A Travellerspoint blog

September

Its birthday season now, so I skyped with my grandma on my first day at my new job! I now work at the Bliss Cafe and Plato’s Greet Tavern both on Ponsonby. Mornings I work at the cafe, then afternoon and evening I work at the restaurant. They let me make coffee there, in fact, I am the only one who can. I don’t do it well, but I’ve been watching how they do it at the cafe, and I’ve even been told a bit by the nice manager. You see, its owned by the owner’s father, but she ran it with her guy friend, and when he shows up on the occasion to help out (he quit the partnership), its great! He isn’t snobby at all, and he takes the time to talk to me, and teach me how to do things right rather than yell at me for sucking. Also, the woman owner isn’t so bad, but she is never around, so I am always stuck with this bitch manager! She literally yelled at me for saying “Your welcome” to customers. “You just don’t say things like that, and I know its not your fault, your American, so I’ll just let you know that it is really just bad manners here. “ “When do you say your welcome if not when someone says thank you then?” I was starting to have enough of her hissy fits with me. “You don’t! Why can’t you get that! You say Thank you!” “When someone says than you to me, I say thank you?” “Yes! You are thanking them for your job!” Yeah, I hated this whore. So did he, she is one of the reasons he gave up his share of the cafe.

Also, on a fun note, as my hours are becoming less and less, I am realizing that they are cutting me out so I quit, since I’m a hard worker they have no reason to fire me, so this is their passive aggressive way. She told me to clean the audio cabinet. We never clean in there because we are so busy cleaning things the customers do see, but whatever we were slow. So I dusted all the cd payer and radio stuff, organized all the cds and when I was done, she said “Did you mess around with the MP3 player cables?” “No, I moved them so I could dust the surfaces, but I didn’t unplug anything...” “Vanessa, Vanessa, Vanessa, the police are on their way to dust for prints!” “What are you talking about?” When she came in that morning, the reason we weren’t playing music, was because the MP3 player was missing. She called the cops right then and there and asked them to come and dust for prints. Then she sent me to clean that exact area for the first time ever, and didn’t mention any of this to me, so now the only prints there, are mine. Yeah, I couldn’t believe that she would even go that low, but this was the way she was, a passive aggressive son of a whore. On my last day there, while she was steaming milk right next to the register, a man ordered a flat white with chocolate. Just to double check, I saw no problem of sprinkling the cappuccino chocolate on a coffee with less froth, but just to check, I repeated it back to him. “Double Shot! Idiot!” she screamed at me like I was the boy who worked for the grocer in Amele. She stormed out of the front and went in back to have a cigarette. We had a line out the door for coffee, and I wasn’t allowed to touch the machine, even though my coffees are good now according to the chefs in back. Yeah, I needed to get out of that place.

I asked if I should leave my apron at the cafe since they weren’t sure they would need me now that they hired another barista for the morning, and they said no, I need to take it home and wash it as usual. So I took the apron home, and they never called me again. But as I said, I had a new job at Plato’s, and shockingly, everyone who works there, except for the managers and chef, is Mexican or Colombian! And the chef hated them because they couldn’t understand his Kiwi accent! So I would go in back, talk to the chef, and then translate for the Mexicans his English to my English. Me they understood. And they were all so yummy. Each and every one of them were beautifully handsome. The Colombian looked like he should be on the cover of a romance novel, the others were just cute, maybe a boy band, or the cover of some teen magazine. One of the Mexican's quit the night I started (I was his replacement). The other trained me and then within the week, and as he left, he whispered in my ear “Make sure they pay you.” My first thoughts were, wow, you know your desperate when you take a job that the Mexican's won't even do... then I felt real bad for being such a stereotypical American. I didn't really think that Mexican's only took crap jobs that we didn't want, its just that a lot of Mexican's do kinda do this, and the joke is out there, and bla bla bla, I'll stop tying to defend myself now. I told him before he left that I had to take a photo of him so my friends will believe me when I say how cute he was:

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He looks nothing like this picture.

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The Columbian told me that this place used to be packed every day, morning till 3am the next day. They have a club upstairs where people would dance, and they have their won bar upstairs as well. He said he used to man the bar upstairs with one other guy, and then there were 2 guys at the bar downstairs, at least 5 waiters and waitresses, each of them baristas as well, and 2 chefs each with their won kitchen hand. “What happened?” He and I were working with one chef and the manager Paul at the time, and we hadn’t a single customer. It was a Friday night. He pointed me to this article:

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The Man Who Fooled Everyone

He said that we used to have rugby players from Auckland’s main league team in here drinking after games, and all this blew up because the owner was pulling a con over all their eyes about some sort of Sky City casino (That’s the big space needle you see in Auckland). And slowly, but surely, everyone else quit, one by one. You know you are low when you work at a place that even the Mexican’s won’t work at. Hahahahaha, racism. Anyways, I struggled for my pay every 2 weeks, but eventually I would get it. They owed thousands to the Mexican’s, but I think they knew if they didn’t pay me, then they were screwed, because I wouldn’t come in, and I was all they had. They even made me Duty Manager after the Columbian left. To be in charge of the liquor license, you need to have training, which costs over a hundred dollars and takes about 2 weeks to complete... or you can have an acting duty manager for 3 weeks who is not certified, but still holding all the responsibility of a real one (meaning if Plato's is checked to see if they are following all the liquor licensing rules, and is found in violation of any of them, I am the one who takes all the heat, not the business!) Were they upping my pay any, no, and they were really kind of disgusted with me for asking if I get a raise for this, because I wouldn't be doing anything extra as Paul said he would handle everything, I was just his pawn... yeah, I really was not liking this. I couldn't refuse either, because if I did we would have to shut down as I was the only one who could preform the job short of them hiring someone else, and at this point on days I couldn't work they were already begging past employees to come in and just sit/ sleep/ do their homework so we could have a duty manager on site, even if they weren't actually working (pathetic). I asked my friend Jeremy for help as he has worked in the bar business almost all his life because his dad owns a bar and a brewery back in Alaska. He got me in touch with the group he was certified in New Zealand with, and they instructed me to read over the 1998 rule book on NZ licensing, and to demand to see all their certificates to make sure everything was still in order. "Don’t you trust me?” Well, no I didn’t, but what I said was “I need to see that by law, because when my name goes up on that wall, its my word that is saying that we are selling alcohol legally, and I am the one who gets into trouble if something isn’t right." He was indignant about it, but I wasn't being absurd to think something could happen as the police were only there last week, about a half dozen of them, looking around the restaurant and going over all their paperwork while questioning the nice manager about everything.

As it turned out their licence was expired, and then I had to struggle to get the paperwork proving that they were within their one month right to hold an expired license as they were in the works of applying for a new one (Jesus Christ!). I also noticed that we were illegally allowing the consumption of alcohol in our outdoor seating after 10pm, so I forced them to put up the required signs to indicated that any alcohol bought after 10pm must be consumed inside, and I enforced the rule for the first time since I started working there because if the police came again after 9pm as they did last time, there would be a good chance they would notice the violation, and I would be hit with all the blame. And with that, I put my name up as the soul responsible for all the liquor laws being followed, including one that is in America, but actually enforced in New Zealand: You can’t serve alcohol to someone who is drunk. (Then what’s the point?)

The nice manager who was a Maori woman stopped showing up after a while, and so I was always stuck with this weasel of a man Paul. One night the chef told me that he was going to drink, and I should join him, so I sat down for a few shots after work. Oh my god, whatever he did to my drinks, I couldn’t see straight! He told me to stay and party, but I told him I needed to go home. Paul was sleeping on the couch then, and said he was waiting for me to take me home. “I can walk” I told him, but he said no I couldn’t, not at this time of night. Well, that made me think better of him. He drove me home, and the next day we waited and waited for the chef to arrive. We couldn’t open without him. I told a few people we were only open for drinks, so they had a few coffees, then left. We closed after 2 hours. The next day Paul told me to just come in for my pay, and maybe he would open with a temp chef. I got to work too early, so I went down the road to the bar our chef always talks about is “his bar.” The owner was Irish, and he gave me a geography lesson, and the best Irish cider he had (he knew the one I was going for because he lived in Cork where I got the beer when I visited Brittany, but they didn’t have any). Then he told me that our chef was in jail. Apparently after leaving Platos he went to his, got himself kicked out, and then found himself down the road at the On the Run gas station, jumping over the counter and attacking the clerk. I guess the clerk wouldn’t sell to him because he was belligerent drunk.

Luckily, I had started a new cafe job in the CBD at a place called Foodinis (I think its pronounced like Houdini, like the food and coffee are so good, they disappear like magic) at least, that’s how I tell it. My boss is from Burma, and her husband the chef is from China. They bought the business from a Kiwi, and are still not too sure on the pronunciation. Her husband I can’t really understand, but Helen I can. We also have Cherry from China in back as co-head chef. She is a tiny thing, but the food she makes is really good. Like I always say, never trust a skinny chef, or a sleepy barista. Well, guess I’m not always right. I love it there, easily my favorite job ever! But, its only 4 hours a day, 3 days a week. I will still try and keep the job though, because Helen is so amazing, we became friends straight away, and she is so keen to help me make perfect coffee. Also, she is my first job according to the IRD (New Zealand’s IRS).

