Monday, September 25, 2006

they smoke differently done down there, don't they?

I did my half-yearly visit to melburnia this weekend. Some random thoughts:

Melbourne Taxi Drivers are rude

..and not in the good way. I had one driver pull up in front of me after i hailed him, and then proceed to tell me he was on another job. One night I walked for twenty minutes and was POINTEDLY ignored by at least ten drivers before one deigned to stop for me. there was the one on the drive home late saturday night who insisted on telling me i needed to be religious, then the one who pretended i didn't exist the whole way to the airport and farted and gossiped in egyptian on his mobile the whole way there. (honestly - at least use a handsfree kit!)

Ukrainians are generally still conservative

It was a very Ukrainian Melbourne trip for me. Hilariously, this meant I got to see the best and worst of Ukrainian-Australian culture at play. It included the usual gossip circling around the usual group of suspects (anyone who didn't fit in - which basically means everyone else but those at the table), and the daft avoidance of anything vaguely interesting. Then there were the cool moments - having cocktails at 4am in the morning while talking about shit, swapping ipods with H to discuss our fave music of the mo. then there was the strange tale of R. (i'll get to that one in a minute).

i may be a klutz, but i'm stylish in the way i do it.

so, the reason i went down south was for my friends L and D's engagement party on saturday night. I got there, wearing a very stylish, albeit tweedy, outfit. My fave sandy/camel leather pointy Milus (still don't know what that style is called), some thick grey pants (it is melbourne, people - even on a 'warm' night in spring you need 'em), gorgeous white marcs shirt and warm cream ben sherman jumper. so what do i drink? that's right, children: red wine.

so what's the thing i do at midnight that would befit such behaviour? yes, i slipped. on the stairs to be precise. ten seconds after i realised carrying a glass of red whilst holding my heavy black jacket in the other hand may not be the right idea. anyways, long story: wine goes all over the cream newly-carpeted staircase below me and not a drop of red on my clothing. now, that's talent.

The strange tale of R

i actually arrived on the friday night. got picked up by one of my fabulous hosts (hi D!) and we headed back to his place, the one he shares with his equally fabulous other half. We spent the first hour and a half gossiping before the constant text messages and phone calls got in the way. so i headed out and caught up with my cousins before meeting up with my dear dear friend E at Bar Open.

E was there with her cousin to watch N's band. N is someone I grew up with, but never really got to know. I always thought she was a stuck up bitch - turns out I may have been projecting. Just a little bit.

Anyway, she has a fabulous set of lungs and the set (what one song i heard of it) is really cool. go on - check out their website.

So N and I have this 10 minute catch up, gossiping about crap and then she turns to me and asks if i know R. Sure, I say, he's my second cousin, haven't seen him in years. Well, he's one of my best friends, she says. What's he up to, i ask. Runs his own restaurant. Mental note to self: ask mum and grandma about him when we ladies who lunch the next day.

Ladies who luncheon turns into a ukrainian feast the next day: overboiled vegetable, overoiled salads and soggy cabbage rolls. I eat as much as my stomach can take, but the two breakfasts I just had are fighting me. Anyway, I ask about R - ma tells me he has a cafe-restaurant in Ascot Vale, supposed to be nice, she hasn't been there but my bro and sis have. Grandma pipes up - she's been there (R's her great-nephew, grandson of her older bro). She went there with her sister - the boy done recognised her and everything. Walked up to them as they were walking past and told them they looked familiar - how does he know them? They had coffee there, he's a nice boy but pity about his parents etc etc. Typical ukrainian grandmother gossip.

A moment's pause here. When I walk in to lunch, grandma tells me off for being so wasted away. I point out I've put on five kilos since she last saw me. When grandma describes R, she describes him as nice and thin - he used to be chubby. Apparently, he's thinner than me, but I'm the wan one. Bless ukrainian grandmothers.

Bro and sis walk in. Say they met him, too. He walked up to sis and asked her how she knew him. Takes a few minutes to establish the connection - only when he mentions his sister that she clicks (the two sisters used to hang out all the time). It's at this point I realise I need to visit the cafe.

Half an hour later, I'm catching up with H. We decide to check out the boy - she's been there, reckons she's met one of the owners. Quite young, sweet; he's even visited her bank once or twice back in the day when she was rocking the teller desk.

We walk in and he walks up to both of us. I recognise him immediately - that photographic memory comes in handy - and he's cuter than I remember. He asks us how he knows us both. (I wonder if you can pick up his schtick). H explains how they met.

'And you? How do I know you?'

'I'm your cousin.'

Works a treat. 'Oh, Bads33d! I thought you lived in Sydney.'

Anyway, long story short: after about half an hour of H and I catching up (as we do), he sits down with us and gossips. My first impression - friend of d'orothea - only solidifies as the convo continues. At some point, I stop the flow of conversation: cigarette time.

I've already established he's a fan of architecture during the conversation. This is the third restaurant he's set up, etc etc. Over a couple of cigarettes, we gossip. He's perennially single, been doing the same thing for years and bored with it, wants to do something creative and expressive. Sound familiar? Wait, it gets funnier - he goes after the same types of boys as me and wants to move to Spain in the future.

Meanwhile, poor H is on the phone with two of my cousins. 'Oh cool, another spunky gay ukrainian. Wonder if he's my cousin, too?' (Thank fuck she loves her birthday present, honestly).

So after all this time, I found my gay twin. And he's related to me. And, of course, the coffee was well free. This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.


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