Thursday, February 12, 2009

Enroute Sydney, Australia


For ten hours, the view out my window does not change. Silver wing, blue Pacific, white clouds. At least I have time to focus on work. The sum total of my research material, an outdated Australia Lonely Planet, sits thick as a phone book on my lap. I read and underline and scribble notes of anything that might make a decent picture.

The blue sky vanishes as soon as we near Sydney. The city lies under a thick deck of purple clouds, and rain slashes the window. It takes hours to sort out rental car, cellphone and hotel, thanks to a small miscalculation of arrival dates. What’s with the whole dateline thing anyway?

Emily, the high-borne British woman inside my gps, seems flummoxed by Antipodean navigation, and starts sounding cross as I weave up and down one way streets in downtown rush hour traffic. Even the cabbies give me a wide berth.

For $35 I park the car in the hotel’s bowels and consider leaving it there for the duration. My four star room looks out on an air shaft, and I gently nudge a roach back into the hallway. Lacking the requisite power adapter, I recharge my laptop in the shaver outlet, grab camera bag and tripod as darkness descends and hit the streets. Time to get to work.

The further I walk from the hotel, the harder it rains, until a monsoon hits at Circular Quay. Soaked and sullen, I manage to hail a cab and slink back to the hotel. I smell smoke in the room. The outlet is blistered and smudged black from the small electrical fire I've set. The roach is on its back, waving its little legs. 

I'm worried it might be smoke inhalation, but least someone seems happy to see me.

10 comments:

Caleb Fleming said...

Hey paul, chin up. New reader yeah - but it sounds like you're a bit down (understatement of the month). You've got good friends, great job, and the opprotunity to see so many of God's great creations.

When I get down on my job I write letters to people that I knew years ago. Even if I don't hear back it helps to connect, knowing that somebody's reading. Just a tid-bit. Looking forward to your next post.

nanio said...

I was going to suggest scotch over writing letters, but yeah, that too.

David said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah -- which way does the *toilet* flush?

I've always wondered...

David said...

Realizing what is the point of being a smartass if my Google blogger ID truncates my last name...

David Hobby

Paul Souders said...

I've always thought the title of this blog, and maybe my whole career, should be "Around the World in a Bad Mood."

I'll have to pay more attention and answer the critical corealis plumbing question going forward...

Wendy Lee said...

You did the "it's" deliberately just to torment me, didn't you.

jaems said...

Welcome to Sydney! The weather will clear up soon and you'll be cursing the heat...

Ann M said...

David, I totally want to know what direction the *toilet* flushes too! Paul you'll have to let us all know.

Btw, Paul, I think you should write a book one day. You have a knack for telling stories and definitely have the material for it!

Ariel D. Bravy said...

Paul, your writing is hilarious and I love your style. :)

+1 on the toilet thing too...

Brett said...

Hi Paul,

I'm really glad that David's site turned me onto your blog. I've been using your main site as one of my main inspirations for a while now, but I had no clue I could read more of your pithy comments than the couple one-liners on your portfolio page.

Good luck in Oz - I have a few friends over there that have asked me to visit, and my response has been "There are spiders the size of dinner plates that kill for sport. Nahhhhh..." So I'll live vicariously through some of your pictures. If it's got more than four legs, it needs to not be near me - including that roach you're befriending.