Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back from Australia!

In what feels like precisely three seconds my month-long trip to Australia is over. Finished. Done and dusted. Overs kedovers.
All that is left are some precious memories, awesome photographs and renewed respect for my five-year-old Little One who is about the best travelling buddy I could have wished for. She handled airports, jetlag and long boring flights like a trooper.
So, what lessons does one learn when travelling the globe as a single mom?
Firstly - don't try and take your brother tins of chakalaka stashed in your handluggage. You will NOT get it through the South African security check and even get on the plane with it. Trust me - I tried. But noooooooo! Got all three tins taken off me by a staunch security official.
No amount of reasoning or logic would budge him. I would perhaps have understood if he said that canned goods were regarded as lethal weapons on the basis that one could cause far more physical harm with them than you could with other banned items like, say, a deadly nail file. But this was not the case - apparently if the tins contained peas or baked beans there would be no problem. The fault with chakalaka, he told me, was that the spice content was "too high". No amount of reassuring him that I had zero intention of ripping the can open with my teeth midflight, or careful pointing out that my cans were labelled "mild" would convince the guy that allowing me to take the stuff to Australia was not a security risk.
But this was not the last of the airport security busts I fell victim too. While I had carefully packed Little One's left-handed kiddie scissors in our luggage on the way to Australia, she had unfortunately packed them in with her crayons and colouring-in book when we embarked on a flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast. And they got spotted on x-ray and the crack security guy decended on her Dora the Explorer bag like a Beagle on a bag of cocaine. Quickly he pulled the offending item and held it up, proclaiming "This is not allowed".
No amount of pleading that they were extremely difficult to find left-handed scissors garnered an ounce of sympathy. No amount of pointing out that these were small, pink plastic and girlie, not terribly sharp blades with blunt ends convinced him to relent. Rules were rules and the scissors were confiscated as lethal weapons.
But apart from that, we had an awesome time. Adventures galore.
In four short weeks we explored the Southern Highlands, checked out Sydney, walked the Gold Coast beaches and visited Surfer's Paradise, flew to Tasmania and played in snow on the top of Mount Wellington and spent a day in Canberra viewing the nation's capital.
My Little One saw snow for the first time and decided that she likes it only "when it's already fallened with a bit of sun on it, not when it is freezing cold and smashing in my face".
"I need a break from snow," she proclaimed after her first experience of white stuff that left her hands so cold they hurt, as she proceeded to fall asleep in her car seat minutes later.
All in all - totally amazing.
And then we spent 15 hours on a plane flight home. We arrived home to mile-long queues at passport control as only two officials were on duty thanks to the ongoing public service strike.
I miss Australia already.

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