I'm back! Back from the continent, jet-lagged but happy to be home. For all the positive energy and life changing properties that travel imbues one with, there really is no place like that which we call our own.
I first went to England in 1996 as a wide eyed virgin international traveller and I was in awe of everything I saw and it amazed me I guess, being that I had spent my entire life within the borders of our great southern land, that society lived and thrived on the other side of the world just as well as we do! Naive certainly but I figure I am not the first who would have felt this way on contact with another culture.
Everything I saw in 1996 enthralled me and being an avid history buff, seeing places I had only read about in books was a huge thrill and I was astonished to see that the locals, in spite of being proud of their nation's past glory, really took it all for granted.
Seventeen years on and I returned to the United Kingdom as a creature a little more cynical than I was in the days of yore and a little less impressed at all I saw although it was still incredible.
Britain is a great place and everyone should visit there at least once in their life. The cradle of our own society here in Australia, for all her faults and flaws she remains an inspiration to the world, at least in my eyes. Most things that are good in the world have sprung from the United Kingdom. She has of course made mistakes and been a cruel mistress and still refuses to acknowledge many wrongs she has committed but she has also stood alone against aggressors in defiance of all good common sense and fought for freedom and all that is right and sacrificed millions of her youngsters on the anvil of war. Who knows where the world would be today had she crumbled in the summer of 1940?
Yet, for all this, one cannot visit Britain without thinking that perhaps her great days are behind her and she is merely now a follower in the new world order. Britain, and France too are like two glamorous ladies who have lived far beyond their prime. You can see where the beauty lay. The hips are still curvy and the lips are full with cheekbones set high yet the lines are deep and the wrinkles crease. The magnificent buildings and medieval fortress' which dot these lands tell the story of powerful nations that took what they wanted and led when they needed to and showed the world grit and determination and gave light to the rest of the globe.
But could they do it again if they had to? Possibly. Probably. But I think the new world will also shoulder any future burden. They will have to for our way of life to survive. Will people be visiting the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand in one thousand years and marvel at the architecture of our grand capitals and read of their great men and women who have made the world a better place through their intelligence and endeavour? It is hard to see it happening as we sit here and marvel at the lack of competence of the current generation of political leaders and the recalcitrance and selfishness of our business elite but who knows. The light on the hill may yet spark up and lead us into a knew age of prosperity. Only time will tell.
And so, after being away from home for longer than I have been before, I find myself back grappling with the reality of everyday life, a broken down car, a crappy job populated by pygmies who mistake themselves for men of substance, and the other accoutrements which make up the peas and ham of my day to day existence.
But I am happy with my place in the world. I have seen a bit of the rest and am still pleased with where I am. A city is still a city no matter how old or how large. And our city is as good as some and better than most.
I will put the wheels to the ground and continue on my way for now.
Have a nice day.