Monday, February 23, 2009

Doctors, Greeks, and Hugh

Monday, 23 February 2009.

Oh em gee, there's so much to blog about, I don't even know where to begin. I'll start with Friday and see where that takes us. Okay, guys, I'm gonna get real with you for a second. Friday I went to the doctor cause I'd been having issues with my lady parts.
"Ew, blacktress, please don't go into a vagina monologue!" you're probably thinking.
I know, I know, TMI. But I have to tell you this craziness. Besides, I figure you guys know about most of the Ps in my V, so you can't be that squeamish.

Anyway, I go to the doc and explain the situation. She's kinda cold, which I absolutely hate in doctors--bedside manner is everything! Especially with a lady doctor. I mean, if I'm gonna drop my pants for anyone, medical professional or otherwise, I want us to have a chat and I want you to tell me I'm pretty. I don't ask for much.

After the debriefing, oddly enough she does not ask me to de-brief. She goes, "Okay, I'm going to have you take some tests at home, and then bring them back to me on Monday."
You want me to do my own medical testing?! Do I look like Doogie Howser?! Do I remind you of the sassy black attending on "Grey's Anatomy"? What makes you think this is something I should do? Besides, lady, what am I paying you for?!
This is what you get in a land of free healthcare.

Doogie would never make me do this.

She hands me two cups for me to TAKE HOME and pee in, and then hands me some kit and tells me how to go about putting a swab in my V, then closing it up in the sterile container.
Then tells me to drop it off at a lab.

Okay, look, I know it was almost 5pm on a Friday, but homegirl is still on the clock! I never in my life heard of taking a medical test home and then dropping it off, much in the manner of a pizza.
What is this take-home test nonsense?! Am I in 5th grade? Doesn't she know that if she gives me a take-home test, I'm going to cheat? (my desire to appear intelligent always trumps my sense of honour) Clearly I will swab my mouth instead of my vag and pour apple juice into my pee cup.
Just because.

I was so annoyed and baffled, and basically just asked her if I could go into the office's bathroom and do it there. She goes, "Well, it won't get the results back faster."
Um, paging Dr. Bitch, you're wanted in "GET THE HELL OUT!"
After all, they have to drop samples off anyway, and what do I look like on my morning commute with cups of urine?! One false move in the rush-hour crowd and it's pee for everyone!!!

So, I was given antibiotics and will not know the real status until next week. Good lord.

With yet another round of antibiotics to begin, I figure the best way to handle this is to get my drink on before I start a week of dry living. I headed down to Sidebar, my old plantation, and chatted with some staff and had a couple dranks.

This is a big theme of my Oz life, but I'm actually getting quite comfortable with it--I'm becoming quite the strong black woman. I even go to restaurants alone. It's not so stressful being by myself, and I don't really care what drunken teen backpackers think of me.
That is, until a random starts talking to me.

I'd noticed this guy sorta staring at me for a while, but I didn't think anything of it because he was unattractive. I had been talking to some acquaintances for a bit and then was alone at the less crowded bar. Suddenly, he sidles up to me.
"Hello, where are you from?"
The backpacker's go-to opening line.
He tells me he's from GREECE.
Uh-oh, spaghettios. I think y'all all know how I feel about a Greek man.
He then follows up his opener with, "You drink alot."
Um, thanks for noticing my addiction, weird rando.
"No, it's good."
Why is it good?! It's not gonna get you anywhere! I think as I give him short answers, trying to silently explain to him that just because I'm alone doesn't mean I'm desperate for attention. I talk about my travel plans, cause that's simply fun for me, and he then goes, "Oh, I want to go traveling in two weeks, too, but I have no one to go with. It's hard traveling alone." He then suggests we travel together.
OH MY GOD. What's with Greek intensity?! What would make him think that was a good idea or an appropriate request? I get being a rolling stone, meeting people as you travel, becoming friends and having adventures. I do not get rocking up to a girl at a bar, telling her she drinks alot, and then asking if you two can go travel together.
Does. not. compute.
"Um, I'm gonna go over there," I said, before quickly running over to some people I only sorta know and asking them to talk to me for 10 minutes while the odd boy got the hint.
While with them, I talked about my redheaded love, which still hasn't died. It's both sad and tender.

I went home around midnight (cause I'm just that cool), and while on the bus home, I composed the following note to self using as a text message:
"I am watching the woman in front of me make her own topsy tail. Seriously, a topsy tail. Of her own accord. Ew. Then, not happy with it (thank god) she has her boyfriend put her hair in a ponytail. Is he gay? I thought to myself at first. I would never let a hetero male touch my ponytail. You've got to get the right tension, smooth out the bumps. You have to know me!"
Do you guys remember the topsy tail?

