Friday, March 27, 2009
Greetings from Wellington, N-Zed!!
I am totes crushing on this town. I got here after midnight on the 26th, and from the moment I stepped out on Friday, I felt the buzz. My stomach was doing excited flips, the way it does when I get excited about seeing someone I haven't seen in a long time. Even though I was walking down a street that mainly consisted of warehouses, I felt like I could get down with this vibe--I was instantly feeling Welly's flava. It's kinda hipstery, and reminds me of Melbourne and NYC's East Village, but people are actually nice. Take for instance, the clerk at the jeans store, where I was on a hunt for some cute black jeans--we chatted for 20 minutes, he helped me find the cutest pair, and even gave me a gig guide so I could see what's on around town. We also talked about Kanye West being cray cray, and I think if I'd stayed around, he would have proposed to me just so he could come to NYC.
I'm trying to hunt for Bret and Jemaine, my FOTC boyfriends, but it's hard. Mainly because most people think I'm crazy when I ask where I can find them. As I walk the streets of Welly, I think to myself, "This is where Bret walked as he wrote 'Ladies of the World'" Can you imagine?! As I search various thrift stores, I try to find those cool sweaters Bret wears with pics of wolves on them, but so far, no luck. Nothing says "you could be a part-time model" like wolf art.
Ozzies always make fun of the kiwi accent, but only now, after 4 months of Ausland, can I tell the difference. The Kiwi accent is hilarious to me, as 'e' becomes 'i' and 'i' becomes 'u.' Take for instance, this gem I overheard:
"I sint him a tixt. I was tixting and tixting, and he niv-eh risponded. He's bin' a total duckhead."
'Duckhead' = 'Dickhead' Although I really wish she actually meant that he had the head of a duck. That would have been a way lower blow.
Okay, I should stop being a table-nine, indoor kid and go explore this big wide world of Wellington.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I'm also missing the random '80s tunes we listened to on our 6 to 10-hour car rides. For example, "Gold," by Spandau Ballet, featured heavily in the rotation. It's the most amazing song ever. I embed it for your listening/viewing pleasure.
Nothing boosts the spirits like hearing that gorgeous baritone singing "you're indestructible....." after a 3.5-hour hike in the height of the desert sun.
Okay, off to the museum and more exploring. Tomorrow morning I head off to a one-day tour of Litchfield National Park, where there are apparently giant termite mounds and waterfalls for swimming.
I don't even know myself anymore.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Greetings from Darwin!!
The last week has been crazy and awesome, full of randomness and excessive heat--temperature-wise, I mean.
After 6 days in the Outback, our group partied it up in Alice Springs, which is a pretty boring town. If it wasn't for Bojangles pub and the bottle of wine I'd treated myself to, I don't know how I would have gotten through it. Tuesday I was a hot ass mess, and I awoke to find myself being spooned by my Outback tour guide, a ruddy Aussie man who goes by the nickname 'Jesus.'
I guess you could say I woke up in Jesus's arms.
It was odd and random. Not only because Jesus had three beds in his room and there was no need for us to share a space, but because Jesus is betrothed. Nothing happened, and it was very PG--although his touch was surprisingly tender and he held me all night, which I don't know if I'd want my future husband doing with a nubian princess such as myself. There was no weirdness in the morning, thank god/his dad. This wouldn't be the first time I'd won the affections of a taken man.
I spent much of Tuesday nursing my hot mess of a hangover, hydrating and doing tons of writing. My flight out of town was Wednesday arvo, so I woke up bright and early, showered, de-sketchified, and headed off into the bright sun to see what Alice had to offer. It's quite a small city, and the main attractions are walkable enough.
So, you guys know how I'm really into reptiles, right? This means that the Alice Springs Reptile Centre was my first stop. As I walked through the exhibition, loving the cold-blooded creatures, I took note of all the venomous ones, should I come across them along my travels. As I walked through one section, I noticed this Olive Python was eye-fucking the shit out of me from inside its cage. It was really weird--totally one of those moments where I wish I could speak Parseltongue and figure out what the hell was going on.
