Thursday, September 14, 2006


My first view of daytime Sydney since May 2005. Walking up to Newtown, I suffer an intense flash of homesickness as I look out at the intense blue skies, hear the local bird song, watch a snail ooze over the footpath before me. At Vargabar, I bookend my time away with a fantastic Flat White coffee - as I did just prior to leaving. The barista smiles to see me, asks after Bondi.

Phil appears, fresh from gym, as I down a lovely Sydney breakfast: poached eggs on rye with asparagus and grilled mushrooms, dusted with parmesan. Fresh, inexpensive and rarely seen north of the equator.

Drop into Elizabeth's bookshop where I worked part-time prior to my European adventure. Liz is in town (normally looking after the Perth base of her empire). Also stop into So/Odeon, one of my favourite music stores: they've got Eleni Karaindrou's new ECM concert recording: Elegy of the Uprooted. This 2CD set knits together music from her previous recordings into under the theme of the title. Reading a review of one the Theo Angelopoulos films she scored - The Weeping Meadow - this phrase caught my eye: he continues to find such haunting beauty in scenes of merciless despair. Perhaps Angelopoulos should be hired to direct some advertisements for flying cattle-class across ten time-zones.

I'm dropped off at the Broadway mall so I can visit a Telstra shop and get a new SIMM card for my phone. It turns out after some time that my number has been deactivated, with no reason offered. Later that afternoon I spend a few hours trying to get the number reactivated. Telstra, being the large telecommunications congomerate that it is, can't explain why it stopped debiting my bank account, or why it didn't phone me or email me to indicate that my number was to be deactivated, prior to handing over the small sum owed to a debt collection agency. My number hasn't been reallocated, but I'll have to stay home all Monday to sign for the delivery of a new SIMM card. Naturally, there is no option to just pick the card up from a Telstra shop. The last person I spoke to at Telstra is very helpful, but I can sense him squirming under the anti-customer hopelessness that is Telstra. I'm sensing another Angelopoulos project.

Walked into Sydney CBD and then along Oxford Street to surprise a few folks. Every one seems to be away, except in Elizabeth's other store, I see Rachel, and then Liz turns up with Anita. Anita and I sneak off for a coffee, and then - feeling my batteries expire - continue on to King's Cross to pick up a rental car.

Dashed home to see if there was news of my luggage. There was, and I was given a 3 hour time window for delivery, but as I struggled to stay awake, it turned up 30 minutes after the promised time. Everything intact, but I hoped that the bag might have gone shopping on Orchard Road and brought back some extra goodies.

Determined to stay awake this evening, I introduce Phil to my DVD set of the short-lived TV series Action. Enthralled, he watches the first 6 or 7 episodes with me. Made it through to 11.30pm, but I still only slept till 4am.

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