Hitting Perth, Laughing off Melbourne and Spending Sydney – all in one week

I’ve been quiet last week.  I know.  I’ve been working.  Not that I normally don’t work but this work entails the normal shit of flying, meeting, hotel.  Rinse and repeat.

I went down to the land of Oz, and looking back I understand how Dorothy felt.  Arriving in a hurricane and leaving shortly after.

I arrived in Perth on Tuesday after a really pleasant overnight flight.  *Insert sarcastic laugh*  I’ve got nothing to say about Perth, cause there is really nothing to say about Perth.  On second thought, maybe there is one thing.  My total unabashed amazement at the unfriendliness of the customs officials.  I’m convinced that there is a check box on the application form that immediately gets you the job.  It asks for (1) No personality and (2) A physical inability to smile.

OK, that’s a bit harsh, and I know that not all custom officials are that unpleasant, but this rule would imply to all the officials at Perth International Arrivals.  And if their sunny disposition wasn’t enough, I had the pleasure of seeing them working at the speed of a snail.  On a slow day.  Did I mention how great my overnight flight was?  Fortunately I didn’t have my bags search,  so that’s confirmation I don’t look like a criminal.  Just a grumpy traveller after an overnight flight that took forever.

Melbourne on Wednesday.  And Melbourne was better.  It’s pretty, and it’s a very astute word for describing the city.  Kinda camp, but kinda true.  Something Wentworth Miller would say, seeing that he fell out of the closet as well.  Don’t judge me, especially if you haven’t been there.  It is was it is.

Chinatown in Melbourne...Who knew?

Chinatown in Melbourne…Who knew?

Those who are frequent visitors to my ramblings will know I love stand-up comedy.  It has to be good stand-up, for even a lonely traveller has standards.  So I seek out comedy clubs, like moths hunting light.  And when in Melbourne, that’s one thing you have to do, check out the scene.  The selection on a Wednesday night, would be considered, putting it mildly, dismal.  (I was disappointed, expecting the city to prepare for my arrival)  I found one tucked away in China town.  A second floor dungeon nestled in a side street. When I walked in, I freaked out a little.  I consider this a normal reaction when the chandeliers of any venue are made of bones.  Scenes from Hostel was flashing through my mind.  It looked like a Roman Catholic church converted into a Mexican strip club, owned by Lady Gaga.

My body had to decide quickly. Flight or fright.  I paid entrance and the beers were cheap(er) so I opted for choice nr. 2.  I stayed.  There were 10 comics.  They were bad.  I curse the gods of cheap booze for toying with me on this night.  There is a point, a sort of unspoken equilibrium, when the word “fuck” doesn’t necessarily imply you’re funny.  No matter how often you use it, or in what context.  It was like world war 3:  Aerial attack of F-bombs and an unsuccessful artillery movement of flaccid sex jokes.  I left early.  Never been so turned off in my life.

My wake-up call echoed through the room on Thursday morning, hours before the first chicken moved.  I had to fly to Sydney.  (Technically I had to catch a plane, for I’m not evolved enough to fly by myself yet.)  Sydney, the land of the Opera house and the Harbour bridge and all Asian ex-pats.  As well as a picturesque little waterside, known as Darling harbour.  A promenade filled with restaurants and bars and…well that’s about it.  Oh and if there’s any missing Asian people you know about, they are here too.

Before I could enjoy the sprawling views of boats and the city skyline, with a glass of expensive Merlot and a lamb shank, I had to struggle through several meetings in the day and when I finally reach the hotel, I. Just. Passed. Out.  Sadly this loss of consciousness was not alcohol induced, my body had a successful Coup d’état over my brain.  My body shut down and refused to do anything else.  Ever.  You may go ahead and feel sorry for me.

Darling Harbour.   Romantic isn't it?

Darling Harbour. Romantic isn’t it?

Had a breakfast meeting on Friday, and sighed for the weather sucked.  Lost was my dreams of dipping my feet in the water of the South Pacific Ocean as it was pouring down from the sky.  So I did what any sane person would do.  I worked.  In my room.  I now have a fundamental understanding why kids hate (1) Rainy days and (2) Being grounded.  I will use this form of punishment more often.  (Sorry, I meant form of discipline, not punishment.)  Finally enough hours flipped past, so I could have an excuse to get up and go for dinner.  I consulted my travel agent, Google, for a few places I haven’t discovered yet.  Then found something amazing.  A crown jewel in a treasure chest of golden coins.  I found a rock, actually more The Rocks, which is a buzzing suburb situated around Sydney Harbour with some great views of the Opera house if you can get high enough, i.e Skybar.

Yes it is.

Yes it is.

I ordered something in a Japanese restaurant, I thought it to be Sushi, but it ended up being pieces of raw fish on rice.  I shrivelled and started crying a little inside.  I downed the wine and swallowed my pride, and the stuff on my plate.  I think it was still moving.  But I lived.  Barely.

I ordered Sushi and got this.  Dead fish on rice.

I ordered Sushi and got this. Dead fish on rice.

After what I wouldn’t describe as dinner, I proceeded with what I like to call “The one-man’s bar crawl”.  I endured bravely to all the hotspots and returned to a few favourites.  At some point some of the bouncers were probably wondering what this lonely pervert was doing hovering around; so it was time to head home.  Maybe I was just too handsome and stood out in the crowd, and being a happily married man, it disqualified me from any social interaction.  Did I mention that the South Pacific Ocean was still pouring out of the sky throughout the entire evening.  So I was drenched and resembled a wet dog by the time a Pakistan cab driver decided to give me a ride.

And one more thing, Australia is immensely expensive.  Not mildly, or just a tad more, or a-no-worries-mate-it’s-Sydney-expensive.  NO! Full on f-bomb level expensive.  How anyone survives buying the bare necessities like red meat and beer, and still afford a night out is totally beyond me.  Maybe the citizens of Australia are all millionaires or maybe it’s because my own currency forces me to multiply everything I see in this country with TEN!

Then I flew home.  And now I’m back.  At work.  Not working.  Hope you missed me.