In addition to its reptiles, I greatly appreciated the Centre's air conditioning, and just took my time reading placards and cooling off. While admiring a dinosaur fossil (yes, admiring), I was alerted to an animal presentation starting up. Suh-weet.
Maureen, our lovely presenter, showed us all sorts of creatures that we were then allowed to HOLD. I totally elbowed children out of the way and held a blue-tongued lizard, a horny devil (yes, a horny devil), and the Python who was staring at me. It was totally cool--I seem to have lost all fear since my journey into the outback. I was a bit wary of the massive snake, but he just slithered and it was all good....for a while.
As I went to hand it back to Maureen, it began to constrict around my hand.
My life flashed before my eyes. I totally knew there was a reason it was staring at me before--it was sizing me up for the kill. Being a constrictor, it's grip was deadly and I struggled to squeeze my hand out without making a scene that would scare the children. "Umm........" I said sorta loudly. Maureen told me to stay calm and or force the snake off, as it would feel threatened. I wriggled my hand out sloooooowwwwwllllly, and managed to break free--you can't put shackles on this blacktress, reptilian or otherwise!!!
Escaping death, I headed off to a couple other sights then went to the airport. There, I ran into this cool chick who I'd met in Sydney through a friend a couple months back. She's from Hotlanta and is totally a strong black woman in a white woman's body. We discovered we were seated in the same row--22A and C. We joked about talking over whoever was in between us.
When we got to our seats, we saw there were only seats A and C together. Talk about meant to be! We were obvi fated to be together, and spent three hours talking about dudes, travel, and fun times ahead. Her hostel was down the road from mine, and we met up and went out on the town last night. We landed at 7pm and it was still 90 degrees and humid out. Hot mess.
Darwin wasn't exactly popping on a Wednesday, and we went to the one hot spot, The Vic. The cover band was rocking ('Save Tonight,' by Eagle Eye Cherry, anyone?), and with $3 tequila shots, you know we'd basically gotten ourselves two tickets to the Shit Show. We ended up meeting some Canadian dudes, one of whom was 21 and tried to flirt with me. He was outgoing, had a full beard, and totally seemed older than me until he revealed that his age. I mean, wtf, Canadians--why must you always trick me?! He's from Sasketchawan, where I guess all the men are part Yeti and born rugged. I explained to him that, "I can't do anything with 21," and he got annoyed. Me and my new bff left The Vic at about 1am, chanting our new motto:
Darwin. My town. Love it.
I'm now in Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, where my hangover from last night's debauchery at Bojangles, a honky-tonk pub has left me mildly immobile. I am vowing to really explore the city tomorrow, when I have some energy.
I only have 4 minutes of internet credit left, but just wanted to let you all know i'm alive. Pictures will be up in due time. Just imagine me in a huge backpack sleeping on the ground repeatedly, and then hiking in bad sneakers. Next stop: Darwin, the very top of the Northern Territory.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
"I'm just figuring out what I'm going to do as an ex-lesbian single mother of a half-Indian child fathered by a sugar daddy."
Fair enough, Meg. Fair enough. I think we've all been there.
I am really going to miss my Australian friends.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I'm typing this post from the State Library in downtown Adelaide. It's been quite a long day, and it's not even noon yet. This could be due to the fact that I started drinking at around 3pm yesterday, and thought that since I had a 6:30am flight, I should just stay up all night.
Which I did.
I've been in a daze, and half-slept on my short flight to Adelaide. I'm rocking this backpack that weighs in at 13.5 kilos--about 27 pounds, I guess--and I'm already feeling it in the shoulders. I arrived at the YHA to find that check-in wasn't allowed until 1pm, so I have plenty of time to kill.
