The closing scenes


How does that old saying go? ‘What goes around comes around?’ And so it was that after years of hustling, bargaining, and taking advantage of vulnerable motorcycle sellers in New Zealand, the exact same thing happened to me in Holland. I sold my bike. But being in the precarious position of wanting to fly home, and selling just when winter’s about to start, I got cleaned out with a steel wire brush. Ok maybe not that bad but at least a plastic bristled brush.

Putting it in perspective it was only a few hundred dollars loss which isn’t bad for 8,500 km and six months of use. But I’m comparing the deal to my three other bikes I’ve owned in NZ where I actually made a profit when I sold them again. Which is a decidedly better position to be in.

Truth be known I think I was mostly grieved by the loss of my closest friend over the past six months. She was a good one, and losing her was like chopping an arm off. Seeing her being taken away by another man really rubbed salt in the wound. And she didn’t even have a name. I am, by the way, still talking about my bike, not some fille I met in France… Anyway I digress but I think she deserves at least a paragraph of tribute, don’t you?

Of course while talking flippantly about the loss of my bike there was the very real bring-down-to-earther of having to say goodbye to all my family and friends in Holland. It seemed to be a week of saying goodbyes. I’m glad it was a staggered farewell, saying goodbye to everyone at different times, as I am somewhat averse to saying goodbye to a whole group at once.

Once I confirmed the sale of my bike, I booked a ticket home to leave the next day. And so with a sombre mood Tante Lies and Liset dropped me off so I could fold myself in half in a metal tube for the next 23 hours. I can’t say I enjoyed not feeling anything below the knees, or thinking that my lower spine has been severed but that’s the price us global wanderers pay I guess. And there was the promise of coming back home which is always something to look forward to, no matter how much of an adventurer you are.

I was severely overweight checking in though, and my luggage was heavy as well… 28 kg in the bag, at least 12 in the carry on, another two jackets draped nonchalantly over my arm, pockets full of other random heavy items, and about four kg of books and documents cleverly disguised in a plastic bag to look like a light last minute duty free purchase. I’ll also mention the skivvy, polo shirt, and thick jumper I was wearing, since I only realised how stupid it was when I arrived in the humidity of Hong Kong.

True to form, I had planned an anti-jetlag schedule before I left and so I was only allowed two hours sleep on the flight to Hong Kong, no sleep during the eight hour wait, and then at least 8 hours from Hong Kong to Auckland. This was so I could arrive fresh at six am NZ time. I’ll let you know if it works out as I am, in fact, writing this entry in Hong Kong. By the time I’m finished I’ll have been awake for 25 hours straight (I couldn’t even sleep five minutes on the first flight). And I actually feel as fresh as a daisy even though I may not look it. It feels like I’m at my most creative at this stage though, which would fit the profile of the dishevelled insomniac writer.

Since I couldn’t sleep on the first flight I decided to give myself a headache and threaten my eyeballs to pop out by watching three movies in a row ending with ‘Duplicity’. Two words, ‘don’t watch it’. Actually that’s three, come to think of it, it could be four if you split the ‘don’t’ into ‘do not’. Hmmm, maybe I’m not as fresh as I thought, which would explain why I found ‘Duplicity’ extremely hard to follow and thus ended up in thinking it was rubbish. So maybe you should watch it, just make sure you’re fully awake.

I don’t understand why you get security checked again in Hong Kong even if you’re just a transit passenger, which I was. The reason for my annoyance is this; I forgot I had packed a gift of baby cutlery from aunty Lies to my niece Breanna in my hand luggage. Stupid, but they didn’t pick it up on Holland! So it was only in Hong Kong that the comical looking security officer exercised his two best known English words of ‘no’ and ‘can not’. There I go again, three words I mean!

Anyway, it seems he took objection to the extremely blunt and impotent knife of the set, complete with printed bunny rabbit. I was tempted to tell him I could actually do more damage with the fork but I didn’t want to provoke him, after all he only confiscated the knife. I was a little mad though as he wasn’t open to persuasion at all and I felt like going the whole hog and showing him what damage I could do with even just the spoon.

Actually I think he just liked the look of the set and decided to keep part of it for himself to give to his kid. So somewhere in Hong Kong there’s a little Asian kid running round with a knife that rightfully belongs to my niece. I don’t know why he chose the knife though, not the most logical choice as kids use spoons a lot more often, so maybe my theory is somewhat unsupported. Oh well, on to trying to kill eight hours in Hong Kong airport.