October 1998 my friend Cindy Kleinsasser went to Australia on this amazing adventure for over 2 months. She gave me permission to publish her letters and photos sent to her friends writing about her experiences. Enjoy.
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 18:55:23 -0800 (PST)
From: Cindy Kleinsasser
Subject: Hello from Australia
I updated my address book so many of you may be getting my e-mail for the first time if not please write me and I’ll insert you and you can be on the frequent mailing list. Well I’ve been in Perth for about two weeks at the Globe hostel. I was staying in Freemantle.
Perth is the largest city on the Western side of Australia but it’s still very small. A few gay bars with lots of straight people.
It is gay pride which has been all month long. I’ve went to two films being shown for the gay film festival. One was “Bent” and “Relay…It’s just sex” with Jennifer Tilly. Both were excellent.
When I arrived at the Hostel all my roommates had the flu or tonsillitis. I was fortunate until two days ago and I got really sick. I think bronchitis. So I’m taking it easy and drinking a lot of orange juice and tea. It’s helping. Just as long as I stay out of trouble. Australians party a lot and love to get “pissed” thats what they call drunk.
This weekend is the gay parade. I will go and then there’s a huge after party. Then after I that I will stay at Rottnest. A beautiful paradise island off the coast. The weather has been sunny but some days get cool. It should start to cook soon. This is
Australia spring and in the summer it stays in the 100’s. When I go up the Western coast I’ll be going at the worst time because it’s the wet season where it’s 90% humidity and over a 100 degrees. I leave up the Western coast Nov 13th. I will be in a big 4WD bus that will go up the coast for 14 days. I have to go. I pay for my e-mail time.
Kathy C quite e-mailing me electronic cards! The computers are often slow here and they use all my e-mail time. Just write a few words. How is work. I miss everyone. I hope all is well and there’s not a moment that I don’t miss everyone. Have a cuppa for me which is australian for tea. Cheers!
luv cindy kleinsasser
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 17:57:05 -0800 (PST)
From: Cindy Kleinsasser
Subject: newsletter from Australia
It’s that time. Time for the Cindy/Australia update. Now where did I leave off. I went to the gay games in Perth and it was small scale compared to SF. But well worth it. Very well put together and not the bad mob scene of SF. The funny thing is that the population of Perth is small so all the gay people that exists in the area were in the parade so all the spectators were straight. I dressed up of course the drag queen that I am. I was about the only one who was in the crowd. I sent pictures to Kathleen and Deana so if anyone wants to check them out they are good shots. They won’t arrive for a week though.
After being in Perth for two weeks I wanted a vacation from the city and went back to Rottnest Island for a week with Marney. Now Girls this island is incredible. Its like Hawaii without all the tourism, people and completely untouched. I think we should plan a month vacation, rent out one of the cabins that overlook the picturesque ocean for cheap$$$$$$$$$$$$. We deserve this!!!!! Life’s tooooooooooooo short. Okay I’lll move on but I wish you all were here with me. I miss everyone by the way. Some nights my heart is heavy. But all of this is well worth it. I’m thankful I went out on the limb on this and said fuck it. I hope all of you if you haven’t at one time will do it eventually OK, Rottnest! At Rottnest I went snorkeling for two days. The island is surrounded by reefs and they are beautiful to swim around and see all the fish. I went running every other day where I run up a hill and when you reach the peak is fans out to a miraculous view of the ocean. I run down strip my cloths and dive into the water and swim out a ways and then swim back. It’s awesome!!! One day me and Marney rented Tandem bikes and rode bikes around the island. They are not as easy as they look. Lots of barbecues and eating. One night I had two bottles of the best wine. By the way Western is well known for some of the best wine and then continued with beer which are stronger here then the states and next day regretted the whole event.
It took about two days to recover and have not had a glass of wine since. I quit smoking and drinking coffee. After the stint with bronchitis I decided no more! It’s almost two weeks now. What helps is that my clove cigarettes are $11 each. OUCH!!
