Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Steven Levine, International Man of Mystery

I walked into the Newtown Hotel last night, after writing in my journal entry that I was heading off to my local, and the manager opened his eyes wide in surprise and said he hadn't expected to see me back, especially so soon. I said I hadn't expected this either, and yet here I am back in Sydney. "...and this *is* your local," he added.

Tony came by and said, "It's you! You may not remember me but we met here a while back." "September," I said. Tony reminded me that his partner is from Arizona and it all came back to me and I said, "Oh yes, of course" and then I joined them to watch the brief drag show. It seems to be a law that gay pubs in Sydney must have drag shows. We were standing near the door when Kenn arrived -- the guy I met at the party in Melbourne. It was like seeing an old friend, whom I then introduced around. Kenn was fascinated by the fact that the three drag queens on stage (in Carmen-Mirandaish garb) all had abs, every one of them. Drag queens with abs!

Kenn and I went back to the Ardmore House to pick up his external hard drive that he'd left in Melbourne and which I'd brought with me (his brother had delivered it to my hotel when I was at work on Thursday). He needs it because he's running out of space on his PC to record his younger brother's concerts (some international youth music festival at the Sydney Opera House), which he has to send to his mother in Singapore because she couldn't get here. Peter and Declan were still up, and Peter made a few nudge-nudge comments about whether Kenn was staying the night (I was telling Kenn about the wonderful breakfasts Declan makes), which I suppose could have seemed wildly inappropriate and strange except it didn't, because that's Peter, the former opera singer. Kenn, fortunately, didn't seem to mind.

But Kenn is just generally of pleasant demeanor and I'm glad he found the time to meet with me here. Tonight I'm probably going out clubbing with Kenn and his friends, fellow Singaporeans. Since meeting Kenn and some other folks last week I have done a little research on Singapore, when I realized how little I knew about it. I told Kenn this, noting that I hadn't realized it had been under British rule until as late as 1959. Whereupon Kenn told me the specific date (August something). Kenn said that at least I hadn't asked him what part of China Singapore is in.

This morning I had a lovely breakfast with Peter and Declan (a big plate of fresh fruit, poached eggs, lots of bacon, toast, and, had I wanted it, muesli and yogurt. And fresh orange juice and coffee). Here's the cool thing: Peter and Declan won the lottery! Literally. There's a long and funny story about how they came to buy a lottery ticket in the first place (for one of those huge jackpot times), but the upshot is that they won just over $400,000, which is untaxed here. This is why they can afford to do the needed renovations to their 1875 house, and why they can afford to take a few weeks holiday next month while the more serious construction is going on.

Regarding the renovations, and my arriving in the midst of them: They had not planned to rent out their rooms in the days surrounding the current renovations, because (as came to be the case), you can't always rely on contractor promises about timing. But when they heard from me they decided to let me stay there because (to quote them) they enjoyed having me so much and they were sure that if there were some issue that I wouldn't mind, which of course I didn't. They'll give me a discount on my first day because when I arrived I couldn't wash up before going out and the place was a bit out of order, but really, how inconvenient was that after all? I have my travel washup cloths, which worked just fine, and my room was perfectly fine.

There was a great moment of coupledom during Peter's story of the lottery ticket. He spoke of filling out the lottery form, and how complicated it was. Declan turned to me and said, conspiratorially, in his charming Irish accent, "It's not that complicated." Then he added, "It's just different than what he's used to."

All this and fresh-squeezed orange juice, too.

Soon I'm heading out to get a train and a bus to japester's place in North Sydney, for a barbecue. It's sunny and lovely and pleasantly warm today because, you know, it's the dead of winter. If I were to stay around for a few weeks I'd be able to participate in the "Christmas In July" festivities, when people go to resorts in the Blue Mountains (where there is snow) and sit around the yule log.

Merry Christmas, one and all.
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