Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Reality Is Creeping In

One of the worst things about being single is not having anyone to meet you at the airport after you've flown half way around the world. It's the most startlingly alone I've felt in a long time. I got off the plane and picked up my bags, found a cab with a driver who looked like he was still in high school, watched Boston-at-night go by out the window on the way home. At home, there was hardly anything to eat. I made a ramen-style noodle bowl, fried some eggs, dipped the last of the swiss cheese right into the mustard jar. Munched half-heartedly on some dried-up baby carrots. After that there was only flour and some off mushrooms left so I went to bed and slept until six o'clock the next evening. Travel journal part II Flying low over the coast of Sydney, the sunlight looked like a spray of gold needles on the water. Every Australian I met on this flight admonished me for visiting their continent during the winter months. "Woy ah ye hea niow? It's fuckin' frigid, mate!" Walking to the cab I noticed that it was about 65 degrees and people were wearing mufflers. Yeah, frigid. It's the same exact temperature it was when I left Boston, you CRAZY PEOPLE. And, ooh! We're driving on the left! And our bags are in the boot! And I smell like a dead baboon! Day 1 begins - first order of business at the hotel was a shower and a tooth scrubbing. (In the bathroom of LAX I had to ask a stranger if I could borrow some toothpaste. She reluctantly squeezed a little blob onto a paper towel and handed it to me.) Felt so good to be clean. Other than some general wobbliness, no problematic travel symptoms. After shower strolled toward the harbor in search of a little cafe that Abysmal Crayon mentioned in a sweet, sad post on her site and found it without too much trouble. It's in a church and it's quiet and old and musty but clean and sort of ancient and mysterious feeling. I ordered a flat white and an anzac biscuit (since Crayon had explained what both were) and they were delicious. Afterward, we tiptoed into the church but then mass started and we scuttled right out as fast as we could. I like churches, but only to look at. Not to stand up and kneel and sing songs and stand up and kneel and pray and kneel in. We walked down to the harbor and snapped some pictures of the opera house and the angular underbelly of the Sydney Harbor bridge. Wandering through The Rocks we stumbled across the back door of an art gallery and popped in for a look. I loved the paintings of extravagantly elegant women in big hats and pearls with berry-colored lips and eyes delicately closed. There are many narrow, winding stone staircases here but in some ways I keep being reminded of Boston. Certain parts of The Rocks look like a cleaner, more spacious Downtown Crossing. At 4 o'clock it was time for a pint (a "schooner," actually - they come in schooners and pints) and then back to the hotel for a little rest before dinner. It got cooler in the evening, enough to wear a little jacket. Walking to dinner I saw parrot-looking birds and sleek sea birds with scythe-like beaks. The first restaurant we went to in Darling Harbor wouldn't make a martini because it wasn't on the cocktail menu. We were flummoxed. How is it possible to have a cocktail menu without a martini on it? And why is that you can make a drink with straws and pineapples and flames and rainbows and shit coming out of it but you can't pour a little vodka in a glass? Definitely time to move on. At the next restaurant we had mussels and garlic shrimp and I drank three yummy cosmopolitans, then went back to the hotel and slept like a rock in a river bed.