Full Circle 

This morning it was brother number two’s turn to leave Perth and once again I arrived early at my parents’ house early to do the airport run.

My mother is always confused by this. He checked in online, but for some reason, Thai Airways do not allow – or do not have the facility – for people travelling from Perth to print off their boarding passes at home. You can check in online, but can not print your boarding pass and still need to pick it up when you check in your baggage.

I always allow two hours for international flights, regardless of check-in status. My brother’s flight was scheduled to leave at just after 9am, so I suggested that we should aim to get to the airport for 7am, which meant a 6.30am pick up and a 6am departure for me to get over for that.

‘Why?’ Asked my mother. ‘It takes 20 minutes to get to the airport. Why are you eaving so early?’

I have tried to explain to her my feelings on the subject: there is no advantage in leaving later, only potential stress as the likelihood of heavy traffic, a rush hour road incident causing a snarl-up or a delay cause by the lift in their building breaking down increases. Why put yourself through that when you can leave in good time and arrive without being drenched in stress-sweat? What is the difference, I argued, in sitting at home with a packed suitcase in front of you, risking delay, when you can sit and have a cup of coffee at the airport with your luggage already on its way to the luggage hold? For me, as well, there is the added bonus of being able to have a quiet pint, which allows the tranquilliser I have taken to ease my frazzled nerves (not medically recommended but it works for me and I only fly once every three years).

She remained unconvinced and her opinion unchanged, however, but so did our plans and we headed off after hugs and goodbyes to my parents.

This year my brother and I have managed to achieve a couple of goals that we failed to hit last trip. These were mainly to do with chasing and securing a fixed target: Bibimbap. It is essentially a simple korean dish of rice, vegetables and (in my case) tofu or mushroom or meat and adorned with a fried egg on top.

We had one a few days ago – and I am not sure if it was the surprise of coming across it, or the fact that is was freshly cooked and neither of us had eaten breakfast so were starving, but it was delicious. Neither the first, nor the second we ate a couple of weeks later had all the side dishes that you sometimes get: miso soup, kimchi, sesame oil, but for me soy, chilli, rice and egg are a lovely combination. The only thing both were missing was the crunchy base of rice cooked and served in a cast iron pot and the fact that the last time I ate Bibimbap with my brother was when I was on holiday in Thailand.

As it happened, my brother’s flight was delayed for almost an hour as a passenger, whose name was Khan, was removed from the flight for reasons unknown.

‘Was it because of his wrath?’ I asked, invoking a Star Trek reference.

‘I do not know,’ he responded, ‘but his baggage was already checked in and they had to find it and remove it, hence the delay.

‘Those swine!’ Interjected my mother, ‘After you got there so early!’

‘I do not think they did it because we got there early,’ I said.

In the end the last meal I shared with my brother before he left Perth was just a coffee, but because it was an airport, it retailed at about the price of the Bibimbap anyway. I have one more day of leave to go and then I am back to omelette breakfasts and salad lunches and no alcohol, bread or chocolate.

The holiday circle may have run its course, but the diet circle is not too far behind.

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