I was so comfortable and so tired I didn't move all night. I opened the curtains to a view out over the MacDonnell Ranges and took my time getting organised, repacking - again. One day, maybe (probably not) I might leave enough space in my bag so packing properly doesn’t matter so much. It was time for breakfast so I headed downstairs - eventually. I took a wrong turn - the hotel is a little like a rabbit warren and I ended up about as far from the lifts as you could get on level three. There was so much to choose from at breakfast I didn’t know what to have, so I did what I’d become accustomed to during the tour and had a bit of everything.
After breakfast I edited photos and waited for Domi, turned out we were on the same flight - at least as far as Sydney. She was making her way from her accommodation to mine. I’d given her the address the day before and warned it was quite a walk (hike)! The phone rang in my room, it was reception. “You have a friend here to see you,” said a voice down the line. “I’ll put her on.”
Why they needed to put her on the phone I’m not sure, anyway Domi took the phone and said, “Ah right, well yes I’m here!”
It wasn’t long and our cab arrived. Our cab driver was quite chatty and about halfway to the airport I sent Domi a text. “Why did I sit in the front?”
I didn’t get a reply, the hotel WiFi had disconnected so it wasn’t until we were lined up at the airport that she replied. The cab driver told us he once lived on the Gold Coast where Domi was returning to. “Oh where did you live there?” Domi asked.
“Just on the beach mate,” he said, “things were different back then, I just was living the life - there weren’t all the high rises there are now.”
“Oh”, said Domi.
He asked us about different things, what I thought of Alice Springs, where Domi was from and what she was studying and what I thought the highlights of the tour were. His reply was always the same, alternating between, “nice nice” and “good good” and followed by more questions. We even got a “nice nice good good” at one stage. We arrived at the airport a while later and once he was out of ear shot Domi and I turned to each other as we were heading inside and said laughing, “Good good, nice nice!”
We lined up to check in. Our line seemed to be moving reasonably quick which was good (good), then I looked up at the sign above the woman at the counter “Service Desk.” We sheepishly left the queue and weaved our way into the right one - with everyone else.
We had a glass of sparkling while we waited to board and talked to a South African man who was working FIFO from a mine not far from Tennant Creek - he was going back to South Africa for a break. He’d travelled from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs and was to fly next to Adelaide, then on to Perth and over to Africa. What a journey! His flight had been delayed by an hour or so. Adelaide was experiencing some terrible weather conditions and Mum had just texted to tell me the whole state was without power. The man was finally able to board and our flight was called soon after.
Having taken our seats Domi began rifling through the contents of the seat pocket and pulled out a Qantas kids pack, there was a colouring/puzzle book and coloured pencils - she got straight to work. The steward came by to offer us a drink, we ordered another glass of sparkling and while he poured Domi went back to her colouring in. “Is she actually old enough to drink?” he asked me laughing.
“Ordinarily yes”, I said, “but maybe not today”.
I made a paper hat out of the serviette. “Can you make a boat?” asked Domi.
“No, just the hat”, I said.
“I can make a boat”, she said manipulating her serviette into something that looked more like my hat.
“I need paper”, she said, “this isn’t working.” Domi proceeded to rifle though the seat pocket again and pulled out a sick bag.
“This will do”, she said tearing it into shape.
I was silently praying the steward wouldn’t return right at this very moment.
“There you go!” she said proudly when she’d finished. “AND”, she said, “it’s even waterproof!”
I got up to go to the toilet, and went left at the front of the plane, “not that way” the stewards said in unison, “not unless you want to do the dishes”, they said chuckling.
A stewardess did the rounds when it was time to land in Sydney, reminding us to stow our bags under the seat in front or in the overhead lockers. As she said this she looked at my shoes. White leather converse trainers. “How do you keep them so white in the red centre?” she asked incredulously. “Easy”, I said, “I didn’t wear them!”
Goodbyes are no fun at all but Domi and I will catch up for another adventure in the not too distant future.
I boarded the plane to Hobart and sat down next to a very professional looking man playing Pokemon. After twenty or so minutes of silence I thought I might start a conversation. “Are you winning?” I asked.
I have no idea about Pokemon, can you even win?
He laughed, “I’m playing against my son,” he said, “it’s something we can do together when I’m away.”
He was a Doctor and his expertise meant that he was often away interstate or internationally. We talked for the rest of the flight.
Touching down in Hobart I had mixed feelings, I was looking forward to seeing Mum that weekend and spending time with friends but I felt I really only needed a week to do some washing, learn how to pack properly, see everyone and take off again. We all love a holiday, but I love travelling, writing, taking photos and sharing the journey. It doesn’t lend itself to rest and relaxation but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thought I was getting ahead of myself. It wasn’t over yet, we sat on the tarmac for another twenty five minutes. Apparently there were no free bays. Twenty five minutes of limbo before we all filed out into the airport, into cars and back home to our lives.