At Home in the World

Gettin' it Done and Then Some

Sunday, January 16, 2005

last day of tour

well, im shutting this tour down a couple of weeks early.
the money just aint there.
but its been a very strong finish. letsee what i can remember.
friday saskia's friend rouga (i have no idea how to spell it...pronounced roo-je) visited and the 3 of us went to the coolest bookstore in town in bondi beach area. i sat there for a few hours with my dandelion tea (try it, its good for the liver blues...which i have) and then bused it up to Paddington (think NW 23rd or newbury st.) area to see End of the Century, the Ramones rockumentary. this is a must see. great footage, interviews. from there i went to a bar where i was to meet s., r. and sally. i got there and just stood around with my beer. loud, preppy and pretty boy scene, low-fi glam girls. so, i carry around my camera case everywhere because my wallet, small notebook and sunglasses fit in it nicely and these two girls start gesturing at me to come over and go into this spiel about how they knew i was a photographer, blah, blah, blah and they knew i was american and they start grabbing at the camera (which i had out because i wanted a shot of the s. , r. and sa. as they came in) and tellin gme what picture to take and really they were pretty boozed up. meanwhile, there was this broad (only word for her) playing pool who thought someone intentionally jounced her while she was shooting and she started yelling at the guy (who was also dark-skinned and dont think that wasnt part of what was going down people) and the guy gave her the finger and she whacked him with her pool stick. i was so stunned i forgot that i should be taking a picture. then the girls came and i got out of this exciting corner of the bar. then i drank to much and we found our way home.
saturday morning i went to the opera courtesy of saskia and her pull. it was a modernized prokofiev cald Three Oranges. it was busy and colorful and funny and i was entertained. it was opera for the masses. the music was excellent.
from there i got a train into the outback/desert. a sleeper train that would wind me up in adelaide. (roughly...boston to...chicago in distance). this was awesome. bringing a discman was key. otis redding, the boss, radiohead and r.e.m. (older) greatest hits did me very well through the mountains, then scrubby desert, then plains. there was a lightning storm on the night leg. on the morning leg i saw kangaroos, who are Fast.
i fly tmrw for frisco.

Monday, January 10, 2005

living

done some things.
hit the museum of new south wales primarily to see the aboriginal art. it was cool and nearly indecipherable. not knowing anything about their symbolism and working to get at how they arrangement of tiny circles = "Frog Dreaming" was fun.
watched a lot of tv. most of it is american.
oh, i had the bldg where michael hutchence of inxs left us pointed out to me.
got a pretty vicious sunburn on one of the beach days, but oh that salty bay swim was sweet.
up to watson's bay yesterday for some picnic and ocean cliff walk. think i might go back up there this morning for book and brunch. then a walking/picture tour.
walked the parts of the city i wanted to and there is one more museum i want to go to.
but there is the living situation...
deep down, i hope saskia's roommate reads this though there is no reason she would. here's what i have to say; yes, it is not a ton of fun having your space compromised by a guest. a big guest at that. but when i am trying to sleep you do not have to intentionally stomp around three feet from me, make unurgent phone calls nearly shouting, slam your door every time you neurotically open and close it 20 times a morning, sigh every time i make the slightest fucking noise, throw your pen down and make this theatric frustrated song sound and (this a.m.) do the sing song and stomp out of the apartment to make another one of your pathetic, childish, cutesy calls to your boyfriend. and you do not say "oh" and then hesitate before saying good morning. i mean i know we both know we are enemies but you dont say "oh." any greeting prefaced with an "oh" that is not based on surprise is fucking obnoxious.
so the living situation sucks and im leaving much sooner than planned. looking into flights and a train into or out of the desert. budget shifting for that trip. gotta see some of the country.

haha, im a charmer today, eh.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Scud, additions

-apparently, Scud (Mark Phillipousis) also had a liason with Paris Hilton and is currently dating a 17 year old model. Sunday, Scud lost a singles match to continue his poor play. but was carried to victory in the mixed doubles by his streaking teammate.
-at the beach yesterday some people had dogs who were chasing balls out into the water. one guy was making his throws in the cricket style. would i have looked odd for pitching like a baseballer? guess who has more velocity? right.
-at the same beach there was a sea-hobo. he was out in the water, staggering about and barking at the dogs. spurting water plumes (the water was very salty) and collapsing into the water theatrically. he had a deep tan and was very easy in the water. when he came back to the beach he had a harder time standing. swimming was no problem though.
- a note: the large, very poisonous spider saskia showed me is a jumper. it will jump at you in attack.
Realization: this city is extremely expensive. i think i finally took the minor brain effort to figure out the exchange rate yest. and it really sucks. i know the dollar is suffering these days but i should not be paying the equiv. of 2.40 american for a bottle of water. and 3.50 for coffee. i was going to get some cereal at the healthy store down near bondi beach and it cost about 8.00 american. jesus christ. i took a i dunno 1.5 mile bus ride and it cost me 3.50 american. what the hell? is it assumed you are well off here and have to pay premium? perhaps this is part of the poisonous flower...no mint juleps for me.
Point of Ridicule: I have been wearing one of those straw hats with the chin strings that aussies wear. the barney miller had is hotter and i dont want to be confused for a sea hobo. so now i look like a dorky-ass bushwalker. ive had a lifetime of The Look in the last month.
-Correction: i think i referred to a macaw when i should have said parrot.
-Note: the crows here (or are they magpies or grackles?) are black and white and cry and moan. all in all the birds sound like they are talking.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Australia, the Dangerous Land

