Yesterday I took a train and a then a bus that meandered through North Sydney, including the happening suburb of Crows Nest, to japester's house in Willoughby. Once again I point out that this is the sort of thing I enjoy when I'm in a new place: making my way around the way an actual resident would, on excursions that make it into no tourist book. JP was hosting a barbecue, mostly to introduce his co-workers to his girlfriend Sarah who had flown in from Perth for the weekend. There was much geek talk, and delicious food, and I bought some Western Australian wine at a bottle shop up the road (which people kept asking me permission to drink). It was a great afternoon. It was -- now everyone say this together -- just as if I lived here.
In the early evening I took the bus and train back to the Ardmore House in Newtown, where I took a brief nap and then hung out with Peter and Declan for a while until it was time to join Kenn (pire) and his friends for their night of clubbing on Oxford Street. We went to the downstairs video bar at the Shift, then a dance club called something like "Slide" or "Slider", then to the outrageous cover charge club upstairs back at the Shift. Kenn turns out to be one of those socially encouraging guys, insisting that I dance. Of course I dance all the time, but not dance club dance which I find baffling and awkward (what do you do with your hands?). Still, dance I did, in my inappropriate clothing.
Actually I was inappropriate for a hot dance club on a Saturday night on Oxford Street in Sydney in a more general sense than attirewise. I pointed out to Kenn that I was the only man in the packed dance club with a beard (a beard that's getting a little out of control after two weeks here -- man this grows fast, I'd forgotten). Kenn responded that he and his friends were the only Asians there, which trumped my point, as Sydney is full of young hip buff gay Asian men and, in places other than the dance club, we met every one of them last night. Kenn's friend Stanley, who kept insisting that he's shy and never goes out and doesn't ever do this, turned out to know every young Asian guy we ran into on the street. Practically.
Upstairs at the Shift was a much easier place to talk to people, and many of those people were men who spend a lot of time at the gym and walk around shirtless and have tattoos in the small of their back just above their semi-exposed butts. Is that a new fad I had missed, the lower-back tattoo and the butt cleavage? That was great fun, but it was definitely a late evening. I got back to my bed and breakfast after 3 am.
Today jcoldrey came by and we went to the zoo. That may sound silly, but it was a fabulous afternoon. Julian is a delight to spend time with, and a trip to the zoo involves a ferry ride across Sydney Harbour and then a skyride to the zoo entrance. It was entrancing. We saw wombats and goannas and kangaroos and wallabies and dingos and quokkas and various desert rats and we sat for a while and talked about everything under the sun. And really, I had to see some kangaroos while I was here, didn't I? Even if they were in a zoo.
I've got another day and a half here. I plan to take things relatively easy -- some nice meals, a trip downtown to gape at the souvenirs, another evening or two at the Newtown Hotel where I always seem to have an adventure.
Then to Melbourne then home. Ahhhh...