As I type this, I am sitting in the kitchen of my friends’ beautiful house in Bordeaux. Their 3 year old son has just gone off to a morning’s pre-school wearing his new ‘animals of australia’ t-shirt (he recognised them all except the platypus – which I’m sure he thought I made up, but fair enough, monotremes are not the most plausible of critters) and we’ve had coffee and croissants and a good catch up chat.
The journey here took weeks. Okay, maybe not weeks, but it felt like it (and I undoubtedly smelt like it). I have never been so glad to a) shower b) lie down flat and c) eat a meal with proper-sized crockery and cutlery.
The gaping chasm of difference in attitude to security between the French and Americans was amply demonstrated en route as I flew from Sydney, to Auckland, to Los Angeles, to Heathrow, to Amsterdam and finally here to Bordeaux.
At LAX airport – where our flight refuelled and we were decanted into a corridor to queue for an hour in order to present immigration forms even though we weren’t allowed to leave the room, let alone the airport – was in contrast to Bordeaux, where we flew in, stumbled blearily onto the tarmac and into the baggage hall, located our bags and then wandered unmolested past nonchalent customs officers who looked as thought they’d be disappointed if you didn’t try to bring in illegal quantities of food, fags and wine.
Its good to be here. The only downside to living in Sydney is that it is so far away.