trixtah: (Default)

Can I do a roll-call, please? It'd be nice to not miss people while I'm there!

(x-posted to LJ for those who can't reply on DW. I would prefer responses on DW where possible, please)
trixtah: (Default)
Drove to Sydney and spent a fuckton of money on ephemera. It was ooodles of fun.

I purchased my usual stack of books, and found one by Del LaGrace Volcano (and Ulrika Dahl) that I'm actually mostly enjoying: Femmes of Power. I suspect it's more about the subject matter, not that I'm suddenly that much more tolerant of "edgy+++ self-consciously arty pics of my mates". An artist who is definitely more about the subject matter (sometimes) than the actual art, for me. Although, you know, the photography is very competent and vivid. Anyway, good book - a good representative mixture of genders and styles, although given Volcano's leaning towards exhibitionism and camp - and, I suppose, the fact that everyone's dressed up for their piccies - a bit of a preponderance of the high femme or tarty (in the non-derogative sense) looks. The text is also a bit self-consciously wanky, but there are some very interesting women discussing themselves.

As well as all the other things I didn't need, I bought a new Crumpler bag. Now, I have heard certain dykes and men criticise women about their handbags. I personally love handbags (although those not those ones that look like dressed-up bichon frises- you know, the dumpy squishy bags in pastel shades of crappy leather or vinyl, covered with useless buckles and sequins and the like), even though I would never carry one myself. I also have a reallllly bad habit of buying myself bags for various functions.

I have my big overseas trip bag (that contains a very light foldable bag I can use for backup with a 30l capacity), which is like a sportsbag with wheels. Then there's my business trip wheely case. I have a 25l backpack, which is handy when cycling to the market, or for a night-or-two trip. I also have a smaller daypack for small bike trips.  Then my everyday messenger bag, which can comfortably (albeit heavily) hold a ream of paper, and a smaller bag that really just fits my wallet and keys and a small book. Then there's another bag that I bought in London that's in between those two sizes, but which has a really stupidly designed zip, so I don't use it, and will shortly be dumping it into a charity bin. So the bag I bought today is a replacement for that bag, and actually does have a properly designed zip, and enough internal compartments. It will be my new everyday bag, since it holds all my gadgets, and a largish book or two. None of these bags are particularly sexy - they're all varying thicknesses of nylon and are very functional.

I have seen a leather bag that looks a bit like a smallish messenger bag - about a foot in width and slightly longer - with two buckles, internal pockets and nice leather. Unfortunately it costs $800, which is about what all my other bags cost all together. I think it's my attempt at reclaiming the leather school satchel the boys had in primary school, and which I coveted. I even had one a few years back, but I got rid of it when I went to England, alas (also, the style they used in NZ was not that practical for lots of little bits and pieces that tend to fall out of the cavernous single compartment if the bag was tilted in any way).

So there you go, my secret collecting urges revealed. The next thrilling episode will be about coats. I also have more than 6 pairs of shoes, but I think that's it - other than books - for the things I tend to needlessly accumulate. I will emphasise that all my bags, shoes and coats (man, maybe I have a buried high femme... stop sniggering, one and all) get used. To varying degrees.

Oh, and before I set off on my trip, I fixed my MP3 player, which I dropped a few weeks back, and hadn't got round to fixing. The start button is a slider, and it had popped out of the thing it slides. Three small screws - yay jewellers' screwdrivers - and a bit of levering, and it was all fixed. Yet another reason I won't buy an MP3 player with a hard drive rather than solid state memory these days - my gadgets do not get a soft life. So that was an actual achievement for today. I did have real problems getting the screws back into the device, because of the tremor in my hands, which is certainly not getting any better. I'm tossing up whether I should get it seen to, although I've had it for years, it's intermittent and seems to be often stress (both good and bad) related. I also don't think there's much that can be done, per se (yes, I've tried magnesium supplements). Well, we'll see - I'm not dropping books or hot cups of coffee yet.
trixtah: (Default)
My friends B and C were unexpectedly over from NZ, and contacted me yesterday to see if I could visit them while they were in Sydney. This was most excellent timing. It was nice spending an afternoon hanging out and getting nurturing vibes, and we took the sproglet for a walk up King St to corrupt the child get some ice-cream for her and nice Campos coffees for the adults.

