Anyway, it was an amazing weekend.
Got up on the Friday at 4 o'clock in the far-too-fucking-early so I could leave the house by 4:30, so I could get to the car parking place by 5:00, so I could get to the airport and be checked in by 5:30 for a 6:00 flight. I managed to get to the airport by about 5:20, so I had no problems. Now, I always do Web Check In the day before if I can, that way I have less to worry about when I get there, so it was merely a matter of dropping off my bags and that was it. I drop off my bag, he scans my boarding pass and everything is hunky-dorey.
I wander over to the security check point and start divesting myself of metal objects (glasses, watch, wallet, mobile, etc) when the guy at the bag check in comes over to me and lets me know that the 6:00am flight has been cancelled. Bugger! So we wander back to his terminal, and he rebooks me into the 5:30am flight, which was the one that was leaving in about 5 minutes. So once that's done I get back to the security check point, redivest myself of beepable objects, pass through the check point and make my way hurriedly to the gate. Of course it was the gate that was the furtherest from the check in. I rush, expecting to be the last one, but there were at least half a dozen people after me, so I wasn't too concerned.
Flight was fairly standard and I listen to my iPod a bit and read the inflight magazine. Now, there was one thing in the in flight magazine that jumped out at me that I had to share. One of the mini articles was talking about how women have a hard time getting decent business shirts, and talked about a company that specialises in business shirts for women. The company is called Mr Rose and I immediately thought of wilderdash when I read it. So, my dear, have a look and see if you like.
Landed at 8:00am (7:00am Brisbane time due to daylight saving time), grabbed my bag and took a taxi to non_lj_mark's place and ended up sitting on the door step for a couple of hours until his house mate (Di) actually woke up and could let me in. The rest of the day was just spent sitting around and reading Marks' comics until he came home and we started chatting. We order some nice Italian from a little shop just down the road, and talked until about 3 in the morning. Oops! :) We tend to do that when we get together.
On the Saturday, the actual day of the parade, the three of us got up at a reasonable time and made it in to the city to do some shopping before the parade. We met up with Nicky, and then wandered down Oxford St. Now that was an eye-opener, with all these openly gay people, happy being themselves. We had mostly worn "normal" clothes and had brought what we were intending to wear to the parade with us. I was wearing normal jeans, and all I really had to change into was changing my shirt for a vest and putting on my spiked leather collar. As a result, I wanted to go shopping.
First stop was Sax Fetish. What I really wanted was one of the leather Roman-style kilts, but they were completely out of my size. They had plenty of Mediums, and one XL, but no Large ones in stock. Kind of makes sense on the day of the actual parade for them to be low on stock, don't you think? :) I tried on the XL one and I thought it looked really good on me (so did the rest of them) other than being too big around the waist so they would have fallen off if I had worn them in the actual parade. I did however end up buying a pair of Lace Up Leather Shorts which I was very happy with. My waist meant I should have bought a pair of 34's, but with how chunky my upper legs are I had to go up in size and get a pair of 36's. With them being lace up I am able to tighten them up enough so I don't have the problem that the Kilt would have had if I had bought it in a larger size.
Then we wandered across the road to House of Fetish. The had a couple of really nice kilt/skirts that I really liked so I grabbed the two of them in the 34's and went to try them on. As I'm walking towards the changing rooms there's a guy there trying on a corset. Tall, slender, really cute. I commented as I walked past that "When I grow up, can I have one of them?" :)
The lady who was helping us in the shop comments that she's not sure I grabbed the right size as I don't look like a 34 to her, more like a 32. Isn't she sweet.
I try them on and get the shock of my life to find out she's right. So, we swap the two of them for the 32 inch versions and I try them on instead. One of them was a tartan skirt, and the other was a leather-esk kilty thing (I have no idea how to describe it). I liked them both, but wasn't sure, so we pulled out the vest I was going to wear and tried them on with the vest. The vest worked so well with the tartan skirt that I ended up getting it, and not the leather kilt. I much preferred the look of the kilts in Sax Fetish so I'm just going to wait until I can get one from there.
Meanwhile I'm popping in and out of the change rooms about half a dozen times or more during this, as we work out what works best, so I keep on getting to perve on the cute guy trying on the corset. Then his boyfriend starts trying on some chains. BF was short, stocky, well muscled but not overly muscled with what I would describe as dancers muscles, not body building muscles, and he had some of the most beautifully details tattoo work all over his body. Since he was trying on chains he wasn't wearing a shirt, and I got a hell of an eyeful of his gorgeous body. My comment this time was "When I grow up, can I be one of them?" :)
So, I wander out of the change room wearing the vest and the tartan skirt in the 32 and the tattooed beauty says that it looks really good, so of course I'm sold. I buy the skirt, and wear it and my vest out of there, throwing my jeans and shirt in the bag.
Then it was back to Hyde Park to get ready and wait for the parade.
We get back to the park a bit before 4:30, and we're not meeting the rest of the group until 5:00 so we've got a bit of time to kill. I'm basically dressed in what I was intending to wear, and Mark just requires a change of shirt (ie, taking his shirt off). However, Nicky and Di both need to get into their parade costumes so they do that while we were waiting.
Well, we picked up an audience very quickly. We didn't look "normal", and it was still early enough that the normal people were still out in force. Add to that the stunning outfit that Nicky was wearing and we had people taking photos of us all over the place. Highly amusing, especially as they started asking for photos before Nicky and Di were even finished getting changed.
We hung around there for a while, waited until the group had gathered and then wandered over to where the group was supposed to marshal for the parade. The group I was with was the Sydney Leather Pride Association (SLPA) and I think we were listed as being section D17. When the parade starts, the Dykes on Bikes go first, and then they start with the "A" row, followed by the "B" row, and so on. I have no idea how many different rows there were, but I was told there was over 360 entries into the parade, and we were about half way through.
We find out spot and dump our bags on the vehicle (a ute with a St Andrew's Cross on the back) and then wander over to the nearby pub to waste the next hour and half while perving on the patrons. Eventually we wander back out, and join in the parade.
The atmosphere was amazing. I watched last year with ozisim and the atmosphere was amazing then, but actually being in it was so much more. There are thousands of people lining the 4km (2.5 mile) parade route and every single last one of them is cheering for you.
One of the most important things to come out of the parade this year, at least for me, was that I think I have finally gotten over a lot of my body image problems. To have so many people saying that I looked good in my outfit meant that I must have looked good. I've finally come to the realisation that even thought I have hit my goals yet, that doesn't mean that I'm not good looking, and the closer I get towards my goals the better looking I'll be. Made me feel a hell of a lot better, that's for sure.
After the parade we didn't go to the after party, and instead went to the regular Goth club that was on that night. I was feeling a little bit uncomfortable since I only knew four people there and two of them ended up going home early, but the solitary time in amongst all these people allowed me to do some thinking. Next year I want to go to the after party, just so I have been at least once.
There are two issues with this. Firstly I'm going to have to work on my body (and my dancing! :) ) a hell of a lot between now and then. While I got the realisation about my body image from the parade, I also got a hell of a lot of motivation about getting to work to achieve my goals. I'm already getting to it, as I'm back down to 87kg (from the 89kg I had gone up to as a result of the last couple of months) and my pants are no longer tight again.
The second issue is my lack of sociability. Those of you who know me may find it difficult to believe that I'm shy, but it is actually true. I am hopeless at meeting people, without someone else there to act as a safety blanket. I tried the dating thing once, and crashed and burned, which is one of the main reasons I've never tried it again.
If I'm going to be going to the Mardi Gras after party, then I'm either going to have to really work on my social skills, or go with some people I know, or be lonely.
Anyway, back to the story...
Sunday was a total bludge day to recover from the the night before. Theoretically I was supposed to meet razorgirl_au in the city for Yum Cha, but since she got home at a much later time of the morning than I did, she did the smart thing and cancelled it and went back to bed. Sunday night, Di and I watched the Kylie concert on the TV. God she has some hot dancers!
Monday was a day of rest for me. Read more of Mark's comics (finished Preacher and Minutemen), wandered out of the house for bit to take a walk, stretch my legs and eat lunch, and eventually went off to the airport. Plane was due to leave at 8:00pm, so I wanted to be there by 7:00, so I rang the taxi at 6:00. Paranoid much?
I spent more time on the phone waiting for someone to answer than I did actually waiting for the taxi, so I got there in quick time. Checked in, handed in the bags, went through security, had dinner and waited. And waited and waited and waited some more.
Sydney had decided on some bad weather, slowing down take off and landing, plus there was an air/sea rescue operation going on in the bay so no planes could take off or land in that direction slowing things down even further. We ended up taking off at about 8:30. The ride was bumpy almost the entire way, and out of an hour 20 minute flight, the seat belt sign was only off for about 15 minutes before the captain put it back on for landing.
Landed at 9:00 (no longer under Daylight Saving time) and then wandered off to try and catch up with life.
My photos from the event are currently sitting here, waiting for me to finish sorting, tagging and titling them. Once I do I'll do another post with pictures. :)