ticket as a gift and won a lot of money, would you share with the person who gave you the ticket?

Oh that's a hard one. I really don't know what I'd do. At a minimum, I'd take them on a holiday or give some grand gesture.

7. If you spoke two languages and your spouse spoke only one, would you raise your children as bilingual?

If I had kids in that situation, they would definitely be bilingual. What a gift. I'd love to be properly bilingual.

8. If you were candy, which candy would you be?

I would be Turkish Delight. The type you find in mixed chocolate boxes, which are an acquired taste  - you either love it or hate it.

See the source image
9. If you were a toy, which toy would you be?

Probably Monopoly. Like all good Monopoly games, I'm great at starting pointless arguments.

10. If you were abducted by aliens, would you tell anyone?

Probably, but nobody would believe me.

11. If you could go to the moon, would you?


12. If you had a time machine, where would you go and why?

It may sound strange, but I'd love to see the court of King Henry VIII first hand. He fascinates me - just have to stay on his good side.

13. If you saw a robbery, would you report it?

Yes, of course.

14. If you were to speak to a graduating class, what would you say?

Forget about all this school stuff. Find yourself, go true to yourself and be kind.

15. If given the choice between being given great wisdom or great wealth, which would you choose? 

Great wisdom. From there, hopefully great wealth follows.

Today's Song

Sunday, October 20, 2019


I have been rendered next to mute. Last week's awful chest and ear cold has taken out my vocal chords. I can barely talk much over a whisper - and it's been like that for a few days. I feel quite well - I just can't speak out loud. My one and only sign in Auslan (the Australian sign language for the deaf) is thank you. It's been getting used a lot. I've been told not to talk. It's fun.

As I leave for India in ten days, I have to get myself well. Oh joy. So today I'll break the back of the Masons Property Association Paperwork. Won't that be fun.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

Thank goodness my hair is being dyed next weekend. The greys at my temples are driving me spare.

2. Where did you go on the very first vacation of your life?

The first holiday I remember going on was to Kangaroo Island when I was five. It was my first trip on a plane. My sister threw up all the way there. I lost my first tooth over there and learned to play pinball.

3. Open the door of your refrigerator. What is the first thing you see?

Chilling fizzy water, a bag of honey chai and a packet of smoked salmon.

4. Tell us about your first kiss OR your last first date.

I'll go the first date. I was sixteen. We went to see the original Police Academy movie at a cinema in Adelaide. He drove his little yellow Cortina. I realise how this dates me...

5. If you had wings to fly about the universe, where is the first place you’d land?

I know this might sound strange, but I'd love to go and sit on top of the Chrysler building in New York. I love that building.

6. What is the first thing you do when you get in your car?

Put on my seat belt. Doesn't everybody do that?

7. What is the first thing you ever said to your firstborn?

I don't have a first born. Next.

8. What is the last thing you heard about your first love?

I haven't heard from my first love in 30 years. Last I heard, he was living in Adelaide and working in I.T.

9. If you had created the world in seven days yourself, what would you have created on the First Day?

Cats and gin.

10. What is the first song in your IPOD or song list?

If I turn on the music on my phone, invariably, of its own volition, Radiohead's Paranoid Android will come on. I have no idea why.

Of my favourite play list, the first song is Get Outta My Head by The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers. I love that song.

11. What is the first tangible thing you lost that you could never find again?

Probably my innocence.

12. Who is your favorite First Lady of all time?

Ah look, I'm Australian so we don't have First Ladies - or there isn't much made of the Prime Minister's wife. I feel very sorry for Scummo, our current Prime Minister's wife. Scummo is up there with Trump in my estimation of leaders. Tammy Fraser was pretty awesome. Hazel Hawke put up with a lot.

But my favourite first lady, was Julia Gillard. Our Prime Minister for three years, she was great. Has the voice of a fishwife, but a smart, empathetic, hard-working and funny woman, with wisdom to burn. She's one of my heroes.

13. Post a link to your first blog post.

Here you go.

