July 14th, 2008


I am writing this upside down

I have been in Australia for slightly less than 24 hours now. I haven't seen quite as much of it as I normally would have by this time, because my luggage was left in Los Angeles. I am going to be mature and restrained, at least for the first paragraph of my first entry about my first big adventure in a long time, and therefore I will not be inserting the string of expletives that would normally accompany the previous sentence.

Truthfully? I'm not that upset anyway. I can't summon up the outrage. I just feel too happy, too fortunate, too blessed in friendship. It's just going on 7 am on a Monday morning here, and I heard a seagull shriek softly as it flew by outside. I hear faint snoring from Dan and Stewart's room upstairs. I'm curled up on the leather couch in the living room, typing on the living room computer (there's a laptop in every room, because Stewart is a technological utopian), wearing my new satin jammies purchased during the emergency supply run to Victoria Gardens yesterday. I bought a pair of undies, these pajamas (I'm down another size, hooray!), and a toothbrush. Qantas should be delivering my suitcase today. Fingers crossed that the laptop and the D-80 are all right -- that's really all I care about.

Dan and Stew live in a Victorian-era row house on McKean Street in the suburb of Fitzroy North. On our way home from buying my necessities, we went down to the nearest take-away for fish and chips, because that's what I was craving for lunch. All the people who run the shops know Dan and Stewart by name. It was like living in the song "Penny Lane," for crying out loud.

At this moment, Dora is torn between being suspicious of me and trying to entice me into playing with her. Dora is a lovely cat, oh, and here comes someone down the stairs? Ah no, just to the bathroom. I would hate to wake anyone up. Anyway, Dora is a lovely cat with soft, longish hair, a collar that jingles, and, because she was not raised by me, a complete lack of neuroses. She has a little basket of tiny toy mice made from scraps of fur that sits atop one of the tall speakers that flank the (absolutely awesome, enormous, flat-screen HD) telly, and she likes to sit next to the basket and delicately fish out each mouse and and fling it to the stairs, say, or the rug, or the hallway, until the basket is empty and she is surrounded by an artful composition of seemingly randomly placed wee furry mice.

It's wonderful to see Hana Peeve (Dan's dog, so named because she is his pet, Peeve) again. She's older. Her muzzle is going white, and she moves slowly, but she is as vocal as ever, chivvying and cajoling for her treats with her completely inimitable throaty half-growling, half-howling language. Yesterday I laid down on the rug and snuggled with her. She's that kind of dog. Her face and her eyes are sweet, intelligent, appealing.

Not sure what today will bring -- I'm anxious to get out and walk around the neighborhood, but until I get some slightly warmer clothes and my camera, I'll likely stay inside and read and enjoy Dan and Stewart's company and tease Dora and cuddle with Hana Peeve and read some more and drink hot tea and nervously await what Dan and Stewart are calling my "Melbourne booty call" but is actually simply meeting a fellow I know from a few email exchanges for coffee and conversation. And so what if he's really cute and I am not thinking about the possibility of hot vacation sex AT ALL, leave me alone!

We already have tickets to go see the musical Wicked and the movie The Dark Knight (at the Imax theater!) and now the sun is coming up (oh my God, y'all, it's winter here and the sun is going down at 5:30 pm and I LOVE it), so I'm off. If all goes well, I will soon have my camera, and pictures will accompany future entries.

Love to all,


(no subject)

The luggage has arrived! I can has camera! I can has something else to wear! I . . . ew. I hate all my clothes.

My bag wasn't delivered until yesterday evening around 7 pm, so yesterday was spent in sort of a holding pattern. Would that all holding patterns were as enjoyable. I did pretty much as planned -- lounged around reading and watching television with Dan and Stewart, tried to win over Dora, who has the temerity to not instantly adore me (doesn't she know who I am? I am the Cat Whisperer!), and made short forays out into what turned out to be a glorious day, all blue skies and sunshine. I didn't need a coat or jacket, so I didn't suffer for want of my luggage.

For lunch we went round the shops again and I got a yummeh Vietnamese-style sandwich made with zucchini frittata, avocado slices, greens, and cheese. After that, Dan walked me over to Brunswick Street, which reminded me a good deal of San Francisco. There I met Mr. PK (as he shall be named here) for what had to have been the best soy latte I have ever, EVER had in my life, and I wish I could have one again RIGHT NOW, and we talked a bit, and he was lovely, and we'll be meeting again, and let's just leave it at that for now, shall we? Mr. PK gave me a lift home and seemed impressed that I had walked all the way to the cafe, which kind of surprised me, because the whole area here is so eminently walkable. There are also trams and buses and trains and trolleys and rickshaws and hovercraft (maybe not that last couple) galore. God I miss living in a city.

Stewart's sister Jane and her lady love Zelda stopped by while we were still waiting on my bags, and we made plans to meet them over at their house for dinner and to look at their pictures from Philip Island, which is where we ourselves will be going next weekend. Right after Jane and Zelda left, there was a kerfuffle with one of the neighbors who is . . . well, not quite right. She's got an aggressive martyr complex, and it's fairly airtight against reality. In the middle of a conference at the front door over perceived injustices, my luggage arrived! But Neighbor Lady wouldn't, you know, MOVE, and I was sort of ineffectually darting at my bag out there on the sidewalk until she finally wandered away, hand to forehead, sighing, palely loitering, child clutched on hip.

Then it was off to Jane and Zelda's -- another adorable, cozy row house -- for (and I swear, I'm not indulging in vacation hyperbole) the best Indian takeaway I've ever had. Veggie samosas (although some of Liz's chutney would have improved them), lamb vindaloo (tender, perfectly spiced), and naan. Oh, and some excellent merlot (Sideways be damned) and an even better shiraz after that. I am intensely jealous of Jane's photographs from Philip Island and I will never be able to best them. I am also insanely excited about seeing the pelicans and the koalas and the penguins, and judging by the pictures I am going to be really cold unless I augment my clothing with a warm hat and some gloves and maybe a scarf or three. And Zelda very kindly offered to give me a shiatsu massage to get rid of some lingering lower back pain from the flight.

What have I done to deserve these people?

I managed to sleep a little later this morning, but I tossed and turned more than I did last night as well, so it's probably an even wash. Even though I've been met with some skepticism when I say this, I honestly don't feel a bit jet-lagged. (But it's probably not reassuring for my friends to hear that 5 hours of slightly interrupted sleep is more than I've been getting at a time for literally months! Honestly, I feel a little panicky that I'm not working on SOMETHING, anything.)

I think we're about to go to the market. I'll be able to take pictures! I want to try to capture the scale of things. I'll try to explain later when I have some photos I can refer to. This place, like all others, has its unique character, and part of that character is its scale. Things seem somehow . . . miniaturized. (At least relative to my big ol' American clumsy feetprints.)
  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper