Yes, I am finally back in the world of sun, heat,
heat, no rain, lovely sun, more heat, and yes!..shorts
with NO gloves, hats, shivering at night and rivers of
water in the tent (last letter....)

Oh I love it here, yes I do, I love it!

Not that our last week in New Zealand didn't have some
distinctive, somewhat wet, yes, memories....

As soon as we arrived back in the North Island, it
seemed the gods were just not with us at all, and it
poured from the heavens the way it only does in
Biblical tales. In fact, on arrival in the Bay of
Islands (supposedly famous for white beaches lapped
with crystal clear blue waters) we slammed right into
a cyclone, complete with horizontal rain. Trudging
through mud and puddles with 3 packs on our backs to
the youth hostel we all but fell over laughing our
heads off - it was that or cry! After a month on the
road, I needed serious re-humanizing. For those of
you not familiar with re-humanization, it basically
involves the warming of the body with numerous hot
showers, the wearing of comfy slippers and loungey
clothes, hours spent in reckless comfort watching
feel-good soppy movies, and reading, writing journals
and eating yummy comfort food full of chocolate,
caramel and copious amounts of tea....Yes,
re-humanization is as important as sex. (oops...did I
say that out loud?)

Actually, we ditched the bus and spent our last few
days enjoying the above mentioned process. The sun
peeped out on the last day; but I already had plans
for my day....Yes! it was the oscars, New Zealand
style. Those of you who know me well enough will
realize that this event is as close as I get to being
religious these days. I broke into a posh motel, put
on my biggest smile, and asked to "borrow" their
lounge to watch SKY. It was great, complete with all
necessary products for the continuing re-humanization
effort, with added alcohol just for fun. Every thing
was great until Sean Penn won for Best Actor, and I
got so excited that management had to shush me because
I was disturbing some of the guests....whoops!

Back at the hostel it was discovered to my joy (sheer
in nature complete with streaming tears) that there
was a karaoke contest to be held that night! Well, my
peeps, did I enter? I THINK SO. I sang about eight
songs! It was fantastic, even the DJ took a liking to
me and asked me to sing with him. And I won...which
is always nice, right? Free drinks all around that
night.... I met a fabulous gay man called Tim that
night from Hobart. I just loved him instantly and we
stayed up half the night singing through the entire
score of Phantom of the Opera in the hostel car park.
Too much fun.

ANYWAY, we took a bus back to Auckland, hopped on a
bus, hopped on a plane, hopped in my friend Phil's car
and before we knew it, we were in Melbourne!

Now, I know there is a huge rivalry between Melbourne
and Sydney - so i was most curious to discover what
the fuel behind the fire might be.As it turned out,
I'm sorry, there really is no competition - Sydney is
so WHERE ITS AT! However, in M's defense, it really
is a completely different city with a totally
different vibe, and I loved it all the same. G and I
were spoiled rotten by Phil (whom I met at my hostel
in Rome in September) who even gave up his own room
for us. More re-humanizing ensued for the next four

Giovanna and I putzed around the city for a few days
stopping every few hours for the obligatory espresso
beverage and cake....We met up with a few people we
had met in NZ and had a wonderful time. Highlights of
my time in Melbourne include a wonderful day out with
Phil in the Dandenongs - a national park of towering
mountain ash trees, beautiful. The afternoon was
highlighted with a totally scrummy stop at the English
tea room "Miss Marple's" where I suffered self-induced
sugar coma (my ass has also been suffering from the
side-effects of previous bouts of this condition).

Yesterday was the start of the Mooma Water Festival in
I went to a sand sculpting competition, watched a
water skiing competition and listened to an open air
concert that focused on world music. There was a
group from Croatia who only used strings and a
clarinet, and they were completely hilarious!
Fireworks at such a close range I felt sure my clothes
would catch fire ended the splendid evening....

Giovanna and I left this morning at a ridiculous hour
of the O Hundred variety. We are taking a 3 day tour
to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road; another update
will follow in a few days, no doubt.

Loving it here, missing home though, and all of you!