I forgot to mention a couple things about New Zealand. The first is that the food down under is all fresh and delicious. You can literally see the farms that the food comes from in some areas, and the eggs are so fresh they have intensely colored orange yolks. They’re either organic grain fed chickens or they’re radioactive. The second thing is that New Zealand has no poisonous snakes or bugs and they brag about the fact that Australia does have these things in plentitude. Kiwis clearly do not like poisonous snakes, spiders, Australia, or their people. I think it’s a Napoleon-esque-tiny-country-size-complex. New Zealand did have loud and constant cicada singing like a horror movie.
Something they do not have anywhere down under is regular coffee or iced tea. I live on unsweetened iced tea or coffee, because I want lots of caffeine and no calories. The one time I found iced tea it tasted like flowers, and the one time I ordered iced coffee, they put a scoop of ice cream in it. This will not do. They do have delicious hot lattes and cappuccinos, but I would need five of them to equal the amount of coffee I drink at home. Also, unrelated, they do not know what soft toilet paper is anywhere, and the urinals are all low-flow and stink.
From Auckland we flew to beautiful Melbourne, Australia. Shane’s friend Stuart gave us a walking tour around the river city, which is modern combined with old world architecture, and adorned with really cool street art. The downtown has hidden dark laneways lined with tiny cafes and secret bars, which feels like something out of Blade Runner. We stayed in Fitzroy, a charming hipster neighborhood with great restaurants and shops. Again the food was fresh and delicious, and I discovered the coconut lamington cake, which is fat ass.
Sunday we had drinks at a rooftop bar, a fantastic Italian dinner with new friends (hello Adrienne), all topped off by a drag show at a gay club. Let me just say that, true to Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Aussies know how to do a number. The wigs and costumes were top notch, and the lip-syncers had not one, but two backup dancers doing full-out choreography. Bravo!
From Melbourne we flew to Sydney to end our trip with their Mardi Gras celebration. I immediately fell in love with Sydney, and could imagine myself living there if my LA paradise were ever to ever fall into the ocean after an earthquake, like my family always tells me will happen. It’s nice to know there are options.
We stayed in a charming airbnb apartment in Paddington just near Oxford Street. The old brownstones with wrought iron balconies felt a bit like New Orleans. One thing I did not anticipate were the giant fruit bats that come out at night. We were drinking wine on our balcony the first evening, when the sky was suddenly filled with what looked like the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. They are huge like winged cats, riddled with viruses, and they leave large fruity poo-dumps everywhere. Disgusting…and clearly left out of the Sydney vacation brochures.
We visited the Opera House, which is absolutely stunning in design and scale. I had no idea that the thing is covered in white and off-white, flat and shiny tile designs. We also went to the beautiful Queen Victoria market, a late nineteenth-century building in the central business district, and toured Hyde Park.
Sydney also has Bondi Beach, one of the cleanest, most beautiful white sand beaches I have ever seen. As someone who enjoys people-watching, this is the place to go. For all the ladies and gay men reading, let me just say that Australian men are “quite good.” They average about 6 feet 4 inches tall, have tree trunk sized thighs, and ginger blonde hair, like a sexy Prince Harry. Let me also add that the regular construction workers wear short shorts, sleeveless shirts, and knee-high boots. I call this porn.
Albert and I went to the Wild Life Sydney Zoo, which features animals native to Australia. We got close up to koalas, which are adorable, and which I learned are not bears. We also saw kangaroos, wallabies, and a Tasmanian devil, which is more cuddly than scary. Albert fell in love with Meg the wombat, and I fell in love with a quokka that I got to pet and wanted to bring home.
We went to a house party before Mardi Gras, which is also their gay pride. The parade is a huge nighttime event that everybody in town is either marching in or attends. There is dancing, amazing costumes and floats, and synchronized light shows. We went to the big dance party that follows, and it is, without a doubt, the largest space I have ever danced in. They had two huge airplane hanger/studios and one smaller space, each with their own music and laser shows, filled with beautiful party people. It was off the hook and we danced all night.
What can I say? I love this town. They have sweet and savory pie shops on every corner. It’s a little too humid for my taste and they have a bat problem, but other than that… Did I mention that they have pie shops on every corner?
To see pictures from Melbourne, click the link below:
To see pictures from Sydney, click the link below: