As amazed as I was about the incredible ease and smoothness of my trip to Australia, I never would’ve imagined that it could’ve gone as well as it did.
My flights out there were smooth and on-time, I never waited more than 45 minutes at any gate, and I never got bored. The latter is probably explained by my body’s constant state of excitement and anxiousness, but the constant fear that I’d piss all over myself actually did make the trip go quicker.
I was a bit perturbed at LAX when I had to get off the plane, collect my gigantic hockey bag, and attempt to find Qantas International’s terminal, but as I was walking from baggage claim, I noticed a large black fella next to me that looked startlingly familiar.
I made eye-contact with him and his smile, combined with his fucked-up eye, confirmed that I was walking with Forrest Whitaker.
“Hey, I just saw you shark Paul Newman at pool the other night.”
Mildly bemused look followed by recognition that I was referring to The Color of Money, “oh… right on,” he said and looked forward.
“No shit,” I mildly gushed, “you’re one of my favorite actors. Ever since Big Harold in Platoon.”
Smile, then easy nodding, “Hey thanks, ‘preciate it.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
Uncomfortable glance at Potential Psycho Fan Guy, “um… sure.”
“Do you know where the Qantas terminal is?”
Laughing as he points and says, “Yeah, it’s at the end of this one.”
I sprinted off to catch what I thought would be a horrifically long flight, but instead turned into 15 hours of Qantas pampering Judd with 3 meals, 3 of 20 movies, video chess against the guy in 15H, free socks and toothbrush, and FREE BEER.
The flights were great, but I learned an important lesson at Customs. When greeted with, “G’day mate, what’s your business in Australia?” the answer, “LOVE, mate” is one that will quickly get you pulled aside and thoroughly *cough* THOROUGHLY searched. I passed though, and didn’t even have to explain the hole in my boxer briefs.
I bounced nervously through the last flight like Patrick Roy about to take the ice in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The nice woman next to me heard the whole story and, wishing me luck, had me get off the plane in front of her so she could witness the sweepingly romantic meeting.
And by “sweepingly romantic,” I mean, “crowded with knuckleheaded WWF fans awaiting their square-headed hero while I hugged both Ochweidnit and my Love in a shakily awkward embrace.” I shook like an old dog shittin’ peach pits until she sat me down, and only succeeded in truly calming down after a cigarette and our first kiss.
Driving on the “wrong” side of the road brought more nervousness, but many beers and a much good time with their circle of friends more than made up for it. That’s not quite true, for when said circle finally left the Hotel Room after said many beers, THAT’s when the nervousness went away.
Awesome, awesome, folks though, and I got the feeling that I could hang with them any time, as long as they know to scram when my Love and I get “tired.”
A quick 4-hour jaunt down to Albany to Ochweidnit’s place got me a bit more natural with driving completely backwards, and quiet, comfortable days flowed into wonderful nights.
A hike down a steep hillside got us a beautifully surreal moment, followed by this view when we got back to the beach.
It took me awhile to shake the whole “I can’t believe I’m in fucking Australia” feeling, and views like these were part of my disbelief.
I took this one after ooching up to the railing, snapping the picture, then scampering back before the wind could scoop me up and send me to oblivion, ignoring the fact that my Love was standing calmly at the edge and didn’t seem in danger of plummeting do her doom at all.
The way the waves crashed on these rocks brought the urge to scream, “Katerina! Katerina! Arturo! Arturo!” but I wasn’t sure anyone would get it, or even hear me over the blasting wind.
As is my habit in visiting a completely foreign land, I take at least one picture of my feet, preferably in a body of water, and this time I had the company of the woman I love.
After a tearful goodbye to the sis we stopped for a bite at a place mysteriously disguised as “Burger King” called “Hungry Jack’s.” I was feeling quite comfortable driving and being in this foreign place, so when the drive-thru girl didn’t understand my order, I cockily ignored my fellow passengers who were repeating, “Just say ‘Spicy Chicken’ Judd, dammit,” and shouted even louder at her, “A. NUMBER. NINE. PLEASE.”
I figured it must be my accent, so I relented and ordered a Spicy Chicken, moments before I realized that the “9” next to the sandwich on the menu, and the “10” next to the sandwich below it had additional, smaller, words underneath them…
“Grams of Fat”
How long before the BigDumbYank Jokes wear out?
I’ll letcha know.
There are enough humorous cultural differences to fill an entire diary, but one that really got me giggling was this:
Am I the only one that confused the warning for the brand name?
“Yeah, I’ll take two packs of ‘Smoking Kills’ and a pack of ‘Smoking Harms Your Baby.’ Menthol, please.”
Back in the city of Perth and she and I got nothing but time with each other. Friday was, far and away, the best day of my life thus far. Saturday would prove to be, far and away, the hardest, but I don’t feel like writing about that just yet.
Friday we lounged in our underwear, eating cold pizza, until we came to a decision and headed for downtown. We perused the shops, did some people watching, flirted and schmoopied it up, and completely soaked up the moments spent softly kissing and gazing into each other’s eyes. It was sappy and sickeningly romantic, and I can imagine that my description brings heart-twangs to the romantic as readily as it brings stomach bile into the throats of the cynical.
Oh, and we went to some Official Governmenty Place and filed the paperwork to get married.
I’m selling everything I own and moving to Australia.
Anybody want my dog, Asshead?