In Hong Kong we take a $2 dollar tram to the end of the line and back, just because we can. Black trams, red trams, green trams, purple, advertising everything from insurance to jewellery sales, trundle around like a real-life theme park ride, with us on it.
We pass The Sincere Insurance Building, the HSBC building with its very English Landseer-like lions either side of the entrance and then the Bank of China with guardian lions of the ancient imperial variety. It is the lead-up to Chinese New Year and there are red lanterns everywhere, in between The Honest Pharmacy, The Hong Kong Jockey Club betting shops, Vodafone, Reebok and Clarks Shoes, Dolce and Gabbana, De Beers, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sam Choy Printing and the Ying Kee Tea House.
The noises are man-made: traffic stopping and starting, over-revved double decker buses, taxis honking and the rat-a-tat-tat of the pedestrian crossings where the arrival of the green man is signalled by what sounds like a frantic toy monkey on a tin drum.
At eight o'clock in the evening, Mr Grigg and I become part of the nightly laser show as we sail across from Wan Chai to Kowloon on the Star Ferry. The next day we get on a bus to Stanley Market and a man in the seat behind is shaving himself with an electric razor. He then slurps his tea loudly, a naughty child experimenting with drinking Coke through a straw for the first time. Up the high peak overlooking Hong Kong we can see nothing but a blanket of mist. It is like being inside a plastic fertiliser sack.
On our way back, we wend our way through the above-ground walkways, merging into maze-like shopping malls full of commuters on their way home from work. These walkways are the pedestrian arteries of Wan Chai, suspended like Tarzan's vines in the jungle.
On then to Australia. An uncomfortable night's sleep punctuated by very good Quantas food and the films The Time Traveller's Wife and Finding Eric and increasingly swelling feet. We land at Brisbane where the man at immigration smirks at Mr Grigg's passport photo and then says he won't let us in unless we can spell our destination of Maroochydore.
The next two days are spent with Mrs Bancroft's very good friends, Lord and Lady G, who initiate us into Aussie culture and hospitality with the most beautiful of houses overlooking acres of green trees,a golf course and then the sea. A walk along white, white sands, the curl of the surf and the most tender lamb and steak on the barbie.
But before that, a stop-off at the bottle shop for a case of wine. After all, it is the Griggs coming to stay.
The world from my window this morning, with a soundtrack of laughing Kookaburras.
Our next stop will be Adelaide where my father's brother tells us on Facebook they are having a party and we're invited. I momentarily worry about recognising my cousin at the airport and she me. But she has a cunning plan. She will be accompanied by her identical twin teenage daughters - blonde and beautiful - who will be wearing their green netball tops. Sorted.
That's about it
Love Maddie x
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