yani on tour - day one

sydney tourI decided to do something different with the hundreds and hundreds of photos (657 to be exact) I took... well, not different exactly, because I've done many a montage... but instead of saving them up to dole out on Mondays over the next month, I figured I might as well use them at the beginning of each post... get a whole theme thing going each day.

Today's theme is "Yani on Tour"... the shots are in order as I shot them over the four days and kind of chronicle what we did and where we went.

Whenever I got a spare moment during the four days I would scribble something down about what we'd been doing... sometimes it was just a list of places we'd been, sometimes it was my thoughts on stuff, sometimes it was certain phrases just so I wouldn't forget a feeling or an event... and I managed to fill about twenty pages with my big rounded handwriting... some of it will end up being condensed or edited or whatever, but there will be some stuff that I repeat verbatim...

So... "My Sydney Holiday by yani"...

Even though I'd planned and made lists and checked and double checked and triple checked everything, I still managed to forget to print out the details about our return flight, so I had to crank up the computer briefly first thing in the morning and make sure I had it.

On the flight over everything pretty much went to plan... the taxi was perfectly on time and not being driven by anybody who lives in my building (which was a bonus), and we got there with plenty of time and check-in was a breeze.

Yes, the plane did end up running about 20 minutes late, but given that the last time I got on a plane (albeit a different airline) it ran about six hours late, I'm not going to complain about 20 minutes.

I will state right here and now that while I don't get all freaked out over air travel, my body just doesn't like the up and the down and the turn left and turn right stuff... for whatever reason it just makes me feel a little sick. That and the whole sitting in a confined space and possibly being cooped up with no fresh air makes me a little overheated which doesn't help either. But I forbear... for this trip I would probably have forbeared quite a bit...

Even after we'd touched down in Sydney, it didn't feel quite real until we'd gotten off the plane and were in a whole different airport... and then it didn't really feel like we were really, really, really in Sydney until I spotted the Harbour Bridge between a couple of buildings while we were on the shuttle bus to the hotel.

Speaking of the shuttle bus... sometimes it just doesn't pay to go with whatever the cut price option is... it was all a little bit skanky around the edges, and after we got on we had to suffer through a conversation between the Fijian/Maori driver and these three Malaysian (I'm guessing) girls about where their hotel was... which was like something out of a really painful Marx Brothers movie... or possibly Abbot and Costello ("Who's on first?" had nothing on this).

He also drove like a maniac... but then I guess if you do pretty much the same loop all day every day in the same bus you are going to know where you can go screaming around a corner and how fast you can go everywhere.

As is always the way with these things, we (and a rather cute boy who, it turned out, was also staying in the same hotel) were the very last ones dropped off... but at least we got a kind of maniacal, confusing and backstreet tour of the city...

For the whole drive, right from the airport through to the city I kept thinking how HUGE everything seemed, crammed together, tall, squashed, not as spread out as Adelaide.

The place we stayed, the DeVere Hotel on Macleay Street, wasn't bad... although there were stairs down into the foyer and then back up to the elevator (stairs, the ongoing bane of my life in Sydney)... and the room wasn't exactly world class, or the cutting edge in modern design... but I didn't end up spending THAT much time in it when I wasn't sleeping... and compared with every other hotel room I've ever stayed in (ie both of them), it was, like everything in Sydney, freakin HUGE. I mean I had a double bed, a couch, a little table and two chairs and I still could have held a party in all the space left over. I think possibly it was just because I had a room that was kind of wedged into a weird corner space... Ma's room wasn't bad, but wasn't anywhere near as big (and of course, my room was at the bottom of a set of three little steps... steps again, I tell ya!). Oh, and I had possibly the loudest door on the entire floor... every time I went to close it it stuck a little and the squeal of tortured wood reverberated up and down the hallway (which never makes for subtle entry and exits).

I also had a shitty view... actually we both did... Ma didn't even get any natural light... but that was because they'd run out of the cheap rooms with views when we booked. So I had a view of an internal "courtyard" space where all the pigeons from the neighbourhood slept.

A quick note while I'm discussing the view from my window... if you're a fellow hotel patron and your windows looks out into an internal courtyard where you can see other windows, please either draw your curtains or put on some underwear when you get out of bed and wander around naked for a good hour and a half first thing in the morning... especially if you're an aging, overly tattooed gentleman... thanks.

After Ma and I had unpacked and generally sorted ourselves out we headed out to get something for lunch, and after a wander up and down Macleay Street found a cute little cafe that did a nice tuna salad roll... then we went off exploring and after a couple of false starts managed to get good and lost (and somehow within the first ten minutes or so I managed to lose the map the girl at the hotel had given us... I swear I went to put it in my back pocket, but I must have missed... I still don't know how I managed that), then found a view of the Harbour Bridge and a sliver of the Opera House near the McElhone Stairs before we went back the other way, through the Cross and circled around via William Street before headed in the general direction of the Art Gallery... which was pretty much a fluke, since although we had a backup map, we had no idea how far away from anything we were, so we just kinda walked and walked and walked.

