Day 13 – Wednesday, 10 April 2024

Seb and I started the day in Hiroshima by ticking off an item on every Australian parent’s to do list: took photo of child in front of Uluru. It’s a wine bar.

A sacred site

The rest of the day was taken up with the drive to Shikoku, to our campsite near the Iya Valley. This is “glamping”, a word that I hope dies quickly, in luxurious dome tents. The drive was lovely, island hopping through the Setonaikai National Park, the only bother being that the distance we have to travel to make it before check in closes means that there is no time to pause and enjoy the sights. The car takes surprisingly little time to get used to. More discombobulating is the behaviour of other drivers. By restricting ourselves to no more than ten or fifteen kilometres an hour above the posted speed limits, we did not grow too much of a train of impatient drivers behind, but at every dual carriageway stretch, they shot past us at frightening speeds, half as fast again. We survived the more than three hundred kilometres, however.


In contrast, the last ten or so klicks were up a winding path, single lane in places and never more than thirty kilometres an hour, before our campsite came into view. And the views are, truly, marvellous.

From there, I made the only call I have had to, to pass on news of Dad’s death – to his only surviving sibling, a woman I have not spoken to since I was a teenager. It was a heartwarming call, enough for me to forget that, while I have had some days to get used to the fact, and indeed several years to prepare, she is learning of her brother’s death from my lips – a weird emotional asymmetry that I think about for some time afterwards.


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