Thursday, 3 September 2009

Code word: Taswegia

View of Hobart from Mt Wellington.


Escaping ... it seems to be a recurring theme now that I live in Sydney. The act of letting go of the everyday and finding new things in new places, or simply visiting old haunts and catching up with seldom seen friends. It is for these escapes that I work my clicking finger to the bone and strain my eyes staring into the comforting WYSIWYG of the Adobe Creative Suite. Saving up my pennies so that those meals out and sneaky beers don't come at the expense of rent (or bicycles).

Breaking through the bars and over the razor wire I was on the run. Leaving behind, work, grocery shopping, buses, traffic and living under the flight path. Some friends on the outside had been in contact for the few months before and just about had everything set up for a swift getaway. Everything was on a need to know basis, all I had to do was rise early on the thursday, not wake the warden, then a yellow car would meet me at the door and before I knew it we would be at the airport and free.

Unfortunately a death in the family made the plans a little more complicated and the escape had to be pushed forward. The schedule was changed and zero hour was moved to the tuesday lunch time. Escaping from the labour camp appeared to be an easier challenge than directly from the cell, but with guards constantly checking up on me it did pose a few timing challenges. On the premise of slipping off to the loo I sent off one last email and casually whistled my way down the hall before dropping back past the warden to my cell to make sure I had my disguises for getting past border control.

Even with the late notice my driver arrived perfectly on time, but at breakneck speed we arrived at the terminal dangerously early. In the confusion I stuttered the wrong destination, but quickly corrected to Albury and my boarding pass was handed over after an uncomfortable chuckle.

Having perfected the art of passing security checks back in my formative years I breezed through the detectors and with a nod dodged the bag inspection (i think he was in on the deal). Picking up some subway I tucked into the first fast food I had seen since my last escape.

Sitting in the waiting lounge the delayed flight had me suspicious that with the late changes to the plans someone may have been tipped off by all of the chatter. Constantly scanning the crowd I felt a little better as the room emptied completely as flights departed. But still the flight attendants were running late to the desk. I always get uncomfortable when the timelines change on an escape.

Fifteen minutes after the planned departure I slunk aboard, ducking under the low doorway of the plane ... i'm sure there was more room last time!

Listening in on the two behind me I was assured I hadn't been followed on board ... no one would fake a Canadian accent as a disguise.

After having constantly lost time in the air it was comforting to be met on the ground as promised and chauffeured to Wangaratta for the handover to the family.

Having been locked away in Sydney for so long it was fantastic to catch up with dad, mum, my sister and the rest of the family. Shame it was for such a sad occasion, Granddad had been a huge part of all our lives and it showed with hundreds of people crawling out of the woodwork to celebrate his life.

Staying in the same safehouse for 3 nights it was time to move again, and to get back on schedule. Andy and Damo would be waiting, and I know what kind of trouble those two can get themselves into when left alone for too long.

Taking the low profile option with Tiger Air it was just a short hop from Melbourne to Hobart to complete my escape. free Free FREE


As I had suspected my contacts had gorged themselves on golden fried seafood and the local beers so were a little worse for wear. Never the less they were ready to make tracks – right after another feed of golden fried seafood and beer :)

Having dropped our supplies back to the hideout we made our way out to see Kram at the Brisbane where Andy tested his new identity to its fullest as he adopted full deafness in his right ear as he attempted to ignore an intoxicated local. Very funny to watch, but the trials of our other identities were as stretched as the denim and leather that strutted around the bar.

After the gig and having consumed a few too many celebratory ales we slunk back to the pad for some well earned rest. No one would find us here.

During the night a light drizzle fell across the city which continued throughout the next few days, all the while we gathered information from locals on the best places to go so see or be seen and go we did. From trendy bars and cafes to vantage points second to none. We did miss one rendezvous when the road to the top of the mountain was closed because of snow to lower levels. Even with the disruption we were able to hike high enough to see what we had come to.

With the new understanding of the lay of the land we were sure to make the most of what the city had to offer. Then from the Shot Tower we saw the access to the ocean which all going well would eventually act as our next escape point.

On a reconnaissance south of Hobart we found a small pub in Dover where the conversations floating around the bar questioned the morals of some of the locals. A little scarred from the experience we dashed back towards the relative safety of Hobart, taking the scenic route on the other side of the river there were tiny shacks that may come in handy should our current hideout be discovered. Tucked away on the hillside they melt into the landscape and provide a great view across the valley.

Under the cover of darkness we slipped back into the suburbs and swung through the CBD before tucking the car behind the building for the night.

Strangely I was woken early and instructed to shower and pack, the only clue I was give was that I was moving again and I that we had brought too much attention to the house ... the other tenants were getting suspicious.

Bundled into the car at 8:15am we shot out of the complex and past a suspicious looking van 'fixing the phoneline'. Swept up in the pace I hadn't had time to comprehend what was going on until it was too late. It was a double cross it would seem that in exchange for some favour they had decided to deliver me directly to the airport. Into the lions den as they would say.

Trying to act cool I tried my luck, but it all seemed too easy. A new line opened just for me and before I knew it my bag and I had been swept plane-wood. Though not before I was robbed of $11.80 for a toasted sandwich and BigM.

Betrayed and beaten I accepted my fate and board the plane.

While my escape was short lived I will remember my time on the outside and starting plotting the next time I go over the wire.


sophie said...

Haha... Well done on the escape. At least you managed to stay free for a short while.

Ando said...

haha wow, that is exactly how i remembered the Hobart leg of your escape. That van was rather curious! Amazingly the hearing in my right ear has return... The doctor said I had a drunk guy talking in it and all I needed to do was remove this foreign object and I would be back to normal and he was right!!