Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Good news is no news - also, probably tempting fate now


I've just written an editorial about how nobody's interested in hearing about your holiday unless it was a disaster. It's true, isn't it? How was your holiday? Lovely. And that's the end of the conversation. None of those supplementary questions I used to coach my kids to ask of their friends' parents when they were playing in their houses, in order to look intelligent/ingratiate themselves. The only people who have the slightest interest in your trip are those who have just been, or are about to go, to the same place, so it's all entirely selfish - especially the first group, who just want to be able to reassure themselves that they had the better time.

Disasters, though. I've had a few - too many, in fact, to fit into 300 words. It was quite fun to recall them. Stand by.

Dislocating my shoulder by jumping off a moving boat in the Norfolk Broads. Falling off a staircase on Waiheke, knocking myself out and breaking my wrist. Tripping and falling down a flight of stone steps at the Red Fort in Delhi, hitting my head (again - explains a lot). Falling into the Tongariro River thirty seconds after setting off on a white-water rafting expedition. Falling over twice on a glacier in Iceland and whacking the same knee each time. Missing the train in Alice Springs and, out of money, having to subsist on a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter for three days till the next one. Getting mugged in Santiago, by having my antique gold chain snatched from my neck from behind by invisible ratbags. Having a man expose himself to me on the street at night in Brisbane as I waited for a bus. Watching my camera cartwheel down a rocky hillside on the Isle of Skye. Dropping a speeding Segway wheel into a pothole in Queenstown and falling off. Being dumped by a wave on Waiheke on two separate occasions and losing my glasses in the surf. Having my husband whisked away by airport authorities and waiting alone for him for half an hour in Moscow. Having to wade thigh-deep through freezing water along the flooded Milford Track. Being followed down a tunnel to an underground market in Delhi by a one-legged, long-haired beggar who was just a creepy silhouette against the light. Having the expedition ship I was on shudder to a halt as it ran aground on a rock. Breaking an arm off my glasses by sleeping on them on a plane and having to wear them like lorgnettes for half a holiday in France. Riding a horse in a bikini (me, not the horse) in South Australia through a shoulder-high thicket of spider webs. Flushing my hire car keys down a public loo in Brisbane, leaving me stranded at night with no money or phone.
There are doubtless more, that I've blotted out of my memory. Still, that's a good enough list to enable shameless name-dropping. Which is what it's all about, really, when you're back from travelling, isn't it? And probably why nobody else (see above) is interested. So what a good thing it is that I'm a travel writer, and get to describe all my trips in great detail, and even get paid [a pittance] for it. Funny, though, isn't it, how there's a call for travel stories in newspapers and magazines, but in person no-one's bothered? Or maybe it's just me...

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