Culture Shock, Pt. II

It’s freezing here. And by freezing, I mean mid-70s as opposed to the mid-90s I’ve become accustomed to in Thailand. Leaving that beautiful land somewhat tore at my heartstrings, as I boarded the plane and gazed out the window and took a last glance at what had somewhat become my home… Although, it’s pretty safe to say at this point that everywhere in the world I’ve visited has become a part of me.
The flight was alright. A 60-something-year-old gentleman sat beside me, native of Australia. He had a gauze bandaged to his forehead and his left arm in a sling. He was very sweet, and informed me that
1. He travels the world every three months or so, as he is retired;
2. This Thailand trip was cut short because there was water on the floor by his bed this morning and he slipped and fell, broke his hand and arm plus got a horrible lesion on his face; and
3. Men are full of bullshit, and I should never marry one.
He was quiet as the plane took off, and informed me that he had sleeping pills which were absolutely wonderful and helped him sleep for five to six hours at a time. He then took said pills, and I watched half a season of Archer as I wasn’t yet tired.
As I was finally dozing off to sleep, I felt the man grab my knee. I immediately woke up, as I had been helping him with his blankets, seatbelt, etc. since his arm was in a sling. Curiously enough, he wasn’t looking straight at me. He mumbled something inarticulate and then got up rockily and took off down the aisle. It was only a matter of seconds before he fell. In shock, I got up. Three attendants promptly picked him up and returned him to his seat, and buckled him in. I helped put the blanket back around him, but couldn’t sleep after that. He kept getting up and moving about, talking to himself, and once he even almost sat on me! When he finally woke up as we were starting our descent, he was very chipper and going on about how well he had slept. I decided not to tell him about the incidents, although I did tell him he was “trying to get up” to try to hint that maybe the dose was a little high, but it’s not my place.
Anyway, so here I am at my hostel. The shuttle ride was only about twenty minutes or so, but I barely remember it because I was so exhausted from not sleeping all night. As we were driving, I actually forgot what side of the road we use in the U.S. I had to give it some serious thought before I realized that it was different in Thailand and Australia. Also, it was extremely weird to see everything written in English. It made me do double-takes! And to hear the radio with an Aussie accent – that was bizarre as well. Basically, seeing this many white people and hearing so much English is bizarre in itself to me right now.
The skies were blue, tons of people were outside, whether just taking a walk or participating in sports. This place is certainly alive. The air is SO, SO much cleaner than Bangkok! That was probably the first thing I noticed. I took a deep inhale and it reminded me of home – Washingtonians, don’t take your air for granted. Of all the places I’ve traveled in the world, the air in WA remains the cleanest so far! I rolled down my window to take some deep breaths and realized how COLD I was! I thought, “Wow it must be fifty degrees!” Of course, I found out that it was in the seventies… This will definitely take a bit.
Right when I found my room at this VERY nice hostel, in a room with three bunk beds, I passed out straight away. I just woke up and got some internet – Tomorrow I will take a walking tour of Sydney after meeting my group, then the following day I will be on a harbor cruise! Pretty soon I’ll be scuba diving in the Great Barrier – so stay tuned for adventures to come!

Wake Up Hostel, Sydney
Wake Up Hostel, Sydney

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