Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The bad part of moving to Queensland started with a meal at Chedi, a Thai restaurant in Newtown. It was Sunday night and there were few other diners. I watched through the door as the cook dropped a prawn - destined for my soup - on the floor.

When the owner came to our table to chat we told him there was too much salt. I suspect that the food was resuscitated using leftovers from busy Saturday night. When I got back to my apartment I felt the mass of food sitting at the top of my stomach. It refused to be digested. This is completely different from the feeling I get after cooking myself. I cook plain, simple food - mainly stews - and I always get a feeling of wellbeing after dinner.

Monday night I started to get the ol' heebie-geebies and I didn't sleep well. I finally nodded off at 2am. I was tired, having packed the majority of my books during the day. But I was awake again at 8am and looking forward to another day of stacking books and other household appurtenances in cardboard boxes.

I labelled each one. By the end of Tuesday morning I had packed 45 boxes. There was still a lot to do, including the contents of my bedroom cupboard, but fatigue caused me to slump in front of the TV all afternoon and evening. I didn't feel like getting bothered about taping boxes together or filling them with the accumulated store of four-and-a-half-years.

That's how long I lived in my Sydney flat. It was a fruitful span of time. In that time I completed a masters degree and made some good friends. I blogged throughout. I shaved and showered, cooked and relaxed, soothed by the sun entering through the north-facing window of the living room and the east-facing window of the study.

I was busy, but not as busy as I have been over the past few days. On the flight back north a couple of kids kept up a concert of cries. When we arrived I comforted the mother of the littlest, who was probably suffering from decompression. Babies cannot regulate the pressure in their sinuses as adults can.

And this morning I was busy supervising the moving crew and packing the final remnants of my life into boxes. I filled the car with petrol so as not to incur a penalty when I handed it back to Avis at Sydney airport. I got food and a newspaper and stood, munching on a sandwich and drinking coffee-flavoured milk as I read about Somali terrorists and Godwin Grech, standing against the kitchen counter.

I left the flat before the guys had finished loading the truck. I had a plane to catch.

And I caught it. When I arrived on the Sunshine Coast, I paid for my ticket and walked to the long-stay enclosure of the parking lot. As I walked I heard the calls of local birds. As I drove out of the airport I saw the flat line of forest that lies between it and the town. I eased the car at a sedate 80km/hr onto the motorway and glided off the bridge at 60km/hr without having to snatch an opportunity from converging traffic.

Truly, this is a nice place to live. And tonight I cooked the fish and tomato bouillabaise that I love best. My stomach feels fine. I even had a beer. Tooheys, of course.

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