Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 04 2001

Melbourne didn’t work out. I had forgotten about t…

Melbourne didn’t work out. I had forgotten about the Melbourne Cup, which is taking place at the beginning of this week. I could go later, I suppose, but really there should be enough stuff around Sydney to do this week. I considered going to Brisbane, but from what I hear it is just like Florida, where I spent a fair bit of my childhood, i.e. endless hotels on endless beaches.

Thus was Saturday wasted on such frivolous plans. I’m at an Internet cafe off of Oxford Street in Sydney at the moment. I’m staying at the George Street Hotel in Chinatown, since it’s the cheapest I could find and it’s clean and conveniently located. Last night after I got settled in to my triangular room which includes exactly one bed, one table and a fan for cooling, I went out walking around, eventually making my way to Hyde Park, which was practically deserted. I wondered whether I would be accosted, and sure enough I was: by Mormons. “So where are you from?” the mormon in question asked.

“Taiwan,” I answered warily, wondering whether this would somehow lead to the damnation of my soul.

“That’s great! You don’t look Malaysian though,” the mormon answered. I let the mistake pass as I didn’t want to encourage any further discussion. Most people end up with Thailand, but this guy exhibited spectacular cluelessness to somehow get to Malaysia in the space of just one sentence. He gave me a pamphlet, claiming it would chance my life. I opened it up, read the words “Only the union between a man and a woman is considered holy in God’s….” before stuffing it in a rubbish bin. So much for changing my life. I knew damnation would figure in there somewhere.

I walked in my sinful fashion over to Oxford Street, where I found a bar Rick had told me about earlier, the Satin something or another. It was, as he had said, segregated into sections. Bears at the front, Asians in the gaming room, and others in the back, although I didn’t see the Aborigine section near the pool tables. Damn.

I lingered for a while, and eventually spotted a really nice-looking guy. He looked like a scruffier, younger version of Tiger Woods, and I found him quite attractive. He appeared to be with someone, but I tried to approach him anyway. He avoided my gaze, however, and ignored me. Dejected, I walked back to the hostel and took a shower in the shared bathroom, and then went to bed in a most unsatisfied mood.

Today was much better. Jono is in town, of course, and he, Rick, Jimmy and I drove a rented car to the Blue Mountains this morning. The smell of the new Mitsu reminded me of driver’s ed in high school, where we had brand new 1985 Chevrolets to learn on. Rick made fun of the low height of the Blue Mountains as we approached, but the surrounding countryside was beautiful, full of rolling hills and little farms. We drove up to a promontory and gazed out over the valley to some massive waterfalls spilling over a cliff on the other side. The tiny figures of people walking around the falls made Rick dizzy, so we drove into the tiny town of Katoomba for lunch at an old restaurant where the Waitress of The Month wears a little crown thingy on her head (either that or the other waitresses use it to haze the newest girl). Jono and I shared a delicious meat pie and I had a Cream Soda Spider, aka ice cream float. All of the cream soda in Australia is red, for some strange reason. They don’t know anything about the gold kind.

After lunch we drove a couple of hours to some caves, where we signed up for a 1.5-hour tour inside a network of caves called The Orient. It was magnificent stuff, draperies of rock, stalagtites, stalagmites, all of those wonderful formations. I had never been in such caves before. The only caves I’ve been in before were the newly-laid sewer systems my friend Chris Davis and I explored when we were kids. These were natural, though, and I felt like I was in a combination of Disneyworld and a cathedral. No idea why they called it The Orient, though. The Cave Lady wasn’t too clear about that, either. Jimmy kept seeing food in various formations, which is quite typical for Jimmy. “That one looks like bacon!” he would exclaim excitedly, and then “Hey, that one looks like spicy hotpot! Ooh, that makes me hungry!”

At one point the Cave Lady pointed to a shape and said it was called Nefretiti’s Couch, because it looked like the figure of a sleeping woman. The obvious bulge looked like a breast, so I was surprised when she said “…and you can see the head there.”

“Are you sure that’s a head?” I wondered aloud, gaining a withering look from the cave lady.

“Let’s try and have fun, shall we?” she replied. The time went by all too quickly, though, and soon we were out in the sunshine again. The daylight was fading as we drove down the mountain. Rick was almost falling asleep at the wheel by that point, so we stopped at a hotel compound called the “Hydro-magestic”. It was like walking into 1936. The architecture, the decor, the atmosphere…even the music was appropriate. We ordered tea and sat out on the veranda watching the sun set over the rolling hills. It was positively sublime, I tell you. I felt like we should all slip into period costume and when we were done reading in our newspapers about the depression and the threat of Nazism, we would get in our Deusenberg and head out for a night on the town. Getting into the Mitsubishi and turning on modern music was a bit of a jolt, even though I tried to remind myself that Mitsubishi built Japanese Zeroes.

I have no idea what’s on for tomorrow. I should pay for a couple of more nights at the hostel, though. Looks like I’ll be there for a while.

posted by Poagao at 11:20 am  

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