Then, later, I thought, "Why is a girl with a topsy tail in a relationship and I'm not?"

Clearly, I'm in a weird head space.

Sidebar: I'm watching the Oscars now (it's just playing here), and my eggs are getting fertilized just watching Huge Jacked Man's opening number.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Follow Me...Follow me to my bedroom

That's a lyric from a song by Craig David.
But that's not the point of this post.

If you notice, about a week ago I added a new feature: "follow this blog." I'm quite excited to see that I now have 10 followers, as I was unsure if anyone would end up flocking to the blacktress. However, my intense narcissism and God complex requires I have at least 12 followers, so I can call them apostles. As follower you'll say aBREAST of the blacktress's latest bloggery, which must be a good time. Since I'm not a daily pop-culture blogger, clicking the "follow this blog" on blogger lets you know when to spend your workday procrastinating, allowing you to procrastinate in an efficient manner.
Efficient procrastination?! WTF, blacktress?! you're thinking.
I just blew your mind, didn't I?

Speaking of followers, elite gay visionary/music reviewer/person who told me to start a blog in the first place--JJSiii--is up for the role of Queerty's music reviewer. You should definitely read his review (he's in the top 5!) and the other 4, then vote for him. Quite frankly, he loves music, isn't condescending or pretentious, and supports a blacktress-what better reviewer for a gay website?!

Holla at it and vote for him here.

blacktress with a god complex

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Apparently You CAN Silence Sojo....

I'm pissed, y'all.

I went in to work today and during a total lull I went to put up a post about my shenanigans the previous night. Much to my dismay and horror, I saw that the IT bitches have BLOCKED ACCESS TO MY BLOG!

The blacktress has been blacklisted. Hell to the no!

This ship is no longer cruisey--not cruisey at all. Thank god this is only a two-week gig.

If I'd had access to my diary earlier today, I would have recorded the following:

1. I am currently drinking hot chocolate out of a green mug with a picture of a sheep on it that says "Thinking of Ew." I remember why I hate office life.

2. One of my main tasks is to input names into the ships' security systems, so deliveries can be made and people can hop off and on. On today's list was 'McCarthy, Andrew." Is the Pretty in Pink hottie working for cruise ships now?! I wondered as I plugged him into the database. I then spent a large portion of the morning wondering what Andrew McCarthy would do on a cruise ship. Does he perform scenes from the film on the Lido Deck after bocce tourneys?

Oh my god, I heart him.

3. Today at work, I got a call from drag queen Portia Turbo, who I worked for during Fair Day. The call went something like this:
"Sojourner, gorgeous, it's Portia Turbo, how are you?"
"Great, how are you?"
"Good. Look, sweetheart, we love you, and we want you to work as a Gaydar Girl at the Mardi Gras Harbour Party next Sunday. Can you do it?"
"Will Verushka Darling be there?"
"Of course, gorgeous!"
"I'm there!"

Guys, I have been requested to act as a Gaydar Girl for the Harbour Party. Am I on my way to becoming a gay icon? This is everything I've ever wanted! What if I become a famous blacktress, but I'm only famous in Australia--then I can come home to NYC when I want to 'get away from it all.' Can you imagine?!

See, these are the things I would have shared in real time if only the massa of the ship had let me. What really pisses me off is that someone sitting near me listens to the radio all day. And we're not talking smooth Mozart sounds. Before 11am I heard MGMT's 'Electric Feel' and 'Don't Stop the Music' by Ri-Ri. I may as well have been in the club with such distracting grooves! How is it okay to listen to fun pop hits that could distract other colleagues but not okay to check email and update blogs during ridiculously long stretches of boredom?! Shit, I wrote most of this on a series of post-its on my desk--they can't make me work. You don't own me!

Sidenote: The best part about the pop music is that it can only be coming from one of two people: Jessica, a young girl who has yet to say hello to me; or Paul, who is known as 'Boots' (as in "Puss in")--a middle-aged man who regularly leaves at 3pm and doesn't say much.

I think it's him.

On an up-note, me and the boss-lady actually chit-chatted today. Turns out my kewpie doll is only 22 years young and has never left her home country. She also revealed that she "doesn't know what she's doing," which makes a lot of sense, since she can't quite delegate. When I complete basic tasks quickly and efficiently, she tries to bolster my self esteem with such phrases as "You're doing a good job!" and "Well done for thinking ahead!"

