Thursday, June 28, 2007

Facing North

I confess to not being a great traveller, with plane and car sickness having been companions in my youth.

beware - details of childhood malaise follow -
Enduring memories remain a road trip in a Toyota Corona (or was it still the Hillman Hunter?)with my parents and grandparents from Hobart to Queenstown. This was in the 1970's before sealed (read smooth) roads. Once we hit the real hills, poor Dad had to stop the car every mile to allow me to ... well, you get the picture. Poor Mum, I think I was sitting on her knee! Short trips (like from home to Grandparents) were fine, but the longer, hillier, windier trip - not good, for any of the family.

When we made the first long plane trip from Melbourne to London, I lasted as far as Hong Kong before I then fell into a steady stream (sorry, wrong word) of illness ALL the way to Heathrow. FYI, on the return flight I was dosed up so much that I'm sure the cabin staff thought me an underage druggie!
you can rejoin reading from here - no more talk of sickness!

However, once I'm at a new destination, I'm in my element! Somehow, I seem to look like a local, with other visitors asking for directions from Marble Arch to Green Park in London, or to Little India in Singapore, or a good cafe in Auckland. All of these requests, and more have been asked of me as I explore a new place.

Drop me off in London, I'll turn around a few times, face north and know where I am.

My method of tourism is to study the map beforehand, then just go with my memory! I particularly love the London underground maps, with their colour coding, crossover points etc.

In fact, on those short family trips I would beg may parents to let me read the street directory and follow our journey. It may have something to do with a short attention span, or boredom, and despite their misgivings about potential queasiness, my parents let me navigate.

Maps of any sort are my friends. I have an enduring love of the Melways, and even know places not on map 58.

Anyone want a tour guide? I promise I'm OK travelling ... now!

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