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18 October 2003

Well, I still have time to kill in Singapore. I arrived, shopped, ate, checked e-mail, shopped some more, ate some more, and there is still over an hour left to kill (more like 2, actually), so why not write a journal entry?

Oh what a hard morning. Peggy and I were up until after midnight, frantically burning CDs (all the photos we've taken over the past six weeks--I think they fill five CDs. We are very prolific).

We were getting up at 4 a.m., so it didn't leave long to sleep. Chippa, settled comfortably on the couch for the night, checked on both of us during the night. She knew something was up.

It was a weepy awakening, shower, coffee, more tears. Chippa kept pawing me as if to say "don't go."

But it was time to go. As I struggled with my bags, to remove them from the guest room, Chippa showed up with a new stuffed roo in her mouth--I've named it "Chipparoo" and it is the perfect souvenir. Peggy bought it at Caversham Park while I was browsing the gift shop. Kangaroos have played such a bit part in my time in Australia, that having "Chipparoo" to bring home is perfect. She kept her head poking out of my backpack, like a joey in a mother's pouch, while I checked in.

Difficult drive to the airport. Peggy asked if I wanted her to help me with my bags (since they are so big and so bulky), but neither of us wanted to prolong the goodbyes--we are both so terrible at them--so it was a quick hug at curbside and I managed to get to the Qantas counter by myself.

Did some shopping and eating and more shopping at the airport, and then boarded the plane. Unfortunately, there was a mother with two children, one of them a daughter who looked to be about a year old, sitting two rows in front of me. Part of me felt sympathy for her because I know what it's like to travel with a difficult child. Part of me was ready to fight for infantacide by the time we landed in Singapore. The little girl either screamed or shrieked (depending on whether she was happy or unhappy) the entire 5 hour flight.

I managed to get an hour of sleep, but not more than that.

Qantas service cannot be faulted. Their food was very good, their attention was very good, their attention to passenger needs was very good. It was the first time, however, that I realized that a digital camera was considered an electronic device (don't know why I didn't realize that). I was going to take pictures coming into Singapore, but was told I had to turn the camera off. So I have pictures--spectacular pictures--flying over Perth when we left, but nothing coming into Singapore.

We flew out quite a ways from the coast going up Western Australia, which is too bad, because I hoped to try to pick out Monkey Mia, but it was too far away. However, the map on the monitor did show me when we were over Geralton. I have lovely memories of our time(s) in Geralton, so I smiled as I recalled them...thinking of the assault on the Rivers shoe store, the time at the war memorial (with the woman who tried to peek up the skirt of the statue there), our stormy trip out to get take-away chicken, getting lost in town (little did we know how prophetic that would be--it was our first day on our first trip!), and so many other lovely memories of Geralton.

But Geralton passed, and then Monkey Mia, somewhere out there in the clouds, passed, and then Australia passed and it was on the Indonesia and ultimately Singapore.

The aiport is quite a bit busier than when I was here six weeks ago. All the shops are open (bad thing for me), but I actually haven't bought anything much. Junky stuff.

I've checked e-mail while here and already had word from Peggy that Chippa misses me and keeps checking to see where I've gone. I really came to love that dog. Keno, too, but Chippa was special.

And now time to do one more turn of the shops to see if there is anything left in Singapore that I absolutely can't live without (and am willing to carry) and then to park myself at gate F-52 to wait until time to board the plane. I have a brand new Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwell) book that I'm reading and that, plus my choice of in-flight movies, should help me sleep and pass the 18 hours or so before we finally land in SF.

This time tomorrow I'll be back in Davis and Australia will seem very far away. It is very far away. But keeping my eyes on 2005 when Thelma and Louise will hit the Nullabor. Hang on, Thelma--I will be back...


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