(an excerpt from my NaNoWriMi attempt)
To me, the most harmful of “The Seven Features of a Successful Trip” is wrath. Nothing damages relationships faster than unwarranted anger. The unfortunate truth is that it is impossible to travel with just one person for any length of time without having the occasional spat. (This is especially true when you have just spent the last seventeen years sharing a room with that person.)
Julia and I had many spats (but only one incident of ‘fisticuffs’).
None of these, aside from the sock puppet incident in Fiji (to be expanded on later), are really worth mentioning. Fights happen, and the beauty of travelling with a sister as opposed to a friend is that family doesn’t have to like each other, but they will love each other.
It’s written somewhere in the genetic coding, literally hardwired in.
My one significant, Australian incident of ‘fierce anger’ (wrath: fierce anger, as defined by dictionary.com) happened fairly early on, just after we left Airlie Beach. Honestly, I can rarely remember being that angry over something again, and I definitely can’t remember being that angry over anything so ridiculous.
The root of my problem? You can’t buy Milk in Australia.
I am deadly serious about this.
Despite the literally hundreds of cows roaming the country it is impossible to buy a plain individual bottle of 1% milk. They carry skim, 1% and 2% in large, family sized jugs, but nothing smaller. (This posed quite the problem as I a) love milk, and b) was travelling every day and did not have anywhere to keep a “family sized jug”.) I dragged my sister from grocery store to grocery store, desperate for a dose of delicious calcium.
I reiterate there is no such thing as individually sized plain milk in Australia.
There is, however, an overabundance of flavoured milk.
I finally lost control in the third grocery store where, when directed to the dairy section, I was confronted with an entire wall of individual sized flavoured ‘Milk 2 Go’ bottles. Literally, an entire wall.
Brazilian Orange. Key Lime. Banana. Strawberry. Vanilla. Chocolate. Chocolate Coffee. Double Chocolate. The list goes on and on (unlike My Heart, which was in serious danger of stopping from sheer rage). Over a hundred bottles silently taunting me.
Milk 2 Go isn’t even real milk! It is powdered milk, chemicals and flavouring with a shelf life of over a year. I have a news flash for you, Australia, dairy expires! Shouldn’t that be your first clue not to drink this swill?
Mais non, you not only drink it, there is enough of a demand for it that it takes up an entire wall in a grocery store!
My sister has seventeen years of experience in sensing my tantrums, and I owe her for stopping me that day. I am not sure what clued her in. Perhaps it was the slightly manic gleam that took over my eyes? Or the way my lips started to twitch and my hands started to shake? It doesn’t really matter what sign she recognized, the important thing is that she noticed and acted quickly.
We didn’t buy dinner at the grocery store that night; instead we went out and cured my anger in proper Jamaican form, with large glasses of rum.
I didn’t try to buy milk again.
As an aside, I need to take a moment to explain something to you, dear reader. As previously established, a lot of this novel isn’t true. The book is fiction, and I don’t expect you to believe everything you read.
But not this, this is entirely true. Scouts honour, you have my word.
And as you can tell, I am still not over it.