I leave for my 14 day trek up to Darwin Friday. So when I return I will have had a crash course in Western Australia. It will be really good. It hits all the beautiful stops on the western coast.
Most of it is really “bush” all natural. I hear that we don’t get a shower for four days. It will be roughing it. I think all my lipstick will melt out there. Not much civilization for my “drag queen” attire but if “prissila queen of the desert” could do it so can I. I’ll write when I get back in fourteen days. For now g-day mates.
Drink a stubby for me. luv cindy
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 20:21:06 -0800 (PST)
From: Cindy Kleinsasser
I just returned from 14 days of bush camp. Yes, the “bush”. Low laying trees as far as the eye can see. Its incredible. Well lets start from the top. I left Perth and went to the Pinnacles which are all these limestone pillars that formed when the sand was wisped away.
Then off to some gorges which are deep fissures in the earth.
We climb down into them and there were beautiful waterfalls where we were happy to get some refreshing swimming in. The weather is about 36 degrees to 41 degrees Celsius. Then it was off to Monkey Mia where the dolphins come up to the shore and right up to you. Two baby dolphins were present with the momma dolphin amusingly parading her baby around. Then to see Shell Beach which is a beach with out sand its covered in small shells. Then Ningaloo Reef. This is where I went snorkeling in the clearest water with beautiful tropical fish.
Also went swimming with the Mantaray. The plane spots the fish and we quickly boat to it then jump out and try to catch him. He was huge. About the size of four people. I swan right with him the entire time and then all of a sudden he became interested in me and came right up and brushed up against me. I was calm and excited until the guide got scared and yelled out to me then I got scared and backed out. It was truly amazing. The next few days were all Gorge walks and bush camps.
Our showers were either waterfalls or natural springs. Which sounds beautiful but after a week with no soap we were all smelling a bit “French”. Plus no laundry and wearing the same clothing as the first day. As we moved up the north the gorges were less rocky and more tropical.
When you climbed into a gorge the most luscious foliage was there. Straight out of the movies. Where its dry and desert like and then deep in a fissure is palm trees, cockatoos and waterfalls. I’ve sent all the pictures to Deana/Kathleen so if anyone should want to see some of these sites they are beautifully portrayed in the photos.
And “swertie” this is Deana not Deanna Dias. Sorry! Then I went on a small Cessna and went over the Bungle Bungles.
These are massive natural rock formations. They are no longer accessible by road due to the Aboriginal claims. The Aboriginal people are incredible. I find myself fascinated to learn there culture and art. I want to get a picture of them but I don’t know how. They seem very unapproachable and there is history to some resentment that I sense. They are uniquely beautiful. I went to the art museum today where an aboriginal exhibition is displayed. There art is very traditional and all have similar style. I had a chance to buy an original piece in Katherine and now regret not doing so. Since the remote towns are so desolate then you can buy some of the art that isn’t commercialized.
Now I am in Darwin. Surrounded by beautiful ocean.
These crocodiles are the most dangerous. I went into some gorges with fresh water croc’s and you see them sitting on a rock or swimming and the guide says lets go and he expects this city girl to enter the water. “Hell NO! After much trepidation I do and they don’t bite. The fresh water croc’s stay away but if you accidentally kick or step on them they won’t take a second thought of taking a nice chunk of your leg. The fresh water croc’s are much smaller than the salt water ones but the salt water croc’s can get to 6 meters long and easily eat you as a nice foreign delicatessen.So what shall I do in Darwin. There is a really nice pool at the hostel and I bought a book. I want to go on a croc. tour where they feed them and they literally jump out of the water. I also want to go to an aboriginal tour. Besides that I’m lying low. I have to say I am sorry if some people wrote and I did not respond. I try to respond to everyone but for numerous reasons I may not have been able too. The computer systems in some areas are quite archaic and and even whether plays a part. I do have to say I am with drawling for a while. Some of the trip has been a passage for me as some of my friends know. The e-mails are wonderful but at the same time they are remembrances of the love you have and at times sadden me to a point that I have a difficult time pulling myself up. So I am giving myself a mental holiday. I will not get to my e-mail for an undecided time. I love and miss everyone. I have sent pictures, postcard and letters. I hope you receive them. Stacy where are you.
