The Land of Oz

by Penny M

Have you ever felt like you’ve been dropped into a postcard? I have. I followed the family out of Perth International airport at one o’clock (Perth time) where I found a bench to sit down (yes again!). I’m not sure if my ears were still at forty thousand feet, but all activity seemed feathered. I distinctly remembered having chewed and popped all the way down. I wondered if I’d gone deaf. There wasn’t a rainbow national in sight. Even passing vehicles moved so slowly that they would have left the dust on the pavements if there’d been any; which there wasn’t. Not a speck of litter anywhere. Picture

Perhaps I was suffering from culture shock. The courtesy with which we’d been greeted and assisted was so … well … foreign. I had the urge to rush back and hug the officials at Immigration and Passport control. It was comforting to think that these smileys on legs actually wanted us to be there. How refreshing to feel that you were not just a Passport number so-and-so, to be scrutinized, processed and ‘next’.

Three zombies and a baby touched down at Brisbane airport after a ten hour sleepless-over at Perth
domestic airport (don’t ask) and a four hour and something minute flight. We were now ahead of Perth by two hours and SA by nine. Please note that means we were out of our zone.

My alien sensation clung on. Being a single, independent person, staying twenty-four-seven in a home full of people of all sizes was an interesting change to my routine. It took a while to adjust, but what a joy to hear the intermittent patter of little feet and voices and to spend quality time with my five month old granddaughter.

Making comparisons is a natural phenomenon of travel. Rounding up to ten rand for one dollar made window shopping easy for me. This wasn’t the only deterrent. Call me old-fashioned, but I have a snooty penchant for the home-grown. After trundling around three shopping centres, it became disappointingly obvious that China controls a major share of the market in Australia for everything other than fresh produce. Significant numbers of second world retail merchants mingle comfortably with first world purchasers and my guess is that they share equal power in the realm of private yachts and public mansions. Original Australian design (made in China) adorns the labels of everything from stuffed Koala bears to fly catchers. I was not about to spend my few dollars on something I could get in China Town, Durban, SA.

During my stay, I was fortunate enough to travel to Melbourne to visit my son who has settled there. It is said that Brisbane is like Durban and Melbourne is like London and I could quite see why.

If I remember the story correctly, Dorothy was swept away to the Land of Oz in a tornado. Judging from the weather whilst we were there, flash floods, blistering heat, cyclones, I wondered if L Frank Baum, the author of the famous children’s novel had anticipated the landing conditions before he wrote the book. That is, I wondered, until I discovered that the author of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a Theosophist. The book was intended to be allegorical. Dorothy’s journey was a ‘spiritual’ one.

Unlike Dorothy, we had set out to explore and experience Oz with the intent of maybe emigrating there in the future. I find it quite uncanny that I came upon these words when researching for this blog:

‘… Once she gets there, Dorothy realizes that she doesn’t belong there and that she has to find her way back home. In the end she comes to the realization that “you don’t need to travel over the rainbow to find your heart’s desire,” you can find it “in your own backyard”.’

I’m not into Theosophy, but maybe I don’t need to fly over the rainbow to follow the yellow brick road. Talk about food for thought. One thing’s for sure, I know how Dorothy felt when she  arrived in the Land of Oz.

Purdin, W. (2009, July 22). The Theosophical foundations of L Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from examiner.com.

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