A Traveller's Guide To Kinky Accountant Spiders
Sydney Travel Blog› entry 21 of 52 › view all entries
Magnet To The Professionally Dull
I donâ€™t believe in God, Cosmology, or Destiny. Which is fortunate for each of these Entities because if I did Iâ€™d have some serious beef with them. Why is it that whatever I do in life, wherever I go, that I must always end up befriending Accountants, Financial Analysts or Lawyers?? Not exciting people like Musicians, Inventors, Olympic Athletes, Landscape Gardenersâ€¦. No itâ€™s just one big round of people who indulge in an unnatural level of spreadsheet activity.
But youâ€™re thinking â€˜what about Lawyers, surely that could be exciting?â€™ Well yes, if weâ€™re talking about trial lawyers fighting for justice, giving a voice to the gagged, changing the world with ethics and wordsâ€¦.. but naturally Iâ€™ve never met any of these Lawyers.
So when my new best friend in Sydney reveals himself as an Auditorâ€¦. No, worse! A government auditor, I grit my teeth and smile whilst fiddling with the straps of my backpack, resisting the urge to garrotte myself with webbed canvas.
Oooo, an auditor?!... How very â€¦ ummâ€¦. I guess you must be very good with numbers then!
In my mind Auditors infest the same space in our otherwise joyous world as death-eaters in Hogwarts. The drift around in a faceless chill, their presence freezes the living in a paralysis of hopelessness, leaving an abyss of despair in their wake.
Of course Iâ€™m being unreasonably hostile, and it doesnâ€™t take a psychologist to realise that what Iâ€™m experiencing is Dread Of The Inevitable. Two years from now, chances are youâ€™ll find me hunched at the desk, sizable ass spilling over the chair as I struggle to put a positive spin on the Weekly Report, sweating the small stuff I case I should come across as incapable....'cos God knows I need this jobâ€¦â€¦the mortgage looks set to go up next monthâ€¦ the car loanâ€™s due and the washer/dryer is doing neither. My sad future self will re-check the figures, mentally invent defences for the weak areas, and before pressing â€˜sendâ€™ Iâ€™ll glance at the out-tray where white A4 pages are restrained by an authentic painted boomerang (Made In China) and Iâ€™ll remind myself that â€˜I did something different onceâ€™.
PS. Plea to all my Accountant, Financier & Lawyer friends: please donâ€™t leave me to my bitter ruminations, you know I love you really XXX
Iâ€™m not saying that all Australians are sex fiends, Itâ€™s just that there appears to be a heightened amount of deviancy going on recently.
1st week here: Man in questioning about indecent assault of young boy in menâ€™s toilets at the Melbourne Open Tennis.
2nd week here: Again at the tennis; a different man in questioning about his shoe-camera and itâ€™s fondness for women in skirts.
3rd week here: On an elevated seat on the bus, canâ€™t help but notice a letter being written by lady on lower seat in front of me. Word â€˜Bondageâ€™ springs from page. She continues to scribble away furiously; â€˜You asked if it makes me want to come when you.
4th week here: Gazing out of the window of a coach I look down at a car pulled up alongside. Man in drivers seat is absently stroking his steering wheel: Normal enough I guess. Man in back seat stroking his naked dick: Less normal. I blinkâ€¦ yup itâ€™s still there. Back seat man looks up and smiles at me like a proud schoolboy. His face is as ugly as Spudâ€™s from Trainspotting. This seems fitting because actually he was very well endowed and itâ€™s only fair to the Balance Of Life that a blessing should always be equalled with a curse.
Once a year in every main Australian city Tropfest happens. As dusk falls giant screens are erected in a central park, locals gather with rugs & bursting picnic baskets. On this night in Sydney I joined my too-beautiful-to-be-true friend Selma & her pals. We watched as bands played, singers sung & DJâ€™s drivelled. People all around get progressively pissed (happy sunshine pissed, not miserable English â€˜Iâ€™m gonna focking cut you upâ€™ pissed.) Then at about 8pm thereâ€™s a welcome drum-roll as the screens launch into series of new short films. The audience watches, claps, crunches crisps and pulls on extra layers. By the end of the night a favourite film is chosen & itâ€™s director comes one step closer to his or her Oscar dream.
The relaxing train journey from Parramatta takes one and a half hours and offers views that progress from mundane to magnificent.