Everyone says Adelaide--known as the 'city of churches'--is boring, but I find that enjoying a city, much like ensnaring a man, is all about timing. It just so happens that the blacktress has arrived in the middle of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, a month of art and performance taking place all over the city. I instantly sat down with the festival guide and have already found some good stuff I want to see. Take, for instance, stand-up by comedian Arj Barker (from Flight of the Conchords). Or, House of the Holy Afro, which is billed as "A riotus African nightclub spectacular! Like the Soweto Gospel Choir on acid."
Two tickets, please!
Of course, in true blacktress style, I postpone visits to cultural sites and immediately hunt for free internet and an ATM, and find the streets awkwardly empty. I mean, for a big festival, there's no one around. I'm also unsure why stores aren't open....Am I in a scene from 28 Days Later??? I start to wonder as I roam.
Just then, I head to Rundle Street Mall, which is a strip of stores about 3 blocks long, and apparently is where all the cool (and unemployed) kids hang out. I wanted to stop in Wooly's, but it was closed. I was confused, seeing as it said it was open from 11am-9pm. My celly clearly stated 11:08.
What sort of town is this?!
I get to the library and sign up for 30 minutes of free internet. "You have computer number 5 from 11-11:30," I'm told by the lovely retiree who volunteers to keep himself active. I nod and smile, but am confused, because it's 11:15. How is this possible?
I go to sit at another computer while I'm waiting and the time reads 10:45. I'm utterly baffled. Where the F am I?
Just then, I remember a little fun fact I learned during my IEP orientation: There's a half-hour time difference between South Australia and New South Wales.
I kid you not. A half-hour time difference. This country never ceases to amaze. It's not even really a time difference so much as government-sanctioned tardiness.
Well, now that I've got that sorted, I'm less annoyed by my friend Justin because he's not actually late to meet me and show me around. This does, however, mean I'll have to wait 30 more minutes to stuff my face with lunch.
I'll let you know how I go in the City of Churches (and free internet).
Friday, March 6, 2009
I am in my room in Lilyfield and it's mostly packed. The two large suitcases I arrived with are filled to the brim, and my third excess bag has books and Buffy DVDs, and some shoes. I feel like I did the last couple days of college, when your parents take your stuff, but you still stick around for Senior Week in hopes of making out with your crush from Intro Psych.
Tomorrow at 6:30am, I begin a Sojourn unlike any other that Sojourner has seen. For the next 5 weeks I will explore this sunburnt country in all its glory. I will visit a glacier in New Zealand, sleep under the stars in the outback, and do all of this while carrying all my necessities in a backpack.
I am becoming a BLACKpacker.
My fear is palpable.
I've never just up and gone, and my lack of physical fitness makes carrying 20 pounds on my back as I trek a bit of a worry. I just feel like I'll be wearing a large sign that says "swindle and mug me, good sir"--and I'll end up with a herniated disk.
But this is what I wanted to do. I am dying to see the country, get out of Sydney, and really explore. And I'm not doing the typical backpacker route, which is up the East Coast all the way to Cairns, enjoying 6 weeks of beaches and booze. No, no--the blacktress is going into the middle, into the Northern Territory. Where the sand is red, the roads are empty, and the animals are deadly.
I am so frickin' nervous and excited!!!
I will start in Adelaide, the capital city in South Australia, where I'll chill for 3 days seeing the sights. Everyone says Adelaide is boring and that 3 days is too long, but one of those days will involve a winery tour in the Barossa Valley--you know how I love my wine! I also have an acquaintance there who will gladly show me some things, so that should take the edge off as well.
From Adelaide, I hop on a 6-day/5-night bus tour that will take me into the Northern Territory. Being the outback and all, travel is expensive and difficult, and driving is the only way to get around. Considering I'm a New Yorker who can't really drive, and certainly can't handle the wrong side of the road and 90-degree weather in a beat-up truck, this bus tour was the perfect way to see everything and be safe. We stop at Coober Pedy, a town that's underground because it's so damn hot in the desert (I wonder if it has an underground railroad?). It's also the opal capital of the world, and my mom has already asked that I bring her back something "unique."