Other than work this month, I went to a “Stuff it” party. Vanya’s friend Jack was having a party at his place where you had to “stuff” something. Flatteringly enough, I was the only girl offering with a back wide enough to fit Vanya, so he wore my bra to the party with stuffed animals in it. We went with Anna and her German couchsurfer Ano. He surfed with Anna before, and he has gotten the name the “Naked Omelet making German” along with several others. Something about making omelets one morning topless, and Anna caught him at a strange angle and it seemed like he didn’t have any pants on either. Humph, strange. He and I agreed to split a box of wine because we couldn’t afford anything else (dirty couchsurfers). Joe had just recently left, and I was looking to cut loose a little, ok, correction, a lot. I really thought with all the nonsensical flirting going on that I might end up with Vanya that night, which I thought would be splendid. We had absolutely no connection other than friends, but he looked great in my bra. Now I don’t remember doing this consciously, but there was this older woman, and she was crazy all about getting some action, and there was Patrick, and he just seemed a little too interested in everything I was saying. Flirt, yes, start falling for a guy, NO! So I kinda pushed her on Patrick, thinking she was in her mid thirties, and Patrick had to be about the same age... well, I was really very wrong and they were about 15 years apart in age, and she wasn’t over 40... but I was drunk.... and boy, was I ever drunk. Vanya and Anna went to leave for the night, and I said I would go with them to the protest of Ano who wanted to stay a bit longer. "You can have the box" I let him know, and I went to leave. Then Vanya told me, no, stay for a bit longer, I didn't have to leave because he was. Well, when he put it like that! Then I told him he had to give me my braw back, because it happened to be my only one (I am a very dirty couchsurfer). And he told me no! "If you want it back, you can come retrieve it from me on your way home tonight." Oh, well... that sounded promising! I told him to forget it though, and that while Anna's place is relatively close to my place, it isn't actually on my way home, but he wouldn't budge, and was acting very playful and enticing. Okay then, I would come and retrieve my undergarments from his room tonight...

I stayed a bit longer, pissed off Jack's Asian roommate for being a loud and obnoxious American (if he can refer to me by nationality, then I can refer to his). Jack defended me for a bit by saying I was only playing, and everyone understood me to be good natured but this particular Asian, but he wouldn't budge on not liking me. Okay then, but I let him know that I didn't need kicking out, because I was in the process of saying my goodbyes, meaning I was on my way out, so his gesture was pointless. I didn't say it in so many words, but I was embarrassed and hurt at the time, not mad like I am now looking back on it. Anyways, it was Ano's last night, and he just had to go to the Scorpion bar before he left, so I let him drag me to that as it was on K-Rd which was on my way to me and Vanya's places. Fumbling my way up the steps, I fet strangely out of place, and then getting to the dance room I realized why. It was a Maori bar... Ano and I were the only white people there. Okay then, just pretend like you don't notice... Ano wanted to buy me a drink, but I told him I simply couldn't. He bought me one anyways, and for whatever reason, I attempted to drink it, but simply couldn't physically do it. Then the dancing. Ano got a huge group going dancing, and all the girls got a kick of how tall Ano was, and how totally white we both were with our complexion and dancing. When I started noticing a lot of the girls getting friendly with Ano, I took my opportunity to go hang on the bar for dear life. Ano came to fetch me, and I told him that I simply couldn't stand anymore, and I needed to go home and sleep. He said that if he held me up, then I could stay longer. He ended up carrying me back to the dance floor, and then dancing with me while holding me up (aka, very close). This was when I noticed how much he wanted me to stay... oh god I don't do change of plans like this! I wanted meaningless relations, but not that meaningless! He was leaving for Germany the next morning for Christs sake! I allowed him to hold me up because otherwise my walking resembled the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, but that was it! I started to pull away, and I tried to tell him that I needed to sit down, but he took my looking up at him and getting close to his face so he could hear me yelling as a sign to lay a big one on me. What do I do!?!? I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I kissed him back, but I was so drunk, confused, sick, and scared at his constant not understanding how I had other plans for the evening... AHHHHHHHH Well, I pulled away and sat on the floor, there, plane and simple. He helped me up and resigned to allowing me to hang on the bar again for a minute, but then he told me that he wanted me to come back with him to his place. Yeah, No. I told him to go and dance and have fun, and I just needed some space to catch my dizzy, and he did. While he was off dancing on the floor like a brave little soldier, a large Maori mand came up to me, smiled, and then offered me his arm. Very polite, very chivalrous, very bouncer. He was kicking me out for being intoxicated. I wrapped my arm on his, and he helped walk me to the stairs. Ano ran over and wispered something in the bouncer's ear. The bouncer looked to me, nodded, and then went to let me go! "NO no no no, it's okay, I should really leave, no, you stay Ano, have fun your last night, I'm just going to go home now." The look I gave the bouncer let him know I wanted to be escorted out, so he told Ano something, and then kept taking me to the front door. Ano ran to get his jacket back by the bar across the dance floor. This was when I got a rush of adrenalin. The bouncer thought he was going to have to carry me down, but I let go, grabbed the railing, and whizzed down the stairs, and busted out the front door! I hit the street in a flat sprint crossing K-Rd to the other side where there were a tun of people to get mixed and hidden with. The shocked group of people watched me with my dazed expression run like my life depended on it. "Like the wind baby, like the motherfucking wind!" I heard one drag queen say. I was like the wind, I was on a high I didn't know I could be on. My legs operated like I didn't know they could. I felt light as air. I could keep this up forever. I wasn't even tired by the time I hit the bridge. I always get tired jogging just a few blocks. This was a 30 minute walk at least. I hit a downhill bit once I made it to Ponsonby Rd, but still, I have not run like this since Junior High. When I made it to Anna's I collapsed on her front lawn. I couldn't breath, my lungs were so cold. I could have kept running, but I had made it, so my body stopped. I had a hard time getting back up, and now my head felt very light. I may pass out. Anna's door was open, so I let myself in. I went to Vanya's room and knocked on the door. I was still huffing and puffing. "mumble mumble mumble." I took that as a sign to open the door. "Vanya, are you asleep?" I was expecting him to still be awake, but all the lights were out in his room. "Its on the door knob." he mumbled to me. I felt further down the knob, and noticed that my braw was hanging from it. You lazy bastard... I took my braw and walked home in disappointment and disgust. He could have saved me the hassle and just given it back to me if he was just going to go to sleep. Oh well, I didn't really want to have sex with Vanya, I just wanted to feel alive again, feel wanted again, feel free again. I felt very free, alive, and completely unwanted as I curled up in my own bed, and I couldn't be happier. I wanted to be alone, I was finally alone not because Joe left, but because I wanted to be. I was glad about how the night turned out, and the next thing I knew, it was morning, and I had to go to work...

Then a week or so later my roommate Plum (not her born name, but one she has gone by most of her life) is a singer, and she had a gig I went to that was really good:

At this gig she played with a guy called Profane, and he was this kind of crazy looking Irish man who sang an entire song in Latin like an opera while he played a crazy piano piece, and acted out all the lyrics. If I recall, I think it was about the devil. Very interesting. Juliet came with me, and she got Vanya to come along. Vanya brought his friend Patrick, and the 4 of us squished together on a comfy sofa in back and watched the opening acts for Plum. I was sunken in between Patrick and Juliet at first, and we were able to have a really nice conversation during a belly dance number as the sound wasn’t too loud. Then my spiced wine was ready, so I got up to get it, and Juliet scooted in so I could have the table next to the sofa. The wine came in this hot teapot, and I pored it into a tea cup, and drank it hot and spicy. It was great! But, unbeknownst to Juliet and I, but knowenest to Patrick and Vanya, the real reason Patrick came tonight was to get close to me! And Juliet ended up sitting next to him the rest of the night! Hahahahaha! Oh Patrick and his so very subtle ways. We really had no idea.

And lastly, but not leastly, Joe came back, and he signed himself up for a MMA fight. “You did what?” I tried getting him to hand out CVs, and we made it all the way to the first subway, gave them a CV, and then had lunch, and called it a day. “What do you mean this kind of life isn’t for you? What, having a job? That’s just not your style?” I was getting mad. He was staying at Anna’s and my place, and sometimes our friends Stevie’s, and I was tired of it! “You can’t just stay with me! You are my ex! You can’t just always come around and live with me! I have my own place, my own life, and my own shitty jobs that treat me like crap! But I do all that to put a roof over my head, and you need to do the same, because I’m not doing this anymore.” He decided he could make plenty of money doing what he loved, so he was going to do this fight. “You aren’t prepared, you haven’t been training, and you don’t have a group to train with! I am completely against this, and I will not support it at all.” He wanted me to train with him. I was tired of being there for him, tired of helping him, tired of being used by him. So I didn’t. He stopped staying over my place, started practically living at Anna’s, and trained every day almost with Stevie, a peaceful, non fighter and a vegan. He was going to loose.

