NEW LIGHTS BLOG: http://roamingryan.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/when-ryan-met-lights/
I have moved my blog to the following LINK. After I move all my best entries from here to the new site, I will only continue writing my travel stories on there going forward. It has been an amazing year and I hope to see you on my new website.
Driving through the dark lanes of Mauritius, there was no way of seeing the tropical scenery as it was shadowed in darkness. We arrived at the the house but with the lack of street lighting it seemed like we were really out in the wild.
In the morning I awoke and rushed outside. Beautiful island vegetation grew in the garden and in the near distance, nothing but clear ocean. Littered with little boats. I strolled down to the garden’s edge and when I turned around, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A mountain shooting up from the earth with such vast proportions that it feels that at any minute it will consume anything in it’s path if it so desired. It was humbling to have something like this right outside the house on such a small corner of the world.
The residents of the garden didn’t take too kindly to my arrival. The second night the horde of mosquitoes decided to feast upon my pale British skin. It is a delicacy in these parts. They particularly liked my right ankle. The morning after; their handy work remained. Several purple dots and a swollen foot. Guess my body needs to become more adjusted to being back in Africa!
The other guests of the garden are a bit more friendly. Geckos that run across the walls and make ridiculously loud squawking noises. Hundreds of ants that will kindly dispose of any food you carelessly you leave out. And birds all the colours of a Rowntrees’ ice lolly, that will visit every morning to help you with your left over bread.
One night I was sitting alone in the lounge when I heard a scuttling noise coming from outside on the veranda. I turned on the outside light and had a look around. Nothing. I heard the noise again and I looked down. Hiding between a bucket and the wall was a giant crab. A crab?? We’re at least two miles from the ocean’s edge. How did it get here? Possibly an escapee from the neighbour’s dinner no doubt.
We kept the poor guy in a bucket with some salt water until we could release it the next day.
As the train rolled in the dark past familiar skyscrapers in a city that I had called home for the past year, I tried my best to keep it together. It had been an emotional day. First of all, fitting all my worldly possessions into my backpack that had been accumulating dust recently gave me satisfaction that I managed not to indulge in unnecessary possessions. However, saying goodbye to Angela and Nathan was something I could not prepare myself for, who knows when would be the next time I will see them.
Rocking up to the airport I noticed that a line for my flight had already materialised even though check-in was not for another thirty minutes. I took the time to relax and compose myself for the journey ahead. When I finally joined the others I noticed that one desk was dedicated to checking a whole group of people. They had trolleys of metal cases that I guessed to be instruments and stage props. They were ‘The Vaccines’, a British group who have been nominated for a Brit Award and currently are on there world tour. I would be sharing a flight with them to Kuala Lumpur.
After a boring forty-five minute wait I get called to the next desk where I happy oblige with handing over my ticket and passport. The guy checked all the details and then asked for either my return or onward flight details. This left me confused as my Dad said I only needed a one way as I had no plans to return to Australia. The man saw my confusion and stated again in a certain manner, “you need proof of a leaving flight or they will not let you into Mauritius”.
A small sense of dread fell over me and I tried to talk myself onto the flight with futile results. Would I have to go back to Brisbane and rearrange my dates?? The guy pointed me towards the travel agent desk that was thankfully still open going towards 10 pm. I explained situation to the travel agent Rebecca and she said “OK! So where do you want to go next?”. I shrugged and replied “anywhere”. She smiled at me, I don’t know whether it was of admiration of my fearless travel attitude or for my stupidity. “A true travelling nomad,” she laughed, “unfortunately, in today’s age everyone wants to know who you are, where you are coming from and where you are going next.”
I decided that I wanted to go to the UK in June/July so decided to book a one way trip back home. That morning I had closed my Australian bank account and my card was not working so that just left me with the cash on me, that still left me a few hundred short of the bill. Fortunately, I knew of someone I could count on. I called them and they were willing to pay difference. I would pay them back as soon I could. “You have a really good friend there,” Rebecca mentioned as she handed over my flight reservation. “The best.”
With only a few dollars left in my wallet and new outbound ticket in hand, I was able to get checked in. Luckily enough I had two seats to myself but was unable to get any sleep. Arriving at the Malaysian airport at 5:30 AM I walked around like a zombie until I found a row of seats without arm rests and fell into a restless sleep. I woke to find I still had a few more hours before my flight that I filled with reading ‘The Hunger Games’ and playing on my 3DS.
The flight to Mauritius was uneventful. My throat ached and sleep deprivation was showing as it was almost 27 hours since I left my old flat in Brisbane. I was summoned to the border control officer, I was hoping this would be painless as I was over this whole transit trip. The border control officer looked at my flight booking suspiciously and said “this is not a return ticket, this is just a booking”. There was a mixture of desperation and anger in my voice when I replied “hey! There is the ticket number and here is the receipt to show I purchased it”.
He pondered the facts for a while giving me a quizzical look. “OK, I’ll give you a 2 month visa, if you want to stay longer you’ll have to renew it”. Even though I could stay here for 6 months I didn’t feel like arguing and just wanted to get through. I picked up my backpack from arrivals and made my way out into the warm Mauritian night. My parents were waiting, all tanned up from their year on the island, with big smiles on their faces. I had made it!
Today I depart Brisbane, Australia after living here for a total of ten months. I am disheartened to go but leave as a better person. Thanks for everything, Australia.
Brand new year, brand new slate. Often you hear of those who make resolutions with pure optimism to change their bad tendencies and give up their vices to become a better person. Though done with good intentions, they forgotten by February and they quickly fall back into old habits.
This year I want to be different and set myself some goals. I will revisit them throughout the year to make sure I’m on target to meeting them. Here is the list:
1.) Learn French
On two previous occasions I have tried to learn French but failed in both instances. Moving to a French speaking country will provide the catalyst to fulfill a life-long dream.
2.) Be Gracious in Defeat
I am perhaps the worst loser you could meet. This does push me to compete at a more intense level but I feel that I do not need to get angry with myself and sulk.
3.) Take up Tennis
Getting into better shape is usually on everyone’s list and what more fun way than to play a new sport that has always intrigued me.
4.) Less Sugar
Anyone who knows me, knows of my ridiculous sweet tooth. One thing to cut down on in 2013 will be sugar treats. This is most likely the resolution I will fail at!
5.) Appreciate the Little Things
Too many times in life we get tunnel vision and cannot let go of something negative. My main aim of 2013 is not to get caught up on trivial moments of frustrations and to appreciate the little things.