Um, sweetie, I've been reading on my own since I was 4. Don't get it twisted.

She's nice, though, and as far as "bosses" go, she causes no stress. If only I could get some fucking internet access! Don't they know I'm a future gay icon?!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Boob Tube

Oh my god, just when I thought Australian TV was crap, it goes and surprises me like nothing else.

I'm at home now, trying to take my mind off the fact that Mr. Weasley has yet to respond to an email I sent three full days ago. I'm trying to silence the voices in my head that say, "see, this is why you'll die alone"-- which involves watching television.

Now, I'm normally a "Neighhbours" girl. I mean, it featured Natalie Imbruglia AND Kylie, for goodness sake--anyone who's anyone in Australia has been on this show. "Home and Away" is the other big soap, and it's based in Sydney, while "Neighbours" is based in Melbourne." The rivalry is very East Coast/West Coast rap.
Hardcore in every way.
I made a call early on, when I first saw "Neighbours" in England, and my allegiance has been unwavering.
Until now.

I was just watching the last few minutes of "Home and Away," as I waited for 'How I Met Your Mother'. I don't know what happened beforehand, but all the teens were in a tizzy over some list that some bitchy blonde girl wrote. Apparently, she wrote who was cute and who was not, which you know had everyone all upset. I don't know the characters names, but you know, pretty white kids with problems, no real difference. Basically, the bitchy blonde girl wrote that another bitchy blonde girl, "thinks she's hot." So BBG #2 went up to her and was like, "How could you say that about me?"
BBG #1 is all, "What do you mean?"
BBG #2 says, "I don't think I'm hot," all angry-like.
Then, in a total unforeseen turn, BBG #1 goes, "You don't? Well I do."


Guys, it was so amazing. Okay, to be fair, they totally cut away after she pulled her in, then showed the end of the kiss in a long shot, but still! It wasn't even 7:30pm. Tweens and teens were awake, and probably sitting down to dinner with "Hom(o) and Away" in the background! Why is Australia so cool? Is this almost as good as Degrassi?! I can't recall teen lesbian kisses on basic cable on the Northern Hemi. Can anyone jog my memory?

It almost makes me want to not leave, but then I remember I'm bored.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I am A Gaydar Girl!

I write to you now from the belly of the ship.

The weekend was a bit dreary, but there were a few bright spots. Namely all of Sunday afternoon, which I spent working at Fair Day. Fair Day is the kick off for Mardi Gras, the gayest event in all of the world. Like, literally. Mardi Gras in Sydney is internationally known, and homosexuals and their supporters come from all over the world to partake in the merriment and joy. It’s apparently even been in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest dance party. Suh-weet!

Of course, being a gay ol’ time, BCB is in there like swimwear, being a stylish, sassy black woman. She told me about the prospect of volunteering, which would get me a half-price ticket to the Big Show, and I readily signed up. However, when it came time for my 10am-2pm shifts this past weekend, I could not for the life of me get it together. A combo of not sleeping, dreary weather, and plain ol’ laziness stopped me from doing my sacred gay duty on Saturday morning. Later in the day, I got the following text message from a gal pal:
Hey, want to help out a drag queen friend of mine at Fair Day tomorrow from 1-8? It’s a paid gig.
This is the same friend who had me work at her office last Sunday for about 4 hours and $100. Homegirl knows the value of a hustle. I readily agreed, and was given the number of Portia, my boss for the day.
The next morning, it was cold, windy, and rainy, and the last thing I wanted to do was stand on the street peddling trifles. But long ago, I decided to live by one rule, and one rule only: never let down a drag queen.

And so off I went.

I showed up at 1pm as requested and found myself at the booth, a promo tent for a gay dating site. I was given a t-shirt, and told to hand out various freebies to ladies that walked by. I was surrounded by tanned Aussie gay boys and one other woman. Whitney, the other gaydargirl, greeted me with “Oh, you’re gorgeous—thank god.”
I knew this was going to be a good day.

I’m normally not one for handing out randomness and bothering people when they’re en route, but the Fair Day crowd was all about freebies. In fact, they’d come up just to take whatever it was, even it was a fridge magnet for a lesbian dating site and they were a 10-year-old boy. Even though I don’t know too many people in this city, I managed to run into 7 people I knew, including two friends of Fred Weasley.
Perhaps they’ll tell him I’ve gone gay in his absence.

They probably aren’t wrong.

