Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Longtime silence is a prime indicator of romance

Sunday, I received this email from a friend:

"What is happening in Australia? Nothing on ye olde blogue for a while, nor Facebook ... have you got a boy? Longtime silence is a prime indicator of romance, I say."

Very astute. My hiatus has been caused by a man. Way back over christmas I had a date in Boston. Well, I've just had my second date: a two week holiday in Australia covering Sydney, Cairns and Brisbane. Allow me to introduce, Paul:

We spent the first week in Sydney (at the Westin, which we can highly recommend, especially the club lounge with free breakfast, cocktails and canapes everyday) doing touristy things. We took the ferry across the harbour to the Taronga zoo, which is built into the side of the hill and has spectacular views of Sydney and some pretty cool animals as well.

Day two, we went to high tea at the Opera house (pictured above). Tea included tea, champagne cocktails, tiny sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and more sugar on one plate that one could possibly manage. It also included a short program by one of the opera's sopranos who sang one of my favorite arias, O Mio Babbino Caro (yes, the one from a Room with a View).

Day three, we nearly missed our wine country tour when we didn't change hotels (I mean really how can you change hotels when there are canapes every night). But we made it. It's a two hour drive from Sydney to the hunter valley, where we visited several small wineries, then went on a cheese tasting tour on our own. Ok, I'm going to be honest. We spent about 3 times as much on cheese as we did on wine. And we ate all of the cheese the following day. I love cheese.

Day four, we ate cheese.

We did eventually make it out to the Victoria Room in Darlinghurst for several amazing cocktails: tequila manhattan, a drink with bourbon, chambourd, and ginger beer that we couldn't get enough of, and finally a cuban blazer. Our bartender, far more the cocktail enthusiast than most, was fantastic. We were rifling through the cocktail book (not really a list) and she asked us what we liked and devised our cocktails for us. Devine.

Day five, we hit the paddington markets, then headed up to Cairns.

I was more sentimental about Cairns than I thought I might be. I believe I narrated every shop and corner we passed. And Paul was good enough to feign interest in my fun facts (couldn't really call them stories, "This chemist is new!!"). We took the skyrail up to Kuranda, mostly just to take the skyrail (Gondolas that take you from the coast over the rainforest to the tablelands). And had a fantastic Aussie BBQ on the Esplanade with Kimberley and Hamish, complete with a park ranger asking us to at least not be so blatant with our alcohol. We weren't rowdy, but we'd decided to recreate the bourbon drink from the Victoria Room, so we had many alcohol bottles out on the picnic table.

The following day we went up to Port Douglas and took a reef tour with two intro dives. It's scuba diving without any of the training! That sounds unsafe, but really, you have a guide who adjusts your buoyancy, and we never went further down than 8 or so meters. It was fantastic. Giant clams, gorgeous coral, a shark, a barracuda and nemo. The drive to PD also included a bit of narration ("the paddock with wallabies", "the turn around point for a 50K ride", "the turn around point for a 60K ride", "the furthest north I've ever cycled" - exciting stuff).

Next we drove South to Mission Beach and stayed in the rain forest for two nights at Sanctuary. Here we stayed in a tiny hut (think screened in porch) in the heart of the jungle. I took a lovely yoga class, and we watched Queensland get spanked in the state of origin game*.

Upon returning to Cairns we spent the afternoon in my favorite bar, Tides before heading down the Brisbane.

Contrary to Rowan's suggestion, I did not just import Paul to help me do household things. However, he did help me hang my curtains. In Brissie, we mostly just explored my neighborhood. It was fun just to have some one to check things out with. We tried out the jazz happy hour at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, had dinner at Satchmos with a live band, pub crawled our way back to my house from the West End and had the world's largest tapas at Sling.

And now he's back in the states. So what does one do for a third date?

Paul in Sydney

Paul in QLD
*State of Origin is a three game rugby league series where professional players play go back and play for their home state. Only Queensland and New South Wales play rugby league, so it's always the rivalry between the two. This was the first game of the series. Game two is in several weeks.


Paul May 27, 2008 at 5:51 AM  

that guy looks like a loser.

Jon May 28, 2008 at 12:48 PM  

Third date: Moon base? That's the only thing I can come up with, because this second one sounds nearly untoppable.

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