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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Norfolk Island Leap

NORFOLK ISLAND | Monday, 29 February 2016 | Views [462]

Alison on Mt. Pitt

Alison on Mt. Pitt

Today is Leap Day and I'm leaping to Norfolk Island for the fourth time round! This time with something I've waited many years to experience: an overseas journey with a friend, family member, or partner in tow. Alison is with me today on the "Rock" after I convinced her to join me. As the plane swooped in from the west I told Alison to keep an eye out to her right. Norfolk only appears about 30 seconds before you touch the runway. The landing was very hard; Alison was worried the plane wouldn't stop in time. Since we had no luggage we were the first to clear customs and get out into the airport. Humidity was a slap in the face today. Racheal wasn't kidding when she said it's been very hot and humid. My previous three visits to Norfolk took place in May, August, and September so this is the nearest to summer I've ever visited. Troy was the first of my friends to meet Alison, and she met a few of my friends at the airport. Norfolk Island is like a home to me, and its people are like family, so anybody I bring to Norfolk has to behave accordingly. Alison really enjoys the drink but I've made clear this will be a dry trip whilst she's here. For many years I had tried to organize a trip with friends but it always proved to be a fruitless effort full of ridiculous excuses. In the US I've done a couple of short road trips with Brian, and I've visited and met up with friends in various places but this is the first planned overseas trip with a friend. Dave was running a bit late to pick us up and he had to get back to work so he dropped us at Cafe Tempo. I had to visit the bank because my card was skimmed and someone in Melbourne purchased nearly $1,100 in engine oil from a truck parts store. Fortunately I caught it early and I called the store at 7:30 AM this morning on the dot, and the manager was really helpful. He attempted to credit the funds straight back into my account but couldn't since I cancelled my Eftpos card. Another thing that's fortunate is that Norfolk Island falls under Australian jurisdiction and there's a branch of Commonwealth Bank on the island. Though I'm a bit annoyed about this hassle, had I been in New Caledonia or someplace else I would have been completely stuck without money. With the bank matter sorted for now (I keep have to checking back on the situation), Alison and I would order a coffee at Cafe Tempo and chat to James.

If he were a politician you'd vote for Vote because he's James Vote. James has seven children on the mainland. Early enough I caught Alison on the drink and I could tell yesterday this could be a challenging trip despite the euphoria of bringing a friend. 

Doing a trip with someone close to you presents its own set of challenges. Unlike on my previous two visits to Norfolk I felt like I couldn't just drop my bags, run off, and catch up with Cristina, Racheal, or whoever; I had to be patient and allow Alison and I to adjust together, and I wouldn't want to leave her alone whilst I did my own thing. When Dave finished work we were both ready for a long nap. Last night I barely slept at all, concerned I'd oversleep and miss my flight. 

The following morning, James would give Alison and I a lift to Racheal's house; she immediately took a liking to Alison. Whilst I had baulked at the possibility of Alison drinking, Racheal shrugged it off with a smile and said "Chris, she's on holiday, let her enjoy herself." Therefore, we did just that. Alison's licence is suspended, I don't drive, and Norfolk is a tricky place to get around if you don't have transport, so she's receiving a crash course in how I travel. Stopping for a feed and some grog at the Fish & Chook Shop and the Bond Store, respectively, we then took Alison for a drive up to Mt. Pitt. Alison and Racheal, side by side.

Racheal & Alison

On my last visit Racheal told me she hated going up there because you see how small the island is and makes you realize that Burnt Pine is the only town for nearly 800 km in any direction. Norfolk is practically in the middle of a triangle consisting of Noumea, Kaitaia, and Lord Howe. We went back to Racheal's place where we ate, drank, chatted, shared stories, laughed, smiled, and drank some more, and we ended up never leaving. Racheal and Alison did hit the RSL and had a few. Drinking antics or not, there is no such thing as a dull moment on the Bounteous Isle, whether it's with friends or solo.

Norfolk Island and its people have always treated me well and I'm elated to be back, especially with Alison by my side. I always wanted my first overseas journey with someone close to be to someplace special, and I couldn't pick a more special place than Norfolk. Alison has only four nights here and I'm determined to make it special for her. In saying that, for the next few days we shall tackle together this soulmate of a destination. 

Tags: friends, islands

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