Come his last week, when I realized that he was really going through with this, with or without me, I put on the gloves. I worked with him, and showed him how off his game he was. “Come on!” I remember telling him, as if he need pumping up to do things right. I found myself repeating to him words that were once second nature to him, but he had forgotten. “Get your act together! Circle, use your stances, get low, block your jaw!” I must have struck him several times in the jaw before he started blocking right, before he started looking like the fighter he used to be. But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t a fighter either. And I was the best he had. He invited everyone to his fight, and Anna said we would be the carne group. I told her no, we wouldn’t be. Joe was coming into this fight the odd ball already. He was Kung Fu style, everyone else was MMA style. He was already strange enough. His corner was a tall lengthy thing that had never fought, and a girl. To even things out, I told Ben he had officially been promoted to co-corner with me. He needed man with mussel in his corner, for face if nothing else. I would have rather had Vanya, but he was busy and couldn’t make it. Vanya, Ben, and Stevie, would have been better. I told Ben and Stevie everything they needed to know. No suggestions! Whatever he was doing, that was it, too late to change, just encouragement, and wipe up blood, that’s what they were there for. Joe was facing off a much shorter opponent, and Maori by blood. Anna said “shit” it was like fighting a tank she said. Maoris are mesomorphs like Ciani. They put on mussel real easy. Joe knew this guy was shorter, so he prepared for a wrestler. But this guy wasn’t a wrestler. Anna was right. He was a tank. Well, here it goes:

Stevie cleaned up Joe’s blood, I told Joe to get in there, use his knees, move around, and block his JAW! But it was too late, that punch to the nose in the first round called the match. Joe was dazed.

After the fight, Ben drove to the nearby dairy to pick up some ice, shockingly, they didn’t have any here. You had to bring your own. We used my umbrella cover to catch a lot of his blood, his nose I think, may have been broken. Then Stevie came back with a lot of towels. He was a really good friend, they all were. And to add a little icing on the cake, this is what the website for the fights had this:

Joe says he was really happy with the fight.

Posted by - Rain 15:46 Comments (0)

August

This week I did some shopping for bedding and the like at “The Warehouse” downtown (its a bargain store located at the top floor of the Westfield Mall at the Warf), and I handed out dozens of CV’s at cafes on Ponsonby Rd (nicknamed Pompous Rd by me).

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I ended up getting a trial at the Bliss Cafe that weekend where I work for free in competition with other free labor to see who gets the job. The other guy couldn’t keep up with me, so I got the job! But I made coffee like an American, and so I wasn’t allowed near the machine until I could be taught how to do it right. I’d say they were being jerks, but then you see the way they make coffee, and you know that you are out of your league. Just the smoothness of their milk, no bubbles at all, yet still frothy delightfulness! And they poor the milk into the coffee, and with the flick of their wrists, they draw white milk ferns in the coffee as they poor! Yeah, I couldn’t do that, but I wanted to learn.

The view from the cafe:

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Church across the street:

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Ponsonby Rd:

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And this is my favorite park at the other end of Ponsonby from Bliss cafe, but almost right at where we do Acrobatics, which is just by the intersection with the "sex" rd, known as K-Rd, which I turn down towards the car dealerships to get back to my house. Check out this art, I love it!

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And this is the sidewalk on Ponsonby Rd infront of the park:

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Now we are on Great North Rd, what K-Rd becomes when you cross Ponsonby from the "sex" to the "cars," and this is Mt. Eden, a dorment volcano you can see from my house:

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Anna says on the full moon her and her friends go up there for fire dancing and drum circles! I can't wait!

Here is a look up K-Rd:

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Still alright at this section...

And here are the streets I look down on my way home. I stay mostly on Great North Rd, because as you can see, it gets really hilly off the main roads:

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That building is a cafe and bar, I know, because I dropped a CV off there.

Here are a series of close ups on the same location, so you can see that I can actually see the ocean! (Or the bay, whatever)

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This is Anna's street, see what I mean about the drop?

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The tile shop I pass on my way home:

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My street is just at the bend there:

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King St. (My street)

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Churches further down Great North Rd I pass on the way to the grocery store (I think the one on the left is evi)

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Bus stop with an All Black! (I found this out weeks into being in New Zealand, but the All Blacks are their pride and joy, their rugby team, it would be like going to Dalas and asking who the "Cowboys" were. I was very uncool when I asked why there was so much merchandise that said "All Blacks." They are so cute here, their soccer team is called the All Whites, and so on.

I started working at the Bliss Cafe only casual shifts, beginning at 7am, and ending around 9 or 10am during the week, then 11-4 weekends. It was crap hours, but they were the only ones interested since I could only work 6 months at any one job. This week was another play with one of Anna’s friends, but this one was a high school performance. It was basically Harry Potter, the Musical (I remember making one of those...) I was excited, but Joe wasn’t interested in going since the last play wasn’t work it. It was Amazing! So good! All the kids were fantastic! And the songs were really well thought out, and the visuals were well done, it was fantastic! And the Voldemort, Anna’s friend, was the best jail bait I have ever seen. He had this long leather trench coat with no shirt, and these pants reminiscent of David Bowie in Labyrinth, but this kid made it sexy. I later found out that this play was first made in England, and you can watch it on youtube:

Quite frankly though, these kids at this small high school play in Auckland New Zealand would whipe the floor with these English kids. They aren’t even close to as good as the play I saw (maybe thats because most of the cast were female?) But the Ron and Harry from my play really reminded me of the two girls doing the Harry Potter musical for HP7 part 2:

Very good, really talented, and the gay inuendos between Voldmort and Quirl were really quite sweet in the version I saw because Quril was this really talented Maori girl. And the Bellitrix they got! She was blond, with short boy cut hair, but oh my god was she brilliant! I told Joe he had to see the play, so I took him to their weekend show, and we almost couldn’t get seats it was so sold out! But we did, and Joe thought it was magnificent as well! Our favorite part (and I think this was Anna’s friend Arno’s favorite part too) was where he picks up a cane, and does a tap dance as Voldemort! It was great! Oh man, you had to be there I guess.

Soon after this Joe left for the top of New Zealand for a meditation retreat. This retreat would be absolute silence for 10 days, with strict meditation where you aren’t allowed to move. Really didn’t sound like fun, but then again, neither was spending every day looking for a second job. Just after he left Mathilde (my friend from France who was once Anna's couchsurfer whom was then initiated into her group), invited us all to Langham's got tallent. The Langham is New Zealand's only 5 Star hotel, and Mathilde works there as a masseuse. Every year they have a tallent competition for the employees for Christmas, and this year Mathilde was going to be doing her burlesque fan dance to Jack the Knife. The food was served as a large fancy buffet, and there were two hosts that joked around just like on England's got tallent. Some of the acts were pretty good, but nothing too amazing except for this one guy who was just a room cleaner who would sing while he worked and everyone made him sign up for the show... and wow, what pipes! He was really the only one I thought matched up to Mathilde's dance, but Mathilde was pretty blinded by the stage lights, and she dropped the fans at almost every toss : ( But in the end a woman won who did a hula type number. She was alright, but you could tell the audience was really rooting for her. I guess she has tried a few years now and has never won, but never really came out of her shell either, but she gave this dance her absolute all, and it was pretty wonderful when she won because you know she really needed the prize money by how she shook and cried. It was very sweet.

Now, I'm sure you've heard about Flash Mobs (at this point, I had not, but I am very removed from information as a dirty backpacker), but what I attended was not a Flash Mob, but a Subtle Mob. Steevie really wanted to go, but to attend this one you needed a partner, and his partner couldn't make it at the last minute, so I filled in. We had to either download or stream this audio bit for around 30 minutes at a Vulcan St. at 7:30pm to 8:00pm (part of the heart of Auckland CBD). Steevie downloaded part A, and I downloaded part B (hence needing a partner). So exactly at 7:30, you saw a bunch of random window shoppers hit play on their headphone devices, and we observed in pairs as we were all more or less listening to the same voice in our heads. We were instructed to not pay attention to anyone other than our partner, and to not take any kind of photo or video of the Subtle Mob because then it wouldn't be so subtle, would it? Then music began, and we listened to suggestions about the world around us as we followed the music like our own theme song, walking slowly around where we flet, noticing the rooftops we never noticed before, taking care to think about the different architectures, the different times the buildings around us must have been built, and to think on the different generations of people who built them. Then we would be given instructions, like to dance with our partner, and suddenly all these random people walking around Vulcan St. and the surrounding ones (such as Queen or High St.) began to have people dancing. Some of us slow danced, Steevie and I danced one side arms extended, the other on shoulder or waist. Then, we were instructed to break, and walk apart again. I was instructed to walk away and find a window to look into at merchandise. I began analyzing a shoe shop with several other people listening to part B. The part A people looked at us and wondered why we left, what we could be thinking, and the voice in their head gave them instructions on following different emotions. This half an hour became more and more intense, ending with the part A and B people looking deeply into each others eyes, contemplating the possibility of glimpsing the other's soul... All in all, it was a very good experience, but I was more often than not very uncomfortable with the amount of close touching we were instructed to do. I didn't really know Steevie, but he was always a very touchy feely kind of a guy, and you know me.