The highlight was undoubtedly drag queen Verushka Darling, who worked our booth for the day. I don’t know if I’ve admitted this in the blogosphere, but when I was little I really wanted to be a drag queen.
I’m not kidding.
I used to stay up late and watch The RuPaul Show on VH1 like it was my job. I was so obsessed. I think it’s mostly the confidence and glamour they exude—as well as their love for the spotlight—that inspired me as a young, pudgy, four-eyed, aspiring blacktress.

She is my inspiration. My she-ro, if you will.

My love for Verushka ran so deep that when she embarrassed me in front of a large crowd I only beamed, just happy to have been addressed. It went something like this:
Verushka (on her microphone, which boomed throughout the Fair Day crowd): Don’t forget to pick up some lovely treats from our Gaydar boys and girls. (she gestured towards us, then stops at me.)
You, you on the end, you’re gorgeous dahling!
[I smiled]
Are you single, gorgeous?
[I nodded and sighed]
Good lord, why?!
[Ok, now this was just getting awkward. She then turns to the audience, and in her loudest voice, says]
Ladies and gentlemen, this gorgeous woman is single! [to me] Sweetie, can we auction you off as a prize?
[Um, obvi I nodded.] Ladies and gentleman, we are giving this lady away today, so step on up!!

The prizes she referred to was for those who came up to play “The Chocolate Wheel.” Contestants chose a number then spun the wheel three times. If it landed on their number, they were given a prize! Verushka was a real hoot and a half, and made sure that even the losers walked away with something. Top prizes included a free tanning session and tickets to “Absolute Kylie,” show performed by a drag queen who sings all of Kylie’s hits.

Gaydar knows its audience.

One brave homosexual faces the chocolate wheel. Notice the photos are just of men. “But don’t fret,” Veruka cheered. “Under each of these yellow triangles is a powerful wealthy lesbian in hiding, just waiting to pamper you!”

Whitney and I then headed over to the “Bitch Tent” where we handed out more toys to lesbians. I found it was quite easy to approach random groups of strangers, as my free things made me quite popular. Gaydar reps even followed us around, taking pictures of us with various randoms. I believe the quote was, “Ladies, get in tight around Sojourner!!”

Yes, yes ladies, get in tight.

I made a cool tax-free chunk of change for about 5 hours of work, so it was well worth it. I’m also trying to find a way to stalk Verushka to make her my best friend and confidante.

I want every day to be Fair Day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

You Can't Silence Sojo!


Although I am unable to access gmail, I can get onto my blog.
Silly, silly slave—I mean, cruise—ship. They’ve underestimated how much I like talking about myself and my deep-seated need to share my emotions in a public format.
Today is my first full day. I got in at a quarter to 9, and was shocked and disappointed to find that everyone else was already here. I mean, it’s a Friday, guys? What happened to that laid back Aussie work ethic?! You work for a cruise line for goodness sakes—why aren’t you cruisey*?!
The day has gone relatively slowly, but after asking if I could be of assistance, I decided to use the down time to work on an article I’ve been procrastinating on for ages. I actually got it to a point that’s acceptable, and I’ve decided that the score is: THE MAN – 0, BLACKTRESS – 1.

After handling my own scandal I got down to handling the cruise ships’. This basically consists of sorting mail that passengers and crew will pick up when they arrive in Sydney, as well as scheduling doctor’s appointments and reserving hotels for crew between landing and embarking on their next voyage. Luckily, I have an excellent telephone voice, and had a great chat with a man at a certain hotel chain who didn’t speak much English. Every time he went to check something, instead of saying, “Please hold,” he would say, “Please may I hold you a moment?”
Yes. The answer that question is always yes.

My dear sweet Kewpie doll boss is very low-key, and always starts each task with, “Sojourner, when you get a moment, can you….?” Even if I’m sitting there picking a hangnail.

Um, yes, yes I can start that posthaste.
I guess I could start gearing up for the weekend, but the weather here is wretched! WTF, y’all?! It’s supposed to be summer time and the livin’ is supposed to be easy! It’s been 60 degrees, rainy and windy. In other words: it’s a cold mess. I’m tempted to just stay in tonight with a bottle of wine and some good eats, but then remembered that there’s nothing good to watch on TV, and that wine sometimes makes me cry—awkward! But it’s also really dreary and no one lives near me, so I’m not sure what to do. And it’s hard to look cute when you’re damp, you know?

Okay, better get back to this spreadsheet.
Good times!

For more on the concept of cruisiness, look here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Temporary Insanity

Blacktress' Log, Star Date 12 February 2009.

