Wednesday, August 25, 2004

the morning roo report

I left Edinburgh, and I was in London, again, briefly, but no longer am. I arrived in Australia last Friday after an epic 22-hour plane journey over France, over the Balkans, over Turkey, over the Middle East, over India, over the Bay of Bengal, stopping in Singapore for a stretch of the legs in the airport's roof-top cactus garden, then over Indonesia, over Western Australia, and landing in Melbourne.

Edinburgh was fun and as beautiful as I remember it (seriously, it's a lot grimier and rough-looking, but it rivals Paris and London and Prague for architecture and it beats them all for setting), but since I was only there for a weekend in between South Africa and Australia, it seemed strangely dreamlike and I kept asking myself what I was doing there. The stoney picturesque streets were packed with young beautiful sun-drenched people (occasionally rain-drenched too), street theatre gangs roamed the sidewalks, everything was expensive, and everyone seemed just unbearably happy. I was glad to see Cat Kidd's Fringe Festival show (Sea Peach, slightly altered from when I saw it in Montreal) and to see Cat herself and her entourage, as well as Ellen Servinis on vacation from Toronto (and in between munro-bagging and highlands-hiking). We all consumed more than a few pints together. After coming from South Africa via London where I had dinner with Canadians Tracy and Colin and Todd and Japanese Anzu and Todd's Irish wife Sara, Scotland had me in accent-shock. The bartender did not laugh when I ordered a Guinness but referred to it in jest as a "gwee-ness".

I have become hopelessly derelict in my blog-updating duties, I know, but I have to run off once again, because tonight I will perform (a second time) at the Overload poetry festival, which I didn't know about until I arrived here in Melbin (and my accent-shock turned into full-fledged accent-delirium). People have been very nice to me here (once they realized that I was not American - apparently I just have to say the word "about" and they breathe a sigh of relief). I am staying in the uber-posh Windsor Hotel, across the street from the Victoria State Parliament building. People refer to themselves as Victorians here, but they are not in the least uptight or self-conscious about exposed table-legs. Not after a few drinks, anyway.

Every night since Saturday I've been to a different poetry / performance event followed by a party of some sort. And every morning I've been sleeping in, stretched out in my luxurious king-sized bed. Then around noon I wake up, open the thick floral-patterned curtains, get the paper from under the door, make myself a cup of tea, and lounge for an hour or two, reading the day's Olympic results, before taking my bath. Yes, travelling can be rough.

I haven't seen any kangaroos or koalas yet, except stuffed ones at the Melbourne Museum. I went for a country drive and visited some wineries with a very hospitable travel-guide writer named George, but there were no crocodiles on the road. More detailed anecdotes will hopefully follow soon. No worries.


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7:24 PM  

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