I like being here, much more so than Canberra. Canberra is so utterly homogonised, except perhaps for the ambassadors and their various families. Here, there are all sorts. I miss this kind of cultural diversity.
I really like King Street here in Newtown. Just to put in Auckland terms, it's like a big long Ponsonby Rd crossed with K Rd, without K Rd's sleaziness or Ponsonby Rd's - I have to say it - ponciness. The area around reminds me of Grey Lynn/Ponsonby, those late-19th Century central Auckland suburbs. Narrow streets and small houses (especially in Australian terms), and those vibrant yet slightly-decayed-round-the-edges-shops. The queer culture (not just "gay") is evident, and it is like standing in a revitalising rainstorm. I haven't realised how much I've missed it.
So, I've done my normal "holiday" pursuits: spent way too much money on books, music and especially food. I've tried sampling coffee around and about, but haven't really found a cup that makes me go, "Yum!". I had high hopes of a cafe called Allegro, where they roast on the premises, but like everywhere else I've encountered so far around here, they do a light French roast which is too acidic for my taste. Dark roast is the way to go, for me. To put in spice terms, it's like the difference between nutmeg and cinnamon: nutmeg is great for extra zing and a sharper note, but if you want your apple pie to taste right, it has to be cinnamon. Oh, and speaking of hot drink oddness, to all those baristas out there, chocolate sprinkled over one's chai latte does NOT work. Kills the small hint of spices you get in the commercial syrups and you most certainly can't taste the tea. Cinnamon OR nutmeg are just fine, thank you.
I just had some delicious sushi - just from a sushi robot, but yummo. While I was there, they were showing stuff from a Japanese TV programme on sushi - how the fish is caught, how it's prepared, types of sushi, etc. They kept doing long slow food porn shots of the rich and glistening hunks of flesh, I mean fish. But they killed the mood with a nice middle-aged Japanese bloke complete with bushy fu manchu moustache and pony tail, gobbling it up, and, presumably, giving a spiel on what it tastes like. Frankly, I'd much rather watch Nigella Lawson doing food porn
, any time. I'd much rather watch Nigella Lawson doing ANY porn
, any time. Or in fact, anything at all, if it's in close proximity to me. (sorry, gratuitous Nigella-dribble there).
I had good intentions of going to the Australia Museum today, but didn't get the time. As well as my coffee search, I bumped into one of my old colleagues, Chris, who left my last workplace to come back to Australia a couple of months after I left. So off we went and caught up on the goss and talked boring techie talk. He's looking so much happier and relaxed back here, and he told to me that he is utterly relieved to be out of Wellington. It was very evident. Personally, I'd
be relieved to be back there, but it's all about what we have an affinity for, isn't it? I also can't believe I just bumped into the only other person I know in Sydney; I didn't have a clue that he lived in Newtown, and there ARE 4 million people in this town, after all.
Other than catching up with Chris, I also had the massage from hell (actually, it was fantastic), which I evidently needed, given how much everything is aching right now. But my upper back is sooo much looser and I feel like I've dropped 20 kilos. Must remember that while I'm not having sex, a massage is a GOOD THING to have regularly. The massage chappie told me that everything was completely locked up (yes, I could tell that when he ran his fingers down my spine, and I had to stop myself from yelping, in several places)... but that once he had a chance to work on me, everything loosened up incredibly well. Sounds like me, really, all or nothing.
So, I'm back off home tomorrow evening, but I hope to get to the museum in the morning, it's just a quick train ride from here. And I've definitely decided that I need to come visit more often, so as to be able to recharge various of my batteries more often.