And now, for my big confession, the last weekend of the month I was talked into attending my first LARP convention! It was 3 days of all sorts of different games you could be in. I only signed up for the main game on Saturday night. We had over 100 people sign up for that event! Most of the other games ranged from about 6 – 12 people at a time, so this event was a really big deal. The whole convention is called Chimera, and the event I paid to join was A Town Called Refuge, set in the USA in the old west. Hahaha, me and one of my roommates Juliet would have the best southern accents (Kiwis have a really hard time mimicking American accents, but at the same time, I can’t do theirs either!) Juliet moved here when she was 7 from the states, so she is really more Kiwi than American, but you can still hear the Minnesota in her voice sometimes. She helped me figure out my costume, and I gave her my boots for her super hero LARP. A Town Called Refuge was being written my Vanya, Prema, and about 2 other people, and they made characters for every single person, with linked back stories and all. I was a farmers wife of a no good son of a bitch! I had one daughter who was getting involved with this woman gang in our town, so one of my goals for the night was to find out more information about what my daughter is up to, and try to keep her out of a life of crime. My other mission, was to make sure nobody discovered my secret identity. I moonlighted as the Masked Maiden at the local saloon (run by Anna). So to make money since my husband was letting our farm go to ruin, I was a hooker! So I had this awful farmer’s wife get up, and then I had this awesome corset and dress outfit with a mask, and to top it off, I hung black lace under the mask since it only covered my eyes, so you really really couldn’t tell it was me. To top it off, I tossed on a red curly wig. I even switched my accent from hick as the farmer, to southern bell as the hooker. It was great fun once I got into it! Then, Anna had this big speech she was giving to the town, and she asked me (on the night) to sing the national anthem!

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I always get stuck on that part about ramparts! I had the whole thing, but I couldn’t get that last part. I went around asking everyone who was taking a break in the “sex” rooms if they knew that time (out of character), and nobody did. Anna told me to just make it up, and none of them would know the difference, but I was so nervous, I couldn’t do it! Beth told me that she knew America the beautiful from Sesame street, and I said that was good enough for me. Her voice was going because she had a cold, but I asked if she could sing with me anyway, just incase I forgot the lyrics. So here we are, in front of a hundred LARPers, singing America the beautiful:

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At the end of the game we voted for best dressed, and best actor, and then we had a big whoha about the game, and everyone’s favorite parts. The game ended with 5 minutes to go, and the girl gang blew up the saloon, killing everyone in the main hall. I was in the “sex” rooms consoling my daughter that her momma really wasn’t missing, and that she told Anna’s character that she wasn’t feeling well, so she went home. We also were told what the smiley faces on our nametags were. Only the hookers had these different symbols on their nametags, and apparently a smiley face meant you didn’t have sipholous. A frowny face meant you did, and now so does everyone you slept with. I did not have sipholous I am happy to say.

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In LARP couples:

(My friend Mathilde and Prima's boyfriend Walter)
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Out of LARP couples:

(My friend Jack and his girlfriend, and finally Prima and Walter)
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My LARP groups:

My loving farm family:
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Saloon Girls:
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Everyone!!!
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Secret to finding me and my future bf Patrick:
Look at the back wall. See the gun being held up? Look at the girl in the straw hat in front of the guy holding up the gun (thats me). Now do you see the wall hanging? Look at the guy 2 to the left of the guy straight under that symbol.

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Posted by - Rain 16:24 Comments (0)

Flight of the Conchords

The next evening Joe and I headed out to the Airport, and it wasn't dark yet, but we were flying into the night. (New Zealand was 2 hours ahead of us here in Sydney.) Joe was staying with a boy called Jason, and I was staying with the warrior woman Anna. When we arrived in Auckland Joe needed my computer because he had yet to nail down directions to Jason's place. I had bus directions followed by a short walk for Anna's place. Goodbye Sydney and your flying foxes!

Sydney Airport art:

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I was a little looking forward to just moving on in New Zealand, and it was dark when we landed. Joe hopped on my computer, and I admit, I was a bit impatient. We waited for what it seemed like forever for him to try email Jason and then try calling him on a payphone, but to no avail. It was around 9pm now, and I wanted to get the hell out of the airport and find Anna's place before midnight. I gave her a call. "Hi Anna, this is Blair" (My newest attempt at renaming myself. I no longer felt like Rain.) "I was just wondering, Joe doesn't have directions to his couchsurfer's place, so can he stay with you tonight?" "I'm okay with it as long as you are okay with it... are you okay with it?" "Yeah, I'm used to it." She had already accepted Joe to stay with her next week, and she didn't mind him moving the time. I also had plans to stay with Jason next week. I guess Auckland is a small city after all.

That night I was really sick, so it was nice having Joe around to help carry things. We got on the airport bus, then got off after a half hour or so at K' Rd. and Queen. I guess K' Rd is actually what they call it, since not even the Aucklanders really pronounce Karangahape Road right. Then we could pick up a bus, or walk about 20 minutes to her place. Yeah, I'd heard that one before. I wanted to pick up the bus. Joe wanted to walk. So, we walked. I couldn't believe my eyes! There were all of these strip clubs, and gay bars, and nude private show rooms, and sex shops! To top it off, I think we passed a transvestite prostitute on a street corner! Where the hell were we! I thought NZ was going to be all cute and full of Hobbits! After crossing a street that looked a bit more upscale to the one we were on, things became all boonies like with all sorts of car dealerships. We even passed a BMW, Lexus, Audi, and all sorts of other high end cars that looked like something out of a James Bond movie, but it only had a fence about waist high, no barbed wire, no chain linked fence, just a cute little black one you might have at a cafe or something.

We almost passed her street, but we had to cross the road because of construction, and then saw her street sign. Her street literally plummeted into the dark! I had a hard time trying not to just running down her street the slope was so strong. Then we came to a house with a deer shape white tinted against a glass window in a door. "I think that’s it." I said to Joe as we pondered the meaning of the "1/28" in her address. "The mailbox says 28..." Well, I guess 1 means the first floor? We knocked. "Doors open!" a jovial voice called out to us. We pushed it in, and there was a long corridor with a bright light down the hall. "Come in, come in!" We peered into what must have been the living room. Anna was sitting there with a group of friends sitting in a circle around a bunch of Indian food. "You just missed Acrobatics!" They told us. I guess it was a ritual for them to go to the Bollywood Indian restaurant after Acrobatics for $10 take out, then eat it back at Anna's. One boy Derek managed a back flip while attached to some ropes, I wasn't quite sure the set up, but again, I was sick and very tired. There was also a girl from France named Mathilde who was once Anna's couchsurfer, but then decided to move to Auckland and became absorbed in Anna's role playing, sword fighting, belly dancing, circus group! She was dating this boy called Ben, and there was also a girl called Louise. They said that we could sleep in the little storage room, or that they would be clearing out of the living room soon and we could sleep on some pillows in there. We didn't want to intrude, and privacy always sounds nice, so Joe and I took bunk up in the storage room.

There was a ton of stuff in it, but there was also a small one person mattress on the ground. Just one of those fold up camping ones, but Joe and I could have managed. "I can sleep on some pillows," I let him know, and so I stole some out of the lounge, and made a bed in the space next to the mattress. Joe ended up deciding to switch places with me as the mattress was smaller than the large pillows, and in the jumbling of moving bodies as I was dying with this stuffed, running, itchy nose, he held me. Then, as prompted by last nights cuddling, we kissed, for the first time since Japan. My symptoms were paused. Then, after the kiss, someone pressed play and my illness acted up all over again. The reprieve was enough incentive, so we kissed again. I could breath, my headache was gone, this refocusing put me in such a better place, that I actually didn't want to stop. I knew the deal, Joe was leaving for Canada, we were finished, and there was no hope for us, at least not in the near future. Maybe 5, 10 years down the line, but that was it. I didn't want a new relationship either, so maybe this was the last opportunity I had to have sex in a really long time. "Do you want to?" I answered with an inside joke, "Please don't stop.” (From a night I was so drunk that Jenna and Joe had to take my jacket off for me, and in the mist of all the moving around I said, “No... Please... Don’t.... Stop!” letting them know I was perfectly happy sleeping in my coat. I have never lived down how the pauses I thought I was putting between the words just really didn’t happen in my slurring.) So, back to the point, we didn't stop, for the first time since Japan. Afterwards, I went to sleep in a peaceful bliss. No harsh whooping coughs, no runny nose, no unbelievably blocked nasal passages, and the itching in the back of my throat was finally soothed.

We ended up having to fix my sickness 3 times that night, and in the heat of it all I lost my beautiful nose ring I had only been able to wear since Australia (not a Japanese or Chinese thing). It was an actual hoop ring I got in Hawaii that I loved because of its unique design, and that is also what led to it getting twisted out. (Guess that’s better than the alternative) The dance was actually some of the best dancing we had done in, well, what could possibly have been years, if even ever! Joe thought so as well. He asked me about it, and my answer was I was dancing for myself for the first time in a very long while, just for me, not for anyone else, not for my partner, not for anyone but me. This made it better for both of us, who knew? All this time I have been sacrificing this amazing dancing for mediocre dancing in detriment to the both of us. If I had only been dancing for myself all these years, it would have been better for him too. Oh well, I guess there is something to say for a man who can pull enjoyment out of the pleasure given to another.

Joe decided he would stay with Anna for the next few days, and then go to Jason's, and I would meet him there after I stayed with the girl and the large dark framed glasses. So for now, here was the plan: day schedule: Shop on Trade Me (NZ fusion of Craigslist and Ebay) for a flat, print out CV's (what they call resume's here) and hand them out, all while seeing the city. Anna told me the nice street we passed before we made it to the car dealerships was a good place for a lot of cafe's, so I figured I would start there. Joe was really uninterested in starting this process up straight away, so Anna gave him directions to a local park where he went and did Kung Fu while I worked on the internet all day looking for flats.

