Hannah was so mesmerized by the allure of Kylie, she pooped her diaper. Twice.
This morning I was awakened by a kick in the nose from my daughter. On the continuum of Ways I Don’t Want to Wake Up, this falls somewhere between uncontrollable bed-wetting and involuntary abscess removal. Hannah is obviously no longer sleeping in the tent on the floor; that experiment ended quickly. And even though she’s only two feet tall, she has managed to take over our bed with a fury seen before only by Australian Rules Football—a game which the Australians, in their typical quaintness, refer to as “Footy.” Footy would be a nice way of describing the dropkick beatdown wake-up call my kid gave me.
I can only assume that she didn’t mean to punt me, but just the same, it did mark the end of my night, even though it was only 6 a.m. ("Happy vacation, Daddy,” Hannah’s smile seemed to say. “Clean up the blood and get up.")
There’s a museum in Sydney called the Powerhouse Museum because it is housed in an old power station. It’s a phenomenal place; we learned about cyborgs and sense of smell, locomotives and design, and all kind of other stuff I didn’t think I cared about. The employees, like everyone else we’ve met in Australia, were endlessly polite. One saw us pushing Hannah around in stroller, and pulled Hannah’s blanket over her bare legs. “It’s cold in here, dearie,” she said. An American stranger even touches my kid’s legs and I’m speed-dialing 911, but Australians can get away with it somehow.
Hey! Is that Kylie on the park bench?
Incidentally, the Powerhouse was also home to the utterly mind-boggling “Kylie: The Exhibition,” a sprawling showcase dedicated inexplicably to Kylie Minogue, Australia’s favorite singer/songwriter/actress/cancer survivor/style icon. ("Featuring costumes, accessories, photographs, sound and video, the exhibition will look at Kylie’s career and changing image!") These Aussies love them some Kylie Minogue. I had no idea she was even still alive: To me, her career began and ended in 1987 with “The Loco-Motion.” Yet we spent a good hour perusing All Things Kylie. Even Hannah was mesmerized. When I approached Sarah and solemnly asked, “Did you see the gold lamé hotpants that Kylie wore in the ‘Spinning Around’ video in 2000?” I knew it was time to leave.
That night, we left Sydney, armed with no more than we arrived with a week ago, apart from a stuffed platypus and a magnet in the shape of a boomerang we bought at Paddy’s Market. (Don’t ask.) Our flight to Hobart, which is the capital of Tasmania, was pretty unpleasant, partially because the guy next us had some nasty feet which gave off the stinkiest stank I ever stunk. But also because Hannah refused to sleep, and because I realized that I knew nothing about where we were flying to. I was under the impression that Tasmania was a country, not an Australian island state. Apart from devils, all I knew about Tasmania was that it was that little speck on the map south of the mainland, and that Errol Flynn is from there.
Neither of which helped me when we arrived at our latest home, the Central Backpackers Hostel in downtown Hobart. It was close to midnight when we finally walked into our room, a tiny dingy chamber with a rusty sink and a bed that looked less like a bed and more like a coffin. All we could do was laugh. I would end the day as I started it 658 miles ago: getting kicked in the face by my daughter.