My adventure began and ended at Evanâ€™s Lookout. From there I walked a 2.5 hour circular trek called the Grand Canyon Walk. The walk starts with a sublime view of a wide green valley flanked by yellow cliffs and shot through with a silver river. The whole serene scene is set to a backdrop of soft focus (faintly blueish) mountains.
The track descends from a dry landscape of creamy white rocks and stark bark-stripped trees into a ripe underworld of green ferns and dripping wet stone. The path twists and turns, sometimes seeming to disappear only to pop up again the other side of the thin river. Stepping through the strobe of bright sunlight and cool shadows I walked and walked, lost in time and thought, stopping only now and then for water and for brief 'Hellos' to couples hiking in the opposite direction.
The Canyons reminded me strongly of the Ardeche Valley; probably not because of any striking geographical similarity but more because their effect is one of remarkable rocky beauty which can only exist in time-spans that make human generations seem absurdly insignificant.
I was considerably moved by this place and wondered if I could say I â€˜loved itâ€™ here? I considered the notion whilst clambering around small boulders, over twisted tree roots and under stone balconies;
Oh dear ; I think I must be spending too much alone time in the sun. Perhaps this is why everyone else is hiking in hatted pairs; to avoid over-philosophising in the presence of abundant chlorophyll.
*Roo Bars are like Bull Bars, except that they are legal and rather than protecting your vehicle from escaped bovines, they protect it from jaywalking (jay hopping?) Kangaroos.
Abstinence Vs. Indulgence.
One day in Sydney I was having a non-work chat with a work related colleague; he was recommending things to do whilst in the city and begun with the Hunter Valley, especially a tour of the vineyardsâ€¦ I stopped him apologetically:
â€˜ but I stopped drinking so Iâ€™m not sure thereâ€™s much point..â€™
He looked a bit bemused so I explained furtherâ€˜I was reading this book, A Million Little Pieces by James Frey......itâ€™s a sort of autobiography and in it this guy overcomes terrible, destructive addictions....and at the very end he turns away from a glass of drink even though he wants it more than anything in the whole world.... and well I was so impressed, so moved when I turned the last page that I vowed not to drink for a year.
Being a frank man my colleague asked:But you donâ€™t have addiction issues?
â€˜No, noâ€¦ only to books I suppose'
â€˜Sounds like youâ€™ve been a bit rash thenâ€™ He said, and continued to describe the merits of the Hunter Valley.
On the way back on the train, I thought about what heâ€™d said: Had I been rash? What exactly was I proving, and to whom? I considered the past three months, about turning down New Zealand wines, about raising apple juice at Christmas whilst everyone else had champagne, about the way other people seemed to enjoy their drinks slightly less after I refused to join themâ€¦ maybe I had been rash? After all, I know Iâ€™m not addicted because these 3+ months have not exactly been agonizing, more like mildly testing.
I didnâ€™t want to be rash twice, so I e-mailed my closest confidante and asked if it would seem weak willed to give up giving up. â€˜Go Aheadâ€™ she said, and with that I booked a trip to the Hunter Valley for the following weekend.
After enduring an unprecidented - but routine- bank trauma in which my account is blocked because of 'Unusual Activitity' I.e Not Being In England, I collapse on the Wine Express bus, take a deep breath & put the last 15 mins behind me: I'd sat on the edge of a loo seat, under the neon lights of Sydney's Central Station Ladies Conveniences, praying for enough phone credit to last through the laborious conversation with HSBC's Indian call centre; Yes I am in Australia; Yes I have already advised the bank of my travel plans (in fact I've now told them 7 times) and Yes please I'd be very grateful if they could unblock my card so I can continue to exist without having to beg for my lunch.
I feel like I've aged a day already & it's only 8.30 in the morning.
On arrival I resist the temptation to dive headfirst into a day long wine tasting session, instead I flex my neglected calf muscles and hire a mountain bike . Armed with a map of cycle paths connecting the many luscious vineyards, an ugly helmet which I later realised I wore backwards for the entire day, and plenty of water I pedall away bathed in 40 degree heat.
Try to pretend it's not just a little boring wheeling along the roadside admiring the spectacular (but somewhat same-y) vineyards. See a sign pointing away from the cycle track: 'Mountain Top View 4km'. That's more like it!! The road quickly turns to red dust and winds it's way steeply upward through glorious green fields.
