I’m finally home in Victoria after two weeks spent in transit. First I went to my Arnhem Land home town for four nights. Then I had a one night stop-over in Darwin, before going to Alice Springs for what was supposed to be a week. I got really sick in Alice Springs, though, and so I went back to Melbourne two days early and stayed with The Little One, who took good care of me as I adjusted to the cold, cold weather.
Finally, this morning, I went back to my parents’ house. Now I have stuff strewn all over my bedroom, but all I have to do is unpack and put things away. I don’t have to drag around that stupid huge suitcase with no handle for a long, long time, hopefully ever.
I find travelling really stressful, because of Asperger’s. There is a lot of new information to take in, I have to fit my routines into a new place, and there is a huge margin for things not going as I expect. I am normally pretty tight with my money, mostly because I don’t have much, but when I am travelling, sometimes I make certain choices to spend more money and avoid a stress meltdown. This is one of those times when having a disability is expensive.
Going to my Arnhem Land home town wasn’t too stressful, because I was staying with a family the whole time, in the same house I used to live in. The hardest part was trying to fit into their routines and not make a nuisance of myself. The trip was a delightful and special time, as I wrote about in last Tuesday’s blog post.
But on the Tuesday I flew out to Darwin, for what I predicted to be the most stressful leg of my journey. I was staying one night in Darwin and then flying out to Alice at 7:10 the next morning. I made a series of choices to spend more money as a self-protective mechanism.
First, I booked a motel. This cost roughly four times the amount I would have paid for a hostel. Reasons why a hostel would have been stressful can be summarised in this Jean-Paul Satre quote: “Hell is other people.” Having to keep my stuff neat so it wouldn’t annoy others/get stolen, the risk of interrupted sleep, worrying about being quiet/not having the light on so I wouldn’t disturb others… All that. I paid the extra money in order to not have that stress.
Second, at the airport I called a taxi. I don’t know if there is a bus I could have taken, but the stress and effort involved was just not worth it. So that was another $16.
I checked into the motel and the receptionist was really friendly. It was an Irish themed motel and she was Irish too. She asked me if I needed a taxi called for the morning. Yes, thankyou, I said. What an unexpected service, I thought.
I had a good time in Darwin. I managed to accidentally book a motel right next door to ARDS, so I bought a Djambarrpuyngu book/CD I’ve been wanting. Then I went shopping at Casuarina Shopping Centre. In my haste I accidentally bought two polyester tops which I can’t wear, because I only wear cotton and wool (I make an exception for yapa skirts, which are rayon). The good news was, there were some Yolngu in the shopping centre, speaking Yolngu Matha (as Yolngu do) so that made me feel like I wasn’t too far away from Arnhem Land.
In the evening I went out for fish and chips on this pier place, with Longtime Linguist, who is an amazing woman. She also shouted me dinner and I had my first beer in five months. We shot the breeze about bilingual education and watched the fish in the bay. It was great. I went back to her house for a cup of tea, where she had some Yolngu staying. So my transitioning continued. I tried to talk to one of her guests in Djambarrpuyngu, but what with my poor language and her hearing aid batteries being flat, there was no chance of communication.
Once I settled in my room for the night, I was careful about not spreading my stuff all over the place. I was really, really worried about leaving stuff behind. It was so good to have my own space, though.
I have this belief that there is no point worrying about stuff you think is going to go wrong, because most of the time what goes wrong is something you didn’t even consider. (Doesn’t stop me worrying, though.) So it was in this case. I hauled my stuff out the front of the motel at quarter to six, put the key in the little box, and waited for the taxi.
And I waited. And I waited. The Irish receptionist said she was going to book it for ten to six. I called the taxi company I had called the day before. The conversation went like this:
Emmeline: Is there a taxi booked for pick-up from The Leprechaun Resort?
Man who answered the phone: Nope. None. And we don’t have any cars in that area.
Emmeline: Well can you send one?
Taxi Man: Yes, but I don’t know how long it will take.
Emmeline: Do you have a ball park?
Taxi Douche: No, I’ve got no idea at all.
Emmeline [slightly testily]: Well is it likely to be fifteen minutes, or an hour?! It’s just I have to get to the airport.
Taxi Douche: Probably about 45 minutes.
Taxi Douche: You could try the other cab company.
Emmeline: Have you got a number for them?
Taxi Man: Yes, here it is…
So I called the other cab company, and fortunately they had a cab in the area, so I only had to wait another seven minutes. I had left myself heaps of time though, so it wasn’t a problem. This taxi driver was a good guy. I taught him how to pronounce “Leprechaun” and bitched to him about the dickhead from the other cab company.
So that was Darwin. In Alice I stayed in a hostel. I was feeling good about that aspect because I stayed in that same hostel last year at the beanie festival.
But the bastards renovated! They decked out the whole front area and made it into this really great outdoor recreation area. Once I got over the shock I really appreciated the changes. Part of the outdoor area included a grate for a fire. Later on in the week, I sat out there and brought a fire back to life while talking on my phone, then used it to warm my toes.
Staying in the hostel would have been great, if I hadn’t got sick. I didn’t have time to make friends, so it wasn’t the same as last year when I quickly found an awesome crew. And the constant turnover of roommates was really stressful. Also, I was worried about spreading my infection.
I was so relieved to go to my sister’s house. Just being in a real house was so good. But I was still in transit. I spread my suitcase contents all over the downstairs of her house, and she was very tolerant because it was a temporary situation.
But still, I had hardly any appropriate warm clothes. I did some washing, but it wouldn’t dry. And there was no-one speaking Yolngu Matha.
Anyway. But now I’m in my Victorian home town. It’s not too cold, there is food in the fridge , I can spread my stuff all over my bedroom and no-one minds.
It’s good to be home.
1. Seriously, what is with grown-up fridges? They have so much food in them! One day I’ll be a grown-up, and the way I will know is that I will have lots of things in jars in my fridge, and I’ll have a first-aid kit in my house.