Australia V

Tuesday 14th

— Kini’s Work, Shopping, Lunch, Star Wars, Soup Plus —

Kini slept in, so she woke me after 8am. We got ready and drove down to the station, then hopped on the train justi n time. Once we finally got into town (I was writing the rest of Monday, so it went quicker) we went down to see her bagel boy. My golly gosh, did he flirt! And his sister made a good coffee too. Kini deposited me in her staffroom while she made a few calls. Then, I took a taxi with her to some bank, where she served a notice . After that, we had coffee cos she didn’t want to go back to work straight away.

She had the cab driver drop me off at the QVB, which is a big posh old mall, with beautiful Victorian architecture, and stores like Versace. The basement of it, though, is regular mally stuff, so I looked at more shoe stores – to be informed everywhere that their stock only went up to size 10. One chick suggested that I should try the men’s department. Thanks for that, love!

So, all shopped out, and without having bought anything except post cards, I retreated to the bar in Kini’s building, had a vodka, and wrote out my cards. Around 12.30pm, I gave her a call, since she’d graciously lent me her cellphone, and she came to have lunch with me.

We went to a place called Moonshadow, and everything on the menu looked nice. After much deliberation, I ordered a turkey sub, lured by the promise of avocado, roast capsicum & cranberry sauce. Big mistake. When the sandwhich arrived, it was basically cold, so the cheese wasn’t melted. The turkey wasn’t the real meat I’d imagined – it was that really thinly sliced processed monstrosity. The cranberry sauce was a miniscule amount, and there was no avocado in sight. So I sent it back, telling the waiter it said on the menu Avocado. So it came back, with the avocado, and a few tiny bits of capsicum. I removed the cheese, the turkey fat, and most of the turkey, and it ended up quite nice. But definatly not worth $11.50. I’m such an incredibly bad food snob. I guess coming from Wellington and knowing so many people in the hospo industry, that’s kind of to be expected, but still….. I really don’t think Sydney’s a place of good dining,. I haven’t seen many good looking cafes or anything. Melbourne was so much more my scene. Snobby bitch that I am. (And please believe me when I say, that’s not a reflection on you, Kini – just the city that you live in. I love you baby!!!). But yeah, anyways, then Kini went back to work, so I went back to George Street, where there were three movie theatres in a row. I got there at 1.45pm, when most of the sessions were at 1.30, so I decided to watch Episode 1 again at 3.15. Since I was alone, there was no one to mock my decision. To fill in the time, I went and wrote more journal, and also read more of my book, “A Long Engagement”, which I am fully loving.

The movie theatre was all old and creaking, with orange vinyl seats. The audience were almost all single oldish men. It was so dodgy & seedy, it was fantastic. Even the lobby was only half lit, and there were UV lights in the bathroom. I love dives. I’ll admit though, I got a little worried when I heard one of the guys in another section of the theatre start creaking back and forth. Ewww.

Wandering back to Kini’s work afterwards, I went a street too far, and got lost. Somehow I managed to navigate my way through the warren of below-street malls, and found my way there. Then we went to Soup Plus and had drinks while waiting for Olivia & Morgan. They got lost, and miscommunication and lack of cellphone range while underground made it hard for them to find us, but we sorted it out in the end. Soup Plus with its live jazz reminded me a little of the bluegrass area near the riverboat at Disneyland. So yes, another merry dinner, another carafe of red. Kini was drinking beer though – what a bogan! We made plans for me to show up at their place late on Wednesday night.

On the train coming home, I wanted to read my book, so I gave Kini this journal to read. Golly. I don’t _ ever _ give people my paper journal. I hope she realises how special that makes her!

Wednesday September 15th

— Leisurely Morning, Driving, Ghost Walk, Olivia’s —

I slept in until around 10am, very pleasantly, then I got up to do my laundry. Kini’s machine was big and kinda scary looking, but I think I sussed it out. Then, I decided to make Kini pancakes for breakfast. She got up while I was making the batter. Because it had to sit for an hour, she turned on the TV, and I was THRILLED to discover they were showing re-runs of Home & Away from 1989. Very exciting! So we watched that for an hour, in vocal awe of the clothes, hair styles and language. “RACK OFF!” and “Lay one on me, Stevo” are now destined to be key of my vocabulary.

Then I fried her up the pancakes, and she’d better bloody have enjoyed them. I liked their griddle, only it was so big, it made my pancakes odd shaped. We were supposed to be going on a Wallaby fondling mission, but neither of us were very inspired, so I went out to pet her dog instead, and that can be good enough. So yeah, we bummed around being slovenly ladies of leisure. It was great.

Around 3.30pm, we set off to her friend Rachel’s house, via petrol and foodage. We went to Hungry Jacks, which is what most of the Burger Kings here are called. Unlike Bk, I had a grilled chicken burger. It was round, and on a brown bun, so I got to pretend it was like, really healthy. And the fries were nutrious like potatoes and sodium and stuff like that. Yeah.

