Monday, 16 August 2010

Vacation born under a bad sign



Originally uploaded by reuvenim
Yesterday afternoon we flew back from our yearly winter escape vacation, this time to the clutches of warm Cairns - the heart of Tropical North Queensland. The conclusion after this time off is obvious: we need a vacation.
I'm not talking about the hardships of contemporary flying, with parking the car at the airport (while wondering whether it would start when you're back), checking in and going through the motions of security, or just all the waiting one has to do while armed with a lethal three year old. Nor am I talking about getting to the other side to find a hotel that seemed to have changed its mind about a few things we had in writing.
I'm not even talking about the stresses involving us meeting with some of our overseas family, even though these are quite a stress. The summit meeting of our three year old with his five year old cousin alone can cause more collateral damage to than a clash between two modern armies. Add to that contradicting tastes when it comes to determining how to best spend our time together, coupled with English manners dictating no one is ever allowed to express what they really want to do in any explicit manner whatsoever, and you can see what drove Jane Austen to write books like Pride and Prejudice and how our vacation can get a bit stuck. No, the family part was the fun bit; I've enjoyed it quite a lot, if only through marveling at how poorly able all sides of the family were at communicating to one another on what their life experience has been like since the last time we've met. Isn't it amazing how close family can meet after several eventful years, only to talk about not much more than the average chitchat you get at your workplace office's kitchen?
Seriously, the family part was great, and no one enjoyed it more than our son, for whom the whole family other than his parents live in far away continents. I guess it's all because he's the one member of the family least familiar with what the concept is all about while I know enough about it to seek shelter in another hemisphere. Yet even, supposedly the rational kid on the block, I feel this big emptiness whenever we depart.

No, what broke this vacation of ours was all to do with health. The statistics speak for themselves:
  • Four doctor visits.
  • Two ear infections.
  • One very high fever.
The straw that broke this vacation's back took place overseas but had all the flavor of our vacation as we knew it: a family member had to rush to hospital, breaking our tropical party.

Not that I'm complaining or anything. Our vacation might have had its ups and downs, but at least it was nice and warm - unlike the Melbourne we've left and the Melbourne we came back to.

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