Wednesday night is Bellydance class for Anna, and Couchsurfing drinks. Unfortunately, her class is during drinks, so she dropped us off at drinks early, and then told us that we could meet her and some of her classmates at the Gelato shop down the Warf from the drinks after her class. So we stayed at drinks, met a bunch of Auckland's couchsurfing community, and we were offered some nights on a guys boat! Joe is thinking about teaching Kung Fu as payment for a longer passage on their boat, but I told them that I'm not so good with boats. We left drinks around 9 to meet Anna at ice cream, and then from there she showed us how to catch a bus back to her place.

The next evening Anna told us where I could meet Louise and Ben for medieval sword fighting training. They train with real metal weapons and shields, and Joe was of course very excited. Anna and more of her group used to be involved with this group, but there was a bad break up involved, so sides were something of an issue. Ben and Louise I guess are part of the few that didn't choose sides.

To get to Auckland University where they held sword fighing outside the biology building in the greens we walked through Albert Park in the center of Auckland:

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Looking back on the city:

Queen Victoria:

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Now, looking away from the way we came, and towards Auckland university:

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Yeah, that clock tower is their student center. Really cool. It looks like something out of Rivendale.

When we got there we were handed large, heavy metal swords, and then lined up against 2 experienced fighters, and we ran through stances, and some drills. We were really excited to join in what they call “line battles,” where one line of 4 or 5 faces another, and the two teams spar in real chain mail and armor (Ben makes his own)! But they told us that we were a bit too unpredictable at this point, so we had to have another week or 2 of one on one training before we were allowed to spar. That seemed really reasonable considering I spent over 5 years at Green Dragon and we were never supposed to open spar each other (which of course we did, and I always ended up the one getting hurt).

Friday evening Anna’s friend was in a play, so Joe and I were invited to come and watch a Robin Hood Men in Tights esque show. (Prima was cast as little Billy in the show because it was a community theater comedy show, so they cast the best actors, not necessarily for the proper gender). But before we left, one of Vanya’s best friends came to pick Vanya up for a thing they were going to. His name was Patrick, and he was very weird. He has this really deep Walter Cronckite voice, but with an English accent. I asked if he was British, but apparently he was Kiwi, and was a little put off by lighthearted question. I pushed even further by asking if he was a hit man. He was dressed in a long black leather trench coat, leather gloves, black dress pants, shiny black boots that looked like high end military issue, a white collared shirt, and a red vest with a red tie. He laughed an extremely good laugh, and informed me that no, he wasn’t a hit man. Vanya came up to me dressed in a Untouchables ~esque outfit and explained to me that they were going to a LARP event. “A who-se-what-y?” L-ive A-ction R-ole P-lay. “Like a reenactment?” “No, not at all” He explained it like adlib theater, except without the audience. “So, its like when I used to play dress up when I was a kid, but more organized?” “Yeah, that’s pretty much it.” Well, at least they were honest about it. Quite frankly, I didn’t get how all the rules worked, and there was some sort of Dungeons and Dragons ~esque dice/ card thing involved as well, I don’t really know, but hey, I’ll try anything out once. They invited me to this huge convention in a few weeks, and I told them that if I wasn’t working, I’d be happy to try it out.

The next evening Vanya was having his 23rd birthday party, so when I got back on Saturday evening there were all sorts of strange people arriving. Their small flat filled up really quickly and I feel as though I was kinda thrown into the deep end of Vanya’s crazy friends as Joe was already at Jason’s place. All the men had their shirts off by halfway though the party, and most of them were either wrestling each other, or yes, kissing. Most of the girls seemed to bait this more than anything else, and I think I may have also been partially to blame. “No you would not!” “No really, we do this kind of stuff all the time.” “I don’t believe it.” And to that Vanya grabbed this really tall kid and kissed him straight up on the lips! Now Vanya is really very straight from what I could tell, but this party was not for the homophobe of heart.

The next week I stayed at the girl with the thick glasses place, and she made the best mac and cheese bake I have ever had! And she used mustard! I scrunched my nose at it by accident, and she told me not to worry, and that I would love it. (She was absolutely right.) It was a bit of a fiasco getting ot her place though. I got off the train late at night (as they both were working late that evening), and I was in the middle of nowhere. They told me to just get off the train, and they would be there to pick me up. Well, there were 4 really long ramps leading down 2 stories out of the station to 4 corners. I didn’t know which to take. I guessed wrong and ended up in an industrial park that was void of any pay phones or open businesses. Eventually I managed to find a security guard who was sweeping a building, and he let me use his cell phone. When Wesley picked me up, he told me that the other side has payphones and a late night Dairy (what they call convenient stores).

After a few days at their place I met up with Joe at Jason’s, and he was something else. Joe and Jason had obviously already had time to bond, so when I got there it was very easy to just slide right into the book discussions and talking about Burring Man. Apparently Jason had been there previous years, and he was going again for this years. He said New Zealand had one called Kiwi Burn, but as with all things New Zealand, it just wasn’t the same magnitude or forethought. Under different circumstances, I think I may have developed a bit of a crush on Jason. He was a free spirit who had his own business selling books that he collects around the world. Books here in New Zealand are about 4 times as expensive on average as they are in the states because they import all their books. So Jason makes a killing selling all sorts of novels that we take for granted. He was shocked when I told him that I had a copy of Fountainhead but I hadn’t read it yet because it was just kinda long and didn’t capture me like Anthem. “You have a book that you own, but you don’t want to read it?” “I got it for like a quarter at a garage sale.” “Like a quarter of a hundred, or a quarter American coin?” “The coin.” He almost had a conniption fit. Apparently, $25 for a used book was a good price in New Zealand. Less than $10 was unheard of.

After Jason’s place I was back at Anna’s for just a few more days while I settled which place I was moving into. I decided I liked her part of town, so I would find a place close by. My first appointment was at a house just 5 minutes walk.

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When I got there, Prima answered the door. “Its you!” I told her! “Its me?” She didn’t remember me. “Don’t you remember? I saw you in a play for like 2 hours, and you met me for like 2 seconds afterwards, I’m Anna’s couchsurfer.” She smiled and explained to me that she didn’t really remember, but she was happy to see me anyways. The room for rent was the first one on the left. She opened the door to this huge room with a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. There was a bed, a dresser, and a desk with a shelf already in the room. All the floors were hard wood, and my window was a cute little double door with glass windows. “My sister left her oriental paper umbrella and the silks she got in Thailand up there” she pointed to the extremely tall walls of the room “because they were too high for her to take down, but we can bring in a latter to get them down for you if you don’t want them.” I gave her a huge smile, “No, I think they are great! Can I have the room?” I was so happy to meet a person I already know, and to live with a friend of a friend, in this beautiful bedroom, all by myself! “Don’t you want to see the rest of the house?” I pointed showed her I was curbing my enthusiasm, and I gave a fake cough and said “Yes, of course, let me think about it while we look at the rest of hte place.” She smiled, she had a good sense of humor.

Down the stairs, dining room to the right:
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Kitchen to the left:
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Living room next to the kitchen with 3 bedrooms up the small stairs behind it:
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windows to the backyard -> dining room -> stairs back upstairs (picture taken in the kitchen):
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Backyard:
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The stairs that lead back up to the 4 upstairs bedrooms:
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To the left of the stairs the upstairs people's fridge & only house washroom further through to the left:
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The kitchen was pretty dirty, and the 2 fridges were fully stuffed, and smelled kinda moldy, the bathroom was filled with cobwebs, and I don’t think anyone was too worried about the daddy long legs that lived in the tall ceilings. There were 4 bedrooms on the first floor, and the second floor was down stairs because the street was so severely sloped that each floor led outside. The second floor had 3 bedrooms, one living room, one dining room, one kitchen, 2 refrigerators, one shower and bath, and one toilet. Yes, that’s 7 bedrooms, one toilet. She told me that she had WOOFers at her parent’s farm, but that we couldn’t have coushsurfers here because of the facility limitations. But still, I was so enthused to live there! My own place! It had been almost a year since I had a place I could call my own! I just wanted to have a bed that I could close a door and just do nothing! Best of all, they had internet (a commodity here in New Zealand). I told her I’d want the place for 6 months, and she told me her sister would only be gone for 4, but she would talk it over with her folks (the owners of the house). It seemed like a waist to me to try and rent the place out for only four months, and apparently they agreed, because they said that her sister would just move back in with their parents for 2 months! And with that, and a good word in from Anna about me, and I moved in that Wednesday!

view from my room:
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Auckland City Center at night from where we do Acro:

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Posted by - Rain 20:17 Comments (0)

Chiu Chiu!

Yeah, I wasn’t the first person to tell her that one.

