One of the first things I'm going to do when I get back to my flat, after I put the kettle on, is to weigh myself. If I haven't lost weight this week I will not just be surprised I'll be fucking furious. Be warned.
Today I decided to make the most of my last full day on the island and go on one of my 'I'm not lost, I'm exploring' ventures. This basically means heading off in one direction, either by foot or on by bike and seeing where the road takes me.
Now in the uk, where I have access to free maps courtesy of GPS (as long as I have phone signal), it's not really possible to get truly lost. Here, well it is. It's not a dire panic because the locals speak English, but none the less there was a point this afternoon where I did stop a couple of times and get out the fee tourist map, to check reference points or clues. It doesn't have road names except for major roads, but my map reading skills are helpful.
If I actually look at the map at the beginning it may have helped. When I started I negotiated the impossibly complicated one way systems of St Helier into the countryside. You know, that's the place with all the green stuff, and animals. Without direction, by mid to late morning I was starting to think, 'ok, is there anything to see while I'm out this way'. Figuring that if I get back to the hotel and realise I was mere yards from some fanatstic attraction or sight that I would kick myself rather harshly. I kept seeing these signs for a wildlife park. That's nice. I thought. That sounds like it's worth a look.
Every road I went down I was thinking there'd be some sign as to how far away this park was. But no. None of the signs gave any indication of how far away it was. At one point I rode about half a mile down one road, which I thought the sign had directed me down, only to give up and turn back when I realised I wasn't getting anywhere near close to this elusive bloody park. Did the thing even exist ?
Eventually I did find it. I must have done a circuit right round the damn place. I'm sure if I look up on google earth I will discover that the park was 'just round the next corner' on that road I'd turned found on.
I'd taken not one, not two, but three bottles of drink. I needed them.
Anyway despite my moaning about getting there the park was more of a zoo, and well worth the trek, or maybe even getting a bus. After having cycled miles upon miles, I walked round filling up the memory card on my camera with lots of pictures.
Zoos are funny places, it's always interesting to see different animals, but when you see the bored sorrowful faces of the Gorillas I feel ashamed and wrong, and wonder what's going through their minds, watching all these humans gawping, taking pictures.
The human children playing in the play park didn't seem to be began in any differently to the other primates.
I stopped for some lovely lunch at the wildlife park. Some beef pad Thai. When I'd spent a good couple of hours there, I decided it was time to head back in the direction of St Helier. Thankfully, leaving the park there were a couple of signs for cycle paths. A quick check, and double check of my map to figure out which one to take, and I was off in the right direction.
As I cycled through ever remoter countryside I began to doubt this decision, and look for reassurance I was indeed on the right track. I'm male enough to not ask someone else for help, although there were moments that it got quite close, it's just that for most of the time I didn't see another soul. This got me to thinking, how much time before the sun goes down ? If anything happens to me, will anyone ever find me ? Panic wasn't setting in, but I was starting to wonder if I'd gone the right way.
As it happened I passed the edge of a reservoir, checked my map, and found that not only was I in the right track, but that I was much closer to civilisation than I thought. The way back a much more direct route.
The thought occurs to me that things only got stressful when I was trying to get somewhere, or started to sorry about the time being taken. Before all that I was rather content. Before I was trying to find the wildlife park I was exploring. Once I started trying to find it, I went from being exploring to lost.
After a couple hours rest in the hotel (and returning the bike) I headed out again, on foot. Heading East. I'd headed West to St Aubin and Corbiere a couple of days before, so figured East was the way to go. Again there's something liberating about walking somewhere without an agenda, a place to be, by a certain time.
Although I have to check out by ten tomorrow, the flight isn't until the evening, so I'll be able to leave my bag here until I'm picked up and taken to the airport. I think I may just get a bus somewhere tomorrow, see some other parts of the island. Maybe. See how it goes.
It's a bitter sweet thing, leaving. I don't want to go back to 'real life', but I do miss home. I will be sad to leave Jersey though. Coming away has shown me who's easy it is to do, so there's nothing stopping me from going somewhere else.
I guess I should down my drink and head off to start my packing.