After that, I got along to Polymorph, and had my irritating tragus piercing swapped for a nice small internally-threaded 14ga circular barbell (no problems with stretching it slightly, despite what the other guy said - it's still soft from being such a recent piercing, and I didn't feel a thing), thank god, and I also got the rings in a more personal area upsized to 10ga. I've had Robert do stuff for me there in the past, but today I had Ben, and he was also fab.

Then some nice sushi and the trip back home, which was unusually good. My car is a little bit sick due to air leaking in somewhere along the intake to the carburettor (I can hear the whistling, but I can't find where it's coming from, for the life of me), which means it idles extremely fast when stationary, but on the plus side, it acts like a budget turbocharger when zooming up hills at speed. For once, the weather wasn't hosing down and/or blowing a gale, so it was a nice steady 75mph/120kph the entire way home.

trixtah: (Default)
(One of the best 80's songs, evah)

But this is a fun meme

Got at!

I'm pretty sure I left some out, but those are the ones that spring to mind. The Thameslink in London and the subway in Melbourne aren't included. I thought that maybe they don't include trains with just a bit of underground routing, but the Muni, Sydney and LU have overground components. No underground trains in NZ at all, alas.

As for fond memories of subway trains, the best was the Brussels one. Some chickie was most definitely trying to chat me up on one occasion. It was very smooth; she asked where I got my bag from. Alas, my French is rudimentary at best, so I was able to tell her where the bag was from (London), but not which cafes were best near the stop we were at. Or much else.
trixtah: (potter)
I'm at home (yay NZ) and it's very very nice here. It's warm for starters (15°C), and a wee bit of rain is not bothering me in the slightest. In fact, the humidity is nice. It's annoying to realise just how much I'm a creature of my climate-of-birth. Also, yay greenery.

I had been expecting to do some clothes shopping in the UK, but it didn't happen. It IS happening here. I actually spent an enjoyable day shopping, which is the first time ever in my entire life. I've also spent over a grand, bad bad bad me. However, I have a new paisley shirt, two three new pairs of trousers, a new dress-yet-casual jacket, and, um, a piece of art. Regarding the latter, I was walking past the gallery, spotted what was inside, and my tongue nearly fell out of my face. The guy takes photos, prints them on art paper, and then waterpaints the print. They're utterly atmospheric, and I fell in love at first sight. Obviously, I liked some works more than others, but I managed to keep myself away from the $850+ (unframed) jobbies. Yay art.

With my clothes shopping, I found that the designery shops around High St are currently having their winter sales. I was pleasantly surprised at the fantastic customer service I got. These are moderate-to-pricey shops, I was looking at the menswear sections, and each time I got prompt and friendly service. While I'd like to be cool and groovy and be able to stroll into any shop and look at what I damn-well please, I need to be in a particular mood to do that in challenging circumstances (ie. not very often) - not having to contend with uncomfortable, disdainful or hostile assistants makes shopping an order of magnitude more enjoyable. Not to mention the fact I found cool things to wear. Now I just need to get all the trousers and sleeves shortened.

I've also been pigging out on nommy Japanese and fusion fuds, and I've had two cocktails and three coffees. I'm glad my stomach appears to be 95% recovered; there have been no ill-effects so far. Heh. Oh, one of the cocktails was from Mea Culpa, which has a supposedly signature variation on a Moscow Mule, with lime, wasabi and ginger ale. I could taste the wasabi, but the rest tasted like a sweetened rendition of the cucumber slice that was used to garnish the drink. Too sweet, no lime or ginger discernable (if there was ginger ale/beer in it, it must have been Bundy). Very disappointing. The ridiculously sky-blue Sapphire Surprise at Honey was much nicer.

Onto all the wild socialising tomorrow!
trixtah: (Default)
Well, I made it back in one piece, despite missing the flight from Sydney to Canberra after all - by less than 5 minutes. It was a busy evening in the Customs hall, alas. Bloody annoying to have to spend over $200 bucks for a hotel. While I think Formule1 hotels are grim, perhaps they are actually better value for money than Mercure hotels at triple the price. But at least Mercures have clean cotton sheets and comfy beds. Even if their so-called "smart bars" (a mini bar stashed in the hallway, with sweet FA of a selection, and a separate keycard you have to get from reception to use) are crap, and charging $10 for a beer and a packet of chips in the bar is just insulting.

