What will be absolutely amazing next time is my housing. I've written of the wondrous circumstance I stumbled into at the Ardmore House: Last night Peter, who was classmates with Kiri Te Kanawa in New Zealand and her main competitor for artistic scholarships, told wicked tales about her. Breakfast this morning was again a gourmet repast -- each day is a different menu. Declan did a load of laundry for me yesterday (he mentioned when I arrived that this is part of what they do). Angela's friend Bernadette showed up yesterday and we've all been having a party at the beginning and end of each day.
But Peter and Declan are booked when I return (15th - 20th). So Peter walked me down the road to a neighbor who runs her home as a b(no &b), a folky charming home with children. But Anne was booked as well so Peter made some calls and this morning we walked to the other end of Newtown to Jay's Place. Jay is a lively funny woman with what I called her "empire" of room+kitchen apartments in an elegant tree-lined area. She took me to one that will be free for me.
As the current cliche goes: Oh. My. God.
For $90 Australian ($68 or so) a night, I will have a floor-through little apartment in a nice Victorian row house: A high-ceilinged bedroom with big bed and closet, a decent-sized bathroom, and a nice fully equipped kitchen. ("But there's no breakfast," she explained. Um, would that matter?) It's near the corner of Queen Street and King Street, where small cafes abound. I can have people over for cocktails and wine, if I choose. I can imagine myself living in another era, on streets lined with Moreton Bay Figs.
She gave me my keys already.
If this had been where I stayed on arrival it would have been very nice -- peaceful and elegant and well-equipped -- but I'm glad that instead I was taken into the embrace of Peter and Declan's home. It might have felt a little lonely, those first few scary hours. But now that Sydney is at my feet it will be great to have my own pied-a-terre.
We also went and looked at a few of the other places Jay owns, so that Peter could see them (the local inkeepers all keep up with each other as best they can, so they can direct their overflow properly). I saw a very modern large apartment with two bedrooms and sunny balcony and kitchen with full sized refrigerator and sofa that opens into a bed in the living room that goes for $140 a night AU ($105? Maybe a little more). I told Jay that I'd be letting folks know about this.
In Perth I'm staying at a five-star beachside hotel. I know there's Internet Access, but I don't know if there are terminals I can use. Perhaps the folks at the conference will help me there.
My best to all.