Thursday, October 9, 2008

This is The End...

At 10:30 in the morning we touched down and gratefully unfolded ourselves from a plane that made far too many strange clunking noises during landing. After a quick inspection from the immigration and customs people, we wheeled our bags into the clean, orderly country of Australia and were met by my very tired parents, who had come to the airport to pick us up at the originally scheduled landing time of 6:30 am.

Our nineteen month journey

We’d done it. We’d gone around the world and arrived back home the way we’d hoped to: in tact and carrying our original luggage. After over one and a half years we’d survived with no major dramas, no dangerous robberies and no serious bodily harm. The closest we’d come was the theft of $60 from a hotel room and a suspected collection of internal parasites (there was also the shipwreck, the birthday tumble from the moving truck and the Varanasi Experience - but those amounted to mere psychological damage than lasting physical harm).

We really feel lucky to have finished the trip with a minimum of bad experiences. We want to say a huge thanks to everyone who prayed for us, blessed us, talked to us, sent us birthday money, emailed us, didn’t rob us even though we were both asleep on the bus, helped us on our way or just thought of us as we trundled around the globe seeing some of the best, the worst and the most bizarre aspects of humanity and nature.

Back home

Finally, I’d like to give my biggest thanks to Angie. Angie is a wonderful travel companion, who isn’t afraid of an argument if we don’t get what we paid for, has no tolerance for any whiff of a scam and always finds the best hotel room for our money. If not for her, I’d probably be unconscious and face down in an ice-bath while some surgeon’s college dropout prods around my supple lower back looking for kidneys. I see him holding a never-returned textbook from the Bogotá library, his eyes darting nervously back and forth between my lumbar zone and a blood-spattered diagram of kidney. ‘Kidney: Ve como un frijole’ (looks like a bean) states the caption.

Even if it never came to something as dramatic as that, then I’d at least be much poorer and would have worn my way through several pairs of shoes after getting out of taxis way before we’re anywhere near where we’re supposed to be. She takes care of all that stuff, while I tighten loose screws that rattle in the window frame when the air-conditioning kicks in. We are a team.

Angie takes some time out from keeping us safe and waits for a sushi lunch

(Plus, she’s obsessed with food, which means I always eat well.)

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