Yesterday I got a phone call from Oliver, from Escalibre, a temp agency I'd signed up with over a month ago. I had my initial interview with Oliver, a dreamy blonde Brit with a dry humour. Most of our 50-minute interview just involved cracking jokes and talking about my time in Sydney thus far.

After getting mad bored with no temp gigs showing up, I started stalking Oliver much in the manner of a schoolgirl who has just lost her virginity to an asshole jock. I called regularly, trying to sound breezy, but subtly pressuring him for any job offers. Like the cool cad he is, he would totally make a couple of funnies, get me all comfortable, then take an emotional scythe to my throat as he told me there were no jobs available.

I finally realized that I couldn't force him to love me--I mean, find me work. So I decided to play it cool. And it turns out that good things do come to those who wait. And it is darkest before the dawn, and all that other crap.

I got a call to come in and work for a prominent cruise ship company, which will remain nameless just in case someone on staff likes to Google him/her/hirself when no one's looking. Of course, when I was first told I'd be working for a cruiseline, my reaction was two fold:

1. Will I be performing great diva hits on the Lido deck nightly at 7pm? I'll do anything but Etta James, as she's liable to cut a blacktress.
2. Ship...ship...ship...why does that fill me with dread? Oh yeah--SLAVERY!!!
Where are you taking me, Oliver?!

Clearly I overreacted.

I got in today at 10:30 am, where I was greeted by a smiley HR woman, who found it funny that I didn't want to look at my ID photo before it was printed. I mean, hello, business casual and chunky sweater--what's there to see? Any way you slice it, it's a hot mess.

I was then handed over to Sarah, who doesn't look a day over 12. In fact, she looks like a kewpie doll.

Imagine this doll dressed in a cardigan and A-line skirt, and give her a ponytail. That's my boss.

Luckily, she's as sweet as she looks and today was pretty low-key, which was good. Of course being a member of the talented tenth, work was crazily easy, and I found myself wanting to check my email during a lull.
After typing in, I was greeted with the most heinous image I have ever seen:


How the hell am I supposed to get through my day without gmail?! I got in at 10:45, had a 45-minute lunch, was practically kicked out at 5:15pm, and still got everything done that had piled up. Without the ability to procrastinate and psychoanalyze every letter of every email from Fred Weasley, I'm going to have to actually work. Quickly and efficiently.
Then they'll realize I'm kind of bright and probably give me responsibilities or something.
This is not what I signed on for!

So, I'm calling out to you, readers. What can I do to procrastinate just enough that they don't want me to do extra things? Maybe I'll just stay up really late and go in so tired and lame that every task actually ends up taking 2 hours to complete.

Questions, comments, suggestions?

Monday, February 9, 2009

WACK History Month

What the hell is going on here, people?! First Beyonce - Etta James duel to the death, New York scheduled to appear in the Vag Mons, and now Chris Brown is charged with assaulting Rihanna.

I am in Disturbia.

What's prompted me to blog is the recent New York Times Article on the whole thing. Check it here. Here's the excerpt that really pisses me off:

“He was very professional and didn’t appear to have injuries,” said Sgt. Bridget Pickett, [about Chris Brown] adding, “He’s a good looking young man.”

What the hell?! I don't care if he's cute. I don't care if, after running scared, calling his manager, handlers, and 12 high-priced lawyers, he turned himself in--he assaulted his girlfriend, assholes!

And what's really making me sad is Ri-Ri. She has been in an abusive relationship with this fool for a long time. How long would it have gone on if not for this incident? As much as I respect a need for her privacy, I wish we were addressing what she's dealing with instead of hearing from rappers and cops who say Chris is "good looking." It's as though she's completely devalued. While they are the "king and queen of pop" right now, it just seems that the biggest concern is getting Chris off so we can go back to watching him dance and pretend this never happened. The willingness to sweep it under the rug is sickening. If Rihanna can't even get justice, what hope is there for the thousands of abused women who live in fear every day?

I'm sorry y'all, this just has me trippin'. What do you think?

Ri-ri, I got your back. I will be breaking dishes and using them to cut Chris Brown!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Where's MY TV Show?!

After my last post, which was, like, 500K and 9 million words, I'm going to keep this one short.

I need Beyonce to sit her mediocre behind down.

I know, I know, it's Black History Month, and I'm supposed to be supporting can-do black folks. But, um, there are two things I will not condone:

1. Beyonce being tapped to play political blacktivist Angela Davis in an upcoming film about the Black Panter Party. Um, wtf?!

Why do people insist that Beyonce can act? Dreamgirls wasn't any work--she played the pretty girl in a pop group who was made into a star by a domineering manager--can we say "biopic"? I don't even come close to getting it.

