As you may recall I mentioned earlier that there seems to be a lack of logic to the order of our travel, but even in the illogical can one find an order. The order I found (or made up for my own sanity’s sake) is that we will do a handful or two of small towns and very small towns and very very small towns and right as we are all getting a tad antsy from the lack of people and activity we go to a real city.
After the Ports, Adelaide seemed as big as New York, people on the streets even after the sun has set!
I was beginning to feel the hard floors and my body was in need of some attention. I had a fantastic treatment at a sports/physical therapy clinic that left me feeling so ready, alert and invigorated that upon returning to our hotel I went for a walk to look around with Brian aka Debbie. He and I seem to be the only two of the group that are more interested in seeing the places we visit. That is not to say the others don’t see anything, but they are usually shown around by local “guides”. At first I was surprised at how many friends a lot of them had in almost every city we’ve been to, (it was an athlete friend of one of them that directed us to the clinic where I got my massage) especially since they hadn’t been here before, but I have now seen for myself how powerful a tool the internet can be in bringing people together with other people.
The Adelaide museum was the perfect size and with a just right balance of interesting works. Much was of course dedicated to the works of Australian artists, some of which weren’t bad. It has now become part of my speech too, to say “she” about the “girls” and not feel mentally disturbed by it. The very laid back Adelaidians did look at me like I needed some serious attention, when I tried to get Brian’s attention in the museum. I guess it must seem strange to the uninitiated to hear someone say Brian three times and when they get no response say Debbie and the person, who looks like he should go by Brian turns around.
I was starting to feel the effects of the massage and left Brian/Debbie to explore more of the city and headed back to the hotel to lie down for half an hour before getting something to eat and go to the show. Well the effects of the massage really kicked in and I woke in a panic two and a half hours later, frantically throwing my things together and ran to the theatre. It was just across the street so I figured I did have time to grab a quick sandwich in the café in front of the stage door. The kid behind the counter politely waited until I had perused the board and made my choice, to tell me that he had closed the kitchen (sandwich bar) since he was there by himself and had to keep an eye on the place and it was too much work for one person to run the place. I looked around at the 6 tables in there, two of which were occupied by ladies having coffee and thought to myself that maybe the afternoon rush was coming in, but saw no one on the street. Things make a different sense here in Australia and I am getting used to it.
What I am still not quite getting used to is the very early morning calls we’ve been having and the next morning’s took the prize as the more difficult of them. When we got on the bus after four hours of sleep, George and Marlon launched a verbal nuclear attack on each other. George is in the seats across from me and Marlon in front of me, neither of them had slept much, if at all, and I was so tired that all I could do was to realize that if they started swinging at each other they would probably hit me and I would be too tired to move out of the way in time. Luckily they never resorted to physical violence as their verbal assaults degraded from infantile to pathetic name calling. But when we arrived at the airport 20 minutes later and they were still going at it, my sleep-deprived head might have preferred a hit to the yelling. They resolved their differences like true divas: they don’t speak to or acknowledge each other now.
Arriving in Melbourne at our usual haunt, we all looked forward to getting into a room and away from those two. But the tour is a being of it’s own and it has decided that if something can go smoothly, it won’t. Our rooms weren’t ready and where the “girls” have usually been docile about glitches, the atmosphere created by the altercation unleashed 17 very diva-ish divas! Our tour manager (whom we later found out was having his own issues to deal with) unraveled at the seams when a handful of them bared their teeth at him. Throwing his arms up in the air, he yelled that ensuring the accommodations (a tour manager’s job) was not his job and that we needed to talk to the promoter directly and he left us at 10 am, never to be seen again. I called the promoter and gave him a heads up on the situation, while most of us were contemplating grabbing our bags and heading to the airport (this was not the first time we arrived at a hotel after a crack of dawn departure to find the rooms not ready) and was able to get some of the logistics issues dealt with. Interestingly enough, neither the director nor the ballet master nor the company manager seemed too eager to deal with the situation and thought it wrong of me to make the call instead of just sitting down in the lobby to wait with them the 4 hours it took to get into the rooms. The end result: changes were made to our travel and accommodations that ought to make them a bit more sensible (somehow sensible and Australian doesn’t mesh very well on this tour) but at least we got a fantastic breakfast paid for by the promoter.
The next day we boarded our bus again, which Duncan had driven from Adelaide the day before, heading for Warragul and two shows. I thought I had seen quite a bit of Australian small towns, but this one seemed more like a cluster of houses. Staying the night, our ballet master decided to have a meeting with myself and one of the “girls” about having us do Swan Lake together. The director has done the role of the Swan for 20 years and is not too keen on someone else getting to do the part, so the ballet master wanted to keep the meeting quiet, so we were to meet in his room after the show and talk over a glass of wine. I need you to imagine a couple of things that make this scenario worth pointing out. First, this is a group of divas, drag queens and dancers…it’s hard to keep anything under wraps in this crowd. Secondly, we were staying in a motel with 20 rooms, in the middle of a dark highway with nowhere to go. Thirdly, my room mate is the director, who’s not too happy about the situation. For all intents and purposes we might as well have had the meeting in the parking lot! Everyone knew something was up and were mulling about outside their rooms trying to look like they weren’t curious. The meeting itself was rather uneventful. The ballet master was very excited about having this dancer learn the swan and started the meeting by asking him what he had in mind with the role, his thoughts etc. The poor dancer seemed a bit stumped and they sat and looked at each other for a bit. Apparently the ballet master expected us to come up with the version and jokes etc. and the dancer and I thought we were going to be told what they expected from us. I threw some ideas on the table, which the ballet master didn’t really seem too interested in and we went back to staring at each other and having some wine. When the bottle was empty I decided my participation in the staring contest was over and went to my room. Of course my room mate asked where I’d been, which I told him (without the staring contest details).
The stops were now slowly starting to blur a bit. Since the Melbourne drama, changes were being made almost daily to our itinerary, so I stopped checking the tour book for information that would be different anyways. This was the cause of me looking twice as we drove into the next town and saw a sign in a shop window advertising a hooker sale! As it turned out, this was a very respectable city called Sale, pronounced the way you think it should be, and L.J. Hooker is the name of one of the large real estate firms in the country. The initials L.J had been obscured by some bushes and I thought maybe they should trim the bushes so as to not give visitors the wrong impression.