May 24, 2010
It had, I thought that evening as we sat down in a pub in Clare to bangers and mash washed down with pints of foaming ale, been the strangest of adventures.
The previous ones, from Delhi to Belfast on an Enfield, Chicago to Los Angeles on Route 66 riding a Harley, and Chile to Alaska on a Triumph, had all involved a destination, but this time the destination had been exactly where we had started.
On the previous ones, too, I had written and filed a story and pictures every single day, whereas this time it had been a mere once a week to the Mirror and the Irish Times.
But to replace that pressure had been the pressure of filming, blogging, juggling a diminishing budget and dealing with the logistics and management of a larger team than before, including all the personality problems that involved. Like when we all had to sit down and have a good talk about staying positive.
Or when Paul the cameraman had arrived for the second half of the trip and found it almost impossible to cope with the demands of filming and driving all day in intense heat and humidity, yet gone on to overcome them in admirable fashion.
Or, indeed, coping with my own problems from being so far away from home for so long, struggling to keep my temper and patience at times, and struggling even harder with the daily battle we all face, that act of will to keep hope one step ahead of despair.
At lunchtime the next day, we finally rolled past the Adelaide city limits, and parked in exactly the same spot outside the same apartments we had left from.
There was even the same girl on reception, to add to the surreal sense that it had all been a dream.
Except for the fact that all afternoon I wandered around with my mouth open at sights I had not seen for the past three months.
Delicatessens! Day spas! Fashion shops! People wearing suits! Restaurants! And not just restaurants, but Thai, Mexican, Indian, Tibetan, Kashmiri and Nepalese ones.
October 16, 2016