You'd think I'd be over the jet lag by now, but apparently not. The sneezing yesterday might mean a cold is conspiring with the jet lag (I can hear them now, whispering, "Okay, you get her legs, I'll take her head, and we'll have her knocked out by dinnertime"). Whatever the reason, when Karina suggested that instead of going to the high-end Sri Lankan restaurant we'd planned on (Araliya, offering hoppers, kottu roti, stringhoppers and more), we could just stay home and order weird pizza from Mojo instead, I almost wept with gratitude. Clearly, I was not in my right mind. I mean, the pizza was weird, and interesting, and good. (her Thai-flavored satay pizza was the best of the four we tried). But seriously, I passed up hoppers for pizza? And then fell asleep on her couch at 6-ish, trying to watch tv.
As a consequence of the early bedtime, I was up at 4:30 a.m. today, which is okay, except that we have quite a full day planned, as Karina is intent on showing me absolutely! everything! there is to see in Melbourne. (It doesn't look like we're going to be able to do much outside Melbourne, due to a variety of constraints (most notably lack of car), so I'm going to have to save the Great Ocean Road for another trip. Which is okay, because excuses to come back to Melbourne (and maybe bring the kids) would be very welcome.
Hm�.in Sri Lanka, you can hire a car and driver very cheaply to do day trips or half-day trips. I don't think we have time for a day trip, but a half-day trip might be do-able tomorrow. I wonder whether you can affordably hire a driver for that. Anyone know? I'm thinking for no more than $100, ideally.) Here are some of the day trips I'm almost certainly not going to do this trip, but which you might want to, if you're ever in Melbourne. http://www.theage.com.au/travel/activity/drives/get-outta-town-top-10-melbourne-day-trips-20110125-1a3y3.html
Generally, though, the trip is going well, despite the insolence of my endless cold (what is it, two months now?) and complicity of jet lag. I'm not going to recap in detail what I've already covered in photos, but so far I've spent lots of time with Karina and Joe, met Karina's lovely mother Jill, went to a wedding, and lounged about in the quiet mornings at Karina's house drinking tea (she tends to stay up late and wake up late the weeks she's not working (she works two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off). I've eaten delicious meals at a creperie in the laneways, at their favorite Indian restaurant, at a caf� specializing in native ingredients, and at a weird takeout pizza place. I have seen a LOT of art, between the Ian Potter Museum and yesterday's tour of the artist's colony of Monsalvat (more on the latter in photos anon). This has been a somewhat art-and-food focused visit so far, which is totally fine with me. And we've walked around a variety of Melbourne neighborhoods, with more to come.
I feel like I'm getting a good feel for the life of this city, slowly. The environment's a bit like a cross between London and the Bay Area, in terms of architecture and landscape, although I think it is generally more white than either, and quite a bit warmer. I'm starting to be able to tell some Australians on sight, especially the women -- there's a certain pointiness to their faces. :-) Karina says the men tend to look older than their years, due to not bothering to protect their faces from the weathering sun; I haven't noticed that myself, but I'll take her word for it.
One-and-a-half more days of tourism, and then the NonfictioNow! conference starts, at which point, I'm guessing there will be far fewer photos. I mean, I could go around photographing all the writers attending, but I think that might be a bad idea. :-)