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.
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.