I still have some pics to post, but I really had a fab time. I spent way too much money, but hey, it was worth it. Highlights were:
  • meeting [ profile] buddleia - even if living closer by would be much more preferable. Also attending her nice party and meeting her mum and dad, [ profile] i_kender and [ profile] megolas ... and other odds and sods
  • catching up with all the goss from various friends
  • my old boss telling me I haven't changed a bit (not too sure whether that was a compliment or not, heh)
  • nice times by the seaside picking up ammonites and alabaster from the cliffs by Penarth with two of my friends and their poochie
  • catching up with my ex Jo, and knowing she's just as groovy as ever. Yay.
  • running around all the lovely sights in London, especially the Rothkos, the plaster casts in the V&A, Container City, and Kew Gardens
Not optimum things:
  • not enough time, really
  • didn't get the shopping I wanted to do done. The cultural stuff was more of a priority (which is fine)
  • no random shags, alas. Still, the shingles didn't really give me that feeling of "all over body confidence" (they're pretty much gone now, thank god), even if I had had the opportunity
  • the Royal Mail or Aussie Post majorly squashing the Rothko poster I mailed back to myself, despite the "do not crush or bend" markings all over it, and the fact it was in a proper poster tube. GRAH. The creases are so bad that there are spots at 10cm intervals where there is no ink left on the paper.
Still, it's nice to be home and I had a nice WB dinner with [ profile] saluqi and [ profile] faxon. And had sufficient amounts of pooch madness chez eux. :-)
trixtah: (merriment)
yummy cocktails )
As you can see from the pic, I have been doing stuff:
  • Cocktails of pinkness (and other shades) with [ profile] buddleia and [ profile] i_kender at The Star at Night. Nom nom nom! As was the cheap and cheerful Japanese on Old Compton St afterwards

  • Caught up with my old friend Shazza and heard about her new g/f of hotness and her new job as a copper

  • Went to Tates Britain and Modern, drooled over Rothko and the pre-Raphaelites (and sundry others)

  • Went to the V & A, looked at 1000 year old black Chinese tea bowls that are exactly like the ones used now, and lots of other coolness

  • Went to Kew Gardens - pics to follow

  • Went to Penarth in Wales to catch up with old friends and their new pooch. Squeezed in an exhibition at the Cardiff Art Museum

  • Caught up with my old g/f Jo, who is just as groovy and fabulous as ever. And her dad, who invited me to come stay in Derby whenever I like, bless him. And her groovy aunty. Had cocktails with Jo after by ourselves, and hashed Life, the Universe and Everything
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I'm trying to remember what I did yesterday. Oh, that's right, I went and hung out with my friend Jojo in Sarf London, and got cooked a very nice roast chicken with all the trimmings by another friend of hers, who I once fancied the heck out of, but who has a new g/f. Still, it was nice to catch up all round.

Today I:
  • Bought hairbrushes for the CDL, for about 30% less than what they'd cost back in Oz.

  • Did not succeed in finding any suitable pooch books or prints or anything of that sort in the environs of Charing Cross Road. I'll have to think of Plan B there.

  • Bought 8 other books, however.

  • Spent 75 quid on music, especially dubstep compilations. Eee!

  • Went to Coco de Mer and found something I want to buy, but will have to wait until I see if I have enough cash left next Monday.

  • Got slightly grumpy that Monmouth Coffee don't do soya milk for their coffees. However, a new chain, AMT, does pretty good fairtrade/organic coffee, AND they have soya milk.

  • Got my hair cut for a tenner, and had a better job done than when I pay nearly three times the amount back home.

  • Contacted my old place of work to get some administrative stuff done.

  • Got mostly over my jetlag, and developed sore feet. But got plenty of exercise. :-)

Fun fun

Jun. 1st, 2008 06:48 pm
trixtah: (Default)
Lunch yesterday from the Borough Market:

tastee nibbles )

More pics from the market here:

Yay partay last night with [ profile] buddleia and friends, creepy costume and all. :-)
trixtah: (potter)
...or something. I seem to be doing a flashback to those "Let's learn Franglais" columns in Punch.

