July 2 10:50 AM Tullamarine
The grim jokes about air travel are de rigeur at the moment for obvious reasons. There should be another word than 'jokes' though as these are not funny. Anyway. I am travelling to Auckland today and that is fine. I like NZ a lot, and have enjoyed my short forays there, so I expect good times for the next few days. I barely slept last night so I am going around in a bit of a daze and could not handle the razor sharp rehearsed unimaginative repartee of a man trying to sell me a credit card (I think). Money is an issue this morning but I think I have found a way out. Bogeymen just bury themselves in the ground until the problem is over.
So here I am in Auckland Friday 3 July 2009. I woke up extremely early (even notwithstanding that Auckland is two hours ahead of Melbourne) and found myself again chuckling in a way that I cannot fully understand but must be some kind of terrible patronizing cultural superiority that I didn’t think I had in me, viz. I kept finding it terribly amusing that the sun wasn’t coming up. Yesterday I got a little hysterical (kept it under wraps but) that the flight attendant referred to the meal served on the plane as a ‘hot item’. I am pretty sure that she then went on to refer to a cold item but I am not sure. It wasn’t helping that I was watching Flight of the Conchords on the in-flight entertainment. And it was the episode where Jemaine gets an Australian girlfriend and there is a lot of discussion about whether she made fun of his accent.
I went for a walk and found nothing, well, it was too early for most things to be open so that makes sense, and then I went to an internet place and got 20 minutes of internet for a dollar but it kept translating what I wrote into Chinese, which was actually also pretty funny, since I couldn’t figure out (1) how to turn the translator off (2) that, while some way of typing or some words (?!) were not making the translator come off, I don’t know what they were, and so I would just keep rephrasing what I was typing until it didn’t translate into Chinese, which was as you can imagine pretty funny.
Also since I had been walking for an hour and not seen any open supermarkets, and since my snazzy hotel has a small kitchenette (yes, a small kitchenette) and so on, and I decided the smart thing to do was get some groceries, I ended up going to a cod-7/11 and getting the most expensive muesli I had ever bought – even allowing for the price difference – and some soy milk which I figured if I had it for breakfast and dinner for the next two days would even out price-wise and who knows, I might even save money over the next option (which is, not eating anything at all).
Later that night – I went for a superwalk to Ponsonby which incidentally is not that rock ‘n’ roll anymore, though it was interesting to see that some small boutiquey bars were totally chockers with peeps, whereas a number of more spacious ones were pretty deserted. What’s that about? Is that SO PONSONBY…? And then I walked back to the hotel, and had a cup of tea and right now I wouldn’t mind a cup of whiskey actually, but I suppose since I am in my pyjamas that’s not going to happen to me. And I kept thinking I was going to find a supermarket and I only found one, which was not much in three hours of walking, and by that time I didn’t much care anymore anyway. As Mia said, you could walk for three hours from central Melbourne and not see a supermarket, if you walked in certain directions (for instance, if you walked towards north Richmond and down Victoria Pde/ Road, you wouldn’t find a supermarket until you got to Victoria Gardens, and that would be about a two hour walk, and you might not even realise that it was a supermarket I guess. Right? Right.) What they have lots of here though are things called superettes. That’s why I started this paragraph with the information that I went for a ‘superwalk’. Funny, yeah.
It was sunny today when I was en conference all day and the newspaper says it is going to be squally for the next week. True. See you tomorrow.
4 July or whatever – happy birthday Guy Blackman – well today was full-on conference day, and nothing particular to report about that, except it’s a pretty decent conference with a lot of variety and a lot of rigour.
Oh and finally (not that I was hoping it would, but there was some tension) it started raining heavily, so that just before the final session of the conf for today it was incredible, and all the way through the final session I was thinking, ‘I wonder if it’s still raining really heavily out there’ because I didn’t bring my raincoat, after joking about it all for weeks beforehand, because everyone seems to think my raincoat is funny because it is lurid. Well, hell. It wasn’t raining when we came out and if it does start I must say I don’t have protection, apart from some decent boots.
I am going to have a few drinks tonight and maybe go to the Wine Cellar. Yes! WINE CELLAR! In K ROAD!
These steps lead to the Wine Cellar from Myers Park, not K Road.
Next day: last night I appeared to have got seriously drunk in a very stupid way, unbecomingly. I regret it but I suppose I will live. I did vomit in the morning. I am now very into Auckland and aside from the vomiting this morning I have had a pretty good day. With two other interested parties (namely Julia and Andrew, old friends from way back) I examined Myers Park, a ‘slum clearance’ (I use the inverted commas because there have been suggestions that the term was applied rather haphazardly to the removal of a few homes, though Julia says she has since uncovered some evidence suggesting that there was a plot to rid the area of its Chinatown) scheme that resulted in the creation of a very attractive park space and the delightful Myers Kindergarten. The northern point of the park ends at a series of steps leading to an arcade, St Kevins Arcade, in which is located the WINE CELLAR! In K ROAD! Which I think I am destined never to visit, or at least, not this time around. Then we went and had a look at some 70s internal reserves in Freemans Bay which were really interesting and we even visited some friends of Julia’s who lived in the area who backed on to one such reserve. Then suddenly it was 5 o’clock and the sun was about to go down and now I am getting ready to go out with the same people for some dinner.
I have to say that while in New Zealand I have now seen two episodes of Hannah Montana and four episodes (while I was sick this morning) of Phineas and Ferb, which is very funny, though I wasn’t laughing because I was feeling so sick, but I could appreciate the skill of it, and liked it. HM is kind of annoying and the only reason I was drawn to it was that on the 8 or 9 channels available to me here, it and other things on the Disney Channel are fiction narratives, whereas practically everything else seems to be reality freakin’ tv, which is not a form I am that fond of. Anyway I now seem to have broken the tv entirely (no I haven’t, but I turned it off about twenty minutes ago and now it won’t come back on) so that’s all fine.
It rained really heavily twice today. Interesting, that.
Next day: great conversation I had with a woman I would frankly describe as elderly in a Te Atatu op shop:
She: That comes to $9, by my account. Is your account the same as mine? It wouldn’t be, probably, because I was educated in Australia.
Me: So was I.
She: Where? Victoria, probably (she said this with a little bit of disdain, she obviously had me figured out, but…) So was I.
She: Warrnambool (some discussion of Warrnambool, which I told her I knew well though she brushed it off as something a Victorian would say, then on to a long discussion of how the work ran out in Warrnambool and most of the men in her family took off to South Australia, I can’t imagine when this might have been – the time when there was more work in South Australia than Western Victoria! But I suppose the 1950s? Guessing by her age.)
Me: That doesn’t explain why you’re here.
She: I married a New Zealander!
OK, so that’s not a ‘boom boom’ moment, but it’s OK for now.
It rained heavily thrice today. I forgot rain could be a nuisance. It doesn’t rain for long, but it does rain pretty heavy. Te Atatu was interesting and I went to Freeman’s Bay again. Tomorrow archives.