From there we continue up north, stopping at all the major sights--Uluru, Kings Canyon, the Olgas. All this lovely nature-y stuff that I would never be able to get to or see on my own. I'll even be CAMPING, guys!! AAHHHH!! Under the outback stars!!
Yes, I bought bug spray.
I spend a couple days in Alice Springs, where the bus lands. I'm excited to see actual Aboriginals and learn some things about their culture in land they inhabit. From there I'll fly to Darwin, at the very very top of the Northern Territory, where it's the wet season and it'll be 90 degress with humidity when it's not pouring rain. They also have jellyfish warnings, so going into the ocean is not advised. YAY!!!
I plan to wrestle a crocodile while I'm there.
From there I'll fly over to Cape Tribulation, on the Great Barrier Reef. I will snorkel in an attempt to find Nemo.
From there I fly to Wellington, NZ, where my hunt for Bret and Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords will begin. I will also go on a Lord of the Rings tour unironically, and learn to speak Elvish.
For you visual folks, here's the route:
After 2 weeks in NZ, I will return to Sydney for a few days, before hopping on a Qantas flight back to NYC.
Yes, people. The blacktress is coming BACK(tress)!
So, this may be my last post for a little while--I'm going to be broke-ass, and paying $3-8 bucks for internet doesn't seem sensible. I'll try to find public libraries and keep everyone abreast, but don't be angry if it's few and far between. Most likely I will write a fuck-ton while I'm on the road and then put it all up when I get back. I'll try to take tons of pictures because I'm sure most of you will simply be amused to see me wearing a huge backpack. The photos will mostly be of landscapes, though, seeing as I'll be wearing the same clothes over and over, and end up looking a hot mess.
Wish me luck, and don't hesitate to email or comment. I'll need to know I'm not alone as I begin this journey.
"Hey, Sojourner, do you want to do a 5 minute set tonight fr $100?"
Um, was that a trick question? Was I still asleep and dreaming? Of course I want to speak for 5 minutes and receive 100 bones.
"Um, sure," I said tentatively, slightly worried about this Caucasian's willingness to throw money away. "What's the catch?"
"Nothing," she said confidently. "My friend works at an ad agency and they were going to do a comedy thing, but no one in the office wanted to participate so they decided to get some professional stand-up comics to come in. She asked me and I'm just not in the mood, so I thought of you."
God bless her soul--she always thinks of a blacktress when it comes to a side hustle. Seeing as I'm about to start 5 weeks of traveling, every little bit helps, and I've never been paid to do stand-up. I can't believe after a few weeks on the Aussie scene, they already want to put the blacktress on payroll! I've never done a corporate gig, either, and you know I have no qualms--I will sell out like chinos at the GAP if you let me. And after Wednesday's success, I was feeling freer than after the Emancipation Proclamation, so there was no fear.
I call up my contact at the ad agency, a lovely Scottish woman who's really excited to "do something new with this month's staff meeting." The only thing she asks is that I keep it "relatively clean. I mean, we're a young, hip agency, but not too much cursing or dirtiness." Fair enough. This will be during business hours.
You know, I've never thought of myself as a dirty comedian at all--I'm not RAW like Eddie, or dropping F-bombs like it's Nagasaki. But check out my blog rating on your right--I'm NC-17! I do have a strong tendency to talk about Ps and Vs, and while I don't drop F-bombs, I certainly hand them out like candy. I'd initially planned to do the same act as the night before, but wondered if they'd want to hear about pee in a cup and "terri-FUCKING-fying" men.
