November 17th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
The first postcard we sent (though actually we dropped it in the street, and it was sent by a kind local)

Considering it really wasn’t a very big car, we managed to get a surprisingly good night’s sleep.  We were parked in an ordinary suburban street tho’, so thought it wise to move ourselves fairly early.  First job of the day was to find the Australian Consulate, and this proved to be a surprisingly simple task.  We were a little early for it tho’, so once we managed to find a parking space for the car (no mean task) we had some coffee + then went on up.  A brief wait, but then we were told it would take about a week to process our applications for a working holiday visa, so we took the forms so that we could send them on to Mexico City.  Then we hit the road, finding the highway to San Diego with no trouble at all.

An easy, pleasant, uneventful drive.  Arrived in SD, + set about finding a campsite.  The first we tried was expensive, + we were about half-way downtown to another one when we decided the first one was nearest to where we had to deliver the car, so we returned there.  We took the cheapest area, a dirt lot, and it was just so depressing, just us + a battered old camper on this barren, wasted moonscape.  We pitched the tent as fast as we could considering the ground was solid, then shot off to deliver the car (only pausing for Val to have a final go at removing the ink-stains… with nail-polish remover!  Didn’t do very much tho’.)  Fortunately the lady who owned the car didn’t check that bit, so as soon as she signed the cheque, we ran.  It had been a good car, costing $63 to drive down.

A bit of a walk back, then the best bit of the camp-site, relaxing in the Jacuzzi.  Lit a fire afterwards, to cook some soup + beans, then did the washing, then sat in the café, then bed – I, at least, was shattered.

End of an era.  Or, if not exactly of an era, of a diary.  Or, to be a little more precise, of a volume; for since the trip doesn’t stop here, then neither does the diary.  I am in contemplative mood, + have been blessed with a few minutes for reflection, since at the moment I am sitting in the lobby of the San Diego YMCA, waiting for Val to appear from her dorm.  (For explanation, see Vol II, Nov 20th.)

I am apprehensive about the future, since perhaps 5 months of travelling around the US + Canada had not prepared me as much as I had hoped for the prospect of venturing into another country with a virtually unknown language (I really don’t know how well failed O-level Spanish will serve us.)  I realise of course that the main purpose of this trip is exploration, + that in a sense all that has gone before has served as a preamble.  But still…

What else has happened in the world?  Ronnie Reagan is making noises about nuclear disarmament, but nobody, least of all Russia, thinks he is really serious.  At home, Chuck + Di have announced they’re going to have a baby, yet despite this evidence of rebirth + regeneration, Maggie grows ever more hawkish.  In addition to that, just a day or 2 ago, England either made it or failed to make it to the World Cup finals.  I cannot be sanguine about their chances.  Musically, the big song of the moment has been “A woman like you” by Foreigner.  And so…

I’ve enjoyed writing this diary – have even contemplated keeping it up at home.  It has been difficult at times, but I think I shall enjoy reading it in the future.  Also, it has helped to ease many partings.  Inevitably, one says many goodbyes to people – this preservation of those people helps to keep them alive for just a few days longer.  And so… goodbye.

So, an explanation of the accompanying photo. As I have feared, there are occasions (with more to come, I feel) when we simply do not have appropriate photos for the place we have reached. Sometimes, (as with Campland) it is because we did not feel sufficiently inspired to take any photos… though one’s perspective does change. On reflection, a record of the desolation of Campland might have been of interest. At other times, it is because circumstances have robbed us of the photos – the loss of a film (or even a camera!) makes for inevitable gaps.

How to fill them though. Having recently looked through the postcards we sent home regularly to our respective mothers, I have decided to include some of them. Out of place, inevitably, but, at least, a picture…

As for the post, first indications of a nervousness about what was to come, plus the reaction to finishing a diary; little did I know then, it was to be the first volume of eight!

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