For a long time I’ve envied the people who are able to go jet-setting around the country (or even the world) as part of their work. When I got the chance to regularly commute between Canberra and Brisbane, I jumped at the chance. Now, it#&8217;s all getting a little bit tedious…
Let’s see; since my last entry I’ve spent one full week plus a couple of loose days working in Canberra. Aside from that, despite still renting a house there, and flying back there every weekend, I have, for all intents and purposes been living in Brisbane.
Three weeks ago I flew from Brisbane to Canberra on the Friday evening, Canberra to Melbourne on the Saturday morning, and then caught a train to Warrnambool on the Saturday afternoon to spend the 18th of June with my sister for her birthday. On the Sunday (the actual birthday) Mum and Dad rang from the early stages of a 6-week sojourn along the west coast of Australia to say their birthday wishes, and also to inform us our uncle had been diagnosed with a brain tumor at the start of the trip, and he and our aunt had gone back to Melbourne to seek treatment.
That news didn’t really sink in for a while, not until I was back on the train to Melbourne (just 24hrs after arriving). The train arrived back in Melbourne late, and I had to trek to the ‘burbs to where my brother and his girlfriend live. I only got to chat with my brother for a few hours before it was time to sleep, his girlfriend had gone to bed early so she could get up to watch Australia suffer a graceful defeat at the hands of Brazil (like we were EVER gonna win that one). First thing in the morning and they dropped me at the train station as they headed off to work, and I went back towards the city where I had an appointment at the Apple Store to collect my new MacBook Pro, and offload my old software and G4 Ti. The people in Melbourne were complaining of the cold, and I knew I should have been, but compared to Canberra’s brand of cold, I just felt Melbourne had to put some more feeling into it.
I caught up with my friends John and then Chris, neither of whom I’ve seen for ages, and then caught my plane back to Canberra on the Monday night. On the Tuesday morning I was on the 6:30am flight back up to Brisbane, and ever since have done the weekly air commute between the two cities. For the most part it’s been ok. I’ve been staying in a pretty decent hotel/serviced apartment and although I miss the rhythms of my life in Canberra, I’ve learned to adapt to this new routine of living in a hotel, eating poor, irregular meals, and then flying half the length of the country and back each week.
I’ve always yearned to be in a job that involved travel, but I think I’d now like to qualify that with a job that involves some limited travel. Like…once every three months, I spend a week away. That might keep the novelty fresh. Every week, not so good.
This week especially is not shaping up nicely at all. The usual place was booked out, so I have to stay at the Holiday Inn. It’s in a part of Brisbane I’d not really been aware of previously. By the looks of the other hotels here, I suspect a concerted effort was made in the eighties to make this part of town the hotel district, as they are all of a similar vintage—probably all put up for Expo ‘88. There are a number of abandoned buildings, and a few backpacker hotels nearby. The train line runs out the back and there’s a large park adjacent to my hotel where each night, the cities ne’er do wells gather. There’s a seedy edge to this part of the city and I sense it has that grungy, derelict edge that St Kilda probably had a few decades ago before the yuppies “gentrified” it.
My hotel has the decor of the era in which it was built. Poo-brown bathroom fittings, bedding that smells like my grandparent’s house used to, and boiler-plated furniture from the first ever Ikea catalogue. My one gripe about this place (aside from paying more per night), is that it’s a hotel room, not a serviced apartment. There’s no kitchen (or even a kitchenette), and the lack of eating facilities nearby means a lengthy walk back to Queen Street, or a meal in the hotel restaurant—one smell of the beer soaked carpet and cigarette smoke that infuses the air, and you suddenly don’t feel like eating.
Last week, I spent most of the time in Canberra, and I have to say, despite the issues I have with this particular hotel, it’s a nice diversion from the depression of walking to the office in Canberra. Still, I’ll be happy to return next week to my usual place—it’s the only normalcy I have at the moment.