It’s about a 5 hour drive non-stop from Castle to our 4th and final place of residence during our stay in Aussieland; given the kids (particularly She Who Hates Cars) however, it’s more like a full day on the road. We set out around 11am Aussie time after a short delay trying to fit everything into the car.
All the while disposables are my friend – for when we don’t want to reach the place with lots and lots of washing to do, there’s recyclable baby food tupperware and paper bibs. Even then, my already thin, dry nails have to be kept extremely short and fuss-free, the skin around them perpetually dry despite my best efforts at the kids’ Mustella Cold Cream…
We considered having late lunch here, but it was really, really quiet…. Kings went in for a look and decided we should drive on… We did, after I finished a diaper change (getting pretty good at doing it in the car!)
And so instead we stop at the crowded place below where lotsa school kids pass by; in a corner what sounds like a discussion about farming expenses between 4 old-timers with very serious expressions on their faces…
Rockstar wanted seconds of their daily soup, which comes with what looks to me like an entire loaf of bread and which comes in super useful for a couple snacks – I bag it with some butter (up til this trip Rockstar will always eat bread and butter)
And of course, there was a giant sheep.
It was called the “merino souvenir center” or something, and I regret I didn’t buy our coffee mugs for the house here, we’ve used the same plain white Ikea mugs for more than 5 years and now I have a regular cup of morning coffee (no more nursing! No more pregnancy!) I would like a nice mug. Something other than either plain “disposable” white, or the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf tumblers I always used in various dealing rooms (no CB&TL in HK back then, maybe even now, and it became a little thing with me to always use one, because CB&TL are all over Malaysia and Singapore, as a nod to my “Southeast Asian-ness” – my parents like to have a big coffee there after walking their spoiled mutts at Gurney Drive because otherwise they consider non-kopitiam coffee an indulgence. This is like when my mum derives pleasure from umpteen cosmetic samples I save (or buy and pretend they’re free) because she thinks they are free. If not free, apparently not so much fun..)
But by then we were starting to run late, especially after Rockstar has insisted on climbing all the way up inside the sheep to peer out the eyes at the street below….
We’re on the road again. By the time we arrive it’s about 6.30pm and totally dark.
This final place, a little townhouse-looking thin made up of 4 units (we take one of the lower ones) has a family with a chocolate lab named Milo next door, and the most character of any of the places we’ve stayed in – not only do I recognize extremely contemporary furnishings we can find at Aluminium back home in HK, there are old pieces lovingly mixed in – oh, and the art. Take a look at the art they have on the walls:
This snail one was right outside the room the baby and I were in. By the end of the stay I found it strangely comforting. No, I don’t know why. And I have not lived with that many women in various states of undress before either.
This one is Anne Hathaway as Catwoman right? Anyway it’s saying something that I liked this place the most – there are places that are just beautiful, perfect - and somehow you don’t sleep well in them. I’m not sure about actual “ghost” ghosts, but I remember someone remarking to me that that “feeling” you get in a place has to do with the “psychic energy” of powerful emotions that the walls can absorb, if the emotions are strong enough. It’s why particularly when someone dies a horrible death in a place, people might say the place is “eerie,” or they can “feel” something. I assume the flip side is true for places with a “nice feeling”…
And here the rest of the place:
Well of the 4 places we lived in, this one “felt” the nicest (would’ve been even better if they had two bathrooms though). We found it randomly on stayz.com. I don’t often sleep well when we travel and I don’t like a lot of images of people in the place. This place is also old and relatively “noisy” – you can hear occasional footsteps upstairs, the floorboards creak, and yet strangely I find it comforting. (As opposed to one place not in Australia where the kids were running up and down slamming hotel doors. I do not like brats or rude people talking at the top of their lungs in the middle of the night).
Then again there have been places even on previous trips where I find the silence deafening – as a result, both Kings’ and my laptops have a white noise file on them which I play to get to sleep. At home we sleep to the whoosh of air cleaners anyways.
The day we leave the front door open – and come home in the night to find my laptop (and everything else) is still there – cements the “good” feeling. I make a point to talk to the owner, when she comes to check on the place. Though Kings says she answered his email really fast and is very efficient (being “spoiled” by HK life which is speedy, we really appreciate the difference), she’s almost shy when I try to talk more to her. Her place is often rented out fast, and returns over 10% for vacation rentals, as opposed to say, the 1 or 2 year-type leases (which she says would return maybe 3+%).
“We live in a smaller place in (what she explains is known as a “party” district here)… At one point my husband had cancer…… He’s better now…. He’s an artist, our friends are artists or photographers… Some of the art is his, or gifts from our (artist) friends…. We’ve had this place 14 years…… ”