14. When was the last time you needed First Aid?

I needed some paracetamol for a sore throat the other week - that turned into the motherforker of a chest/throat virus.

15. Can you explain what a first down is in football?

Of course not. I'm Australian We play Australian rules. We don't have first downs or what ever they are. I can barely tell you the rules of Australian Rules football other than you can't run with the ball and you have to try kick the ball through the big sticks for six points. That's about all you need to know.

Today's Song:

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The More than Tuesday 4 Meme

Another weekend, another bout of antibiotics. Fell ill late last week and had to miss the wonderful weekend I was so looking forward to - my theatre ticket was sold on  to a friend, and I've managed to move a writer's course I was supposed to be doing today until early next year - so I'm going in for day four on the couch tomorrow. The doctor was lovely this morning. Told that if I don't rest, pneumonia was on the cards.

Thankfully, I'm feeling better than I was yesterday, even if I'm downing panadol and ventolin like they are going out of fashion. Just over being sick.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1.   Have you ever known anyone that’s been on tv, including you?

I've known lots of people who've been on TV - including myself. Was was on telly many years ago on an episode of Win Roy and HGs Money. Beat a Sale of the Century winner. Quite a few of my friends have been on telly on the news, normally protesting one thing or another.

2.   What do you find yourself buying all the time?

In no apparent order, Protein balls, salad, tissues (this week anyway), take away coffee, lunch.

3.   When was the last time you got a real letter in the mail?

Years ago I think. I did get an unexpected parcel last week - that was lovely. Socks for my birthday even.

4.   Have you ever lived in a house/apartment that has been broken into?

Thankfully, no, but the next door neighbour got her flat broken into by junkies when I was living in East Melbourne. Long may this continue.

5. Did you walk to school with your friends? Take a school bus? Ever have someone carry your books home from school?

When I was in Adelaide, I walked with the other kids from school. Once we moved to Myponga, it was the school bus every day, until final year when I used to drive occasionally.

6. Do you like pumpkin seeds? Do you carve the pumpkin and roast the seeds? Do you buy packaged, prepared pumpkin seeds?

Pepitas are fine, but I buy them roasted and salted or as a part of a bag of scroggin. Pumpkins, in Australia, are for savoury meals - soup, roasted, in pumpkin scones. You don't waste them on make Jack 'o' Lanterns.

7. Does your car or did a family car have a name?

I always have named by cars. Currently, I have Clive. I've also had Andrew, Colin, Phoebe and Edna. Edna was an EJ Holden. The other cars were named after middle aged accountants - always something boring, but reliable.

8.  The first week of October was National Mystery Series Week. Do you sleuth alongside Nancy Drew or Miss Marple? Fan of Nero Wolfe?

I'm no a crime reader or watcher, but I was partial to the Dr Blake Mysteries before Craig McLachlan was outed as a tosser.  I'm also fond of Harrow. Both shows are Australian fare.

9. Have you ever spent ages writing something on your computer when it suddenly crashed and you lost it all?

I'm a technical writer - it happens all the time.

10. Are you one of those people who can sleep through anything?

No, I'm normally the one who's awake through everything. I have sleeping tablets for the overnight flights on my trip to India to give me some rest.

11. What type or kind of art do you like? And do you draw or paint yourself

I can't draw or paint well, but I love all kinds of art. I don't really have a favourite.

12. If you went to London, where would you go first?

One of two places. Westminster Abbey to go visit the tomb of Edward the Confessor - or to the Sainsbury's Wing at the National Gallery to visit the girlies - The Wilton Diptych. I can never get enough of that.

Image result for Wilton diptych

13.  What is one quote that you love to quote?

Take your pick -

"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." The Princess Bride
"The lunatic, the lover and the poet are of imagination all compact.' Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
"No, we don't have a video!" Vyvyan, The Young Ones.

14.  Do you ever at times see the world in black and white?

No, I'm just one big shade of grey. Very rarely will I see things in black and white.

