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Indecision 2010

As of press time, Australia still doesn’t have a prime minister. Consult  http://doesaustraliahaveagovernmentyet.com (credit to Jordan) for a current update on the matter. Even though there hasn’t been a standoff like this in a long time (70 years?), nonchalance pervades the citizens of Oz. If we, the Americans, still didn’t have a president a week after federal elections in the US, both the media and the public would be in a frenzy. I personally think it’s silly that no one can make up their mind over there in Canberra. Whatever.

Speaking of indecision, we (Preya, Shrey, Richard, and myself) have been restlessly mulling over a few spring break vacation ideas. The clock is ticking, and it’s essentially come down to Gold Coast/Byron Bay roadtrip v Cairns tropical party destination v Fiji magical island experience. Everything is expensive, in part because we waited too long to book flights (SBX 2 is in about a month) and in part because it’s just the way Sydney is, a point I can’t stress enough. I’m pulling for Cairns because I desperately want to dive the Great Barrier Reef and then be able to say I dove the Great Barrier Reef. Richard and Preya seem to be largely supporting the Gold Coast plan for it’s flexibility and lower cost, while Shrey still wants to make it to Fiji while he’s in Oceania. If you are reading this and you have been to any of the above destinations, I would love to hear from you. Anything to sway the masses one way or another would be heaps helpful.

After I expressed my anxiety to Richard about feeling the pressure of “too-much-to-see-too-little-time-to-see-it-in”, he promised me a touristy day in The Rocks ie this past Friday. We started by getting lunch in a noodle house in Chinatown. The place, about the size and formality of my kitchen, was packed with Chinese and European-Australians alike. Steam wafted into the dining area, where we sat squished in, cupping our jasmine teas and anticipating our heaping plates of steamed dumplings and spicy chicken-noodle dishes. It was only afterwards that we discovered this was the exact same restaurant recommended by my nifty Lonely Planet guide conveniently and concurrently stored in my purse that day.

Then it was off to the Rocks – the area slightly to the left of Circular Quay (Opera House/Botanical Gardens/ferry wharfs) right on the harbor. The Rocks is historically significant in that it was the sight of the first European landing and colonization of Sydney. I was excited to see some old stuff cause, let’s face it, there isn’t much old stuff in Sydney. Not only did we walk through a 19th Century cottage, but also stopped to marvel at two of Sydney’s self-proclaimed oldest bar-hangouts. We also went to the Museum of Contemporary Art (free entry! My list has paid off) which was reminiscent of Cockatoo Island in its shockingly confronting creepiness. There was one film featuring a woman who tickled and toyed with ceramic bowls and mugs before sending them smashing to the floor with zero remorse. It was quite frustrating.

Didn’t get to walk across the Harbor Bridge – next time, I suppose – but we did make it into an Aboriginal art gallery. That was neat. We went back home, and, rested and replenished, set out to Shelby’s house party. It was the first house party I’ve encountered since my arrival, invoking within me fond memories of Athens. Sigh.

Saturday, Richard and I checked out the Pet Fair on campus. I got to pet a cow. And a llama, and a goat, and a duckling, and a piglet, and a bunny, and a guinea pig…I was a happy camper, and kinda sniffly too. No matter – the poodle with pink hair could have brought cheer to even the most allergic of fair-goers.

Trying iced chocolate in The Rocks
Preya and I try iced chocolate for the first time in The Rocks. It’s an unshaken milkshake; a glorious, glorious treat.
A dog with pink ears
This is silliness. Why??
Petting a lamb at a petting zoo
Petting zoo. Brought me right back to five-years-old.

Ever seen the movie, The Holy Mountain? Think ‘shrooms, acid, violence, religion, sex, the 1970’s, and you may have a vague idea of the content of this non-narrative art film. We watched it at Josh’s house in what began as “boys’ night in” and ended with every one mentally and emotionally drained from a noble attempt at wrapping our minds around something so very trippy, convoluted, and full of impenetrable yet *deep* meaning.

Today, after trekking to Chatswood, North Sydney for group work on a school project, and promptly losing my binder on the train (Mom, don’t hassle me on this one. I’m already upset enough as it is), I searched the grocery store high and low for some corn meal. Why, you ask? Tonight was potluck night at 3 Creek and, dammit, I was going to make cornbread if it was the last thing I did. Found “maize meal” in the health food section and impressed my housemates with good ‘ol Southern cornbread. Hermant, our new Indian housemate, made out-of-this-world fried cauliflower with chili sauce and poppadoms with chutney.

I have a job interview at a children’s clothing store in the mall tomorrow. To lie or not to lie about how long I’m going to be here is the question. My last interviewer advised me, before sending me off in a caffeine-daze as I had accepted his free flat white offer,

“Listen, your honesty is worth gold. But, the last guy said he would be here for a year. I trained him, he worked here for six weeks, then he left.”

“So you’re saying I should have lied to you?”

“No, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying he got the job and you didn’t”

I guess it’s worth mentioning at this point that Clipper was too good to be true. Free food, under-the-table compensation…I haven’t given up, just need to re-strategize. Re-strategize, decide, and hopfully find my binder.