Luckily, I'm not the only one. JJSiii brought the following article to my attention:

Apparently Miss Etta James wasn't too pleased about Beyonce being chose to sing her song at the inauguration--and, while B sounded good, I totally feel Etta on this one. Homegirl made that song, and she's still alive and kicking! There's no good reason they couldn't have had Etta get up there and take 'em to church like she knows how to do. I think they only used Beyonce to promote her role as Etta in an upcoming film.

Again, why do they do this?! As a blacktress, it hurts to find that the only two women being given roles are Beyonce and "I HATE NEW YORK."

Seriously, not only did the crazy muppet have her own tv show for THREE SEASONS, but this brings me to the second thing I will not condone:

She will be appearing in an all-black touring production of The Vagina Monologues. Check out what my favorite gossip girl Blondie NYC found out:

New York says: “It’s kind of a serious actress type thingy and that’s what I’m striving to be.”

She later adds, “I really want to kind of lend my voice and let people see that I’m there and I’m focused and I want to be a part of it.”

If New York's vag had a monologue it'd say "Ow."

This is a hot-ass mess of the hottest degree.

Okay, I'm done now. Call me later, k?

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Blacktress Goes Blue--Blue Mountains, That Is

You want to know the cure for a broken heart?
A near-death experience.

So, last weekend with the redhead was really nice, although it involved alot of prepping/errand-running. I don't think anything says "I wanna have your babies" like folding a grown man's boxer briefs and packing his rucksack.
And making him mix CDs, uploading them onto his ipod, and filling in all track listings.
And meeting his family and bonding with his older brother.
And telling him you want to have his babies.

No, I didn't do that last one. However, I did say the following over the course of the weekend:
"I wish I could show you New York City."
"Fucking Canada?!" (this was said after we'd... physically expressed our emotions....)
"Why don't you stay here and be my boyfriend?"
"You and I will kiss on the northern hemisphere."
"Fine, go ahead, get with some acoustic-guitar-playing hippie chick, get it out of your system. Because then the blacktress will come for you in a few months' time."

Okay, that last one didn't sound as dodgy as it looks when I type it.

Anyway, I was quite broken up about his departure, and found that one of my feelings was a sense of, "He's going off to have an adventure and I'm stuck here." This, however, is kinda effed-up thinking, seeing as I am having an adventure of my own, up and moving to Australia and all. Leaving friends and family and all my normal coping mechanisms has enabled me to develop new skills. Instead of, you know, drinking a whole bottle of wine, listening to every Ani Difranco album I own, and then sobbing into my pillow, I decided to do the following:
Sob into my pillow briefly, then book a quick getaway to a new location.
This, I was convinced, would enable me to take my mind off of things, being in a new environment, and give me the sense of adventure I seem to think I'm lacking.

So, with a quick chat with Pete in the IEP office, I was off to the Blue Mountains, a scenic mountainous region that starts about an hour outside of the city. I didn't really have a plan, other than a group hiking tour scheduled for Friday. I woke up on Thursday morning at 7am, so I could get as much of the day there as possible. I quickly stuffed a messenger bag with toiletries, a couple items of clothing, some pajamas, a book and a journal, and my iPod.

Look at how spontaneous I am!!

As the train chugged along on the 2-hour ride to Katoomba, the biggest town in the City of the Blue Mountains, I realized I didn't have a map or any information about the YHA where I'd booked a room. I'd vaguely remembered that it wasn't too far from the train station, based on the map I saw online. Ah well, I'll just ask someone and I'm sure they'll point me in the right direction, I thought.

The Weasley twin has started to influence me--if he could pack for a 2- to 3-year journey the night before departure, and have no idea what he was going to do in Canada after his NYC jaunt, then I could certainly rock up to the Mountains for an overnight and see what could happen, right?


I don't know how many of you have followed Sojourner's journey, but I don't really like nature. You could say nature is not in my, um, nature.
I don't like the feeling of twigs underfoot, I don't enjoy sweating in public, and when it comes to insects I have a basic rule: when you're that small you don't need that many legs unless you're doing evil.
And, I don't know, maybe it's residual anger from my slavery days, but I have no desire to sleep outside on the ground. I worked too hard for the roof I have.

But I was going to give this a go. I was going to broaden my horizons, and perhaps be so busy trying to survive that I wouldn't think about how I'll probably die alone because no one I want will ever love me. (cue strings)

I did however start off strong, managing to make it to the hostel, drop off my stuff, and set out to find lunch. Katoomba Street, in Katoomba, has everything you'll ever need--antique shops, bookstores, cafes, and, in my case, a girl-crush.

