So, this is Australia. I am unimpressed. So far, all I see are shuffling lines of bored-looking folk, clutching shiny prizes claimed from soulless stockpiles of overpriced goods, all pulsating gently with fluorescent iridescence.
Australia, pah. More like, House of Fraser!
Maybe things will be different outside the duty free…
Before I can test this theory, I spy something like my sleep-deprived little eye. Something beginning with DEALS (and ending in hangovers).
Such choice, such choice!
I don’t really need three bottles of Jim Bean, but then again I don’t really need any of the stuff I’m hauling around with me. I can legally carry 2.25 litres of alcohol into the country and I have heard booze in Australia is ludicrously expensive…
Three bottles of whisky it is! I, Ed, am best of men!
Reality suddenly strikes me in the face, like the flapping head-kerchief of the Indian lady who grumbled her way from Singapore to Brisbane, in the seat next to mine.
(At one point, she struck up a conversation in what I assume was Vietnamese because I was, at the time, using the entertainment system to learn the basics.
Luckily, “I don’t understand” was one of the starter expressions. Unluckily, I am a slow learner…so instead I smiled and switched the language to German. She fell silent.)
This might be a good deal, but the logistics of adding my bodyweight in whisky to my baggage shortly before catching another flight is unwise. Even I can see that.
I’m not exactly the uber-tourist either, so it’s probably best to tone down the alcohol dependence until I’ve been allowed into this country.
I buy just the one 75cl bottle of Jim Bean. It costs me $30. A quick mental calculation reveals this is £30 per litre, sans-tax. Inside, I weep.
Ahead lies the border. Will they accept me, these Guardians of Australia? Me and my one-way ticket, stoner locks and running shoes caked in non-quarantine-friendly mud?
Who am I? Why am I here? How long will I be here? Where am I going? What am I doing? Do I have any drugs?
My daily wave of existential despair is all the more crushing after 26 hours of planes and airports. I’ll never make it through duty free at this rate.
I should stop for cakes.
THERE ARE NO CAKES!
What have I done?