On the pinnacle of the mountain-top there's a field with a lone horse in. I smile at the horse and it gives me a heavy lidded look that says, I suppose you think it's wonderful up here, with patchwork vineyards and wild bush stretching away beneath you all the way to the horizon, but I'm a horse and have no concept of aesthetic appreciation - all I know is that I'm Bored.
Just past the horse the track tappers and stops.
I launch the bike onto the track and it's as exhilerating as it promised; I have to stand back over the saddle, fingers tickling the brakes, asessing every second where to direct the front wheel and it spins through the rocks and twisting crevices. The whole bike shakes and rattles like an empty baked bean can full of nails.
Brilliant, brilliant morning. Now to a shady vineyard for a nice cool glass of well earned sav blanc.
Sydney Wildlife World
Sydney Wildlife Park is located in the delightful Darlinghurst harbour, a wee jaunt southwards from the Opera House. The place is like Mary Poppins' handbag in as much as it looks tiny from the outside but actually contains much more than youâ€™d expect.
You canâ€™t really wander round willy-nilly inside; instead a wide corridor leads you from insects to reptiles to birds to little fluffy things to big fluffy things.
Iâ€™ll not bore you with all the weird & wonderful creatures I encountered, but these guys were most memorable for me:
The Rhinoceros Cockroach: I thought the mutant bug was just a fictional character from Men In Black. Apparently not; it scuttles among us like a baby's foot clad in shiny armour with twitching tentacles. urgghh!
The â€˜big as a tennis ballâ€™ spider with thick stubbly legs and 8 fearsome eyes: So bloody huge its web appears to be made of knitting wool.
The Horny Devil: This guy stole the show.
One more rapid blink, a switch-twitch of his tail and heâ€™s gone.
The Echidna; I found this humungous hedgehog laboriously scaling a small tree in his glass pen.
â€˜if you look at the back heâ€™s probably there digging a holeâ€™.
â€˜Noâ€™ I said â€˜heâ€™s just here; climbing the treeâ€™
â€˜whaâ€¦.â€™ she breathed 'but he's strictly a ground dweller!!'
We both watched a while as this gallant creature continued on his monkey mission upwards despite having no discernable legs connecting his thick body to his flat feet.
As with all good shows, the experience ended with the most popular acts: the Kangaroos & Koalas. Goes without saying that I adored both (plus the fat, sleepy wombat). However I felt slightly bad at the Kangaroos being penned in; those supersonic legs have far more bounce in them than a dusty rooftop could ever do justice to.
* Aside: Whilst writing this report I was trying to recall a very cute bug-eyed Possum like creature that was especially cuddlesome. Not sure of itâ€™s name I ran a search on Google Australia: â€˜Find Australian Nocturnal Mammals?â€™ Among the many Search Results was one simply headed â€˜Masturbationâ€™.
Why oh why oh why.
Wandering Where & What (part 3)
The great thing about Rosehill is because itâ€™s so crushingly boring Iâ€™ve begun to feel my first twinges of proper homesickness. I say â€˜properâ€™ because minor homesickness along the lines of: â€˜I bet Iâ€™m missing all the good gossipâ€™ or â€˜God I miss Sky Plusâ€™ is surely inevitable.
Proper homesickness is when your mind barely acknowledges your surroundings; instead your heart & soul constantly bombard you with images of the people and places youâ€™ve left behind.
This isnâ€™t necessarily a negative experience as it provides some of the clarity Iâ€™ve been searching for. Iâ€™m now more certain than ever before that when I get home to Gloucestershire, I should make it my base.
But thereâ€™s one small disclaimerâ€¦â€¦. the more I travel the more I want to keep on travelling; if I can get a job in the Leafy Shire that happens to periodically send me away to far-flung corners of the world, then everything will be hunky dory!
Still Wandering .
A (failed) ex-boyfriend of mine had been reading my blog and emailed me with this worldly wisdom:
Donâ€™t worry too much about trying to answer all the important questions, you will feel exactly the same about everything when you get back!!! .
Heâ€™s right of course but itâ€™s easier said than done. From the earliest memory of sherry-soaked relatives breathily asking
â€˜And what do you want to be when you grow up, eh, little one?â€™this Big Question haunts you forever. So, try as I might, I canâ€™t stop wondering what my true calling might be..
However what I'm learning is that wondering Who is a futile pursuit. The subject is, by it's very nature, completely adverse to over-thought. So Iâ€™m letting it goâ€¦ Who ends here. Kaputified, Deadaroonie & Overski