15. Do you believe there is life somewhere else in the universe?

Yes. I think it would be rude not to.

Today's Song:

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Countdown Questions

Late start on this. Lovely quiet weekend in Sydney.

Back now and getting onto this very late.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

15 things that make you smile:

  1. Puppies
  2. Kittens
  3. Monty Python
  4. The Young Ones
  5. Happy stories
  6. Cat videos
  7. A well made sentence
  8. Decent poetry
  9. 80s music
  10. Good perfume
  11. Travel
  12. Taking photos
  13. Writing
  14. Good food
  15. Gin

[ 14 things that make you frown ]

  1. Scott Morrison
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Boris Johnson
  4. Cruelty
  5. Snakes
  6. Spiders
  7. Global Warming / Climate Change
  8. Most of the current Federal Government's so called policies
  9. Trams that appear to never come
  10. Being bored
  11. Being sick
  12. Very hot weather
  13. Very humid weather
  14. Being stuck without a book

[ 13 things you see every day ]

  1. My pillow
  2. Netflix
  3. My blood pressure meds
  4. Trams
  5. Cars
  6. Books
  7. My shower
  8. My toothbrush
  9. My wallet
  10. My phone
  11. My house keys
  12. Hope
  13. Stupid politicians

[ 12 things you have always wanted to try ]

  1. Skydiving
  2. Acting
  3. Change Management
  4. Every gin in the world
  5. Attica restaurant
  6. Being married
  7. Writing a best seller
  8. Taking a year off to travel the world
  9. Owning a cat
  10. Living in the country (again)
  11. Adult swimming lessons
  12. Piano lessons

[ 11 objects that mean a lot to you ]

  1. My passport
  2. My Pandora bracelets
  3. My Washing Machine
  4. My iron
  5. My HRT patches
  6. My little elephant collection
  7. The pictures of my niece 
  8. My books
  9. The teddy bear my grandfather gave me when I was born
  10. My copy of Captain Corelli's Mandolin signed by Louis de Bernieres. 
  11. Scabbers x 2, the toy rats that live in my car.

[ 10 places you have been ]

  1. New Zealand
  2. The Greek Islands
  3. Spain
  4. Italy
  5. Paris
  6. London
  7. Ireland
  8. Boston
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Bali

[ 9 of your favorite foods ]

  1. Ice cream
  2. Salad
  3. Eggs
  4. White chocolate
  5. Mum's roast lamb
  6. Smoked salmon
  7. Chicken
  8. Asparagus
  9. Anything Mexican

[ 8 things you would rather be doing ]

  1. Sleeping
  2. Writing
  3. Watching Netflix
  4. Swimming
  5. Exercising
  6. Reading
  7. Travelling
  8. Shagging

[ 7 things you would take to a deserted island ]

  1. Books
  2. A cat
  3. A computer with an everlasting battery
  4. Pens and paper
  5. A big number of toothbrushes
  6. Sunscreen'
  7. My pillow

[ 6 things you wish you never had to do ]

  1. Go to Naples (Horrid place)
  2. Physics in Year 11
  3. Repeat my third year of university (I got sick in my last year)
  4. Read Cleo - The Cat that Healed a Family by Helen Browne
  5. Listen to the awful, fucked up right wing politicians we have in power at the moment
  6. Renounce the fact that I am Australian on occasion. 

[ 5 people that mean the world to you ]

  1. Jonella
  2. Blarney
  3. Geetangeli
  4. Mariah
  5. Him in Sydney

[ 4 of your biggest fears ]

  1. Dying a slow, painful death
  2. Huntsman Spiders
  3. Escalators
  4. Commitment

[ 3 words to describe how you feel right now ]

  1. Hopeful
  2. Tired
  3. Thirsty

[ 2 things you're excited for ]

  1. Going to India in a few weeks
  2. Finishing my novel

[ 1 thing you want to say to someone ] 

  1. Go on, you really want to give me a 12 month contract starting mid-November. Go on, you know you want to.

Today's song: