Sydney So-So

Hmm. Sydney. I am…challenged, a bit, by Sydney. It’s been pretty up and down since I got here on Sunday, and I’m not sure how the rest of the week is going to shake out.

First, though, I have to say that my last couple of days in Melbourne were superb in the extreme and that I had an excellent time there. I saw the PIXAR exhibit, which I liked much more than I thought I would, and I also went to the Melbourne Museum, which I liked every bit as much as I did when I went there briefly last time I was in town. I am a sucker for both taxonomy and taxidermy, and this place had both in abundance. There are few things I like better than spending a whole day mooching around reading informational plaques on a wide variety of subjects, including but not limited to: the mating behavior of monotremes, the evolutionary path of cone snails, and the social and political ramifications of colonization on indigenous communities. One of the reasons, actually, that I think I may just go ahead and remain single for the rest of my life is that I have a hard time imagining anyone else who would be okay with my pressing my face up against the glass window of the mudskipper exhibit at the Sydney Aquarium writing things in my paper journal like “A fish that doesn’t like to get its face wet? That is blowing my mind.”

But I get ahead of myself, with mentioning the Sydney Aquarium. We were talking about Melbourne, lovely Melbourne, with a public transportation system I could easily navigate and lovely girls with whom to go out and have dinner. I got to meet up with my bellydance homie Sarah several times, which was pure fun in that we talked about a) tribal style and b) boys the whole time. I just love conversations that go effortlessly back and forth between “Well, bellydance community politics, what are you going to do?” and “GIRL! Really? Well, what did you do with the body after you had him killed, then?” I also got to take a quick intermediate class at Underbelly with Miss Sarah–which, you know, as I didn’t know all their moves, was a little rough but also a lot of fun. If I can manage it I’m going to try to pick up a class tomorrow night in Katoomba, as I’ve decided I could do a lot worse than to meet bellydancers in every part of the world I visit.

Anyway. Where was I. So Sarah was fantastic and I didn’t get nearly enough time with her, so there’s that, and words pretty much fail me when I try to describe in richly rendered detail how amazingly awesome my beautiful and talented Georgina. This girl. She made me delicious food, she watched Pretty Woman on the couch with me, she took me out to a) a bar carpeted entireley in Astroturf and b) a bar that her rockstar brother brought the dude from Oasis to one time and also where some awfu, awful guy in skinny jeans that I’m pretty sure he’d been wearing since the last time skinny jeans were in tried to pick up on one or both of us, it was unclear. He had some teardrops tattooed on his face, which prompted me to stage whisper as he was slurring his propositions to us GEORGE I THINK THAT MEANS HE’S DONE TIME. TIME. GEORGE, HE’S DONE TIME! Plus she has fantastic taste in books and movies and music and her house is amazing and I just love her to pieces and she let me read all her food porn magazines in front of the fire and ,really, what more do you want in a friend?

So Melbourne was really good for me. It’s got everything I like in a city: cool museums with informative plaques on the wall, nice walks, and really good cafes and markets and bookstores and shops and things like that. Wellington, if you’re reading this, I don’t want you to get jealous or anything, but I wouldn’t feel right without admitting that Melbourne and I…well, nothing happened, really. I mean, we were just talking. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have feelings, but…baby, where are you going? I’m coming back to you, I promise! It’s just, you know. I’m traveling! I’m free like the bird! You don’t own me, okay, Wellington?

Aw, baby. Baby, don’t. Don’t cry. I’ll be back in September. How about you just continue blowing really strong wind directly from Antarctica into my house with a really annoying high-pitched screech that comes up our drains, and we’ll just continue where we left off, okay?

Wellington has nothing to worry about from Sydney, though. I have been a little off balance since I got here, I have to say. Nothing has really gone wrong, exactly, and there have been some cool things, but I think I am going to be pretty ready to get out of here by Friday.

Sunday I got in very early and checked into rather a yucky hostel. It was in a cool part of town but it was just…oh, it was fine, but, uh, I switched out this morning. I have had some amazing luck with meeting awesome people in hostels in New Zealand (see: everyone I met at Maple and also in Whitianga) but it’s always a crapshoot. This hostel was really not very well maintained, although it did have a very nice cat, and I just felt sort of ooked out when I got there. Fortunately I had a brunch date with a friend of a friend and the friend’s partner and the partner’s mom and so that was fun, and I got to walk around town and kind of get my bearings. When I got back to the hostel I was going to make the best pasta in the history of the world but that didn’t pan out so well because when I wasn’t dumping the broccoli on the kitchen floor after sauteeing it beautifully in olive oil (also courtesy of George, bless her heart) I was spilling whole peppercorns on the remaining pasta and attempting, futilely it turns out, to pick them out so I could actually have something to eat. The people weren’t terrible friendly (although the cat was) and I ended up going to bed early both nights. Just a lonely yucky vibe. I’m glad to be out of there…I could care less about the place I am in now, actually, as long as it’s close to the train station and the kitchen is clean.

I did have a pretty great day yesterday though, accomodation woes aside. I went to the Sydney Aquarium, which was filled not only with the aforementioned mudskippers but also some crazy sharks and rays and some excellent invertebrates, including some very fancy frilly sea cucumbers that I initially, in my ignorance, mistook for nudibranchs, they were so sinuous and lovely. I had gelato in the sun on Darling Harbour and felt very happy: independant and free as a the seagulls circling me hoping to kill me for my dessert spoon, I can only assume. I do love traveling alone, walking along looking at things and doing exactly what I like, on my own schedule and as quickly or as slowly as I want. The unhappiness of weird backpacking experiences never even approach that kind of contentedness, and even though I’m not, like, totally thrilled with this city–it’s just a big city, you know?–I am still really glad to be here, to be on holiday and going towards what I hope will be some exciting adventures.

Today I am, as required by law, going to see the Sydney Opera House, at which I plan to think fond thoughts of my favorite chanteuse, and tomorrow I’m going to spend the night in Katoomba and check out the Blue Mountains. Friday I fly out to Brisbane and then Monday it’s time for wallabies, finally finally finally. I have no idea, really, what to expect from that, so I think I’ll just act like it’s going to be the best thing in the world ever and see if I can use the fearsome power of my mind to make it turn out that way.


  1. Dude, the Wallabies are going to rock your socks off. I can feel it. Also, I totally understand how you feel about Sydney, because that’s exactly how I felt about London when I was there last year. I wanted to be wowed and impressed by it, and some parts were cool, but ultimately? It was just another big city. Much like the one I had just left. But, hey, now you’ve been there and seen the cool opera house and whatnot, so it’s not all bad.

  2. Oh, dude! I wanna hear all about your fun times with Ghawazi Caravan!

    So you’re a Melbournist, not a Sydneyist, huh? I think that shows impeccable taste. And there MUST be someone out there who shares your mudskipper mindblownness, and is hot and preferably a drummer and not too gay and seeking a bellydancing goddess to worship. I refuse to believe there’s not.

  3. This has nothing to do with Sydney but you’re the only Octopus lover I know so I had to share.

    Have you heard about the nutty-smart thing the octopi at, I think, the San Francisco zoo did?

    They apparently figured out that the tank across from theirs had yummy fishies in it. So they did the equivalent of holding their breath so they could slump out of their tank and into the next one to hunt and dine. They were not only smart enough to do that they were smart enough to make sure they did it when no people were around to catch them.

    Brilliant, no?

    Sorry, I don’t have a link to the article. I heard about it third hand.

  4. Erin (lj => eelh)

    I know this is a late comment (I’m can only stand to get on the net after working at my computer all day every once and a while, you know?) And all I wanted to say is yes people who admire people who press their faces against the museum glass do exist! I married one, which admittedly helps me more than you since I am also one of those people. Having been raised by two parents in museums… hmm, let me rephrase that… two parents who worked in museums, I do love a good label! Thus I married a man who works in a museum, which makes both myself happy since he doesn’t mind when I have to read every label and my parents since now they have a kid in their field ;) So my main point would then be, don’t despair, such persons do exist!