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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Our visit to Sydney and the Mardi Gras

Greetings,  moovers and groovers!

Louise at the helm of the Maggie Island blog, the blog that brings you all the goss, glam and goings on on our tropical little rock.   You've heard no doubt that our quiet lives have been transformed by a visit to our old stomping ground - Sydney. And great fun it was;   but more of that later down the page.

As I mentioned in my last blog, it was just about to dawn 'Valentines Day'.   Now of course, you have not read in the newspapers that a certain Matthew on Magnetic Island got slashed by his irate wife for forgetting 'V-Day'?  Although, I have to say,  Matt "half" forgot, but made up for it by taking me (again) to Blue on Blue at Nelly Bay for a spot of lunch.  And very nice it was too.  A $20 special jobbie, but I am certainly not complaining, I even got to wear the new dress (with the help of some shape wear, but that's just our little secret - OK) to lunch with my bling shoes. ( A gift from my chum Dewi, she knows I have only size 35 feet, and got me some cracker sandals while in Bali.)

What did I get Matt you ask?  I went mad and spent a whole $10 on 2 DVDs from the local supermarket.  Do I know how to give a guy a good time or what?  And no, they were not that kind of DVD!

Blue on Blue restaurant, Nelly Bay, 14.2.2012: 

After Valentines day lunch, Nelly Bay marina in the background: Our yacht in the background (yeah -right!  - Matt - ) 14.02.2012

Now I have to mention that while having lunch I espied one of our local celebs, Phill Stephens, who is one of the stars of the Stagedoor Theatre here on Magnetic Island.  (Bernadette Smith being the other).

As Matt was paying the bill, I saw young Phill  and decided a bit of 'schmoozing' was in order.   As I gushed about how much I loved the Abba send up show I saw a few months past, he listened politely to my rantings and told me a little about the new one,  "The Frocky Horror Show" which starts on the 17th March.  

He is playing FrankenFARTER (a tranny with a bad case of flatulence!) and will be donning the fishnets and corsets for the role.  I told him how years ago I had seen in 1973, the original Rocky Horror Show on stage in London, with Tim Curry playing Frankenfurter.  To which the lovely Phill replied 'Daaarling, you must have been about all of 2 years old!'

Blushing with gratitude,  I told him, 'There's only 2 people who know my real age, myself and the plastic surgeon...'  and anyone who wants to shave 15 years off my age, well, they will be definately be seeing Matt and myself at their new show in April, with my chums Geoff  and Jason in tow, as they come up and stay for a few days.  If the new show is half as funny as the 'Abba-fabulous' show that has just ended, it will be a riot.  I have to say, Phill is a true comic,  and he can sing too; not to mention that partner on stage, Bernadette has the best pair of legs!   We shall see how good Phill's pins look in those fish-nets.  Maybe the odd barramundi fish could be wandering about in them too?

Changing the subject -  my lovely husband is a great swimmer - an ex lifeguard no less, unlike his "brick" of a wife - but he really wanted to go somewhere to swim a few laps without too much hassle;  I don't want to give too much away, but he 'borrowed' a lap pool at one of the many hotels on the island for a quick dip.   When we arrived the sky was blue with the odd fluffy cloud, and literally after 5 minutes the sky turned black and lightning was flashing!  Time to leave before he got zapped and I would have to explain to the hotel manager, that we were not exactly staying there...

Matt in pool; with huge storm front coming behind him -  it bucketed down later on;   20.2.12

During a visit to Matt's Nana, Joy,  later in that week, she asked to be taken to lunch by us, so who are we to refuse?  She's 92,  so at that age, I guess each day is precious.  (She was modelling clothes for the local boutiques in their fashion shows up until she was in her late 80s.)  

She loves the Blue on Blue at Nelly Bay and we obliged, as it is always a chance for dressing up a bit...

Joy, Matt and the author: 22.2.12

As my past blogs will testify, this is one of our favourite places to have lunch, and we go so often, I am half tempted to ask them if they can start a loyalty program for us, or at least impart on us the odd free coffee for our continued patronage?  Yeah I know, dream on...