  1. KimVo says:

    Ah! So many things to comment on…
    First: US Presidential Election 2000. Gore won the popular vote over George Bush, but the state of Florida had to recount their votes to determine who would get the electoral votes (and win the election.) It dragged on for several weeks and was eventually decided by the Supreme Court. Frenzy? You betcha. (You probably don’t remember the whole “hanging chads” controversy.)
    Second: The vacation plans…I say you take into account where you think you might be going after the end of the semester. If you plan on flying somewhere then, then take the road trip for break. And if you end up going to Cairns, please don’t get eaten by a shark.
    Third: That movie trailer….whoa.
    Hope you find your binder.
    Love, Mom

  2. Allison Seifer Poole says:

    Michelle – I am your mom’s friend from Jersey. Grew up on the same street.
    I am jealous of your fabulous trip down under. I live in Florida, where the “hanging chads” kept this country from announcing who would be our president. It seemed to take forever and is still under controversy for being totally corrupt. They actually announced the winner as Gore only to change their minds and demand a hand count of ballots with questionable punches. Florida is the swing state. It was rigged. My vote for your trip – Great Barrier Reef. But if you get eaten by a shark, it can’t be my fault. As far as the job – I would tell the guy the truth. He’ll probably respect you so much for it he’ll hire you anyway. As a matter of fact – that should be your approach.

  3. itorganization2017 says:

    IMHO, I’d go for Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve done that and the Gold Coast, and for me there’s no question. It’s not just so you can ‘say’ you dove the Great Barrier Reef, it’s so you actually ‘did’ dive the Great Barrier Reef! I was most fortunate in traveling with a wealthy business executive who took me to Hayman Island to stay for a few days as a base point for the diving.

    Anyway, whatever you do, I know you will continue having a wonderful time, so don’t agonize over the indecision – savor the give and take and research involved in getting to the decision, and never regret a decision you make – just the ones you don’t make!

  4. mishvo says:

    Thanks everyone for your input. You will be glad to know we booked the trip Sydney–>Brisbane–>Cairns–>Sydney. I’m very very excited. Next step: organizing hostels (no big d) and activities! Should be fun! As always, your input is very much appreciated. Especially from those who know a bit about Cairns…?
    Also, Allison, I told the truth in my interview today. Felt right, but haven’t received a call back yet…Oh well…

  5. Gillian Merlyn says:

    Hi Michele – from up over!!
    I love reading your blog altho’ have to confess I haven’t followed it the last few weeks as we’ve been away in Portland (Vaughan has a consulting engagement there)

    Great to read that you are still having a blast. I’m glad you made the decision to go to Brizzie & Cairns. My parents spent a wonderful six weeks with friends who lived in Briz some while ago and loved it. But! the GBR!! That’s something you, as a diver should certainly not miss. What a wonderful opportunity.
    Anyhoo, I will keep this short for now as I have a mountain of laundry and bills to tackle. However, must mention that “The Holy Mountain” is one of Louise’s favorite movies of all time! She made me sit thru 10 mins of it about 15 years back, and I’m still nauseous!! Apparently, it’s a classic and I’m a philistine!!
    Love from Gill

    • mishvo says:

      Hi Gill! So good to hear from you and I’m glad you’re reading! I’m so so excited for break and diving, I only wish I had my mask and fins here ’cause I will probably have to buy new. Also, I haven’t been diving in 4 years so I should probably get “refreshed” some how.
      I feel extraordinarily uneasy to hear Louise’s favorite movie is The Holy Mountain as it was the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen but hey, to each his own. I suppose if you can look past the sex/violence/drugs to the deeper meaning of it all….
      Good luck with those bills and laundry. I should also go study for my bio midterm tomorrow : /
      I’ll keep you posted!


      • Gillian Merlyn says:

        Ha! Don’t worry about Louise – I guess that’s what an NYU education will do for you! If it helps you feel better about her mental health, two of her other favorite movies of all times, are Ferris Bueller & Babe. Which makes her a well-rounded person – maybe 🙂
        P.S. From Vaughan – who says ….. you absolutely have to have a refresher and check out dive before you go diving at GBR, cos’ most dive ops will take a look at the inactivity in your log book and there may be a problem. Besides, it’s dangerous! And you don’t need to purchase new fins and mask : rent them, just make sure they fit correctly. Unquote!

  6. marlene josephs says:

    Love your blog. Don’t have an opinion of where to go on the trip, but Molly will be emailing you today. she is full of opinions. We love you and can’t wait to keep reading. xoxoxo

    • Molly Josephs says:

      Hi Michellie! I think you TOTALLY made the right decision. I miss you so much and just got your CD. I LOVE IT! That was so sweet and I appreciate it sooooooo much! I will be back in the city next week and a skype session is absolutely in order! One incident that I MUST report to you is that last night in the car ride home from the blue parrot mexican restaurant in East Hampton, my parents, myself, my two distant israeli cousins that are visiting, and this other distant cousin (caroline) saw several deer and all, in syncrony, started singing “Doe a deer a female deer…” The whole song, on the top of our lungs, two times through…at these deer. You would have been very proud. love you, miss you, and can’t wait to hear more about your awesome pink-poodled life.

      • mishvo says:

        Molly molly molly where have you BEEN!??? I’ve been pining for your attention endlessly on facebook. We should skype, we really really must.
        I’m glad you got the CD. I like to think it was lost in the mail for a year instead of recognizing the truth that I am one seriously lazy human. Sorry for the delay. But nevertheless! I look forward to hearing your update. love you!!

  7. Hi Michelle, LOVE your blog! We haven’t visited “down under” yet (altho’ my sis in London had a blast there), but it’s on our list of places to go one day. You’ll be able to give us great tips by then! Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Sydney… what a fun adventure! Happy travels… stay safe 🙂 Luv, Alana & Barry from SF

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