Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

2 hours to liftoff...

This post is dedicated to Katya, Diana and Aprel, who have all recently completed their Grand Tours and served as inspiration for mine.

The last few days have been hectic and fun.

There has been all the usual flurry of activity preceeding a major trip overseas, as well as the social circuit of friends, family and workmates who need a proper farewell. There have been too many to list here, but you probably attended at least one to be reading this, so you know how much fun it was.

Thank you very much for your goodbyes and bon voyage messages! I have really appreciated them.

This morning, the final one in Canberra until January 2006, was spent with my sister Tabbi and my dog Assad. We had a special breakfast at Verve in Manuka, then went for a long walk around the lake as a farewell gift for Assad. He loved it - loads of smells to transfix his very short attention span.

I gave my housemates a special toy to remember me by - a Bop It Extreme 2. This ridiculously insulting, colourful, patronizing, reflex-challenging and addictive noisemaker has been the most popular thing in the house since the Llama Song insidiously penetrated our skulls. That song is still yet to be exorcised.

I'm sure they'll love it. You must try it if you can wrestle it off one of them.

But some words on the future - it's only a few minutes before I leave the house for the airport. I'm feeling excited, but also slightly tense - just like the night before an exam. I've done everything I can to prepare, except learn Turkish, Italian, Greek and Arabic (But I admit it was optimistic to put those on my to-do list). All looks set to go. My pack is still under-weight, and quite a lot of it is stuff to be left in Cairo anyway.

It is almost Spring in Canberra, the days are warming up and the blossom is just starting to emerge. I wrote to a friend in Finland (hello Anna!) recently, that with all the energy of the past few days and the gorgeous weather, it feels almost like the city is trying to coerce me to stay here for a while. Well that's too bad, because I'm off to Perth!

Here we go!

Yalla Habibi!



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