After almost 2.5 months of preparation, the time has come for the BIG show! Step by step of preparation was done carefully, from things to bring, to things to display, things to put in the booth, things we can rent, buy or supplied from Sydney. The night before our departure, our place looked like a war zone.
Departing Jakarta (04Mar)
We took everything we brought from Jakarta with us, nothing were shipped. Just wanted to make sure that we have everything we need altogether. Between the two of us, there were 2 suitcases, 2 hard cases (gigantic and small ones), 3 carton boxes (working tray, arm rest, t-shirt merchandises), 1 roll for banners and poster. Total up to 95 kilos, just 55 kilos overweight – with another 10 kilos discount, we paid a hefty sum of dues for the remaining 45.
We stopped by boring Singapore and experienced Changi Terminal 3.. still boring and anxious to get to the evening flight to Sydney, we managed to do 30-minutes reflexology.
Sleeping in the aeroplane was never been easy for me. My beloved one slept like a log, or at least, he pretended well to do so. So for me, it was docu-film fest all night, while dozing on and off.
Arrived early at Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney and smoothly went through custom with no hiccups. Only must pay duty tax for all the merchandised t-shirts, relatively small value.
We jumped on a maxi cab, which drove us to Australian Sunny Lodge on 485 King Street, Newtown. This whole time, lugging in and out.. good exercise though! The stuff that Gary shopped for us were waiting at the reception. Glenn came around 9.30ish for breakfast and coffee at the neighboring café. The weather was fresh, little bit of humidity hanging there. We got Agus’ room open to rest.
By lunch time we went down to 3store in QVB for prepaid SIMs for our phone and mobile internet. We went straight back to Newtown to prepare for the expo loading.
Another heart pumping experience happened, because we missed our maxi cab booking and had to order 2 ordinary taxis, at the peak hour. I did not remember the traffic jam in Sydney was that bad! It took us ages, not to mention that my taxi driver did not know the shortest route to the venue. The cost: phenomenal. God help us!
The kids were there with trolley and Health & Safety vests when we arrived at the Showground Hall 4. We went straight to booth 87. Agus and crew were there too. Putting them all up together, our booth was ready within 1.5hours. Some of the other participants were there. All of the rented tools (massage table, massage chair, 2 working stools) were there. Afterwards, we split and went back by train to Newtown.. conserve energy.. we ate Australian Vietnamese at Vin Loi. Nothing special, only anxiety!
Day 1 (06Mar)
Good breakfast at Anise on King Street, bought some stuff at the Chemist, before we hit by train to Olympic Park. We had company at the Dome, where Craft Festival was also on.. totally different crowd, I must say.
The show was officially open at 12 noon and the excitement continued until 10pm. 150 booths, more than 8 countries of tattoo, piercing, scarification artists gathered in this expo. Life band, burlesque show, tattoo-of-the-day contest were all happening one after the other. Media coverage was all over the place, one of them Inner West Weekly, will put it up on their website as well on print.
Auburn Council for Health came about for their daily check on compliance to health regulations for skin penetration. We passed and certified! Yay…
I managed to sneak to the Craft Show during my lunch break. Can only think of Vivi and how she would get crazy with all these interesting stuff from scrapbook, card making, jewelry, knitting, Russian doll, candle making, quilting, patching… I walked past like a whirlwind.. promised myself to comeback the next day.
There were more people coming in the evening and both Agus and Durga finally got their first two clients. For Agus, it was a skull tattoo on the feet; for Durga, a Borneo Dayak dragon dog for a first-timer. Both of the artists were immediately on their feet from drawing it from scratch to make a stencil for them to ready to go. They were buddies of 3, the other one was cheering on the sideline.
Durga put up a slide show on the hand-tapping session done for TidJels. The crowd could only be amazed!
CEO represented by both Mike and Richard Sedins were really helpful and quick to act should there be assistance required. They came also yesterday during the loading hours.
It was a long day for all of us. We went home by cab on a rowdy Friday evening in Newtown. We settled for Thai food, because we must have rice! We ate at the hotel lobby with Agus and Dede. Well deserved.
Day 2 (07Mar)
A courtyard breakfast at Anise. Big day today, big tattoo appointment coming up. We arrived relatively early to open our booth. We need to prepare the massage table, pillows for support and covered them for this big Paisley design.
Durga’s first appointment was an interview for Australian Ink magazine. They took some pictures of him yesterday. Then Leslie came for her rib to hip tattoo of an Indian paisley design. It took a straight 6.5 hours of work. The show was in full swing. The crowd: fantastic and real hard core!
The hand-tapping slide show was on again, the crowd went wild again.
The minute Leslie started, I went next door to Cambridge Body Arts from New Zealand for a silver fern tattoo on my inner right ankle. I chose H2O aftercare also from a neighbouring booth, an Australian made.
A lot of people were asking for traditional hand-tapping, whether it can be done right there and then. It was so tempting since day-1, but our booth was too small to spread out for hand-tapping. We were thinking to do so next time around. Leesa from Yakuza Tattoo Wollongong, and Scotty Doo, her husband, came a number of time to check out for this hand-tapping on her face. Yet she was 9 months pregnant and due the following week. We did not want to take the risk.
Once finished, we went for a glass of wine at the café while discussing those lining up for next tattoo session. We invited Raymon to come back for consultation that evening and agreed to re-design Hanoman, the Monkey god to be bone on his lower left thigh.
There were more line up of people on the appointment list, which we would love to comeback to. Perhaps some of them could be done within next week.. let’s see.
We went home exhausted and drained on a train.. straight to find a quick bite at Ha Long Resto – a cross between Chinese Vietnamese resto just across our hotel. Once back, Durga went straight to draw the Hanoman for Raymon until the wee hour.
Day 3 (08Mar)
Final day! It opened at 11am… stream and stream of people would never end. I managed to go around the ground.. to collect give aways, business cards, stickers and stuff.. while tried to meet up with some of the artists who already there and ready to roll for their last day.
Raymon arrived on time and got the work immediately for almost 2.5hours. Afterwards, just chill out time.. before re-packing and re-loading the stuff again.
The episode between us and the maxi cab continues… we had to wait for a while, under the drizzling rain before it came. They sent the first one to showground in Moore Park.. who would go there for a show, except for playing or watching cricket! Never mind, just let us go home. We dropped by Queen street for the boys and straight to Newtown.
Departing Sydney (14Mar)
We got used to this maxi cab saga by now.. we ordered in advance.. and still experiencing some moronic disclaimer that ‘We cannot guarantee the delivery of maxi cab..’ well, helloow.. that’s why we booked in advance??!! Checked in went smoothly. Our checked in goods were 70 kilos, an overweight of 30. Our unaccompanied baggage was managed by Qantas and weighted 50 kilos. They will come latest by Monday of the following week at the cargo bay in Cengkareng.
We left Sydney with fondness and a sense that we’ve learned and achieved an important milestone not only on Durga’s career footprint, but also in our relations. Things we would do or consider differently among others are size of our booth – it needs to be bigger, especially if we put more than 1 artists. A special mobile tray should be constructed, can’t be like what we carried from home. Too cumbersome and too heavy. Hand-tapping would be the main attraction and key differentiator, thus it also relates to booth size.
On the personal front, I feel that our bond is getting stronger and ready to take it to the next level. Let’s hope we can comeback even better and bigger next year!
PS: Here are the tatoos done outside the show. They belong to Anne Warwick, a friend of Donna from work and my beloved Gary. Gary scribbled his own design and proudly put it as his first permanent ink.