Badda Bing, Sandra and Howard's neurotic black cat, meowed me to wakefulness, demanding affection, and then the human contingent repaired to a French cafe for croissants. Talking of cafes, later on in Subway (during a typical hunt for wi fi) while waiting to be attended to, a delivery man asked me, "Foot long or six inch?" A bit of a personal question I thought and replied, "Coffee". What a beautiful, crisp, still, autumnal morning! And how refreshing, after northern Queensland's 30 degree/75% humidity. Left the couple to their coupley Sunday activities, to stroll into the CBD, taking in the urban scenery, which again, invigorated the senses compared to boondock blandness. So many young, SLIM locals engaged in sport, from stretching exercises to Australian Rules Football - and many people seem to 'go for a walk', at least if their jogging outfits are anything to go by. I had more sedate pastimes in mind, such as typing and art appreciation, and most of the afternoon was gobbled up in the confusingly named National Gallery of Victoria. White Australian, Indigenous, Polynesian and International heritages, both and new were represented here, and all beautifully laid out.
Perhaps sensing my need for social interaction, it was then that I met The Crazy Lady. The Crazy Lady befriended me outside the art gallery, where I had sat down on a wall wondering what to do next. I had wanted to see the penguin parade at Philip Island, but Sandra had told me to see the little critters returning from a day's fishing at sunset, required an expensive ticket. Failing that, I had thought about taking in the sights at the supposedly trendy neighbourhood of St Kilda. However, it was nearly 5 pm, quite cold and overcast, and The Crazy Lady persuaded me to join her for sushi. Exhausted by keyboard-tapping and culturally sated, yet still in need of calorific nourishment (and not wishing Sandra to feel obligated in full-on feast production again) I spent my remaining dollars in a restaurant called Chocolate Buddha. En route my guide stopped wheeling her bottle green bicycle to hug a tree. "Was that your special tree?" I ventured. "No, I had a sudden impulse," she answered, with a crazy look in her crazy, green eyes. The Crazy Lady illuminated the mouthwatering morcels with tales from her crazy life. Unusual in that she lived in her native city; but it was not ever so. She had worked illegally in the US as a building site labourer. This was how she became interested in architecture, and now has her own practice. She had designed and renovated structures in many countries, and was currently supervising a team "beautiful" local men in Vanuatu to construct homes of hr deign with tadpole-shape windows (she showed me pictures on her phone). When I told her about the feline character behind my cartoon and greetings card business, she declared her aversion to the species. However, it was when I explained the finer points of Couchsurfing that she became suspicious of me. The naturists in Cairns were too much for her and her crazy eyes took on a whole new crazed expression. She rose from the table, stated, "You're freaking me out!" and left me to pay the substantial bill.
Full in every sense, I returned to Brunswick on the excellent tram sys
tem. My hosts and I drunk a little of the peach wine The Crazy Lady had suggested we drink with our meal; but pretty soon we all turned in, as early Monday mornings lay before each of us.