Life in airports

31 05 2009

I’m in New York Airport. For some reason the flight connection gods decided that I would spend 4 hours here. An inconvenient length of time – long enough to drive one batty, but too short to take advantage of. So I’m looking at my South America photos. Still working out how to go about beginning to sort them, 15 months after arriving in Ushuaia. Hopefully I get done before I return to Australia and need to show them off.

So I’m in New York because I’m on my way ‘home’ from St Croix. Yep, another trip to the Caribbean. Sounds glamourous? Well, in two weeks I managed to catch one sunset… Actually, this trip may well be my last to St Croix. It is a good break point in the project, I think someone else who lives closer will take over from here. It’s kind of a shame. I have grown to like the island, have started to make a few friends. So I made my farewells (again) and tore out the minor tendrils I had set – I’m not anywhere long enough to set roots. I am continually going somewhere new, but the flip side is I continually leaving. New is good, leaving is not always.

I haven’t been in St croix for a while. But the people I see regularly in the refinery know me as The Australian. It’s surprising how many people know me now – I seem to have made an impression (I hope it was good). Several conversations have gone along these lines:
“Hey, you’re back. How long this time?”
“Only two weeks”
“Where are you living now? Is it Houston or Spain?” (I had told anyone who would listen that I was moving to Spain previously).
“Spain: Barcelona, in theory”
“Wow, Barcelona, that’s awesome. Why the ‘in theory’?”
“I have a place there, but never seem to be there – this month I will make it for about 40 hours.”
“That’s crazy!”
“Yeah it is, but I can’t complain too much, the same day I get back to Barcelona I fly to Germany… For vacation. I’m going to go and meet some friends. We are going to cycle across the Alps to Italy.”
I then get a comment about how crazy I am, clarifying that I mean on a bike or how great that sounds. And the more I think about it, it does sound pretty good. So if I’ve made anyone jealous, I’m sorry, but I’m doing it anyway. Well, not too sorry.

So, anyway, I took last Sunday off to relax on the beach. I was persuaded to go to Rainbow Beach where there was a party. For some reason some of the other Engineers think I work too hard, and conspired to get me to take a day off. Well, it worked pretty well – I went for a wander to the lighthouse, then joined several hundred people on the beach, bands, music, warm water. Was good. The summer vacation colledge students in bikinis had nothing to do with it 🙂

Only other adventure of note: One night last week after work, I went out with Keith (one of the local Engineers I’ve been working closely with and get on pretty well), to go snorkelling in the dark. We borrowed flashlights (Yes, I’ve have had to convert, ‘torch’ just gets blank looks). We stayed out for two hours, but the time flew. We were hunting lobster. Up until sunset was over the hunting didn’t go so well – on par with the first time I tried (except for picking up a decent sized slipper lobster almost immediately, and releasing it after thinking it was too small) . I found several, backed into crevices in rocks but had no idea how to get them out. I was feeling considerably braver this time and tried grabbing their antanea to pull them out. They didn’t like his, resisted, and it took me a few times to realise that the antenna are not all that strong. Just after dark they all came out to feed which made spotting them much easier, but catching is still difficult. I finally nabbed one that we thought was big enough to keep, and after that I could hardly get near one. I found out once we got on the beach the cray I wsa tightly holding in my left glove was clicking and ‘screaming’and must have been warning the others as I approached. So for 2 people, 2 hours of effort, we managed one crayfish. Which was too small to take a photo of (and 3 we caught and threw back because we thought them to be too small or too pregnant – we were after a jumbo!). At least now I know how it’s done – forget the snares, just grab it with a gloved hand – but take a bag to carry it back in.

I’m tired, a little sick (either a minor cold or swine flu), my right calf is busted from running (three weeks ago I last ran!), my left knee developed an agonising pain on Thursday, I tore open my thumb last night (probably should have got stitches, but I managed to stop the bleeding and I just fell asleep), I’m unfit, and generally feel like crap. But I’m going to be in Germany tomorrow morning, with two weeks of nothing but friends, fresh air, bike trails, snow, mountains, Austria, Italy, camping and pain in my thumb. Hopefully I can undo some of the damage I’ve done to myself by working the last few months. I can’t wait. I could do with some sleep though.

I finished this off in the plane. The American Arlines dinner as just come around. I’m trying the chicken. This may be the biggest risk I’ve taken in some time…


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