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Alexander William Paddle

February 14th, 2007

06:18 am

9 lbs 4 Oz

The call came through on the cell phone in Livingstone only a few hours after he arrived, and we were both glad to hear that mother and baby were doing fine. And having arrived a couple of days before we were schedule to get to Geelong, we thought that it might just work out perfectly because Kristine and I would be there to help out with the house just as Cathy and Alex were coming home. And so it was.

As we left our hostel for the airport in Livingstone on the 17th, we picked up a nice teak Hippo from Zambia as Alex's first gift from his Canadian Aunt and Uncle. Maybe that hippo will carry some interesting stories with it into the future as he grows up, and he hears some of the folklore around how he came to acquire it. Neat to think about some of those things sometimes.

Anyway, we left Livingstone at about 1:30 in the afternoon, got to Johannesburg at about 3:00 pm and had just enough time for a bite to eat before getting on the Qantas flight at 5:00 pm. That flight was a full 11 hours with a 9 hour time change so it was a bit of a mission, but the in seat video system on Qantas really helps pass the time. I watched a movie called "Borat", which is about a TV personality from Kazakhstan who somehow convinced his government to pay for a documentary to be made about him touring around the US. The idea was to pick up American culture and bring it back to Kazakhstan. The whole thing is really just a spoof, and it's not for the very PC crowd for sure, but I was laughing my head off on the plane. I think at least a few people were staring at me. Who cares, eh?

We landed in Sydney and got the usual strip search that always happens there due to Australia's strong quarantine rules, and then we made the quick transfer for the last leg to Tullamarine in Melbourne. All of this went smoothly, and when we got to Melbourne we tried to delay the Gull shuttle bus guy for just a few minutes until our bags came out because he was running late, so we wanted to catch the earlier one. But, alas, the bags came too late and we had to wait a couple of hours for the next one.

This got us into Geelong at about 10:00 pm, and we eventually realized that we were to just walk around the block to St John's where Cathy and Alex were waiting for us. I'm not sure what they must have thought with two scruffy, un-showered backpackers walking into the maternity hospital at 11 on a Saturday night - I thought for a minute that they might just call the cops the way the guy looked at us. But, after we told him who we were and why we were there, they sent us up to Cathy's room and we finally met Alex. Kelvin came by about an hour later and we shared a couple of beers to toast his arrival (Alex's you fools, not Kelvin's!).

Monday morning mom and baby were finally home and Alex got to meet the dogs and get comfortable with his new surroundings. Things have been great so far, and Kristine and I have just been doing what we can to keep up with all the cooking and the laundry, taking some of the heat off of those first few days for the proud new parents. I have also been doing a little bit of yard work, but with all the heavy water restrictions, that amounts to moving the grey water recovery hoses from the washing machine and the bathtub from tree to tree. Things are very tight on water here this year, and you have to try and save every drop. So there are hoses running around everywhere but it's the right thing to do.

And it's so good to be somewhere where there are a few people you know, a comfortable bed, and no plans to make for the next day - It'll be the perfect recharge for us before the home stretch. And for Kristine, I think it is more of a dream come true, in spite of the circumstances that brought us here, in some way, it seems that she has managed to create what should have always been.

But that's just the kind of person she is.

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