We had a cracker of a storm this afternoon. There wasn’t any lightning, and there wasn’t any hail. There wasn’t even much rain. But it was still a pretty good storm nonetheless. Most of which I enjoyed from the 200 Bus from Bondi Junction. The 200, by the way, is not my normal bus. I caught it “randomly”.
When I’m travelling (ah yes, memories), I like to catch random buses to see where they’ll take me. My favourite memory of this was when I caught a bus in Beijing ten years ago, while visiting my friend Kate.
The upshot of it all is that I took the “wrong bus” and ended up in the middle of nowhere, about eighty or ninety kilometres outside Beijing.
As I arrived at the town of Songzhou – the home of a village of 2,000 practising artists – I wondered to myself, “what if I go one stop further?”. And so I did. And then I did again. And then I kept on going. Until eventually I found myself out in the countryside. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to take in some of those familiar non-urban smells that I’ve spent more than half my life with (though obviously not recently).
As I travelled on the bus through small villages there were particular images which remain with me: the massive amounts of corn on the roadside drying, the backyard recycling depots full of plastic bottles, and the seemingly “third world” living conditions of some of the housing. I travelled for as long as I felt comfortable until eventually I got up and off at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere. I felt reasonably comfortable there would eventually be a return bus, since there was a handful of people waiting on the roadside.
I must have been a rather odd site to have appeared from nowhere. Amongst those standing was an older bloke – maybe in his 50s – who was obviously a bit of a joker. He was walking around chatting to everyone and then came over to me for a bit of a chat. Through sign language he asked me why I had my pull-over wrapped in a knot around my kneck, suggested I put it on properly, and then we all laughed. We chatted for a while – he in Chinese, I in English – and made “the best of friends”. We sat next to each other on the bus. I was really pleased I’d gone that “one stop further”
The 200 Route from Bondi Junction to Chatswood was nowhere near as exotic, though I did go through parts of the Eastern Suburbs I never normally visit.
One of the depressing things about getting caught in the rain was how it combined with my facemask. Normally, my glasses fog up due to the facemask, but then there was the rain and humidity on top of it.
I’ve been regularly wearing facemasks since the COVID-19 outbreak, and even though I’ve read various bits of advice along the way about how to prevent it, my glasses still fog up.
As I wandered around today, I fiddled constantly with my mask to prevent the fog. Eventually, I decided it was easy enough to take my glasses off. But then I had the issue to deal with of what to do with them.