© Stephen Eastaugh, 2018. All Rights Reserved.
After dining on a classic Peruvian dish of raw fish in a Japanese restaurant run by Brazilians in Argentina it was time to fly but before I flew out of Argentina a strong Zonda wind blew down from the high Andes and shook the house about. Dust everywhere and tumbleweed plants madly rolled across the property. The metal weather vane on our roof was pulled out of its cement footing, leaving one very ruffled, bent and bewildered metal rooster on our roof and me without my spinning wind compass. The next week another wind took me across the ocean to Melbourne where I rushed about like one of those windswept tumbleweeds.
To get to Australia involved jumping on a few planes and navigating a few airports. I lined up at Mendoza airport to check in, lined up to get through the security desk, then another line was at the immigration desk, next a line appeared to board the plane. Off I flew across the Andes. Once in Santiago I diligently lined up to get on another plane then another line appeared to check all hand luggage before boarding the plane. At Auckland airport I found a lovely line upon landing where all our baggage was scanned. I did have time for a kiwi fruit juice before the next line that enabled me to board the plane to Melbourne. I recall that being a lovely neat and fast moving line. In Melbourne I found myself in a huge line at immigration with over 1000 other folk all waiting to be permitted entry into Australia. The customs line after the immigration line also had hundreds of people snaking around the arrivals terminal. This line was very long indeed but surprisingly moved pretty fast and then I was finally back in my home city waiting in a line of 70 people all waiting to locate a taxi. The line fever one gets with air travel these days seems to be far worse than the jet lag but it is the price you pay for fast transport across the globe.
Melbourne is a thirsty city as the inhabitants drink huge amounts of coffee, beer, wine, fruit juices, tea, and one evening I found myself sipping on excellent Pinot Noir then Absinthe at a few funky alleyway establishments. There is no shortage of great venues in Melbourne to guzzle or sip whatever it is you desire to guzzle or sip.
Then I was in the cute town of Thirroul for a small and enjoyable exhibition and onto the big smoke of Sydney where I ate dumplings and Vietnamese soups, looked at art from France and China, met a man who wanted to sell me a rat, watched new architecture pop up across the city and caught up with friends. Returning to Melbourne I made a short pit stop in Mangalore which was relaxing due to the company of Mr Dog, Di, two dogs and friendly wild kangaroos.