I began to get nervous, trying to rack my brain of old material that wasn't NSFW. I arrived a bit before 5pm, and got a quick tour around. It was so like those funky ad agencies you see on TV, with bright colors, hipster boys trading ideas around a pool table, and cubicles decorated with quirky bits and bobbles. The agenc also represents a couple of beer brands, so apparently Thursday's the new Friday for this bunch, as everyone was already sipping before the show began.
They started with updates on the order of business from different staff members, and the creative director spoke for a bit. Apparently, the initial goal was to get each team to tell a couple jokes, and they'd have a "joke-off." Of course, no one wants to get up in front of their work colleagues and make them laugh, so that idea was scrapped--well, it would have been if not for one guy who thought he'd give it a go.
He had long stringy old-man hair in a ponytail, and had already had a glass or two of wine. He takes the mic and begins.
"So, no one wanted to tell a joke today, but I thought I'd be brave. I'm going to tell everyone my favorite joke. Are you ready?"
The audience was surprisingly receptive, so he went on.
"What sound does a baby make when you put it in the microwave?"
People began to squirm in their chairs. A few people dared ask.
"I don't know," he says. "I was too busy masturbating."
I kid you not.
So much for worrying about keeping it clean. Clearly this was a free-for-all and standards were low.
I got up and did some of the same stuff, but got a little worried about going too far over or under the 5 minutes I was asked to do--the crowd was laughing, but it wasn't the same buzz as the night before, and being under fluorescent lighting where I could see everyone's expressions stressed me out. My joke about not understand Ozzie slang kills every time, and afterwards, as everyone was leaving, one girl said, "Oh my god, you're hilarious. I love the vagina joke!!!"
Yes, yes, folks. The vagina joke.
I walked away from that event $100 richer, and with the knowledge that I will be forever known for saying 'vagina' in the workplace.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I was really nervous the days leading up to it, unsure of what to do. I've only done 3 shows here in Sydney, mostly because I spent the first four months freaking out about whether or not the Aussies could handle Sojourner's truths. Of course, once I finally faced the fear, it all went fine, although I felt a bit rusty. This time, instead of being in a dusty pub with an audience of 20, there were over 100 people and they'd paid $25 to see all of us--I had to be a credit to my race.
Last night's show attracted a mostly lesbian crowd, and I was worried the gays wouldn't appreciate my hetero nature. About half the comics were into lady love, and definitely stated their sexual orientation during their set.
I, however, chose to get up on stage and start singing "All my single ladies, all my single ladies...."
And it just went from there. Check it out, and leave feedback:
Monday, March 2, 2009
I sent him an email damn near 2 weeks ago and didn't get a response. Of course I've gone through the range of emotions: anger, denial, and now acceptance. Of course, running into his momface was a bit of a setback, and although I was trying to play it cool, I had to write on his f-book wall. I mean, I saw his mother. How do you not discuss this?
So, after my pithy and witty wall post, I awake to a long email in my inbox, filling me in on his life thus far. Sounds all well and good, until I get caught on this little tidbit:
am staying with two really interesting college girls....very "spiritual" one is a budhist and the other is the president of the Pagan society, needless to stay we have a whole lot of candles, they both had wicked tats tho, unreal...yesterday we had a really fun day together...
Notice the ellipsis after the "really fun day together"
AAHHH!!!! He's so having threeways with experimental college hippies!!!
Threeways by candlelight!
Threeways for breakfast!
I kind of want to vomit and never get out of bed.
President of the Pagan Society?! Like, wtf?! I bet her name is Moonbeam and she makes him gluten-free muffins.
Am I overreacting?
I've gotta hit the road and distract myself. This is going to a dark place.
Just, you know, FYI.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Basically, I've been coming home late and slightly stressed, and haven't really had anything blog worthy--or so I thought.
