It's our first rainy day in Sydney, and it's a weird rain at that. It'll pour for fifteen minutes, clear up, drizzle for another 10, clear up, storm like all hell for another 15, and then get all bright and happy for a solid half-hour before the skies tear open again. Like some inane child's temper tantrums, all day.
This is how Sydney looks from our hotel on this rainy morning:
Craig had an appointment this morning with the University Health Services about his foot, and they said he strained it and that he walks on the outside of his feet. They basically told him to buy some insoles and stop walking so goddamn much for a minute. We got him some insoles today, and he's already feeling better!
We know that you guys have been hearing a lot of whining about how expensive this place is, and how all the rent is too high, and we're tired and exhausted and whatnot. So, we thought now that we've got a place, we'll go ahead and tell you all the things that we really love about this shiny new city we're in.
So here you are, a short, sometimes illustrated, list...
1. There are birds here that sound just like our cat Cinco when she's upset. When she wants to go outside and we wouldn't let her, she would make this low sort of howl, and somehow, for some mysterious reason, these birds' calls sound exactly the same. It's wild, and it reminds us of home, and when we hear the birds, we imagine that Cinco's telling us that things will be allright. Which makes us sound crazy, but hell. We're upside down, mate!
2. Australia only gets about 5 non-cable channels, which is about the same as Atlanta if you are like me and refuse to consider the CW, CBS, myATL, and Peachtree TV.
We only get three of the five channels in our hotel room, and all of them are completely vapid. They spend hours talking about Kylie Minogue and any other Australian who has done anything anywhere. Anyway, the delightful thing is that the morning shows here spend nearly every morning making fun of World Youth Day and the Pope. For those in the dark, World Youth Day is actually an entire week (snap!) when the Pope visits some place that he, in all his pointy-hatted wisdom, deems ready for conversion. This year--SYDNEY!
So, one of the morning shows got hold of the gift bag that "pilgrims" get.
Slimy Morning Show guy #1: Ah! A flashlight! What do you suppose that's for, eh?
Slimy Morning Show guy #2: Oh, I don't know, mate, safety purposes?
Slimy Morning Show guy #1: Oh, probably to see the light, eh?
Slimy Morning Show guy #1 and #2: Hahaha!
And they spent the whole morning like this. It was great. And apparently, it made quite compelling television because I watched for at least an hour.
It seems like even the advertising for World Youth Day is sort of making fun of it, too. Brilliant. Check out this bus ad: it's a joke Stefan would make.
3. Now even though we aren't going to live in Surry Hills (or at least not yet), we did really like the neighborhood. It's got great views of the city, and we found a seriously crappy bar that had a lovely beer garden in the back. So, as long as you sit in the heated garden, you're apples, as they say. This one's for Joe, Judith, and all the Valdosta boys: the beer garden offers "Chicken Valdostana." Wonder what that means, right?
One problem: most restaurants, cafes, and bars here seem to be ridiculously well-lit. Almost painfully so. They haven't learned how classy a small, ugly place can look if you just take some of the light away. On the good side, everything in this city is remarkably clean. You can almost never find a trash can, but there's also almost never any trash on the street. They seem to think trash cans make a place dirtier, but I know if there weren't trash cans everywhere in the States, people would just litter. ** do people not litter here? I don't understand these people **
4. Craig's campus is really beautiful. Clean, green, big and quiet. It even has a sundial that is approximately correct! Craig's adviser and team folks all seem wonderful and really clever.
5. Random people have been inordinately nice to us here. The baristas at the internet cafe (from which I send this long far cry across the dry strange tubes of our interweb) have been so caring and kind and helpful. Sam has offered to take us around in her car to beaches and stuff once we're settled. Our cab driver yesterday offered to help us move and give us extra chairs he doesn't need anymore. We were looking at a map and some guy who was just walking by stopped and said, "You guys need help? You lost? Can I point you in the right direction?" People have been amazing.
6. As tired as we are of walking, we are thrilled that you can really walk almost anywhere in this city, because there are public footpaths all over the place. Our studio in Newtown is fairly close to two train stations.
7. Now that we've definitely got a place to stay, we're feeling a lot more relaxed and excited to be here. It's going to be expensive and hard; we've never lived in such close quarters before. But it's an adventure we've wanted for a long time, and we know we're lucky to have the opportunity at all.