I went to Melbourne, with G, last weekend, to visit Jez and Theresa. They’re flatting together for the last couple of months of my bandmate’s Australian year, and a couple months ago I got this email from T that was basically an old-timey telegram:
JEZ AND THERESA FLATTING TOGETHER STOP. ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY STOP. YOUR PRESENCE REQUIRED STOP. PLEASE SEND TRAVEL DETAILS BY NEXT POST STOP. What could I do? I booked tickets.
The beautiful thing about this holiday was that we didn’t…do anything. Like, we rolled up at their house at like eight in the morning because our first flight required getting to the airport at four and then we had a coffee or six in their beautiful
Fitzroy neighbourhood where everyone was just sort of walking around wearing very cool clothes and cool hair and doing excellent cat’s-eye work and then we had lunch and then we hung out and then we had dinner and then we hung out some more and then we went to bed. That’s all we did for five straight days, with occasional breaks for going to the Melbourne Museum or the Healesville Sanctuary or H&M or something. I ventured out to Brunswick for lunch with an old friend from Seattle, and G went to a half-day conference for his work, but…that was it. It was glorious.
The sanctuary was super extra great: it features all native Australian animals, which was very exciting for us non-native Australians, and is just a nice place to wander around.
I thought a little bit about the disastrous wallaby conservation project I did long ago when I saw this little guy. We did not see any kangaroos or koalas while we were there, but we did see lots of birds and reptiles and various marsupials and monotremes.
That goanna (I’d thought it was a monitor lizard) up there was slowly dragging a (dead) chicken away when all of a sudden another goanna came out of nowhere and tried to take it (the chicken) away, and then the first goanna chased the second goanna until it transpired that there were two (dead) chickens in the enclosure which seemed to be about enough dead chickens for all the present and accounted for goannas. We, the breathlessly watching audience, cheered and clapped and thought that the whole thing was well worth the price of admission.
We had fun at the museum too—G and Jez have to be two of the most fun people to go to a museum with, between the history knowledge of the one and the dinosaur knowledge of the other. I could have easily spent all day there and it renewed my desire to take advantage of Te Papa more often, which is a) free and b) down the road from my house.
Mostly, though, we just ate and drank and walked around and looked at stuff. That’s what I like to do on holiday. Luckily for me, Melbourne has lots of stuff to eat and drink and lots of things to walk around and look at.
I did sing some backing tracks on one of Jez’s new songs, just randomly in his bedroom thirty minutes before we were supposed to go to dinner. I was like, “I don’t know the tune or any of the lyrics and I don’t remember how to sing or how to record and I always tap my foot too loud’ and Jez was like, ‘You’ll be FINE’ and I was, mostly.
Jez is leaving this hemisphere soon, and I don’t know how long Theresa will stay. As we were tripping around various places eating various yummy things, they both talked about coming to visit Wellington this summer, which I would enjoy greatly, but it does make me a little sad to think that they may not always be so close. It’s been good just having them across the ditch, so to speak, if they had to leave Wellington in the first place.
I thought about all the fun things I’ve done with these buddies, since I met them. I thought about singing and how I can do more of it. I thought about buying a house and traveling the world, and which would be more expensive. I thought about work, and lack of work. I thought about how different New Zealand and Australia really are, and how different again they both are to the US, and about how I was very excited when I noticed something that was from NZ (a waka at the museum, Phoenix Organics soda) but wasn’t too bothered by anything American I saw, with the possible exception of the American-style lemonade at the Cajun place we went to on the last night there.
I thought, briefly, about what it would be like to be a gorgeous cat’s-eye-wearing hipster strolling around Fitzroy in a sleeveless dress at ten in the evening, but it was hard to picture. Wellington, for better or worse, fits me now, and I fit it. I was glad to go, though, and equally glad to come home. I’d like to do both those things many more times.
Thanks to G and Jez for the photos