The flight was smooth, the airport security appears to think that 100g of "liquid/gel/toothpaste" = 100ml (oh well), those compression stocking things are lifesavers, Bangkok airport is meh, although architecturally quite impressive, and it's really nice being back in London - almost as if I hadn't left.

I have:
  • met [ profile] buddleia Yay! That was fun, and it must be said that getting on well with people on the Intarwebs certainly helps one get over one's deeply-embedded shyness about meeting complete strangers

  • went to the museum of London

  • got told off for taking a picture of the immigration hall at Heathrow

  • spent 68 quid on whisky and rum. Ooops. Not sure how I'm going to get it back, either. Oh well.
trixtah: (Servalan)
I'm off to the UK the day after tomorrow. Yesterday I was diagnosed with shingles. GAH!

I'm also lucky I have an observant g/f. I have had an itchy rash on my side for a few days, and was busy rewashing most of my laundry because I thought it might be hives/contact dermatitis from the new soap powder I was using. The idea of shingles had vaguely crossed my mind, but I didn't feel crook, it wasn't painful, and it wasn't showing the characteristic rash (the rash was a few smooth red areas with a spot in the middle). Also, I tend to resist "blowing things out of proportion" when it comes to health matters.

I showed the CDL on Saturday, and the first thing that she reckoned it might be was shingles... but again, no lurgy symptoms and no blisters, yadda yadda, although, hm, it is odd that it's one-sided, and the spots are kind of in a line. I was paying attention to further developments after that assessment, as can be imagined. Sunday, still the same, and I had rewashed everything washable by then, and rinsed with vinegar. Bah.

Yesterday morning, dah-ding!, I woke up feeling snuffly, and my rashy areas had lots of little spots in them, and were feeling prickly. Off to the doctor I ran, and sure enough, it's a "classic" case. Along the T10 dermatome, as it happens. The rashy bits still haven't joined up - there are about 5 spots of 2cm diameter - but they are growing a wee bit.Apparently the doc has seen several cases in the last couple of weeks. Not too sure what that's about. I haven't been feeling that rundown myself, although I felt that it was taking me an unusually long time to get over my last blood donation (just over a week ago), and I did a real number on putting my neck out a couple of weeks ago, which required three trips to the osteopath in a week-and-a-half.

So I now have antivirals - I've never taken anything like that before - and some antiseptic cream that is keeping the itching mostly away. I've also luckily found the perfect homeopathic remedy - rhus tox - in my stash at home, so will be guzzling that. Rhus tox is made from the poison ivy plant, and one of the symptoms is craving immersion in hot water - I've had four baths in the last week (in addition to my usual morning shower), and even then I was wondering if I should take Rhus for my neck being out - it's good for "stiff neck" (no laughing). Hah, maybe if I had taken it then, I'd have avoided this flare-up. The potion is good for prickly itchy painful rashes that are worse from getting overheated in bed at night, muscular aches and pains, colds and so on. It's pretty specific for chicken pox itself as well as shingles.

I'm off work today - two of my colleagues haven't had chicken pox - and I'll have to be aware of who I'm nearby when travelling. Hopefully someone who's severely immune-compromised won't be flying in any case. I'll also have to suss out whether the people I'll be seeing when I'm over in the UK have all had chicken pox. I have good personal hygiene, and I'm not coughing or sneezing, but best to be safe than sorry.

But thank goodness for astute g/fs who put ideas into my head, when I might have discounted the whole thing as hives-with-a-24-hour-cold-and-mild-fatigue - not something I'll generally visit a doctor for. Forewarned is forearmed and all that. :-/
trixtah: (Default)
I can get the train from London to Cardiff to visit friends and their new pooch. Trains leave from Paddington every 1/2 hour during weekdays, and it takes the grand total of 2 hours and 8 minutes to get there. For 31 quid return. ::sigh::

All I have to do now is sort out my accommodation, which they apparently screwed up getting the money for when they should have done (and I didn't check to see that it had been taken when I thought it was). Bah.