Confession time:  we did something on Sunday 26.2.12 that I thought I would never do living here -   And we only did it as there was $1000 up for grabs:  we went to play Bingo!  

The Hotel Arcadia was putting on FREE Bingo with $1k as the main prize, and I am sorry to have to say, we did not win it.  But it was fun and we've been back since and still not won a cracker.  And, as those who know me well will testify, free is my second favourite "F" Word.

On Thursday 1st March we did something a bit more thrilling and jetted away to Sydney for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.   Our dear friend Geoff put us up for 2 nights at his home in Freshwater and we later joined our other chums Al and Dewita at Bondi Junction for a 2 nights stay to attend the Mardi Gras Party on Saturday 3rd March.  But Matt and I tried to squeeze the most out of Sydney that we could while down there. 

After landing on Thursday 1st March, we drove to Geoff's flat and he was, as usual, a fabulous host.  It was an early night and we were up at 6.30am for one of Geoff's legendary breakfasts,  then we all plunged into our busy day.  Geoff was kind enough to come along with us, and the 3 of us set off.

I must add it was at this point 21C and raining; On Maggie when we left it was 33C and cloudy; what a difference a few thousand kilometres makes.

First stop: 8.45 am - to see my dentist;  I can't find a good dentist in Townsville, so back to Dan Pechar of Manly and I saw Julie, who fixed me up luckily with just a "wax and polish" (Matt got his teeth checked too!) Julie was the previous dental nurse at the practice, but with more determination than most people, she enrolled  in Adelaide Uni and is now back working with Dr Dan and staff as a dentist.  Julie, we salute you!  

Julie the dentist, Manly, NSW :  2.3.12 

I paid a lightning visit to another Julie, my hairdresser in Sydney for 13 years at The Salon, Narraweena, and her partner in crime, Rose;  I only stayed a few minutes as they were attending clients, but is was good to see both of them again.

 Next stop:  to get my eyes checked at Master Specs at Warringah Mall;  After being examined, I found out I need to go up a strength in my reading glasses, so I took advantage of their 2 for 1 offer, and they kindly agreed to post them to me in Queensland for only $10!  This is why I keep them on as my opticians, as Matt and I are usually in Sydney at least once a year.

A quick lunch followed at the Mall foodcourt, then we drove into Darlinghurst to visit the Tap Gallery in Palmer St.  to see an exhibition by one of the best artists I have seen for ages, Peter Skirrow:  he works in pencil on paper and his subject matter is the male form.  This exhibition was entitled "Beefy Burly Blokes" and did not dissappoint.   This was part of the Mardi Gras festival, which comprises films, exhibitions, the main parade and the party.

Peter Skirrow : Pencil drawing 2008

Later that night, the three of us attended a play at the Darlinghurst Theatre in Kings Cross, "The Paris Letter";  Peter Cousens starred and whoa! what a change from his usual opera /vocal performances.  He plays Anton a very gay man, who takes us on a journey back 40 years to the show us the young man he loved, but let go,  in the 1960s America, when to be homosexual was a crime.

see review above from the Sydney Morning Herald : I really liked it, but it all depends on one's view of drama I suppose.  It got mixed reviews, but the ending had a nice twist.

On the way to the theatre, I saw this 'garden' in an alley of Kings Cross, Sydney and had to take a shot of it.

How plants can cling on anywhere - Even in a Kings Cross alley; 2.3.12 (there was half of a wedding dress laying underneath it in the rain soaked gutter - only in the Cross!)

Now I have to relay the sad state of the weather in Sydney the last few months; one word covers it nicely ; Rain.   Now as the phrase goes, 'Don't rain on my parade' : but that's what was going to happen on Saturday 3 March for the annual Mardi Gras Parade through Sydney.  Our Kylie Minogue was the star attraction but would the 'singing budgie' get showered on?    A tiny bit, as  it turned out.