I popped into a fish-and-chip shop for lunch (I love anywhere that only fries food), and after ordering, the girl at the register said, "I love your accent." She was red-haired, much like my lost lover, and I felt a pang of longing. Her name was Kate, and she had lived in LA for 9 years because her dad was a director.
Before I could ask if her pops wanted to put the blacktress in his next feature, my food came, and as I sat and ate, Kate periodically came over and asked me how I liked Sydney and my impressions of the Mountains. I told her I hadn't seen them yet, but wanted to check out Leura Cascades, which was on the handy map the hostel had provided. It seemed within walking distance, and Kate agreed, adding that it would be "quite nice to go on a cool day like this."

After I was done eating my plate of trans fats, Kate walked me outside and told me the best way to get to the cascades, periodically touching my arm for emphasis.
Her touch was tender. I felt safe and excited as I set off into the wilderness.

The walk wasn't too long, and I had no trouble following the map combined with my girl-crush's directions. However, it was quite hot when I set off, but figured I could deal with the help of shade. As I walked, I saw a tall thin black guy who was on my train ride up. When we passed each other he said, "Hello goddess, we meet again. How are you?"
I was briefly pleased by being referred to as a goddess.
Maybe I need to start dating within my race again.

Anyway, I get to Cliff Drive, and start to follow the signs along the trail to Leura Cascades.
I felt good. I felt strong. I was facing my fear, not wallowing in sadness, and moving my body after a fried feast--I was growing. I put my headphones in and put on some Jack Johnson--I knew he'd appreciate such outdoor activity.

Soon, however, the heat began to beat down on a blacktress. It was nearly 85 degrees, which I saw on a thermometer on my way to the trail (it was in Celsius, but I can do the math now--I'm mad international, yo). I was beginning to have flashbacks to the hot Southern sun, and my days of toil.

Oh, I should also mention that I was wearing dark blue jeans.
And converse sneakers.
And I hadn't even brought a water bottle.

Can you say hot ass mess?

As you can see, heat doesn't agree with me, for I sweat much in the manner of Whitney Houston. (If you've never seen Ms. Houston sweat under the harsh stage lights, youtube that shizzle. You could wax a floor with all that gloss)

I trudged on, determined to get to these cool cascades Kate had promised me. I could not have another ginger let me down this week. And on top of that, I am young, gifted, and black--there's nothing I can't do.

As I walked, I noticed that there weren't many other people on the trail. In fact, I only saw 6 people in an hour, and they were in two groups of 3.
"Hm, perhaps I should have told someone where I was going," I thought to myself as these safe trios passed by. "Or maybe I should have written down the phone number of the hostel or some other nearby safety organization."
I had just brought my ipod and camera.

Clearly, I must learn to walk the fine line between spontaneity and not ending up dead in a ditch.

For serious, the trail was hella treacherous. Lacking shoes with good traction, those slippery sandstone rocks kept getting me, and the distance between the fake man-made nature-stairs was too great, and at one point resulted in a dangerous spill. As I caught myself on a rock (ew, gross, rocks!), I took a breath and saw my life flash before my eyes. In that instant, I learned one thing:
I'm way behind schedule.

I sat down briefly to write, but then a bird shat near me and I got up. I kept going in what I thought was the right direction, but was then faced with a series of steep fake-nature stairs:
I don't know if you can tell from the pic, but these fuckers were hella steep. I went to take a step, then realized that I'd already cheated death once, and if my memory of the "Final Destination" films serves, he won't let you get away too often. So, um, I turned back around.

I realized that to get to the falls I had to actually walk back on the street to the next trail entrance, then descend. Once I got there, however, I was tired and sweaty, and flies were buzzing around me like I was an African sponsor child--can a blacktress get 10 cents a day?!--so I pretty much decided to F that S and make my way to the hostel.

Fuck. I forgot that when you do a hike you have to, like, get back to where you started--usually by hiking.

It was nearly 4pm, and the sun was beating down hard. What had been an easy walk to the Cascades was harder on the return, as much of it was on an incline. My vision started to blur, and I wondered if this was what death felt like. I needed some H20 like whoa.

As I re-approached civilization, I saw on my map that there was a supermarket nearby. I mustered up what little strength I had left and made it to the huge Coles, where I spent the first 5 minutes deliriously wandering, nearly sinking to my knees at one point out of gratitude for air conditioning. I finally made it to the 'water' section, and grabbed two 1.5-liter bottles. I got the supermarket brand because I was drawn to its lovely label:

"It's natural and refreshing." - Elysha, drinks 2 litres a day.