Also, my new Irish passport hasn't arrived, which means I might have to join the shitty long queue for immigration at Heathrow. Double bah. Thank god I'm not flying BA and using the notorious Terminal 5.
trixtah: (Servalan)
I'm sure it's supposed to be very "convenient" for us punters to do the self-check-in routine at the little kiosks instead of at the counter, but I'm afraid any ability to "save time" by using the service is totally negated if you have a bag to check, and your "bag drop" counters are also manual check-in counters.

So, people like me, who actually do have a brain and can figure out how to use a touch-screen interface with 2 buttons, don't save any time at all when we have to queue behind 500 other people engaging in all kinds of convoluted check-in manoeuvres for a stupid domestic flight (yes, the average time for the manual check-in was around 3 minutes, including some 5+ minutes jobbies I tracked while I was waiting. In the unnecessarily long queue.) Of course, by the time I got to the head of the queue, my bag drop took less than a minute - I suppose it helped all the legions of other people behind me waiting to do their manual check-ins by some minuscule proportion. Not. Please to be fixing this stupid "system".

No love,

trixtah: (Default)
Well, I have just booked my tickets to London for early June. So if you're in England and you're planning to do anything else around then, you can't. Yes, this means you, [ profile] buddleia!

Yayyyy! I've been so hanging out for a nice big trip, and while it's less than 2 weeks, I should be able to get over to Wales and have a museum overdose in London.
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I'm going to be in Melbourne for the day on Saturday, mainly to attend a workshop with [ profile] not_in_denial, yay. So not much time for quality hangings-around (I'll try and arrange things better next time, but I was slightly double-booked). However, since about umpteen squillion of you on my flist are down there and I've only met a couple of you, how about a get-together for brunch?

The workshop is at a venue on Smith St, and I gather there are some decent places to eat down that way, so how about it? We have to be at our venue at 12:30, so I thought nice eats around 11 would suit.

So, if you want to come along and hang out, stick your hand up here. I'm also soliciting for brunch-place suggestions. :-)
trixtah: (Default)
Due to my shaky hands - I'm sure they're getting worse, btw - none of the pics I took of the hotel or my room here in Wgtn turned out adequately. I need to get a reasonable digital camera with image stabilisation (still a point-and-click - I can't justify the expense of a SLR-style one) - ah, maybe in a few years, when I actually have some money. Still, I have a couple of daytime pics.

The first is of a section of the reedbeds they've planted in the refurbished Waitangi Park, which is adjacent to the harbour, in the heart of the city. The river (Waitangi Stream, surprise surprise), used to be in pipes, but it's now been brought to the surface again, and the reedbeds are part of the way of purifying the water before it reaches the harbour again (about 100m from the place I took the pic).

The reedbeds seem to be doing a good job )

Well, who knows, maybe they have peons scooping out any rubbish several times a day, but there was no scum anywhere visible, there were a few swallow-type birds swooping in amongst the reeds, and a couple of ducks (which promptly hid when I took the pic). The rest of the plantings (which extend for a couple of hundred metres to the left of the pic) are coming along nicely. It'll be great once the trees get some height.

The next pic is just a generic postcard of part of the harbour. It was a gorgeous afternoon. The hill in the background is Mt Victoria, where the hobbits' first encounter with the Ringwraith was filmed for LoTR. Te Papa (AKA Museum of NZ or MONZ (hee!)) is in the right mid-ground.

pretty pic )

The pohutukawa trees (the two trees right by the harbour) were getting little flower buds! Since they're called the "New Zealand Christmas Tree" (for their usual flowering time), this is quite bizarre. Here's an example of one in flower (a slightly unusual distance from the sea - they're very much clifftop trees). Hah, that pic's been taken in Auckland - that's Rangitoto Island in the background.

Home, yay

Jul. 3rd, 2007 05:05 pm
trixtah: (Default)
I'm in lovely sunny Wellington (no joke - 16 degrees - it's warmer than Canberra by a few degrees and it's amazing what a difference that makes), wandering around stuffing myself with food and coffee. Eee. Off to Auckland tomorrow evening. I got to catch up with my friend R and her new man - it's fab to see her looking so pleased with life.

