We can call the rest of my time in
A hilarious, divorced father of four, he seemed to cherish his newfound bachelordom. His favorite among his series of one-liners seemed to be “a bachelor is a man who never makes the same mistake once.” His two older kids are in boarding school so I only got to meet them once, but his two elementary-aged girls were there for my last few days.
And then there was his housekeeper Joan. Within minutes of meeting her, during the car ride from the airport, the 68 year-old grandmother spilled to me (completely unsolicited on my part) almost all the secrets of her employer’s divorce and every off-color comment she could remember him making, interspersed of course with bits about Melbourne. She also seemed to be practically deaf and could drone on forever on any topic from the intimate details of the personal lives of every member in her large family to the wildfires in the 1890s. But talking to her made for some good entertainment, and she was very warm, even going so far as to give me a tour of the 19th century house she was staying in and personally renovating.
I wasn’t very productive during my few weeks in
My social life in
Traveling alone was not nearly as hard as I anticipated it being. Before I left I dreamed up worst case scenarios where I’d feel so bone-crushingly lonely and starved for meaningful human interaction that I’d ambush the stranger sitting next to me on the tram with a big bear hug. Not only did it never get that bad, I actually felt happy and content almost all the time.
I chatted up strangers because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to. And it led to a pretty strange existence. The most interesting parts of my days generally were the little five minute snippets of conversations with strangers that I would never see again.
There was Curtis who stood behind me in line while I was buying my favorite breath enhancer, mint Mentos. He was wearing a red Washington Nationals hat, so I asked him if he was from DC. He told me that he was actually from NYC and that he had been playing basketball as one of the two imports for one of
There was the German girl who sat across from me on the tram with a fresh bouquet of flowers. I asked her if she was giving or getting them, and she raved about her abroad experience studying tourism at one of the universities until I got off the tram.
A week of
Earlier in the week, I went up to
I followed up getting kicked by a horse by crashing an ATV. I didn’t give it enough gas going up a big hill, and suddenly was rolling down a hill. I bailed out safely, and the ATV was stopped by a barbed wire fence. We decided it’d be best to have
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. We tried our hand at fishing in one of the lakes, I successfully hit a can of Fanta on my first try with an air rifle, and we collected crickets by flashlight for bait. And in the morning I tried an old Aussie favorite, spaghetti on toast. It was the canned variety of spaghetti, tasting a lot like Spaghetti-Os, and despite what the name might have you believe, it’s eaten with a fork and knife and not like a sandwich.
And of course, I also made it to the Sydney Opera House. It was good to see that I wasn’t jaded by traveling. As the ferry pulled up in front of the Opera House, I was snapping away with my camera like any shameless tourist. I felt a wonderful mix of awe and excitement at being so close to such a global icon and was drawn to go back again and again. After I had taken enough pictures of the Opera House, I started watching the other tourists taking their pictures. And then I decided it’d be a cool series to have pictures of other people taking pictures. So I have a few pictures of random strangers taking pictures, some of them with the Opera House in them, others not. And the pictures are coming to the blog, I promise, as soon as I can figure out how to get my memory card in my computer.