Leaving or going home?

A last view of Sydney Harbor from my hotel window as I prepare to head to the airport for the 13 hour 25 minute flight to Los Angeles. Has it been nearly a month already? Sometime during the past few weeks my internal clock just stopped and I never knew what the date was, or what day of the week it was.
Seeing traffic marching across the Sydney Harbor Bridge into the city reminds me that the work week continues for most people. Olav, Kjetil, Laura, and all the others who are students elsewhere in Australia are going through orientation this week and start their classes next Monday. I lurk outside it all, stranded outside time, loitering. I'd love to stay longer, but the timing is probably right. Last night we all went out prowling and the city's clubs and bars were fairly subdued and empty. One last drink at Establishment and it was time to pack.
Last nights of vacations are bittersweet. I can never sleep. I stayed up until 4 a.m., packing slowly, pacing the room from one end to the other, glancing out the window at the large cruise ships docked in the Harbor. Nowhere to go, not ready to leave my new life.
But hope springs eternal. I have to secure my Brazilian visa upon returning to the States. The process is painful and needs reform. There are only 5 cities in the U.S. who can issue tourist visas for Brazil for American citizens. The one I have to use is in San Francisco, and they only accept applications in person. So I have to get to LAX, rush to Fed Ex my passport and visa application and passport photo overnight to some agency, they have one day to get my visa and Fed Ex it back to me, and if anything goes wrong I'm not likely to gain entrance to Rio de Janeiro at the end of the week. And the whole thing will cost me $212, too.
All countries need to put their visa application processes on the Internet.
It will be fun to see Phil again, though, and a couple days off should leave my liver ready to roll again. Carnival in Rio is the Tour de France for livers (yes, I heard about Lance Armstrong's impending separation from his wife, and it saddens me). I used up exactly one travel-sized tube of toothpaste on my travels here, and exactly one bottle of 45 SPF sunscreen. I'm still extremely dark, with a nice white strip on either side of my face above the ear, thanks to my sunnies (in Australia and New Zealand they shorten every object name by attaching -er or -y or -ies to the end of it; sunglasses are sunnies, swim suits or bathing suits are swimmers or togs, chewing gum is chewies, running shoes are runners, etc.). The sun just pounds you down here.
A shout out to all my homies in Seattle. Did you miss me? See you soon.