September 30, 2017
The flight is a long one.
L.A to Sydney.
There may be longer flights, but I was never into that Tallest Building.
Yard Of Ale business.
It was a long bastard and that is plenty long enough.
It went remarkably well.
I was polite as I unfailingly am when someone is serving, but the American Airlines hostess still took a disliking to me.
I could smell it on the curl of her lip.
It’s always been that way.
When people are not blinded by the job, or indeed, and quite understandably, have no clue that I posses the things that impress them, then there is something about me that discomforts.
The scruffy presentation.
The over comfortable attire.
A deep voice, made gruffer still by Tour fatigue, that should imply a hairy scrotum but instead emits from above a cumbersome bosom.
It would be hard to work that shift and stay cheerful on a long haul to be fair.
I’m not mardy.
I usually get too much or too little.
As I was saying, it was fine.
15 hours and I didn’t even watch a film.
Slept for 8 of them, then played phone games and signed up for aeroplane internet.
It’s a modern world.
Immigration at most places has a more antsy vibe about it these days.
It feels kind of unsettling here too.
Like you are heading for the store door with shop lift in your inside pocket.
Assuring yourself that you have indeed already eaten the banana you had in your bag for ‘just in case’.
No fruit. No sir. No fruit.
We have arrived before 7 am, and once accepted, we are delighted to discover that the heat in the airport belied the cooler air outside.
I feel full of anticipation.
Heading to the hotel I remember there will be so much to look at.
First things first. I need to get my clothes washed.
G hits her room, I drop my bags into mine, gather my dirty clothes into a plastic bag, and head off to find a laundrette.
I wanted to do it myself.
I always loved launderettes.
When I was 13 and babysat my young cousins, so their parents could go to concerts at The Rainbow, I’d take their washing in a pram to the big drum dryers with a pile of coins.
It felt grown up.
I only found a place that service washed, so handed in one load for a 30 degree and walked back to my hotel.
Everyone is running.
They have great, animal legs and no one is gasping or are sweating unduly.
I should run.
I’m not going to.
Literally everyone I pass who doesn’t look like a tourist is running.
No. Hang on.
I see a homely young woman with a babe in her arms and she is chatting warmly to a man.
I’m guessing locals.
They kiss briefly.
Then he runs.
In my splendid, well furnished room I find a film channel.
10o’clock in the morning and it’s The Magnificent 7.
My dad would love this.
Westerns heralded happy moods.
At midday G knocks and we go to find lunch.
Pie, mash and peas it is.
Hot and it would have been bloody lovely.
Then we explore.
My greatest motivation, not to be still and thus sleep.
G has her camera, I, my phone to write notes on and take snaps with.
We walk for some four hours.
It is remarkable how many weddings are happening in the parks and botanical gardens.
It is a Saturday.
On every corner, a Japanese couple – coming from the other end of the globe I am guessing their nationality – are marrying or have just married.
Two or three rows of folding chairs with an aisle space allowed, have been laid out in front of simply raised arches and small patchy congregations are vaguely assembled.
Around the bay, guests are folded into sparkly body-con dresses and teeter on spindly heels.
White clad brides pose for their own selfies or check their faces in their mobile phones.
Party bar boats rudely circle past seeming to jeer at anyone here who chooses to tie the knot with such scant celebration.
The wedding parties are oblivious to the constant stream of tourists and couples that take the air about them.
Baldy eyeing their cobbled events.
Long curly beaked birds gate crash.
No one appears to feel intruded upon.
Natural life is wonderful.
Birds of paradise are as common place as pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
Trees are masses of woven limbs and twisted fingers and as wide as church doors.
I can see why they were thought to have spirits.
At a fountain, small bright parrots shout at one another and bounce off plinths, drenched.
They are bunking Kids at their summer play.
Flocks of Cockatoos are fighting on the ground for a biscuit prize.
A huge pot bellied lizard sits perfectly still and eyes us.
You can’t see me. He seems to say.
I can, you wanker.
We see Eden and Jurassic park.
The locals see their everyday wallpaper.
I’m not saying they don’t value it.
I am just saying it is no unusual sight for them.
We are stopped by a white beaked brute of a bird which seems to have a woolly cape on its back.
It’s a magpie, a woman tells us.
I know magpies and had no inkling it was that.
White beak? Maybe.
They will attack you in spring, she says.
It has a glorious song and I tell it so.
I desperately want a bird friend.
G, happy she has seen birds, but disappointed the bats she came for have been evicted, says we could get a taxi back.
I said we could probably just walk around the lake.
I am a geographical half wit.
We do walk back the way we came.
Every tourist taking pictures of themselves and their ice creams and their burgers.
It is muggy.
Back at the hotel we have a drink outside quietly.
After little debate we opt to buy ourselves small respective take outs from a nearby restaurant and fork off back to our own rooms.
It is 6pm. My laundry is delivered.
My salad is perfect. I have been gifted a bottle of wine and send down for a cork screw.
I half watch 2 films.
Wake up on the sofa and reappoint myself in this splendid bed.
There is a wedding on downstairs.
Does not one straight live here in sin?
I hope the gay marriage vote is approved soon.
I hope they choose a different day of the week and something a little more off kilter.
I have ear plugs
Sleep comes easy.