I sent you some gifts in the mail I hope you receive them. A special gift is in the mail for you that I am sending you. I “bared” it all to get you this. Miss and love you all. G-day Cindy
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1999 21:41:23 -0800 (PST)
From: Cindy Kleinsasser
To: Stacy Poulos
I could use one of those days as well. Nothings wrong I would just love to see you again plugging away on the computer barely paying attention to the conversation with an occasional “uh huh”. But working hard at what you do best. I miss you. Tell me about how your doing with work and relationships. I leave for Kuala Lumpur tomorrow so I may not get to e-mail for a while but its not because your not in my heart because you are always in my fond thoughts.
g-day mate luv cindy
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1999 23:00:25 -0800 (PST)
From: Cindy Kleinsasser
Subject: Aussie mail To: All
How’s it goin mates,
I’m doing great. Today is my last day in Australia. Yes I’m leaving the mother country of “crocs” and kangeroos. I’ll miss it but no fear I’ll be back!!! I want to see the east side so everyone get ready to pack your gear and come.
Now to update. I’ve had a really relaxing last month. I flew to Perth from Darwin just in time to miss the cyclone. Luckily it passed around Darwin. The last cyclone flattened the entire city. I was not about to sit through that. I want to come home in one piece. I took a didgeridoo lesson and loved it. Don’t worry I bought one and I will put on a concerto when I get home. I went to a concert last night it was Tiddas and the Waives. Excellent and a beautiful theater under the trees out in the bush.
So let me back up when I got home to Perth Marney picked me up and I stayed there. Now at this time I was running out of money and did. Yes, not a “aussie” or American dollar to my name. You could say I was “shitting Bricks”. Then Santa Claus finally set my stock company straight and on Christmas Eve the check arrived in the best hands and Deana, who I can’t thank enough, rushed it to the bank and now, Yeah I’m rich!! Whew! I was scared. I stayed, yes, a block from the excellent coast of Australia. Yes, eat your hearts out. I payed $40 dollars for a month to stay here in a house with the ocean at my side. This is “aussie dollar” which would equate to 25-30 american dollar. SCORE!!!!! I have to thank Marney for allowing me to stay with her. I would of ran out of money a lot sooner if she wasn’t there. So I spent the last month of my stay at the beach basting in the “no ozone” sun. I did buy a skate board and am trying my skills in different ways. I learned to jump the curb. You have a lot of time on your hands when you have no money and no job. You have to be creative. I also mastered how to loose to Marney in Checkers which I still haven’t gotten over. This last month has been really relaxing and soothing. For Christmas I had a seafood brunch that was amazing and for new Years I partied until 6am. Yes the sun was up when I left to go out and the sun was up when I went home.
So now I leave tomorrow in pure chaos and histeria to Kuala Lumpur. I am alone and scared “shitless”. I believe that I arrive in the middle of the night and I don’t have a place to stay. NO FEAR, I’m getting used to the instability of travel but I am anxious. So the agenda is going to be intense. I plan to go Singapore, Thailand, Bali, Lombok and a few islands off the coast. I will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of Kathleen on Feb 15th in Bali. She is coming for my birthday and I couldn’t be more excited. If you want to give her a letter or get anything to me I would love to receive little thoughts from you guys, give them to Kathleen before the fifteenth. Nothing big because I can’t carry much with my travels. Kathleen/Deana I sent some things home because I had to lighten my load.
I’ve sent a load of pictures to Deana and Kathleen so if anyone wants to see some of my adventures they have them. Now I may not get to e-mail for a while I will be traveling a lot and mostly third world countries who may not have e-mail. It’s not that your not in my minds I will respond as soon as I can get to e-mail. I love my e-mails and I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. I have to go for now. Have a “stubby” for me and g-day mate. luv
By Postcard Travelers Guest writer and friend Cindy Kleinsasser