hi there.
bit of a gap but im back in action here in the Woollhara Public Library, about a ten minute walk from my friend saskia's place in rose bay, sydney. i see part of the harbor out the window and my shorts a wet from the swim i just had. lets backtrack.
so i spent new years in hoi an watching tv and eating a snickers bar, occasionally peering out the balcony at the teens playing soccer in the near dark below. when midnight came around i saw vietnamese people being rowdy. really letting loose. you dont see a lot of that. and it wasnt even there new year. (lunar new year was over a few days before i think.)
in the morning i flew from danang to ho chi minh city and sat in hcmc airport for 6 hours waiting for the night flight to sydney. i read my camera manual thoroughly for the first time and found out why so many of my pictures often suck. i played soccer with crumpled cup. laughed at the chinese puppet cartoon on the empty lobby big screen.
flew down. didnt really sleep on the flight.
was met at the airport by saskia and her friend sally. they were game as hell to show me the sights. i was out of it and ready to be lead.
went back to saskia's place and maybe i could have napped but didnt and we watched sex and the city...
matthew mcconaughey made a nice turn in one of them. i have little else to say there.
went down to Bondi Beach (the place is famous, full of surfers, a beautiful setting--> long beach tucked into amphitheatre type town of unostentatious but pleasant buildings with the frequent orange brick roofs.
hung out at an RSL. now, if i understand what this is it is like a VFW. (return servicemen league? saskia?) bingo and games take place there. but at this one there was good food and a full bar. the full bar part is typical as i understand it, but not the top notch food. at 6pm everyday there is a moment of silence for fallen servicemen. a genuinely moving moment and a nice tradition.
i hadnt drank in a long while (thats right, incompatible with hated antimalarials) and who knows what part of it was fatigue and what part booze but i was just sitting there, sleepy and pleasantly lost but relatively at home. saskia's squad of friends were nice and i would like to apologize to any who found me non-responsive and out of it.
on day two saskia, sally and i went to ikea.
i was game, sure. all those tidy environments and things to turn on and off and touch.
after me and s. went to a beach and looked at magazines.
other days have been beachy and strolling. took the ferry in with s. today. she works at the opera house so we were plopped right in the harbor by the bridge and opera house. very nice. (ha, not so descriptive am i? time limit at library here.)
walked around the botanical gardens and saw an exhibit in the library this morning. popped into the Anzac memorial for all the aussie deaths in wars the commonwealth made them fight in. (that was how it worked i think back in the day, through korea. more autonomy now.) bussed it back to rose bay, hit the beach and here i am.
Now,
do you know the star trek episode where the crew is either marooned or studying a planet and the planet is just beautiful. all these beautiful plants and good soil and whatnot until you find out that the flowers spray this sort of narcotic stuff that turns everyone dreamy and giddy and lacking in any of the uglier emotions like hate and ambition. spock falls in love. bones' drawl comes out and he fixes mint juleps. well here i am seeing and hearing all these (to me) exotic birds. tucans, macaws (? i think), pelicans. there were huge bats in the botanical gardens. butterflies everywhere. and the city; its hard to describe but the two things that come to mind are the 1) Legoland Kingdom where the scale and tidyness of everything is pleasing to look at because its very...familiar in the french seaside way -- and ive never been to the french seaside but its like what my image of it is. 2) A lot of the puzzles my mother used to do. where there a ton of similar looking, nice houses, and boats in the water and something magnificent like a beach or a bridge in it. lots of similar pieces making a tidy, pretty whole. It is a beautiful place. the downtown is modern with plenty of european touches that are too clean and unaged to be very old. kinda a playland european feel. (is this what disneyland is like? ive never been.) now, i wouldnt say i distrust it all and am cynical about how tidy it all is. but i wouldnt say that i havent thought that way. and i dont have a good reason to.
more context: this is the land of shark kills. saskia has warned me of killer riptide, nasty blue fish, chunky jellyfish. she showed me a gigantic, very poisonous spider that was webbed over her bed. huge spiders in the botanical gardens. the pelicans, they are prevalent, spear into garbage cans. are they australia's pigeon?
i mentioned to s. that i would like to drive out into the desert and she asked if i was going to go bushwalking. id heard this term from some aussies i met in laos but didnt really know what it meant. well, you walk in the bush. and there is no end to the deadly shit in the bush.
so this doesnt really parallel the star trek episode.
but there is someth. about the beauty here that i am a spot leery of. (ha, spoilsport.) and there is all this sun and sun can often turn even crapholes into Fairyland.

i think today was the first day i felt like i really had my sealegs here. some sort of feel for the place. end of asia and reacclimation to the west left me sorta slodgy.

notes:Mark Phillipousis (tennis player) is nicknamed Scud.
favorite bits of terminology: "good on you" = way to go. oh there is more that i am forgetting.