Not sure that we cared at this point, as we checked  into our apartment (with 2 bedrooms) and met Al and Dewita there. After some grocery shopping, Dewi made a fab seafood pasta dish that set us up for the nights dancing at the Mardi Gras party which starts when the parade finishes.   My only worry was that I would be wearing a black garbage bag over my outfit, if queueing to get into the venue.   But the Weather Girls (Its raining men) must have been chatting to the weather gods as it stopped raining about 10 mins before we left for the party (11pm) and stayed dry for the rest of the night/next day;  and speaking of them, here is the link to that FAB song, which by the way, I would like to be played at my memorial service, when I cark it.  (No cremation or burial, I am leaving my body to science or to be plastinated by Dr. Gunther Van Hagen)  but I digress!  Check on link below...

Oh yeah, the party!  It was FAB;  here we are before the party, one can take cameras into the big gay parties now, years ago it was a no-no and they were confiscated:  now that all and sundry have a phone/camera and who cares if the bank manager is out and proud, they abound! (Cameras that is, not gay bank managers...)  But I leave mine behind as I want to concentrate on dancing and having a good time.  As the party had Kylie doing a turn, for the first time in 13 years the damn thing sold out!   So 15,000 people attended and best of all, it stayed dry.  Although on our arrival in the very, very long queue, people pushing the floats of the parade, were looking a bit damp.  

The Gang's all here!  Dewita, Big Al, Louise, Matt: 10.30 pm 3.3.12  before the party.  As I always say this is the one time I can go out dancing in my underwear: that's a 1960s snakeskin slip I'm wearing...

On our return at 5am we looking nothing like the above; more like chewed rag dolls after a turn in the spin dryer!  Ah.... You gotta love the big gay parties, they sure know how to enjoy themselves at them: thanks to all chums who found us and danced with us in the Hordern Pavillion:  As for Kylie Minogue, we didn't venture into the Royal Hall of Industries (RHI) were she was performing, as we would all be crushed to death, but there were huge 10m x 10m screens dotted around the venue, inside and out, and we saw her live on the screen in the Hordern.  And very good she was too,  well, what I remember of it anyways.  The Singing Budgie did a full 30 min show which I was amazed at, as most "big name acts" as these parties, do a max. of 2 songs, then retire to guzzle Moet & Chandon and snort coke.    Good effort Kylie!

The next day (Sunday) was spent in recovery, with Al and Dewi returning to Newcastle on Monday.  We stayed on another night and bumped into our good chum Kelly with some chums at the Kings Cross Hotel for a few red wines,  but kept it low key as we were off flying the next day.

We arrived back on Maggie Island on Tuesday 6 March, to a very hot and humid Townsville:  "Yes, yes, yes,"  I was saying to Matt -  "Back to not wearing a jacket and jeans."  I do love tropical weather.

Speaking of which, Matt did warn me about the heavy rain that comes down here in the wet season i.e now - but I thought he was prone to exaggeration, but NO, it absolutely pummels it down and has done for the past 2 - 3 weeks, so much so, that the TV reception goes completely out, and the grass lawn needs mowing every few days or so.    Luckily for us its the size of a postage stamp and it takes 5 mins to mow.

It was begrudgingly back to work on 8 March to the Beachside Apartments, and it nearly killed us after that short break, cleaning 3 rooms, but we got through it somehow.   There are few guests due to the rain and on Friday 9th March we were told to have a week off as no bookings had been taken.   Ooooh errr!  Not much we can do but enjoy the time off - which we did;  here is  Matt in the secret Horseshoe Bay waterfall near us...  It has a much smaller and shallower pool than the one at Arcardia, but we can skinny dip here without a problem  ( or chunky dunky as I call it ...)

 Yes -  Matt was starkers - while channelling Axel Rose with that headband... 11.3.12

Last Monday we had a trip into town for our monthly big grocery shop and decided we needed a new fridge;  the one that came with the house was way too small so time for a new one.
Thanks to Harvey Norman ( or Hardly Normal as I call them ) who talked turkey on prices and we ended up with this:

New fridge!  13.3.12: We sold the old one for $150 a few days later 

And just to end on:  this sign was inside the Bungalow Bay Backpackers (up the road to us) and I had to take a snap of it... Only in the tropics!  

10.3.12: inside the patio of the Bungalow Bay backpackers.

Please leave any comments that you may have.   I have a Facebook page now too for this blog: magnetic-diary/   that has some extra photos on and has a wall that also will take comments...

adios amigos

More coming soon...