The first random surprise was last Sunday, when I received the following textual eruption:
[blacktress!] how r u?i nicked your no from jason,hope u don't mind,if u do dont worry, just don't txt back.howz life?what u been up2?sos bout other wk,i was a mess.simon
What the hell?! I was so confused reading this; it took me about 10 minutes to decipher the abbreviations before I could even assess who was sending it. I mean, I don't know any 12-year-old girls who like to abbreviate and have Lisa Frank posters on their walls--who could this be? Once I cracked the DaVinci Code that was the text itself, I still had no idea which Simon would be calling me and apologizing. I know one Simon here in Oz, but he's a random gay man I met at a bar who pulled out his iPhone and facebook-friended me on the spot. I haven't seen him since that fateful night, so I'm sure there was nothing "the other week" he had to apologize for.
I racked my brain for nearly an hour before I realized that Simon was the 20 year old I accidentally cougared it up with!!! OH EM GEE!!!
What was he doing texting me? Not only had it been over a month since our one and only interaction, but neither of us had a particularly good time. Besides, what's with the abbreviations?! I know he's young, but has he really not mastered T-9 prediction?
Once I realized who it was, I laughed wholeheartedly, and texted back, saying it was okay to say hi. After all, I don't dislike him as a person, and was very interested to see how this was going to play out. I mean, what excuse can you possibly have for falling off for a month? And why would you want to get in touch with me again after I scurried out of your home, getting a ride from your flatmate?
Unfortunately, writing back has led to a ridiculous series of texts that amount to nothing. I really don't like the concept of text message conversations, and it really gets my billy goat when people text back and forth. If you're interested in seeing me again, make it happen. Pick up the phone and ask me out for a malt at the soda shoppe like it's 1956 (only without the pesky racial segregation). Come to my home, state your intentions, and let's share a drink with two straws.
Do not text me all week asking we "what r u up2?" and "howz your wkend?" I don't really want to give you a play-by-play, cause we're not mates. Besides, what are you getting at? He clearly wants to see me again, but lacks the testicles to ask me. This doesn't really bother me because I'm still in mourning over my redhaired loss and so uninterested in getting embroiled in drama/getting my feelings hurt that even a silly 20 year old offers no hope for fun.
*****Note: it has taken me 2 days to write this post. In the interim, I went to The Colombian, a gay bar on Oxford Street, where I was told I was gorgeous 50 times, and "oh my god, when you smile you look like Whitney Houston!"
For serious. Luckily, he amended it with, "pre-crack Whitney, late-80s, 'I wanna dance with somebody,' so it was okay.
Anyway, the 20-year-old showed up at the bar. I will go on*******************
So, he rocks up with two of his English friends after a day of drinking at an outdoor music festival. I have no ill will towards him, so we do the hug and fake cheek-kiss and I meet his mates. He's clearly so wasted and I wonder how wasted I must have been the first time we hooked up. Other than a winning smile, he is a hot mess of a man-boy in every sense of the word. He says to me, "long time no see, stranger!" and then scolds me for not responding to his asenine texts. I explain my stance on textual eruptions, and he proceeds to ask me the same questions over and over: "When are you going home? What are you going to do when you get there? Are you going to miss Sydney?"
My friend arrives, and the club is so loud I'm able to stand 10 centimeters from him and explain to her exactly who he is without him paying attention. Her response:
"Um, he's gay."
"And he's clearly on a pill of some sort."
Dude, The Colombian is like a Studio 54 wannabe 25 years too late. People are taking E like it's pez, and then getting overly touchy in a way that makes me fear for my womb. I mean, we arrived at 6pm and it was already full on--who starts using a hallucinogen before it's even dark outside?
My gal pal and I left, and I waved goodbye to the crew. We get about 3 blocks up the street when a flash of bright pink appears in my path. Simon has run after us!
"Wheerrrrreeee aaaaarrreee youoooooouuuuu going?" he asks, all strung out.
"Um, we're heading to another place, but we'll be back." I think it's okay to lie to people I don't really like when they are intoxicated, because they won't remember.
Content with this response, he leaves us alone. My friend looks at me.
"Total shit show," she says.