So yesterday I was pretty tired from my excursion with Davi-da, so I took it easy, and went to the free art gallery in town right next to the harbor. They were having some sort of an art show where you can do a walk through the Royal Gardens and see artists, go to the gallery for free at the harbor, and I was supposed to be meeting coushsurfers to take the ferry to another gallery on the other side of the harbor... but we never ened up connecting. I waited forever, and even called the organizer a few times: "Oh, we are here now, meet us here, oh we moved, sorry, lets try again, oh, we already left!" bla bla bla. So I took the walk by myself, and had a look at the art gallery, but it was all really uninteresting modern art in my opinion, and I just felt stuffy, so I didn't bother continuing the Art Walk (no pictures of the art, so here are some photos of the harbor again, these ones I stole from Joe).

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Now again, it may look late at night, but you have to remember its winter here! Picture 3 feet of snow everywhere, and realize that its only 5pm, but it looks so dark because the sun sets early in winter... so yeah, their winter feels like our spring, but they still have early sunsets. While the sun was setting, I got on the ferry for one last trip out, and I ended up going too far. I tried hopping off at a dock in the middle of no where to turn around, and I ended up having to wait for the same ferry to pick me up on the way back to Circular Que! I was so scared and cold being lost in the middle of nowhere in the cold on the river. When I made it back to dry land and back to Ed's place, he still wasn't there!

Today I’m back with Chiu! She worked today and tomorrow, but then she had her days off so we could actually hang out! Yay! Today was also one of the inner city market days, so I took Chiu's directions to where a bunch of tents were set up with all sorts of goodies inside. Honestly though, I was pretty disappointed by the prices. They were about the same if not more than some of the fancy shops in town. So much for getting a discount for cutting out the middleman and rent/ electricity/ toilet facility costs etc. Oh well. She also told me I had to see Bondi Beach, and that she couldn’t believe I hadn’t made it there yet (it was the beach in Sydney). I thought it was rather exciting myself, as there was not a single bad-looking surfer to be had. Hawaii was a bit of a bust in that department, as Laura discovered. The only semi good looking surfer who she was settling to stalk with her camera, Joe got in the way of the photo in protest of her lack of hope and or patience. So these ones are for you Laura:

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That evening I went back up to Ed's place to pick up my stuff and transfer it to Chiu's, and I actually met Ed again! "Rain, I thought you were leaving today!" You could see the look of worry in his eye, did he over book couchsurfers? I met his 2 German surfers while he was in the shower, and we talked forever about our travels, it was great! (I love Germans) But I assured him that I just had to wait for my other couchsurfing host to get home from work to let me in, so I left my backpack here until she got off from work.

Saturday the Winter Festival began! So I headed back to Bondi Beach and spent the whole day with German music at an October Festival feeling event. And here they had, as advertised, the largest ice rink on a beach in the world!

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That evening Chiu was going to hang out at her boyfriend’s, and asked if I’d like to come along. “No, that’s okay, I’ll be fine on my own.” I didn’t want to intrude. “No, I want you to come Rain.” The look she gave me told me that I would not be a third wheel, and maybe he would be.

We went out for pizza, and then watched some really bad Australian helicopter rescue drama series. The night was pleasant I thought. Then Chiu and I went back to her place. Joe was arriving tomorrow. I think the dynamic of the day will be similar as it was this evening. Mates before Dates! (I think I may have made that one up, you like? It came to me a few weeks ago, concerning Laura and Patrick. But as always, that’s another story entirely.)

The next day Chiu began with her regular morning activities that require me to hold back with the anticipation of a puppy waiting for food/ going out for a walk. I kept looking at here with my pouty brown eyes. When she is finally ready for social interaction after her morning coffee and smoke, I hop up and down and start to salivate all over... yeah, I really don’t, but you get the allusion. Today we went shopping again. You’d think that she didn’t have time during the week to shop... yeah, she really doesn’t. Getting home at 8 or later in Australia is like a death sentence. Almost all the shops close at 5pm, and the ones that stay open are really only supermarkets and chemists.

We searched forever for some red appliances for her kitchen, but there is a surprising lack of shopping options in Sydney. Every place sells the same damn thing, and any kind of variety is in trinkets. Even their Target blows. You know how you can enter that store thinking I want to buy a purple elephant balancing on a yellow bouncing ball, and you can find it? I assured Chiu that at least Target should have red stuff, since that’s their signature color... but no. You could get white, or silver. WTF mate? At this point I wished I was only a traveller going back to my home soon so I could post her a bunch of stuff from our proper Targets, but I was going to New Zealand, and apparently they come to Australia for the better shopping... doomed, I’m doomed.

Also, today I just put it out there and told Chiu that Joe and I were over. Yeah, I know, maybe there is hope, but no, not really. Joe needed to become independent of me, get a job, go back to school, and get his life in order without me. Hopefully after settling down in New Zealand he would do all of these things, and then there was always his issues with me that would have to be dealt with. But I assumed that most of his issues with me would be solved once I was off his back about my issues with him. Surprisingly, Chiu said “Good for you!” You would think she may have some allegiances left to Joe, since she met him first, or some need to hope for the happy ending to our relationship so that their might be hope for one of her own. But no, she understood, and I think she knew what was coming for her, regardless of what became of Joe and I. I think she was even rooting me on, to do what she could not bring herself to do in her own relationship. But then, and I think this may have had some effect on her decision to encourage my separation from Joe, she dropped a bomb on me. “Rain, you know, Joe doesn’t plan on staying in New Zealand for very long right?” What was she talking about? What did she know that I didn’t? What had changed in the last few weeks since we had been apart? “He told me that college was too expensive overseas, so he is going to fly to Canada and live with his parents, and maybe enroll in university as a dual Canadian/ American citizen.” This news hit me like a fucking piano in a loony tune. Why had he confided in Chiu this huge life changing decision, and not even given me so much as a hint? Is this why he was so enthused to see me? Because he knows time is running out before we might never see each other again? If he goes to live with his parents in Canada, that’s it for us. I am not going to Canada, and when is he ever coming back to this side of the planet? Not with his finances anyways.

I don’t know what to think.

How could he keep this from me?

Lie to me; tell me how much he wants to see me...

How much he has missed me...

What game is this?

Why?

How?

How could he?

After everythi...

Words...

... there should be words...

...

... thoughts...

... ideas...

...

... I can’t move.

My breathing was becoming too shallow, so much so that I gasped for air.

“hmmmmmmMMMMMMM!”

“Hhhhhhaaaaaaa” – heavy exhalation.

Chiu: “Are you okay?”

The fog in my brain was clearing, I was breathing again, oxygen was once again being transported from my lungs, into my blood, and to my brain. Clarity. I was free. Once again, Joe had made a decision for us that broke me from any kind of hesitation. He was nothing to me anymore. A person who I maybe liked to hang out with, but at the end of the day, I pay him no mind. I go home as friend acquaintances. His thoughts, opinions, sentences, all roll off of me like watching a television program you didn’t intent to see, but it was the only thing on. I had no more feelings of betrayal, no more feelings of sadness, no more feelings of isolation. I was on the other side of the world from everyone I loved, and I was leaving the only friend I knew in Australia for another foreign country, and I was going to do it on my own. And why not? This was the permanent separation we needed; least we fall back into the comfort of what was.

Thank you Joe.

Now I don’t have to wonder “What if?”

And speak of the devil, Joe arrived late that evening, and told us of his adventures up north. He apparently couchsurfed with a family in the rainforest, and hitchhiked with some Australian hillbillies who took him back to their place and gave him Milo dry on top of milk. Milo is Australia’s drinking chocolate powder. It tastes like Olvelteen’s malt mix, but they must not lace it with as much crack, because I don’t find it remotely addictive. And you can’t eat a spoon of it like you can with Olvelteen, as you can crunch, and allow to melt in your mouth. Milo is too much of a powder, so you just choke on it, therefore this idea of purposefully not dissolving the Milo in the milk was unappetizing. This is why it was surprising when Joe went on and on about how good this was, and then when Chiu and I tried his milk with an inch of Milo floating on the surface, neither of us refrained from the scrunched nose followed by raised eyebrow look. I think he must have liked it because of all the drugs they were on, or maybe it was just the one drug, you know, it all blends together at one point. And to be honest, I really wasn’t soaking in his words like I used to. Then Chiu realized something that neither Joe nor myself had yet to figure out. “Joe, didn’t you say that you’re flying out on Tuesday?” I looked at him, “what time?” We were leaving at the same time on the same day. “Are you flying to Auckland?” He asked me. “Of course I am!” Auckland was the biggest city in New Zealand; it was like asking someone who was moving to California from overseas if they were flying into LAX. We were on the same flight, sitting only rows away from each other. The odds wouldn’t even come into play; our lives were just like that.

When we were getting ready for bed Chiu took me aside and asked me if I would be okay sleeping on the futon in the couchsurfing room with Joe, or if I wanted her to put Joe on the sofa in the tv room. I told her I would be fine, and honestly, it was probably comforting more than anything to have him there again when I sleep, as it has been hard to fall asleep in a bed by myself after so many years with him there. She looked at me and understood immediately, even though the psychologist in her wanted to say differently. I seriously loved this woman.

The next day Chiu needed the day to herself as she had a lunch party planned weeks ago, and she needed time to cook. So Joe and I planned for our last day excursion in Australia. I told him that I had been traveling all over Sydney, but I hadn’t really been in the city, mostly out as far away from the city as I could get. So he told me he would take me on a tour as he spent most of his time inside the city since he didn’t buy the multi pass like I did.

