Monday, February 16, 2009

A ramble

What do I do with an entire evening in? After a hectic week running about meeting up with friends, and before that two months at a research station where we all lived on top of each other in a big convivial marine biologist mess, it feels rather odd to be reading quietly in my room for a couple of hours. But as the rest of the week looks jam packed with events I am telling myself to savour it while it lasts.

The weekend was chilled out (by recent standards -- all relative) and really rather lovely. I got a dose of creativity in rehearsal for a new piece and in putting soft pencil to paper again for the first time in years, helped prop up the economy by buying new boots (woo, shoes, I am such a girl sometimes -- and they're not even heels), saw a film and had lovely meals with good friends, helped celebrate my sister's birthday in London where the food was tasty and the company wonderful fun, and even -- very surprising this one -- did some work. A pretty wonderful two days. It is all about appreciating life as it comes, I think. I'm glad to remember how lovely life here can be as well, it assuages the pain of no longer being on our beach with the boats bobbing out front and the blue sky melting into bluer sea and.. oh, I mustn't think of it too much!

But --

The beauty of Lizard is ridiculous, a piercingly bright compelling paradise almost-unreal kick-yourself beauty that I never really got used to despite 10 months of living there. Being out in the environment day in and day out makes you appreciate it that much more -- the island has its moods, from gently overcast grey over a glassy sea to proper tropical storms and 2 metres swell to the tropical paradise of the photographs and postcards. Best appreciated either on the 10-20 minute daily "commute" on the boat out to the study site, the world quiet except for your outboard and you; or on a day off, on a late afternoon wander down our beach to the rocks at the end, where at low tide you can get round to this great big expanse of flat rock where you can lie down and feel the day's warmth coming back up from the rock to your back, and it feels like there's no one between you and the end of the world. If it is possible to fall in love with an island I lost my heart to Lizard a while ago.

I shall have to somehow someday engineer Lizard Island Pt IV -- some loves have to be pursued apparently (particularly when they are made largely of granite and calcium carbonate).

What an odd entry! I shall post now and hope not to regret later. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weather tours

The human body just isn't really adapted to experience, in the space of seven days or so:

1. A beautiful tropical island paradise on the Great Barrier Reef, where one spends an average of 4-5 hours a day actually under water, and much of the rest of it on a boat speeding over glassy calm seas (meep, I miss this so much already). However, said paradise is occasionally threatened by tropical cyclones, sometimes to the extent where we tie all the boats to the trees and hide in the library. A storm in January swept half our beach, the incinerator bins and the entire barbecue away; then three days later it was back to paradise.

2. High dry heat of close to 40 degrees in Melbourne's wide planned grid system. Gorgeous really although I think without a healthy Lizard tan walking around for a couple of days in this would have been quite dangerous! Shady laneways and big trees in the botanic gardens offered very welcome relief.

3. Endless drizzle for 36 hours in Townsville. I swear it must have rained for 90% of my time there. Sunny Townsville not really being built for this, I visited the museum of tropical queensland and the perc tucker art gallery, and in doing so I think exhausted Townsville's rainy day potential in about 3 hours flat.

4. Rather nice weather in Brisbane really!

5. I'm not sure what the weather was actually like in Singapore as it was evening, and I spent most of it in that amazing underground warren that is the junction of Orchard and Scotts Road linking the MRT station and three or four different shopping malls, so that you never really have to emerge into the 95% humidity... not a bad thing given the weather, but malls make me feel a bit claustrophobic sometimes -- one could be anywhere on the planet when in one, what is the point? More a lack of weather than extreme weather of any kind.

6. Freezing cold and snow back in Cambridge. I do sort of feel the snow makes up for it, we got a good 1-2 inches yesterday afternoon and it was lovely to see Great Court in the white. A bit bizarre as I still have a bikini tan and my body isn't used to the weight of all these clothes, but I'm enjoying having a bit of a winter for the first time since 2007.

Cold aside it is nice being back; I've conquered jetlag at last and am stuck into analysis at work, and it's lovely catching up with everybody over various dinners and happy hours and suchlike. Also getting back into the 'extracurricular' life with hot yoga yesterday and a documentary film screening on the evolution vs intelligent design debate tonight that is part of the Darwin celebrations. There's simply too much to do in this town -- if not for the film I could have gone to (1)more yoga (2)a contemporary dance class (3)BA dinner (4)Death of a Salesman at the ADC (would've if it hadn't sold out!) or (5)Iolanthe at the Arts, etc. etc. It's a far cry from research station life, I do love them both but at times the adjustment can be a bit of a shock to the system!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Transit Joy

The best way to spend 5 hours in transit in Singapore EVER:
- breeze out through the airport, somehow manage to re check-in a 29kg bag without the check in dude even batting an eyelid. In the 9 planes I have been in over the past week I have managed by hook or by crook to avoid excess baggage charges. A minor miracle.
- catch the MRT to Orchard where I relive my secondary school days grabbing a cheap bowl of very yummy noodles and tako pachi at Takashimaya food court
- very spontaneously go to a friend's wedding at the Shangri-La and wander around the swanky ballroom in my travel clothes saying hi to everyone I know. Get fed yummy Indian food. The hotel is just behind my old secondary school too so I get off at my old bus stop and walk past the campus. The nostalgia! Our pagan statue of Athena still stands proud at the side gate.
- get back to the airport to find that my flight has been delayed by half an hour. This is perfect as it allows me to shower (for three quid!), feel very human again, and then check my email for free.

Time to go. Some good movies should further my denial of the arrival back in the UK and The Onset Of Cold.