Sunday, August 23, 2009
Orchids, Thai food and the lebanese lesbian
Went to an orchid show with my friend, T, yesterday. It was all the way down in Keysborough and it took us over an hour to get there. Touted as the largest orchid show in Australia, the venue was a large hall divided equally between plant vendors on one side and the show proper on the other. We started at the sales section where I had to exercise extreme restraint with my wallet. I only bought three plants which, given my obsessive compulsive nature (and past fanaticism with orchids) was quite a feat. One of the purchases was an exotic-looking, mottle-leaved plant from the limestone cliffs of Yunnan in China which has a large flower that looks like an inflated green bubblegum and smells like raspberries. As an apartment-dweller, I deliberately avoided the purchase of another intriguing species which, when in flower, was meant to smell like "a herd of dead elephants".
I caught up with some other friends in the evening for Thai food. Z and S are getting married next month and had come down from the south coast of NSW with Z's American parents. Z's mum is a delightfully warm hippy who grows pot for a living back in California. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Z's dad who is a champion poker player and had decided to visit the Casino instead of joining us for dinner (but if Z's mum is anything to go by, Z's dad would be quite an interesting person also).
We caught the train up to Anstey Station and made a first stop at the huge converted warehouse where Z used to live before he moved to NSW. There, I got to see the completed dome that I had started building with Z and his friends last year (which eventually turned into Z's bed room). The warehouse looked amazing and had been completely transformed since my first visit. It is occupied by a bunch of arty types...graphic designers, silk-screen printers and the like. The kitchen and dining area was beautifully wall-papered on the inside with a huge black and white image of a desert island on one side and an understorey rainforest scene on another. An intricate black stencil covered the painted yellow floor. A chandelier hung from the ceiling, illuminating a beautiful old wooden table set with candles and potted palms and philodendrons. After some snacks (strawberries, dark chocolate and cocao beans), we ventured onto Sydney road and made our way to another large cavernous space, Warwick Thai Restaurant, where we were served the most generous-sized meals I have ever eaten (at ridiculously low prices).
After dinner, I bid farewell to the group and hopped onto a tram to get back to Flinders Street. I ended up sitting next to a middle eastern couple who were speaking so loud that it was impossible not to eavesdrop on their conversation. The girl, it turns out, is a lesbian and the two of them were off to go clubbing at Crown. The girl, who had long, dark hair, was asking the guy whether she could pull off the butch lesbian look. Her friend insisted that she would not get away with having too short hair because it would make her nose look even bigger than it already was. "Shut up!," the lesbian retorts (in her woggy-aussie accent), "You can talk. What about your fuckin' nose". I bite my lip hard and try not to laugh, for the lesbian was right. Her travelling companion had the most protrusive nose I have ever seen on a face.
The tram makes it final stop at Elizabeth Street. The man asks me how long it would take to get to Crown. I tell them it's a short walk. I then turn to the girl and tell her to ask the guy to take her to The Glass House instead. "No fucking way", the man quips, "That place is so gay." I smile, wish them a good night, and make my way across the street.