First off, the University of Sydney, one of his favorite spots as he went here a lot to talk to Professors and see about enrollment. No word yet about his decision to enroll in Canada. I would let it slide for now, but if this went on for too long, I would say my peace, regardless as to the unrest my peace would thereby ensue.

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Joe can probably revise the exact location of a lot of these photos, that is, if he reads the blog anymore. I kinda thought the blog was going to be a joint effort, but looking back, you can see that he hasn’t actually written a blog since we left California, and even then there weren’t many. I guess this is more of a diary for myself in the end. I never was too pleased with his summery of what we did. He, I think, was using this as a diary as well. But more about what he was thinking at the time, and not so much about what we were doing. I hope I’ve done a bit of both. I cross my fingers that he will eventually blog in the Forgotten Passage about our 2 remaining months in China, because he has asked about where to put those blogs, and he probably has better/ fonder memories. If not, I will eventually get there, and try to do it justice, but this is all a bit much for me to go over on my own.

Today the Glebe Market would also be open, so Joe and I headed over there next.

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Here, Joe was insistent on playing with the hats, you could tell I wasn’t amused, and moments later we got reprimanded for fucking around when people are actually browsing to buy things. Yeah, looking up to be a great day!

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I liked the place for what it had, and Joe liked the acupuncture stuff (I'm pretty sure they would give you treatment right there and then), but again, it was all very far out of my price range. I was actually looking for things to buy for when I settled down in New Zealand, but you could tell that Joe wasn’t, after all, he had no plans of settling down. I brought this up (so much for me and the silent treatment). “Oh, did Chiu tell you that?” No shit Sherlock! He went on to explain that if he lived in Canada for the next 2 years he could become a citizen. He had 5 years to spend 2 in Canada, and basically that started 3 years ago. So he has to be living in Canada no later than December this year. He told me that he has already bought his ticket for November 18th, so we still have some time to say goodbye. Quite frankly, I wished it was sooner. If he was going to leave, I just wanted him gone so I could move on with my life. I had no idea at that point, the purgatory that awaited me.

Joe wanted to get back to Chiu’s and use my laptop for a bit, so I told him I would see them later that night. I wanted to say goodbye to the Opera House my last night, and I needed some time alone, even though it had only been a day since we were back “together.”

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Sitting there, looking at the Opera House all light up looking like a white dove in the night... a man approached me and asked me if I knew where such and such was. “I’m sorry, I have no idea.” “Ahhh, your are American.” No shit Sherlock! He took my cultural heritage as a sign that he should sit down next to me. All right, alone time not so much anymore. “Are you here in Sydney all by yourself?” No, I told him, I was here with my friend Joe. “And where is he now?” “He is with our Australian friend back at her place.” Questions, questions, questions. “And how about you, why are you here by yourself? Are you feeling lost, metaphorically speaking of course since I was the one who asked you for directions?” Really, does a girl looking out at the ocean by herself mean that I must be thinking on some dark emotion or lost in some manner? Okay, truth be told, I was, but that wasn’t the point. I decided to just play along. If he was going to be all friendly and intrusive, I wasn’t going to get all uptight and bothered about it. I decided to instead put the heat on him and see how he liked it. He was Indian by nationality, but he was a permanent resident of New Zealand. Right now he was traveling on a spiritual retreat with his fellow Buddhists. Sure, why not, I really didn’t care if he was on his way to Disneyland with his 7 children, as long as he didn’t ask me fore money, I took the conversation for what it was.

Now the psychic energies were flowing, he had spoken to me, our hearts had connected, and he could read me. I was born in 1983. I was surprised by this, “Very good!” I exclaimed. No one this entire trip ever guessed my age before! And in general, they always guess about 4 years younger than I was. Well, props for him, he could work at a carnival guessing peoples ages and weights. Anyways, then he went on to guess my sign, guess my family relationships, guess how many boyfriends I have had, guess my personality type. It was like taking one of those quizzes on the internet that tell you which Lord of the Rings character your are most like. Then we got into my problems with Joe. Why not, he was a good listener, and he wanted to move the conversation to the local Starbucks. If he was a conman, he was either very good, or very bad, moving our conversation from the very dark and private to the bright and crowded.

Here, he began to piss me off. “You will never have another happy and healthy relationship with a man unless” “You can stop right here.” He wanted to be rude and blunt, so could I. “I don’t need to do anything to fix my aura, my aura is hurt, as they tend to get, and time and friends will fix that.” He told me that I may be right in most cases, but in my circumstance, I was wrong, and I needed help way fast. He told me that he could heal my aura with a simple ritual with candles, incents and oils. I told him sure, why not, there was no sense arguing the point, obviously he was not hear to listen to what I thought. He was just here to listen to my problems, and then give me his solution. What a fucking man. “Well, there is a dairy” (what Aussies call a convenient store) “just around the corner. Lets get the candles there, incents at the hippy store just across the street, and the oils at one or the other, depending on the type of oils you needed.” There, sorted. “Okay, yes, we can do that, but where can we go to do the ritual? We needed to be alone.” “Right over there!” I pointed to the small park that was easily viewable from all sides, one by the harbor, the two sides by 2 rows of shops, and then the last side was on the main bus road to pick up and drop off people to the harbor. “Oh no, people will be walking by, they will disturb the ritual.” “Its Monday night! The few people who are walking by aren’t cutting through the park, it will be nice!” But no, it just wouldn’t do. “What about your place?” “Like I told you, I am staying with a friend, and my ex is with her as well, that is a very bad environment to do a cleansing ritual.” Then he said that he couldn’t sit anymore and he needed to walk. It had been over an hour now, and I wanted to leave now that he was getting all demanding rather than listing and giving generally nice advice. But then he insisted I follow him just a bit longer, and we would just take the 5-minute train to Darling Harbor, and if I didn’t like what he had to say, I could go back to my friends. Short of telling him to fuck off, which I wasn’t sure if I wanted to yet since he started off being a really nice conversationalist, I agreed. He was taking me to another brightly lit crowded place, so, why not. When we walked through the train station, there was a man who worked there wearing a turban (many in this city do), and he nodded at my “friend” and gave a little wave. My “friend” returned this gesture, and I wondered, how are you friends with this man if you only just arrived from New Zealand?

At Darling Harbor he sat me down on a bench facing him, as he said you have to in order to hold a proper conversation, things went from uncomfortable to creepy uncomfortable. “Is this bothering you?” He asked as he put his arms on my shoulders, and began caressing my hair. “Yes, yes it is, I’d appreciate it if you stopped doing that, otherwise...” “You see, I can tell you are closed off, sexually.” Here it comes, my life story about growing up sheltered, thereby producing this prude woman who will never feel free to sexually express myself. “I sexually express myself all the time! And I don’t sexually express myself all the time at the same time! I am free as in I choose where when and how I express myself, sexually, without the need to please others in the process, and if you don’t like it, then we can continue not dating each other!” No, no, no, that wasn’t his point, he didn’t want to date me, no, never, he wanted to release me from my bonds and allow me to find true happiness! But to do that I would have to be comfortable with him touching me, and rubbing oils on me, and oh yeah, getting naked! “Well, your right about me, you saw me, called me out on my every social stigma, and I’m not doing your ritual with you, no way no how, I’d rather grow up alone and unloved.”

He saw the definitiveness of that statement, and suddenly, the song changed. Oh, he didn’t have to be there for the ritual. He could just mail me the supplies, and I could do it in the privacy of my own home! Good god how wonderful! “That’s so great!” I told him. “Here, write down the shopping list for me of things I need to buy, and what to do with them, and I’ll do it when I get home!” Oh no, no, no, I needed to give him my address, and he would ship the items to me, because there was also this crystal I needed. “Crystal? We didn’t need one before when we were going to do this right now tonight if only I had a private room we could go to.” Yes, but that was when he was performing the ritual, now that I would be doing it by myself, I would need a blessed crystal that he would have to get from his monk’s temple back in New Zealand. Oh, okay then, but I didn’t have an address since I was leaving for New Zealand tomorrow! “But wait, that’s perfect!” I told him! “I can come meet you at your temple, and just buy the crystal then! What is the city you are from?” He couldn’t answer that question. “No, by then it will be too late, because he was not going to be in New Zealand again for a few months! He was on his way to visit relatives in India next! “Fiddlesticks!” I said, oh my god I was getting punchy at this point. You could tell I pissed him off with that exclamation, and I saw a bit of crazy peek out behind his smoked yellow eyes. “The only thing I can think of is this,” I appeased. I got out a sheet of paper from my purse; at the same time making sure my wallet was still there (crafty of me). On it I wrote down my email. “Please, email me with whatever you can, and then when I have a place, I can email you back with the address, and we can go from there.” I was betting that this long sting wasn’t going to go for that long, but this would be the test to how far down the rabbit hole he was willing to take me.