On my way to NZ, I stayed a night at Sydney in the Mercure Hotel by the airport. If you should ever stay there, I suggest packing pot noodles. Firstly, there's no information on hotel amenities in the room (nice room otherwise, other than the crap pillows). There was a very glossy self-published hardbound magazine though. Well, while gratuitious advertising might be important to some, I'd rather find out the times for the airport shuttle (I happened to see the fact they provided one at reception) and what's on offer in the restaurant. Perhaps you were supposed to divine the fact there was wireless internet available, and check out the amenities that way. I certainly had no clue about the existence of most of that stuff (or where to find it, if it wasn't located in the room).

Since I was famished when I arrived at the hotel - and why is all the food in terminal 3 at Sydney airport after security? I wasn't going to go back through after collecting my bag - I went down to the restaurant for something to munch on. Alas and alack, it would have been better to order room service (that menu was in the room). There were 5 entrees and 6 main meals (and four sides). Each entree cost $14 and each main cost $28. It was attempting pretentious "fine dining". Hah. The so-called Caesar salad entree had very little discernable dressing, stalky parts of the lettuce with brown cut edges, about three shreds of cheese, literally three pieces of egg (I counted), and I'm-not-going-to-call-them-croutons which seemed to consist of the crusts left over from the morning breakfast crowd. I'm not kidding - there were about three or four kinds of bread crusts, the entire crust of a bread slice, vaguely toasted, but limp, and in no way crouton-like. The chat potatoes with rosemary were very ordinary, but at least it's hard to screw those up. The asparagus (there was no other green vegetable offered as a side dish) had about half fibrous old spears and some unadvertised oily and tasteless cheddar melted on top. I almost felt nostalgic for the kind of cheese sauce my mother used to drown such things in. So, in short, a vile and overpriced meal. Maybe the mains would have been better, but if you translated from the wank-speak, it was grilled chicken, grilled steak, some kind of pasta, and something else. For $27. Yeah right. And since I presume it was the only dining establishment in the place, absolutely crap in terms of catering for travellers. One would hope the room service menu is more edible - at least it was more reasonably priced and had a somewhat bigger range (as I checked on returning to my room).

If hadn't been so knackered that evening, I would have gone out in search of food from shops nearby (assuming there are any). Oh well. My dinner last night more than made up for it - delicious chicken and squid yakitori, and a nurturing, healthy and tasty grilled eel set... all for the same price of the crap I had the night before. I found gourmet chocolate, had some more of the best ginger beer anywhere in the world (Hardie Boys ginger beer - can't get it anywhere other than a couple of dozen places in Wgtn), and I'll be going out for another cheap n cheerful dinner with R and her bloke this evening.

The place I'm staying is groovy too. It's the Cambridge Hotel, which has had varying incarnations as a beer barn and lodging house (and it's a wee bit beer barny in the bar, still), but they've refurbished the accomodation and are promoting it as a nice backpackers. I've got an ensuite room, which is huge, although the wall height (4 metres) undoubtedly adds to the spacious effect. There are pretty wooden architraves (possibly kauri) and brass fittings and white tiling in the bathroom. I'll post pictures when I can. I haven't hung out in the bar, since it seems that it's still full of old farts who have nowhere else to go. I mean, oops, "the bistro and bar are host to a colourful mix of travellers and Wellingtonians, who prefer the familiarity and comfortable surroundings of a traditional bar environment as opposed to the huge variety and excitement of Courtenay Place bars and clubs..." (see, there's somewhere for everyone in this town, including old codgers). It's not a place to stay if traffic noise is bothersome, but since I haven't heard any ricers burning around or tosspots on Harleys, it's already ahead of the game for where I live (at least I knew that Friday night is dragracing night up that street - I certainly wasn't going to book then). So, cosy and central, suits me. Well, unless I can get swanky and central - I'll be staying in the Hyatt in Auckland from tomorrow night. I could have paid $100 at a backpackers for an en suite room... but what's another $40 bucks for 4½ star accomodations (yay Wotif)?

(Shh. Yes, I know it's 40% more. Heh.)

