Saturday, November 25, 2006

Time to get a haircut and ... take a long holiday

So, day two saw me leave Christchurch and make way, via Brisbane, to Darwin. Thanks to travelling cheaply, connections were not the smoothest. I mucked up my departure time from Christchurch so that I was out on the street with four hours to wait for check-in: what can you do but visit the mall? Once in the airport, still quite some time up my sleeve so I plucked up my courage, went into the airport hairdresser and said "see this hair that comes down so far it gets in my mouth as I eat? I want it cut to above the eyes." Quite a dramatic departure for me: I remember when I was going to India, I was wanting to be similarly severe, but when it came to it, I couldn't do it. And unlike most hairdressing experiences, this one was remarkably pleasnt, to the point I might officially appoint her the primary hair care giver.

The only interesting thing about my time in Christchurch was the way it coincided nicely with Bachelorette's gig at the Dux: I have seen her perform three times, and and she annoys me less every time. I adore her music, but it is the faux incompetence and "look at me, I'm a lush" that gets to me, because she's obviously a fairly serious musician. But I guess she needs some sort of stage persona, because I read somewhere about her anxieties about performing, and it is actually starting to get a little endearing. And she was really funny trying to sell her CD, cringing at the commercialism of it. I would have bought it had I any way to play it or transfer it to my mp3 player. Oh, yes, I succumbed, and bought a Creative Zen Micro - I might have bought an Ipod but three factors conspired against it. One local retailer has stopped selling them because of the high return rate; there are lots of sad-faced ipods on trademe and on the day I was looking to buy, a friend found that the Apple people were not interested in doing anything about the ipod of hers which simply stopped functioning. I guess there's a fourth factor - I saw an amazing Sony 6 gig player I wanted so much, in fact I thought I had bought one on trademe but took my eye off the auction just as it was closing and was pipped at the bost. In frustration, I just bought what was next on the watchlist - the Creative Zen Micro: so far, I j\have 1124 songs on it, which should keep me going.

The flights over to Darwin on Virgin Pacific/Virgin Blue (with RED planes!) were pretty straight-forward. I had several hours in Brisbane, but decided it wasn't worth it going into town. Instead, I picked up the first of my random disposable books and find I love it so much, I won't be abandoning it in some Asian book exchange. It is Brisbane writer Nick Earls' Perfect Skin. Jon and his friends are all in their mid thirties, mostly single, finding that life is simply not as they assumed it was going to be when in their early 20's. Jon, for example, did get married, found that he and his wife were not getting along at all. Then Mel died giving birth so Jon is suddenly transformed to a grieving single father - and relishes the role. You don't get much single father fiction at all, and it is nice to see someone presented as taking it on as a good thing to do. Then there is George, who has had to adjust to the same kind of reality I have, that in which any expectation of finding someone is long since gone. But George isn't a loser - he is a competent medical professional doing good work: he and Jon do lazer surgery, but not for cosmetic reasons but to cure cancer. But the two outstanding features of the book are its humour (I don't know how long it is since I've read something so funny - I was on th edge of my airplane seat with laughter) and its fidelity to the way that people actually do relationships. We have Kate and Jon: she seems to be setting her cap at him, they have several really uncomfortable social events (which George contextualises by providing commentary on what a mid-30's date looks like) but I am pretty sure the episode I have just read (which was hilarious) will finally be the end of that. Then there is Ash, a transferring honours student, who Jon just randomly meets running: the dialogue between these two is just perfect. I'm looking forward to reading more, but right now, since I have a rental car, I think I'll take a bit of a drive in the stunningly hot sun of Darwin.

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1 Comments:

Blogger owens valley tomatohead said...

Thanks for the lovely reviews and musings from the road. I will have to live a little vicariously through your dispatches.

Safe journeys here and there. Hope you find some fun things in the Asian book exchanges.

6:52 PM  

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