I have these impulses occasionally.  When I was an undergraduate living in Ohio, I felt somehow that I needed to visit the lake (that’s Lake Erie), despite the fact that it is one of the most polluted lakes in North America.  It was extremely difficult for me to get to, given that I didn’t have a car.  The one day that the bus schedules and my work schedule aligned so that I could go, it was freezing rain.  But this did not deter me.  I was dead set on going to the lake.  So I hopped on a bus, rode 40 minutes, got off on a stop that was near the lake, much to the dismay of the bus driver (“You sure you want to get off here, honey?”), and walked over to the lake.

Mmm...pollution.  Contemplate its beauty!  Contemplate it!!!

Mmm…pollution. Contemplate its beauty! Contemplate it!!!

It was a miserable trip.  The temperature was about 40F (~4C) and there was a miserable spray from the lake to add on to the freezing rain.  Rubbish was washing up from the waves on the desolate shore and grey clouds filled the entire sky.  I had gotten off the bus in a bad neighborhood, and there was nothing to do but huddle in the bus shelter with the broken glass and cigarette butts until the next bus came by an hour later.

It was the same bus driver.  She gave me a look of pity and disgust as I shivered on my seat in silence all the way home.

But.  I had seen the lake.  Done.

I repeated this almost exactly in Australia when I was traveling there.  I had lived in Brisbane for four months, again without a car, and yet I had not been to Stradbroke Island, just off the shore (I did manage to snorkel at Moreton).  I had to get to the island before I left.  But this entailed a bus to the train station, an hour and a half long train ride, followed by an hour long ferry trip to the pier.

By the time I got there (in the pouring rain), I had less than an hour left before the last ferry of the day back to the mainland.  I wandered around close to the pier, kicking rocks and pretending that I was bird watching some rainbow lorikeets (dreadfully common on the mainland) before catching the ferry back to the train, back to the bus, back to my hostel in time for bed.

Traveling is sometimes like that.  You have some notion that a thing will be great.  Sometimes when you pursue these impulses, you have a wonderful adventure.  Sometimes you end up with chattering teeth sitting on a broken bench or a piece of slimy driftwood, mindlessly picking at a loose thread in your hem.

Oh well, at least the pier was prettier than the one on Lake Erie.  That, or my photography skills had improved in the 3 year gap between the trips.  Although I clearly learned nothing else.

IMG_0888 IMG_0890 IMG_0897 IMG_0904 IMG_0908 IMG_0909 IMG_0921 IMG_0927 IMG_0928 IMG_0931

*pun intended


2 thoughts on “Pier-less*

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