ETA: Oh, and this was my 42nd entry. Food - what a surprise!
trixtah: (Default)

Some sundry impressions:

  • Auckland drivers and the traffic get more abominable every time I come here. Unless I lived (somewhere sufficiently aesthetic) within walking distance or a direct <1/2 hour busride to work, I wouldn't live here. Mind you, that's my criteria with just about any city, after London.
  • There have been some interesting blasts from the past. I found a cocktail bar called Mo's, on the corner of Federal and Wolfe Sts, which is open to 3am. Makes a change from the dive that used to be there which the sailors and protties used to frequent. It's a wee hole in the wall, and the cocktail list is only the "classics". A mai tai was not on the list, but who on earth puts raspberry syrup in it????? So, nice place, but perhaps I should have stuck to what was on the (limited) menu.
  • After Mo's, I walked up to St Paddy's Cathedral, through the park were Tania was gay- or Maori-bashed (or both) in the late 80s. It's a nice wee park though. The waterfall with big rough-hewn slabs of stone is still there splashing away, nicely lit-up at night.
  • The Formule 1 hotel here in Wyndham St is nice. I am only staying here as a last resort (cos the three in which I've stayed in Oz were horrendous), but for $75 a night, I've got a kitchenette, nice bedding (not the flashest sheets, but they're clean), no bunks, a good shower and, get this, sea views right off Queen St in Auckland. I gather that Formule 1 didn't build this particular place and only took it on in the last 6 months. I thoroughly recommend it for budget accommodation, before it gets grotty. I'll post up pics tomorrow, possibly.
  • The Women's Bookshop is hardly worth the name, these days. Between the books by blokes, and "self-help" and "spiritual" twaddle, there were about a dozen different authors in the lesbian section. I think there are probably more at Borders. Let all us Alison Bechdel fans reflect on the irony. Two (small) paperback books cost me over $70. One of which is Bechdel's Fun Home, which was a fascinating read, on a number of levels.
  • After talking to my friend D at great length about the need for an anthology of NZ nature poetry, I found a book published last year that is exactly that, complete with nice photos. It's called Nature of Things. Here's the first one, by Ruth Dallas:

    Deep in the Hills

    Once I thought the land I had loved and known
    Lay curled up in my inmost self: musing alone
    In the quiet room I unfolded the folded sea,
    Unlocked the forest and the lonely tree,
    Hill and mountain valley beach and stone,
    All these, I said, are here and exist in me.

    But now I know it is I who exist in the land:
    My inmost self is blown like a grain of sand
    Along the windy beach, and is only free
    To wander among the mountains, enter the tree,
    To turn again a sea-worn stone in the hand,
    Because these things exist outside of me.

    O far from the quiet room my spirit fills
    The familar valleys, is folded deep in the hills.
  • And the anthology is even better because it has my favourite ever NZ nature poem, as I go on about here.
  • My friends are absolute treasures. Thank christ for their input and wonderful selves.
  • I've needed this break, and to return to my turangawaewae (resting-place for feet, which metaphorically means the place where you have the right to stand up, and where you always return to).
  • Off to the museum tomorrow to see an exhibition on the Pacific explorers... the original ones.
  • The new titchy coins here are hilarious. Since they're completely different weights and sizes, I'll have to start feeding my old coins (still at home) into those Aussie parking meters. I'm so bad.
  • Home to Canberra Wednesday night. When are they going to invent that goddamned matter transporter so that I can see all my loved ones anywhere when I feel like it?

On holiday

Mar. 22nd, 2007 12:48 pm
trixtah: (Default)
I'm currently in Melbourne and will be off to NZ on Friday night, yay!

It's been fun roaming around - I'm currently doing birthday present shopping for a friend of mine's baby (a year old on Sunday).

