Saturday, December 10, 2005

How Dorothy Knew She Probably Wasn't In Kansas Anymore ...

It's everything.

Yeni Zealanda ... Nieuw Zeeland ... New Zealand

I never realised that other countries had other names for my country. Ignorance in the extreme, or perhaps this old chick just hadn't been out much ... kind of like Dorothy really.

Seni seviyorum ... Ik hou van jou ... I love you
and so it is with love, and everything else.

Istanbul Turks are reputed to be terrifying drivers ... Belgians actually terrify me ... and then there's the deep pleasure of driving New Zealand roads.

The Istanbul Turks I hung out with tended to dress more in the style of the Milanese of Italy; the Belgians do as they please, but with European insouciance that mostly deflects questions regarding their fashion sense; in New Zealand well ... I had one or two disgusting long jerseys that I almost dare not remember, although some of you will.

In greeting others, the Turks kissed once on each cheek while shaking my hand; the Belgians are more likely to deliver three kisses while shaking my hand (although they could be 'one kiss' or 'two kiss' people, try not to lurch into the second kiss in this case), and New Zealand, I think we just used to say hi and avoid contact where ever possible ... a bow to our Victorian forefathers.

And then there's geography. I grew up in, and lived, all over the South Island ... which is approximately 600 kilometres long. If you travel 600km from Istanbul you could find yourself in Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Yugoslavia, Moldavia or the Ukraine, with Turkey also sharing borders with Iran, Iraq and Syria. If you do the 600 kilometres from Brussels, then France, Germany, England, the Czech and Danish borders, and Switzerland are possible destinations. And there's New Zealand ... with each of the two main islands measuring about 600kms in length, and being 200kms wide in some places ... Australia is our closest neighbour and she's at least 2000kms across 'The Ditch, as we like to understatedly name the Tasman Sea that seperates us. We have no neighbours and can only explore our own landmass with this measurement.

And so, members of the jury, I rest my case ... I come from a small island continent (yes continent, this is not a mistake) at the bottom of the world, and out here in Europe, on the days, when I'm not feeling like Alice lost in Wonderland, drinking tea and talking with Rabbits, then I'm Dorothy, dropped off by various tornadoes that leave me bewildered and fumbling but often amused and entertained ... sigh, or amusing and entertaining (as in, are they laughing with me or at me?). But I love it out here.

Photograph: Toto searching for a new adventure.

Come Toto, we have more exploring to do ...

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