Now I can’t remember what kind of a traveller I used to be. A much more acquisitive one, that’s for sure, I was right into grabbing stuff to adorn my Melbourne life that evoked the travel experience and I felt that things that had particular sentimental/ experiential significance were very important. So, I guess, I mean souvenirs. But what I really wanted to do was kit my living circumstance out like the everyday of other places, that glamorous otherness, and that was impossible, though you know when I go to a Finnish op shop (particularly one of those ones with the extensive furniture/interior decoration section) I think surely it would be worth it to come to this country, fill up an shipping crate with amazing things, and open a shop back in Melbourne sort of like a parallel universe Savers. Though it’s the aesthetic, and the ambience, that excites me more than the actual things. So I suppose I should take a picture (and I have done, many) because undoubtedly it will last longer.
I’ve spent seven weeks in countries where English is not the main language, though it is a language almost everyone has a bit of a handle on (the funniest bit, which I might not have mentioned, is the habit of Polish flea market owners to signify (for instance) ‘5’ not by holding up five fingers, but writing the number in the air). It’s been slightly strange but I have to say, absolutely nothing at all like it would be to spend seven weeks in an English-speaking country like Australia knowing only Polish or Swedish or Finnish or even French. So I’ve been lucky. But I did start to get a bit of isolation psychosis I think towards the end. It is possible I am still suffering from that a little. It’s nice to know that if it absolutely positively has to happen I can manage with my own drab company for extended (ish) periods. It wasn’t like living in a cave in the Himalayas. Even without scheduled meetings/discussions with people, I still periodically had nice chats with people in shops or on buses or whatever so if I was complaining, which I am not, obviously I’d have nothing to complain about.
So what happens when I return. Glad you asked. I have about
five ten papers to write before the end of the year, and I’m
thinking about completely reworking one of my courses, which is only right and fair,
considering we have a whole new degree on offer at work anyway. In fact, that’s
something I’ll probably do now, while I’m buggerising around at the airport.
I think I have quite a bit of detail to put in on some of the earlier parts of the trip when it was all so frenetic I didn’t get around to writing much down, but I have pics, I can piece it back together at some point, though it will be with a very different kind of outlook/perspective, like remembering a dream. From photographs.
Europe used to be so glam and exotic, and now it’s kind of… they do things better there most of the time, except when it comes to the riding of bicycles on the footpath, or all that fucking heavy metal music (I’ve never seen so many Scorpions albums). And the smoking… idiots. I guess when it comes down to it wherever you live there are things that make you cringe and you wish it could be like something/somewhere else but… no, I can’t formulate a coherent or interesting philosophy on this!!!
I am writing this at Charles De Gaulle gate K a huge slightly 1930sish tunnel of departure lounges. I had a peculiar day of wandering, going to museums that were resolutely ferme for reasons I didn’t understand. Pompidou centre, for instance, had people going in and coming out of it but it wasn’t open (I think they might just have been going to the restaurant). Anyway, it didn’t matter that much. I was really just filling in time. I have a long day ahead of me, Paris to Shanghai, Shanghai to Melbourne, I hope it is fairly uneventful, I have some (probably not enough) things to entertain me and with luck, I will also do some sleeping.