However, I'm doing this on very little sleep. When in Melbourne, do not stay at the Greenhouse Backpackers. For $78 a night I expect:
  • Walls that actually attempt to provide a modicum of sound-proofing. If the wall is barely attached to the ceiling (pinpoints of light shine through from the corridor from (admittedly small) the gaps at the top), that aim is not achieved. While I didn't hear too much from the adjacent rooms, if no-one talked, everything from the corridor came through crystal-clear. Including the goddamn squeaky door to the Ladies', which was directly opposite my room.
  • A bed that it at least somewhat comfortable. The foam mattress is so thin (5-6cm thick?) I can feel every single link in the wire bedframe. And it's a crappy bunk bed... and the whole thing squeaks every time I move. I've had more comfortable sleeps on leaky airbeds in wet tents in the middle of nowhere in the middle of winter.
  • One of those holey plastic mats in the dressing area of the shower cubicle that allow the water to drain from under your feet, so that you don't dip your trousers into the pool of water on the floor while putting them on.
  • A bathroom floor that has a non-slip coating, so that you don't skid across the entire place when trying to walk slowly from your shower.
  • A light that doesn't flicker on and off in your room throughout half the night for no apparent reason. It stopped, eventually, again for no apparent reason.
  • The showers are hot, at least.
  • Free breakfast before 9am (which I was not up for, oddly enough).
In Sydney, I often stay at the Billabong Gardens backpackers. It's also central, and for $10 more, you get an adequately comfortable bed (no poxy bunk) in a large room, with tea/coffee, ensuite shower/loo, and thick brick walls. Ok, there can be noise if people are loud in the atrium area (through the door), but they are told to shut up by 11. Oh well, there's obviously a cost level I shouldn't go below.

Anyways, it's nice here in Melbourne, and I'll get back onto my tootling around shops. :-)
trixtah: (Default)
I was about to go insane from the steady pressure of the last few weeks at work, and took Friday off and went to Melbourne for a couple of days. The initial plan was to rendezvous with an ex-colleague of mine who was going to be over for a training course, but we somehow managed to miss each other in our preparatory email interchange. I decided to go anyway due to the preceding work insanity.

Melbourne is one of those places, like Wellington, San Francisco, Brussels and Hawaii, where I immediately felt that it was my kind of place on first going there. You can walk across the CBD in a bit more than 1/2 an hour. There is a CBD. There are cool and funky inner-city suburbs. There is decent public transport. There are tall buildings (which I can take or leave, but they also give a certain density of people in the area), the river (nice for lunching by), the dinky little alleyways, swanky shops and grungy shops, people from zillions of cultures, fantastic food, and great coffee. Other than the ethnic mix, there are recognisable queers and goths and students and arty types and the lot wandering around and mixing and matching. There are even shops selling clothing I'd like to wear (suits! pretty pretty shirts!). There are lots of very attractive women in their suits roaming the streets in the lunch hours. Getting back to the coffee, it amuses me that I found no less than 3 cafes serving Coffee Supreme, which is based in Wellington. I think it's the best commercially-roasted coffee in NZ at present. It appears that they've started another roasting operation in Mebourne, and the stuff here tasted just as good as the coffee brewed in its city of origin. So I overdosed a bit, oh well.

I realise that I'm experiencing the place as a tourist, but some places are more "homelike". As I mentioned, I had that feeling about Wellington the first time I visited, and when I finally got to live there, I loved it. So, yay for spending time in a place that just fits.

I got to spend some excellent time with [ profile] damned_colonial and her SCA buddies. It was probably a little bit bad of me to take over the stoking and feeding of the experimental pizza oven that a couple of them had built, but it was a cool contraption, and well, I can't help myself around fire. And being controlling about properly-cooked food. :-) Also, it was nice to have an appreciative audience, and anything that gives me scope for my butchly liking of fixing things is good. Heh. [ profile] damned_colonial and I also hit the Victoria Markets the next morning, which is the best indoor food market I've encountered here in Oz so far. I admit to being biased towards places which have a good deli section. Sydney seems to have a much better seafood selection, interestingly enough. So, yay, hanging out with groovy people who like doing fun things is always a bonus. I will be doing it more often.

I also got to meet the charming [ profile] goatsfoot yesterday, which was fab. It's nice to put faces to names (and L/Js), and it's even nicer when they're people you hit it off with. I did my usual shy-and-talking-too -much thing, but oh well, that's better than the opposite problem. I'm looking forward to catching up again in a month and hopefully in a more leisurely fashion. Also, Plans were Being Hatched.

After getting home again (I made the airport with 5 minutes to spare, due to being engrossed in conversation with [ profile] goatsfoot, bad me) and having some decent sleep, I got to spend some nice quality time with the CDL today, which involved some good and affirmatory "checking-in" conversation, healing massages, inspection of a few purchases I made in Melbourne, and other excellent stuff. Fucking yay. You know, this weekend, I pwned the world, and it was good.


trixtah: (Default)

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