I got up to leave, and he told me “Wait wait wiat!” At least I could do this ritual with rocks to hold me over, and then maybe I’ll pull through. “No really, I don’t feel comfortable with you anymore, and I want to go home.” “Please, allow me to make it up to you, I didn’t mean to offend! I like you, I can tell you are a good person, I need to do something to help you, you deserve to find happiness again!” He was so damn genuine; I grabbed a handful of rocks and said go for it. “No, not these rocks, they are dirty!” He ended up walking me into the local shopping mall, and he stole some rocks from a potted tree! WTF Mate? My hand was clasped around my glass bottle for the past hour, and I was starting to feel a cramp. But he kept taking me to all these well-lit places with people everywhere, so I never just manned up and told him off. He sat me down by the water and had me swing my arm holding these now blessed rocks in a circle counter clockwise 5 times, and then I was to turn around, back to the water, and toss them over my head, then walk away without ever looking back to him. Son of a bitch I was going to get shot! No, I wasn’t, too many witnesses, and no reason to do so. I waved my arms around, cucked the rocks, and I fucking jogged out of there. And if his chubby ass wanted to follow me, I picked up the speed when I was around a corner and was going to make him work for it.

At the train station I noticed at white kid with a hoodie following me. Was he following me? Couldn’t I be just a bit on edge after the past 3 hours of being fucked with? I slowed down and looked at the platform map. He needed to look at it as well. Fair enough. I walked to the next map, and I looked at that one too. He didn’t need to see this one, but the water fountain only quenched his thirst once I was done reading. Fuck! I looked at the electric timetable and said “I’m going to be late!” And I ran to the soonest leaving train. All trains from Circular Que pretty much go through the Central station, and from there I would just hop on the correct train. When I sat down, I could see inside the car to all the other passengers since it was dark outside and the windows acted as mirrors. The kid in the white hoodie was a few rows back. This was beyond paranoia. He was following me. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck! What would be his reason to have someone follow me? And what is the connection between the Indian/ New Zealander, the Middle Eastern man, and this white boy? I made no move to get off at Central station until just as the beeping sound went off as the doors began to shut. “Fuck!” I exclaimed as I blocked the doors from closing, and I forced them open. Once through, people shook their heads at me disapprovingly, disgusted even, at my lack of train etiquette.

The train took off, there was no way to gracefully decided to jump off the train at the last minute. If he did he was busted, there was a security guard just 10 meters away, I would no doubt report the fucker, and if I was wrong, no harm no fowl, the kid would just have to go on his way, and I would board my train without him on it. I may even apologize for the misunderstanding.

Needless to say, when I got home I was engulfed with hugs and tears from both Chiu and Joe. They were very worried about me, and I had no phone they could call me on. I was shaking though, so they could tell that I didn’t need reprimanding. I needed hugs, and I needed comfort food. Joe went across the street to the Coles to get me some, and I let him. Chiu made me tea. The next day Joe and I didn’t fly out until the evening, so I was a little upset at how I wasted almost 3 hours of the few I had left in Sydney, but Joe and I still had most of the day tomorrow to get our things in order and get to the airport. Heavy sigh. Chiu waited to go to bed until Joe got back, she could tell I didn’t want to be left along (again, I cannot express how much I love this woman). Then after he made me oodles of food, I was finally ready to put my food coma to bed. He laid down with me on the photon, staying on his side like last night, and then asked me if I wanted another hug before I went to sleep. I couldn’t move from my curled fetal position, but I started to cry a little, and he moved in, put his arms around me, and I melted into his protective arms that wrap around my whole body in a perfect puzzle. I cried myself to sleep, and he let me, holding me tight the whole time. I don’t remember falling asleep, all I remember is burrowing my face into his sleeve repetitively thinking: I do not want to play this game anymore! “Daddy, tell the ride operator to stop, I want to get off!”

Posted by - Rain 14:34 Comments (2)

Gorgeous!

Oh yeah, and the Blue Mountains were amazing too.

Chiu told me to look on couchsurfing for people going on day trips through Sydney so I don’t always have to be by myself. I told her I liked being by myself, but it was admittedly getting a bit old at this point, so maybe a few day trips with new people would be nice. There was one post for a guy heading to the Blue Mountains for a hike, and it was a day after I was planning my own, but I told him I could just switch around my dates, see the Blue Mountains second, and Kiama first, and then we could go together.

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His name is Davi-da, and he is from Madrid. Oh my lord, if there ever was such a beautiful boy to go on a day trip to the mountains with! His pictures on couchsurfing were small, but you could tell he was handsome, but in person. I almost gasped when he sat next to me on the train. I told him flat out that he was the second most gorgeous man I had ever met in person. He was shocked and disappointed. “And who, might I ask,” he began with his Antonio Banderas accent, “Is the first?” Now, I had to give up my not so secret eye candy crush on Craig from Green Dragon Kung Fu. Now, after that, I also told him that he would not have to worry about me hitting on him because I simply cannot get involved with people better looking than I was, I just didn’t have the self esteem for it. Plus, like with all eye candy, he simply didn’t make that connection with me socially. He was simply too normal of a guy, with too normal of interests. I need a man with a little weird in him, what could I say? But still, I wouldn’t mind having him in my bed for a night... (but that’s a story for another day ^_^*)

First off we walked a short walk through town, turned down a group that wanted us to get on the Hop on Hop off bus tour, and found the 3 sisters!

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They were the first attraction at the main lookout from the city. There was an Aboriginal man there selling hand painted boomerangs, David bought one.

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I wish I had, but I really didn’t have the money, so I just gave him some change for the didgeridoo music. Then we looked at the trails, and we decided to go on the medium length one, not the short one that only looked out over the edge of the mountains, and not the really long one that took you on a bush walk through the valleys, but the one in the middle that took you to the base of the mountains, got you into some bush, and then brought you back up.

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I was happy for all of the waterfalls on the way down the mountain because David didn’t hike too fast for me, but his pace was a little quicker than the meander I would have picked.

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It was a nice walk though, it kept my mouth shut because we were going at a good speed, but it also didn’t push me too hard to where your nose runs, your heart beats a little too hard, and you start to get the cold sweat. It was actually perfect his speed, and he even let me lead here and there, but for the most part I told him I was more accustomed to following (I know, sick right? But true), and I would feel more at ease knowing that he wasn’t behind me hoping for me to speed up or slow down, that was my job (low self esteem and all). Also, I added that I would be happy following him anywhere (hahahaha). He was amused at my outlandish hitting on him without actually hitting on him. He was good looking, and he knew it, and he knew I knew it, and the sexual tension between us was nil, nonexistent, void. What could I say, it was splendid!

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Further into the forest he asked me “Do you hear that?” “Hear what?” <- My usual response. “Big ahhh,” now, he actually said this: “how you say...” do they really say that? His English was extremely rocky, so I would understand his Spanglish as best as I could, sometimes making him change his phrasing around, and giving him words here and there, but actually saying the phrase “how you say.” I thought people only said that when they were impersonating someone speaking English as a second language. Anyways, my heart swoons, “how you say... falling water?” So cute! I literally wanted to give him a great big hug and maybe pinch his cheeks! Okay, so I’m a little out of this being single game, give me a break, my ex is still saying we are together for Christ sake! Moving on, he thought we should take one trail at this fork, and I thought we should wait. “Wait until I can hear it.” I told him, and we paused. “No noise” I told him, and we waited, and I listened. He needed the break anyways, because like Joe, David had a bad back. While we waited I had him do the exercise Jessica (my older sister) gave to Joe at one point. She had him go up and down on one foot as many times as he could, and then the same on the other leg. One leg he could do it forever, the other he could only get to 10. The same thing happened to David. I told him that he needed to realign his hips, so I gave him some exercises to do while I listened for the waterfall.

After a few minutes I hear it, and had no idea where it was coming from, but I felt something telling me it was “that way.” “How do you make this decision?” he asked, knowing full well I have no hearing depth perception, and I told him “I just do.” So we went. And guess what...

I found it!

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Speaking of finding it, there should be a picture of the two of us here, but we took it with David’s camera, and I don’t have it! This will not do. I am emailing him now to tell him that I need proof that he put his arm around me. (hahahaha, I miss that kid) So that picture to come, hopefully in the next week or so. (I’m so excited!) It was really slippery by the way, and the family that took our picture all fell in the water when we took theirs, so David and I were very careful walking, and my boots were shit at this point, all warn out, so he actually caught me at one point. I told him that it would have been a turn on if I wasn’t so angry about it! (I’m a terrible damsel in distress.)

Now, what goes down, must go up. Here I did tell David he was going too fast for me. I stripped off my jacket, and my long sleeve shirt, and I was still getting that cold sweat. I am out of shape! China really got me in shape, but I did no hiking in Japan, so being a woman, once you don’t use it, you loose it. I would have to do something about that when I settle down in New Zealand. Totally going to go swimming again!

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On the way back we took a scenic rout around the town through their park system, and we found yet another waterfall:

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Then, as all beautiful things have to move on and change, David bid me farewell as we got off at the Central train station, and parted in our separate directions. He asked me where I was going, and he said that he would be in New Zealand in 2 months. I told him that I would hopefully have a place by then, and if I did, that he needed to come sleep on my couch. He told me it was a date. What a tease! He kissed me on my cheeks and wished me well, I told him the same, and said that I would say more, but I was just speechless. He laughed and said, “I did not think this was possible of you.” We smiled, shook our heads, and agreed that we would see each other “luego!”

This evening, once again, I came home to an empty house. Wow, when I was told he may not see me again, so far, so true.

Posted by - Rain 02:27 Comments (0)

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