After a few days of all-you-can-eat buffets, hot tubs and gambling, I decided to throw the bike riding in and fly home to Oz. I bought an airline ticket to leave in two and a half week’s time. I spent the rest of my time in Long Beach, barely leaving the apartment, watching re-runs of “Arrested Development”, “Ali G”, “The Office” and watched Bush win his first election. By the time I left Long Beach, I’d been to In-and-Out burger fifteen times and had never got sick of it. Wish I could open a franchise in Perth.
I barely went outside for two weeks.
I normally hate being cooped up indoors all day, but now, after almost six months in the elements, I was fine with it.
Had a weekend trip up to San Francisco to catch up with old friends JJ and Sarah in Oakland. We celebrated their new house with a party. Their old apartment had a haunted hallway (the “Devil’s hallway” as they liked to call it), now they have a next-door neighbour who invites friends over for Wicca chanting followed by pizza delivery. Spent an afternoon with a good friend wandering about the Piedmont cemetery but had no luck finding John Lee Hooker’s tomb.
I locked my bike in a small storage room somewhere in the two storey car park beneath Brooke and Stef’s apartment. When I went to find it the day before I left, it took me half an hour and the help of the security guards to locate the storage room again.
Will I ever see it again?
I flew back to Perth via Tokyo, a bumpy flight where the sound of someone vomiting in a nearby seat wasn’t uncommon. I hadn’t told Mum and Dad I was coming back to Australia, so a friend picked me up from the airport. I had to break into our Perth apartment.
I took a bus down South to surprise my folks, a bit scary to see my Mum’s almost hysterical reaction. Over the next few weeks I ate lots of good food, put on weight, read lots of good books, went on lots of good walks and generally got myself feeling healthier. I even got the feeling back in my toes.
Kangaroo paws, Manjimup
Went to one funeral (the girlfriend of a best friend who died of cancer at the young age of 32), one wedding (a friend of my sister’s), foiled a burglary (woke up to the sound of thieves trying to get through my bedroom window), turned thirty, and found out I have to be back in Perth in three months time for my brother’s wedding (a surprise announcement on Christmas eve).
By the end of my time in Perth I was glad to be getting out of Perth again but nervous about getting back on the bike. The airline almost stopped me from flying back to the States because my working visa was about to run out in two months time. I ended up having to quickly buy a flight from New York to London just so they’d let me get on the plane.
I suffered severe pre-bike trip melancholy. I questioned everything I was doing. I tried to write it down in an email to a good friend but found I couldn’t express myself at all.
I spent a few days in Long Beach with Brooke and Stef and decided to start my trip (part two) on a Monday by riding down to visiting Herman.
Sunlit kangaroo paws, Manjimup
Lavender and bee, Manjimup
Bird of Paradise, Manjimup
Robin red breast, Manjimup