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Friday, September 3, 2010

Back to Godzone via Singapore and Sydney

Stalactite shop in Singapore next to the hostel

The return journey through Singapore and Sydney was pretty much a fleeting dream. It was great to break the journey into mid-sized day trips and made the whole process physically endurable, unlike the passages of many of those who had flown from London on the same flight from Singapore to Sydney on the new Quantas airbus 380 which flew almost silently and still like a great swan with huge wings that flexed so much they almost flapped.

Ideal Backpackers Hostel and Kallang Neighbourhood

Rather than Little India which we stayed in on our 2006 trip, we picked a backpacker in Kallang in easy access to and from the airport, which proved a godsend. It was a clean Chinese run affair with a small but air-conditioned room on the ground floor and a huge flat screen TV which seemed to get only a couple of channels.

The corner restaurant served the most scrumptious food ever!

The corner vegetarian restaurant served us one of the tastiest meals we had had on the entire trip - a kind of recovery potion form long periods of surviving on bread and cheese, so that we had become unable to fit a full meal in our stomachs.

Kallang metro and surrounds

On arrival in Sydney we witnessed one of those absolute institutional highway robberies. Travelex appears to have the sole brief for foreign exchange and is exploiting it to the hilt with turn around profit of 22%. The same Travelex office in Auckland airport charges 11.5%. The HSBC in town around 4%. This is the sort of exploitation the airport authorities should put a stop to if they don't want to be accused of being complicit in bank scamming operations, let alone the prices of food with a bottle of coke costing up to $5 Australan as well.

Highway robbery by Travelex at Sydney airport

We then had an idyllic 24 hours being collected by Eyal and Lauren and taken to their unit in Pendle Hill, complete with a very articulate resident Lorikeet which I immediately struck up a creative conversation with.

Us with Eyal and Lauren at the old water reservoir

Eyal and Lauren took us out to a couple of nature spots, both on old and new water reservoirs where we had a picnic lunch before makng haste to the airport for the return flight to Godzone.

The reservoir looking upstream

The evening before I had boiled the bone sculptures from Bali to make sure NZ biosecurity wouldn't invent some excuse that they might harbour an unknown virus which could destroy our beef industry. In the event they were convinced when they decided they weren't elephant bones and instead commandeered our carefully washed tent for 15 minutes to make sure it had no hidden soil.

Boiling the bone carvings to make sure they get through biosecurity.

Finally we are back in the land of family and untold amounts of space occupying a whole house and garden with no particular urgent business, instead of a cramped tent on the hard stones, or a little concrete cubicle with no windows, with an alarm about to go off to signal a desperate rush through an unfamiliar city to get to a flight on time!

Homecoming with scarves from Guatemala and Bali

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