So yeah, we got to Rachel’s and picked her and her fiance Steve up. Immediately, I felt huge urges to go “RACK OFF STEVO!” Imagine the way your dad probably makes the stupidest most cringeworthy jokes, and times that by 1000. Then add in a couple of rednecks, small kidness, ego, an awful accent, and just total repugnentness, and that’s Steve. Rachel was lovely though.

We drove into town, and waited in a dark alley for Kini’s friend Doug. Steve started talking about lining up Asians and shooting them. I started grinding my teeth. I was really tempted to turn around and go (exaggerating a little) “Actually, I’m half Indonesian” but I managed to restrain myself, because A) I didn’t want to offend Kini & Rachel, and B) I so did NOT want to find out if he had views on East Timor. So yes. I was relieved when Doug finally showed up and we could get on our way. Doug was very tall, and didn’t seem to have much to say for himself.

However, soon he started playing Steve’s games, whining over and over for a Macdonalds stop. We drove over the harbour bridge, and I can tell you with dead certainty that Sydney’s North Shore is like almost EXACTLY the same as Auckland’s. Freaky shit, man!

Eventually, we stopped in Manly and went to an outdoory mall for dinner. I had a kebab, which was yummy, then a butter-pecan ice cream. In fact, the kebab was probably the tastiest thing I’d eaten so far in Seedney. Then it was back into the car (fuck, I am SO glad I’d claimed shotgun!) and we went up to Northland, where the tour was supposed to start from.

We ended up waiting in the car for umm… nearly another hour. I dunno. It was a very long time anyways. Sitting waiting in cars is bad enough at the best of times. I was worried about my shoes, cos I was wearing my slide on wedges, which had spilled me face down less than a week earlier. The tour guide fax said sturdy shoes and 2km of walking. Ahh well.

Eventually, we FINALLY got on our way, carrying our kerosene lanterns and stuff – well, we had one between our group of five. There were about umm 15 people in our tour group, and our guide was a (kinda cute) guy named Matt (who, as we all know, couldn’t live in the real world). At first, Rachel and Kini were all squirmy and fearful, so I was being a real staunch bitch, and laughing at them. Steve and Doug were all plotting and scheming to scare them. Grr. It would have been so much spookier without them.

Anyways. So yes, it was totally dark. Matt had a torch which he pointed out bandicoots to me, and there were a few lanterns, but that was it. I so want Matt’s job! The air smelled of that lush night time magnolia smell, and it was all so pretty. He got to tell stories of what the buildings in the Quarantine Station had been used for, and of all the ghost sightings since then. It was really interesting, the history of it, and I think I could probably be a good story teller. Maybe I could organise Ghost Tours of the Bolton Street cemetary. It was so fantastically spooky the night I went there with Morphine Matt, and it could have been so romantic too… hahaha Jesus. Back to the tour. Man, tingly scares turn me on SO much ;. I think it’s because I have a good imagination that I got spooked. I could easily imagine the horror and despair that people sent to the station must have felt. That came to a head when we were in the shower block, where we were told that newcomers would be showered with sheep-dippy stuff, watched through peep holes. It was really scary, cos I kept thinking of Schindler’s List, and the shower scenes in that. Eastern European refugees must have shit themselves in there. One of the weird women in the group went off wandering by herself, and she turned up on the other side of a row of showers, taking me completely by surprise, so I gasped really loudly when I saw her. It was great. I probably got the giggles like mad after that.

I loved the tour, despite having to do my best that Steve didn’t exist. As well as the spooky ghost tour aspect, it was just really interesting. Matt seemed really passionate about how important it was that the buildings continue to be preserved, and he’s absolutely right. So there, that’s my piece for Heritage. It made me want to go to Uni, and do some more NZ History papers.

Me, Rachel and Kini got back to the car first, (after our Damper supper) , so we decided to wait and drive off once the males got close. But they took ages to come, so we figured they’d be waiting behind some bush or something, to scare us. We were right, of course. They jumped out, and thumped the boot of the car, so we kept on driving. About 50 metres or so up the (very long) drive, we stopped to let them catch up with us. They kept on walking though, and started to skip in front of the car. We had to drive really slowly behind them, until another car came up behind us, forcing them to get out of our way. We had to drive like 1km up to the top of the drive, laughing all the way. At the top was a lifty arm barrier thingie, which we went through, and therefore couldn’t go back to pick up the boys. Ha! Ha ha ha! I’m so malicious, man!

Eventually, unfortunatly, they managed to walk up, so we set off for the city again. Kini dropped me off at Olivia’s, instructing me that she lived in Apt #4. So I rang and rang the buzzer for #4, but no one answered. Finally, the intercom crackled into life, and it was Olivia telling me she’d heard me, even if she actually lives in a different number ; . The Living Cube ™ was all dark, and Olivia was in a bathrobe, but there was a little blue light (rave naked near the blue light, like it says on the trains) making a little puddle of glow by _ my _ futon. And I can claim it as MINE cos I peed on it. Or maybe cos I was their first official guest, or something.

I tell you, cough drops make A LOT of crackling to unwrap when you’re trying to be uber quiet!

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