Um, since when did we need endorsements for water? Isn't it basically something that sells itself, being a basic human need and all? Besides, who is Elysha? She's not famous. She actually looks like a cartoon when you see the bottle in person. And she drinks 2 litres, but the bottle is only 1.5. So, what, Coles brand--you want me to feel like a failure? You want me to compete with Elysha for approval? WTF, mate?!

I still bought 2 anyway, cause they were only $1 each.

I made it back to the hostel shortly after 4pm, and immediately attempted to de-gross-ify. I thought I was going to pass out, seeing as I hadn't really slept in 2 days and my body had begun eating my organs for survival. I forced myself to stay up til 9, and was totally that annoying "Early sleeping" girl in the hostel room, making everyone tiptoe when they came in to drop things off and feel guilty for having energy.

The next morning I woke up bright and early, partially because I couldn't sleep because it had been hot as balls all night. In addition, I had to get prepped for my guided hike with a small group, which would start at around 9am.

I arrived late to the bus and was totally "that girl who kept everyone waiting" for the first 30 minutes of the tour. Our guide was Jon, an old, ruddy, Australian who knew the land like the back of his calloused hands. As I looked at the other people on the tour I realized how ridiculous I seemed, in my jeans from yesterday and my converse. They all had on shoes such as this:

I, on the other hand, was rockin these:
They also wore sensible breathable shorts and tops, while the coolest thing I had was the tank top I'd slept in the night before. Clearly, I'd be in the group doing the "short walk"--which, fittingly, involved being driven to various sites on a short bus.

Although, in my defense, there was my polar opposite--a girl wearing sneakers with a floral mini-skirt and aquamarine tube top. Is homegirl going from the trail to the club? I wondered as we split off into the two groups of short and long walks. Initially, I was the only person signed up to do the short walk (I say know your limitations, bitches!), but the heat convinced 4 other women to go for the ride. We got to see some great wildlife, and even walked through a rainforest as John told us about seedlings and saps and the devastation caused by the 2006 brushfire. I was hotter than a ho in church, and almost had a heart attack when I had to brush an ant off my boob, but I was able to see tons of sites without getting lost, and even befriended a 30-year-old Canadian Asian woman who used to play rugby and now worked as a yacht technician. Holla at a vacay on the Amalfi coast, y'all!!

On the way back I checked out a local magazine, which included info on various walks, along with tips. Here's an excerpt:

Important Notes About Bushwalking Safety:

Always carry sufficient drinking water.
Always carry first aid, as well as personal meidcation.
Know your route and advise friends of your plans.
Do not rely on mobile phones in remote locations.
Wear sensible walking shoes
Match your walk to you sensibilities.

Oops, my bad.

All in all, I'm glad I can say I tried. However, unless you're a hot redheaded Aussie boy willing to hold my hand and kill any thing that crawls in my path, count the blacktress out of the next hiking trip.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bad, Bad Blacktress!

I am a terrible abolitionist.

I know it's 4 days into Black History Month and I haven't posted a damn thing. You've probably been sitting at your computers, waiting on my hard-hitting thesis on black culture in our new Obama age. Or maybe you were hoping for an interview with Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, asking him why the hell he had to go f shit up and make slavery fun for people.
Unfortunately, Eli wouldn't return my calls.

Even more unfortunately, not a soul in good ol' Sydney town knows what Black History Month is, so it's not like there are any TV specials or kids with school assignments asking me what it means to be black, like me. Or, for that matter, anyone sitting around reading the book "Black Like Me" (educate yourself to this reality). This, coupled with the 80-degree February weather has me all confused and forgetful. The most black-related things I've gotten is a series of puns from a music producer friend of mine. They include:

blacklash (we all know i've been there)
blackground check
blaccident--"for when daddy forgot to strap up." I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean.

Clearly I'm lacking and slacking. However, I do enjoy using the phrase, "You can't blackmail this black male!" when faced with opposition.

Luckily, the Persian Excursion is on the case, repping a different unsung black hero every day of BHM. Check it out here.

To be fair, I've been partially behind cause I was wrapped up in my redheaded lover, who landed in New York City mere hours ago (Nothing like some white folks to make you forget all about your month of empowerment ;). Since his departure there has been crying on my part--for more info, see the next post.

Oh, and this is random, but I thought I should share:

The resemblance is too uncanny. Homegirl is part cray cray AND part muppet!