Bandung to Bali XVI – Tropic of Capricorn – 18 May 1973

The pig goes missing in Sydney.

‘I think I left him on the plane.’ I tell Dad.

Dad gives me a look that, if said, could not be repeated.

He heads back through an oncoming crowd to find the orange capped air hostess, who tells the blue suited man, who tells a man in a white short sleeved shirt, who tells a lady in a pale blue dress, who finds the pig under the seat who passes it back….

Cate was right about that pig. She was trouble.

‘Now keep hold of your things.’ Dad commands as he presses the sticky pig into my hands.

The corners of Matt’s mouth creep up into a smile of deep appreciation. I am in the bad books.

Four of us – with bags swung over backs and clung in tired arms – trot along behind Dad like a clutch of ducklings to get from one end of the airport to the other. Mum is ahead with Bart held by one of the airport helpers.

The next plane is bigger, the seats are wider and the air hostesses are in reassuring blue uniforms with buttons down the front.

‘Qantas.’ says Tony.

Lockers shut firm, we hear about the life jackets and the oxygen masks again. Next stop Brisbane and from there to Jakarta the pilot tells us.

Up we go. Matt says he likes take off the best. I think landing is better.

Off and back on the plane again at Brisbane.

A wire work of roads radiates out below us and a land I never could imagine stretches out as far as I can see. The green edge of the coast gives way to a red earth carved by mesmerising, curling rivers.

Tropic of Capricorn‘ Tony says.

Cate’s mum was right too – there is no going back now.

 

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

By some strange circumstance I had to take a break from the blog for a couple of weeks to fly to Indonesia for work. How extraordinary then to restart this journey almost at the same time as we actually took it nearly 40 years ago.

And best part about the trip was that my Dad came too. We were in for a total culture shock for the second time and I wonder now how I can put together the memories against the reality of Indonesia today.

But for now let’s enjoy the whole aviation experience which I have always loved. The journey 40 years ago was a long and arduous ten hours with all the stops and plane transfers.

And my vote for the greatest technical contribution to air travel in the last 40 years? Trolley bags. Now why did that take so long to work out?

For the recent trip we were in the care of Mr Branson and in six hours we were in Den Pasar. But the Bali of this story will have to wait ….

***

The one thing that has not changed in 40 years is the power of the vastness and extraordinary beauty of the Australian landscape.

A fellow blogger’s recent post lamented the frustration of getting anything like a meaningful photo out of a commercial plane. The earth viewed from such a height is indescribable – but how I love the sight of the land below.

The land that Goorialla – the rainbow serpent – truly must have created, is laid out clearly below – rendered and understood with extraordinary spatial knowledge by indigenous Australians for thousands of years but one that remains a mystery to me.

So my best offering is a painting of one of those blurry far away images from the most recent trip. This was the point where gaping estuaries of pink muddied waters and mangroves met the sea on the NorthWest coast of Australia. Wondrous.

Qantas image over Melbourne from http://strobedriver.com/ kindly referred by Dawn at http://dawnwhitehand.wordpress.com/

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6 thoughts on “Bandung to Bali XVI – Tropic of Capricorn – 18 May 1973

    • Thanks Mae for reading!
      I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that the chances of survival of a papier mache pig where we were headed was doomed to be pretty low.

      Like

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