alcohol-free sydney 2015

free cokes for the homeless

On the train trip back to Brisbane from Melbourne, there was a stopover in Sydney for more than 7 hours. I had stayed up all night, fueled by caffeine and sugar. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to stay up another 23 hours or so, but my plan was to try.

What is there to do at 7am in Sydney? I wasn't sure, but I ended up walking from the train station up to the harbour. I took some photos, but pretty much just the usual thing.. except.. I saw a lot of signs prohibiting alcohol, and notifiying us all that Big Brother was watching.

At 7am, the homeless population is pretty evident. In Melbourne, I'd given donations to homeless individuals, and also to various buskers and to a few people representing causes. By the time I got to Sydney, I was feeling burnt out. I tried not to look away, and I tried to acknowledge the presence of the various individuals, but I think by the time I was here, I was perhaps coming across as increasingly nervous/neurotic.

One young woman approached me for a donation for a cancer charity, apparently the biggest charity in all of Australia, and while I let her have her say, when she said that I would know my money made a difference and was going to save lives if I gave it to her, I rambled on for a while, and in the end did not give her a donation because her arguments failed to convince me. On the streets, and out of view, there are so many people whose lives need 'saving'. What makes a difference? It is difficult to work that out, and sometimes I am not sure what you can do except try to decide on an individual basis. I know that when I give donations, it's more random than about who is most 'deserving', but I do know that even those who need help realize that those they approach might have given to others they encountered before they encountered them, and might not be able to afford to give to everyone.

sign, sign, everywhere a sign

I walked back from the harbour in search of a public bathroom where I could wipe off the old makeup and apply fresh stuff, brush my teeth, apply deodorant, etc. I thought McDonald's might be the place to go, but I had another thing coming.. (It's been many years since I've been in a McDonald's) you have to ask a staff member to press a button to let you in, and when you get in, there isn't enough light to see to apply makeup. It's UV, and I am pretty sure there are security cams in there as well. I wasn't able to deal with either peeing or fixing my makeup, and eventually found a restroom in a food court somewhere along the George St strip.

I felt a lot better after that, and then wandered through the Haymarket and Chinatown area, before deciding to head over to Kings Cross. In the past, there was just something different about Kings Cross that stood out to me. It was like as soon as I crossed the border into that area, I felt more welcomed or at home than in other parts of Sydney. Alas, times had changed.

I felt about as welcome as a boat person, probably just another tourist to the true locals, but not really concilatory enough for those who are happy the Cross has been 'cleaned up' now.

the police station

Is this a restaurant, or a functioning police station trying to make a statement to those who think all cops prefer coffee and donuts? I wonder if you can have wine with your meal?

I have written in the past that Sydney 'impresses' me, but I think it's possible 'oppresses' is a better word. Some of the architecture is kinda interesting, but there are some massive buildings that are maybe like compensation for something or other, and the way it all fits together, along with the vibe on the street, with everyone rushing to succeed, head down, fashion forward, doesn't quite mesh with my internal geography and chemistry.

the ship song

Warrang, by Brook Andrew.

I wanted to go back to this gallery during opening hours, but couldn't face the walk up George St to get back. Entry is free, but I arrived too early.. and didn't think I could just hang out and wait around. At the same time, I was conscious that to avoid the feet swelling problem I'd had it was probably better not to spend all 7 hours walking, but in the end, although I couldn't deal with walking back up here because of the vibe situation, I did spend a lot of time walking on my stopover. There was fuck all else I could think of to do. I was burnt out. And walking is usually my best bet when it comes to wearing off enough nervous energy that I can eventually actually 'see' my surroundings.

I ended up at a train station bar, sipping a sparkling wine while eating an original glazed Krispy Kreme donut, partly to test out the theory I mentioned earlier on my travels. (yes, perfect pairing.) Elegant. I suppose I was making a statement about myself. I was wearing my Anais Nin dress, but I know I can't pull off the whole 'ensorcellment' mystique off. I have to be a kind of walking oxymoron.


This picture is by artist Colette Miller and is part of her global series Wings, which depicts themes of enlightenment, hope, purity, freedom, and flight. People are encouraged to take their photos inside the wings and add them to the collection.

I had two sparklings in the train station bar. When I boarded the train, I had a seating companion for the first time, there or back. After departure, I headed to the buffet car, and got two wine and cheese packs. I offered one to my companion, but she politely declined. I can't blame her; I was kind of awkward in my approach and hadn't totally thought it through. What would you think if a complete stranger, who maybe looked a bit drunk and dishevelled, or like some middle-aged neurotic/psycho, offered you wine and cheese on a train?

I drank and ate the contents of both packs, and then fell asleep for a while. When I woke up, I offered my companion a Baci out of a bag I had bought specifically for this possibility. Basically.. Baci chocolates are chocolate hazelnut things, individually wrapped, and each comes with a little love message, kinda like a fortune cookie. I asked her if she would care to try a random message, and this time, she accepted. This is probably a good thing to know for future reference, and might work well with females in particular, if they do not have some kind of nut allergy, aren't trying to avoid 'bad' foods, or something along those lines.

Some time after this, I went up and bought a couple more white wines, and this time when I offered her one, she accepted in a very friendly manner. The short story is: we ended up talking until her departure. While we were both polite and maybe a bit nervous, and probably both more comfortable once we no longer had to talk, we shared various political views, and the overall conversation went pretty well, as far as 'real life interaction' that people addicted to phones and tech 'miss out on' these days.

But could I have pushed myself to try this out without the help of alcohol. Er.. not too likely.

home-baked chococo cookies

When I returned, I made a vegetarian lasagna with garlic bread for me and GK. I drank a copious amount of wine with it. I had been craving lasagna all winter, but avoided making it because I knew I'd want to have it with wine. The next day, I made some chocolate coconut cookies.

Can you see faces in each of the cookies above? Which face are you most drawn to? If you were going to choose one of the cookies above to eat, which would it be?

I am falling into old patterns and don't know if I am strong enough to find some way out.

As for those who might be kind of horrified regarding the amounts of chocolate, sugar, alcohol, coffee, high fat foods, etc, I have been consuming, and wondering about the effects on my body.. (of course I am also horrified, but am really trying to go with it and enjoy it if I can, kind of like embracing my Dark Passenger), the weird thing is that I think I might actually, for the moment look 'better'. The weather in Brisbane is warm, and it has softened up my face. The skin on my body actually feels pretty good, smooth, soft, at the moment, and my skin seems less droopy. So for perhaps a moment, it's like the extra fat (perhaps combined with or helped out by the muscle from all the exercise) is plumpening up my skin in a becoming kind of way, although I realize it's not long until that crosses the line into Another Cellulite Horror Story. And of course, I realize that whatever positive impressions I might currently have, they might be based on illusions.

My plan was to make it to the Northern Rivers area for GK's 50th birthday celebration, take a moment to catch my breath, and then see if I could manage to travel again, and/or try again to move to Melbourne. At present, I'm not even sure if I will make it to the birthday celebration.

My first (and best) Baci: the glimpsed light I imagine consumes me.

->exile on meme st: a diary