The Art Gallery is, in a word, big... impressively so in fact. That was pretty much my watchword for the trip... BIG... and also HUGE... MASSIVE also gets a look-in from time to time.

We didn't do much of the Gallery, in fact we only really intended to go and see the Archibald Prize paintings... and there are some reasonably good entries... although the winner still leaves me cold even now that I've seen it in person. The painting of Heath Ledger however... wow! Partly I think it's because he's staring straight out of the painting... partly because he did die... and partly because it's not the usual wide-grinning Heath we're used to... he's very haunted looking... and tired... and just looks worn out.

I came back to the painting a couple of times actually... it's really, really striking.

Then we sat in the Domain for a little bit and had an icecream before we wandered back across to Wolloomooloo Bay and came back up the somewhat evil McElhone Stairs.

sydney hotnessThe photo on the right is an example of the native Sydney wildlife we saw sunning itself in it's native habitat alongside Wolloomooloo Bay... yummy!

And while I'm on the subject of the people of Sydney... a couple of observations...

Either my gaydar was completely out of wack or every other guy on the street was a fellow Friend of Dorothy (actually that kind of depended on where we were and a what time of day... but it was VERY true that first afternoon)... from the private school boy in the Art Gallery to the construction guy in King Gees and a hardhat near the Navy Base... my gaydar was just going bananas... of course there's that whole "metrosexual" thing you have to factor in... but still...

Also, I think Sydney pedestrians are all NUTS (but then I've behaved like one my whole life, so it's not like that's a bad thing)... I mean there's actually directions written on the ground so they know which way to look so they don't get run over for fucksake... and you just walk whenever you like... and the drivers seem to just take that into account.

After we got back to the hotel we both went back to our rooms and just kinda chilled out for a while, cooled down, I scribbled in my journal for a bit... then I wandered around the corner and up the weird little staircase to Ma's room so that we could have a strategy session about the plan of action for the following day... the session involved too many maps, a barefoot trip for me down to the lobby to see if they had a specific brochure (which they didn't), and a very, very, very rough plan (which we didn't really end up sticking to except for the first couple of items).

Then we headed out for dinner and since the hotel building actually also housed a nice looking Indian restaurant (India Down Under) and when we were in Melbourne we ended up in an Indian place our first night too, it seemed like the right place for our first dinner in Sydney.

And it was, even though we were the only people in there the whole time (it was still early though... not quite 6 I think), and one of the waiters seemed to be really bored and kept wandering around the room. But the food was really tasty... we had Lamb Bhoona (a last minute decision on my part, instead of the Lamb Rogan Josh I was going to pick) and Vegetable Jhalfrezi with some nice Keema Naan and rice.

Sitting in the window of the Indian restaurant my gaydar got even more broken... I think there was a gym somewhere nearby... and the amount of really pretty and half naked possible homos going up and down the street was giving me whiplash (and I also think I saw J's ex's twin gay brother out there too). Actually there was a lot of just generally pretty guys out there, a few DILFs too... enough to get my head spinning so much I was afraid it was going to do a 360...

After dinner we had a bit of a wander just to let dinner settle and picked up some cake from some cute little fru fru place nearby (sadly mine turned out to look better than it tasted) before we headed back to the hotel.

I left Ma in her room, came back to mine and sent a few text messages in the hopeless but vain attempt to arrange a booty call for the evening... and while I was waiting for some kind of reply I decided to take a bath... since the room actually had a bathtub and I think the last time I had a bath was many, many years ago when I was sharing a house with Ludo (and I don't even know how many times I used that one).

Anyway, I drew a nice warm bath, put some bubbles in it and lay back to chill out while halfheartedly attempting to arrange for somebody to come over and ravage me.

Let's just say that the bath was more successful than the texting.

I did end up texting Bear though (while having other conversations at the same time... and actually confusing a couple of the messages... which wasn't good... you never want to send the wrong SMS to the wrong person... or the right SMS to the wrong person either) I ended up playing text tag with him for ages and then spoke to him on the phone for a while.

I probably should have let him know that I was coming to Sydney, but we hadn't really spoken in a good long while and it just felt weird.

Then it felt doubly weird because we were in the same state at the same time but the chances of us actually hooking up during the trip were pretty nonexistent because he lives out in suburbia somewhere and my schedule was very, very up in the air for the most part.

By the end of the evening I wasn't sure I could be bothered arranging anything with anybody while I was there... I mean technically I could have arranged something for early the following morning, but I didn't know that I wanted to. Fortunately I didn't burn any particular bridges, so when I finally DO feel like arranging something I still can.

So endeth Day One!

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