People, don’t believe the hype about Australia being all endless summer and warm golden beaches because it is a LIE of the DEVIL. I have spent the past couple of days devoutly wishing for my thermals from the South Island and posing for a lot of pictures in which I am clearly thinking Hurry Up And Take The Damn Picture Of Me In Front Of This Wondrous Geological Formation So I Can Commence Unfreezing My Nosehairs.
That said, I have been having an excellent time since I arrived on Monday. Georgina has been an exemplary hostess, giving me all the extra blankets in the house and making me spinach-mushroom risotto and organizing drinks and dinner and dancing parties and sitting with me on the couch discussing boys in exhaustive detail, which is something I really like in a girl. Melbourne is totally my kind of city: lots of art and music and cool museums and a ton of little cafes and shops and pretty much everything you want in life. I’ve had an excellent time just taking the tram and wandering around aimlessly and enjoying myself thoroughly, kind of relaxing into my vacation.
Tuesday (FREEZING COLD) I was heading down to Federation Square from the Victoria Market, where I’d gone a little crazy with the antipasti and also bought some purple and pink fuzzy socks, a tall dapper gentleman with artfully arranged hair, a popped collar, and very good shoes caught my eye and approached me. Recognizing a gay boyfriend when I see one, I didn’t panic and was not suprised at all when he asked me if I’d mind being his model at hair school and get a free cut. Now, y’all know my hair is a sensitive issue with me and I admit the first thing out of my mouth was “Girl, is it THAT BAD?” Adam–his name was Adam–assured me that no, no, that wasn’t it at all, it’s just that he loves cutting curly hair and mine was certainly curly, wasn’t it? And wouldn’t I like to come into the warm salon and have a nice cup of tea?
I would indeed, and proceeded to have a very hilarious and fantastic couple of hours, even though I was the worst dressed person there with the worst shoes. Adam and his supervisor talked about my hair with great sincerity (“I’d like to see this hair have some more expression, Adam, wouldn’t you?”) and I got totally involved. I like nothing more than discussing ridiculous topics with great seriousness, so I was all “Adam, I have to be honest with you, my hair journey, it’s been…well, it hasn’t been easy,” and “It seems to me that you’re approaching this cut with great intuition, which I just really appreciate, you know?” and “I have to confess that product has always intimidated me.” We had a great time talking (turns out he’s in an open marriage with a woman and is bi; he’s always wanted to go to South Beach and get a tattoo at Miami Ink) and everyone in the salon was super awesome, coming over to discuss diffusers and colors and shining serums with me with great conviviality. I probably won’t post pictures until I get back to Wellington but rest assured that it’s a very nice cut and I no longer have to peer out from behind my crazy full-frontal bangs quite so much, which is very helpful when viewing koalas and kangaroos in their natural habitats, which, if my tour yesterday is indication, are trailer parks and golf courses.
George had suggested that I take a trip down the Great Ocean Road and even though I am not usually much of an organized tour person, I thought it would be cool to try to see as much in one day as I could. At first I wasn’t too sanguine about the whole thing because it was a) burning cold and b) a little lonely. It was a pretty low-key group and included two big families so those of us who were alone were kind of scattered around the bus and it was hard to talk. The tour guide dude was also very laid-back and didn’t chat us up too much, although we did hear some good stories about escaped convicts and impossibel shipwrecks, and for a while I just looked out the window at the ocean through the pouring down rain listening to the iPod, feeling a little lonely.
I am feeling like a dutiful Australian tourist in that I did get to see some famous kangaroos which I enjoyed very much (even saw a baby!) and made me anticipate Project Kial even more than before, and even some awake koalas at a trailer park. It was pretty awesome, I have to say, to just be walking along and look up in the trees and see a koala munching away on some tasty eucalyptus leaves. It was there that I began to chat to people a little more and feel less alone, and by the time we got to the temperate rainforest I was discussing a German economics
PhD student’s long-distance relationship woes with an Northern Irish health and safety engineer, and by the time we go to the beautiful (if FREEZING COLD) Twelve Apostles we were all pouring each other cups of tea and getting along great.
As soon as I run out of internet time I am going to the PIXAR exhibit (perhaps after I have a hot chocolate in a cafe somewhere) and then tonight I’m meeting my lovely friend Sarah (who, those of you who made it all the way through my Melbourne entry from November will remember, told me about the Rachel Brice workshops that weekend) for dinner. She’s invited me to an Underbelly class on Saturday too, which will be great as I haven’t danced for several weeks and am in sore need of practice. Friday night Georgina is introducing me to all her awesome friends and we’re going out for drinks and dinner, and, if I have anything to say about it, booty-shaking, and then Sunday I have yet another early-morning flight to Sydney, where I hope to meet a friend-of-a-friend for coffee if nothing else, right before I go see that opera house or whatever.
I’m wearing all the clothes I brought with me here, it’s true, but I have great hair and a steady supply of hot chocolate so I’m all good. This week has been a really nice start to the trip and I can’t wait to see what the next couple of weeks bring.