The long way home

We said goodbye to Marcus’ mum at 4am on a cold winter’s morning. Packed ourselves, two car-seats, a stroller, four carry-on’s and three large suitcases into the taxi and drove away. Project move back Down Under was on.

It was an hour’s drive to Manchester Airport, a two hour wait there, a one hour flight to Heathrow,  a frantic one hour in transit, a twelve hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, another hour in transit, a one hour flight to Penang and then finally, a very surreal, one hour shuttle journey in the bright Malaysian sunshine to our hotel in Batu Ferringhi.

Beastly.

And only halfway. Time for some oranges and a refresh.

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We stayed in a beach side resort for 10 nights – our days consisted of swimming, eating Char Keow Teow, lying in the shade, marvelling at the relentless heat and retiring for afternoon naps. It was entirely indulgent.

I felt lucky every day to just be stopping and chilling with these three wonderful guys.

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In all the photos, we seem to be a winning combination of sweat, sun-burn and translucent white skin.

Fred, took the Brit-on-holiday pale to a whole new level.

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I took this photo when Albie was lounging beside me under the palm trees and we were talking about Space (a frequent topic of ours).

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His heart scar, and the drain scars below it, are beautiful silvered lines now.

Distant and faded. We’re such a long way from there.

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We did an embarrassingly small amount of sightseeing, for which I hang my head.

We did, however, see some amazing temples and some gorgeous colonial architecture around Georgetown, the British seaport of the island.

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But the heat and the kids and the jet lag made us mooch a lot by the pool.

Fred learnt to float on his own with his armbands on. He giggled and chortled with the feeling.

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And Albie, goggled and ready, took to cannonballs.

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Malaysian food is just sooooooooo good. So good.

This is Fred’s satay face.

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And this is Albie’s noodle face.

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This is my face after a day in the sun and a bottle of beer. Albie has started taking photos more and more and occasionally he hits the jackpot. I shaved one side of my head a while ago. I’d been toying with a tattoo down my arm, and ended up with this haircut instead. The creep of middle-age continues. Eck.

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A beautifully thatched roof overhead.

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A boy who has learnt to say ‘Cheese’

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One lovely husband and two lush sons

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It was a rejuvenating holiday.

A holiday coloured though by an ever increasing, uncomfortable awareness of our position in the world. I reflected a lot on how easy it is for our family to just, rather flippantly, move back across the planet to where we want to live.
Our only ‘problem’, if you can call it that, was that the flight was crazy tedious and our luggage didn’t turn up on the same day. Yeah, cause we don’t even carry our own belongings – our stuff just follows us miraculously. Or not miraculously as the (suit)case may be. But, what I mean is, we didn’t have to walk with what we can manage to carry with us. Didn’t have to haul all our shill across Europe, Asia and Australia and hope in a leaky boat.

Just by birthright. Just by dumb luck. We peacefully and easily cross borders.

I’ve this growing incredulity, about the fact that we all know of our privilege, of the inequalities that exist on this planet, and then do not nearly enough about it.

I took this photo of the houses far below our hotel early one morning. It’s not a great photo – the tropical steam filled the lens as I stepped out onto our balcony from the AC’ed suite. Yeah.

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Anyway, what perturbed me then, as it does now, is not the difference between our hotel and their houses, but the ease with which we can separate ourselves from each other. And it seems to me that it’s this othering that’s our human downfall.

Anybeach holidays, it’s possible this holiday snap share has begun philosophising a little too loudly, so I will stop here. I want to tell you about Remon, a market stall holder from Bangladesh who made real friends with Albert, but perhaps another time. And I want to tell you about how my naive mind was stretched by the wonderful sight of women in full niqab paraponting, but again perhaps another time. It’s late here now.

Malaysia was awesome. The world is fabulous.

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