Take me to the place I love
Trip Start Nov 29, 2005
79Trip End Nov 21, 2006
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Where I stayed
As many of you noticed, I often keep emotions to myself, but from the moment I landed in the airport Monday evening, I've found that I've had a big smile across my face for no particular reason other than I'm back
The next day, I woke up to 80 degree weather and a cloudless sky so I wandered back to the city center. I started off at Hyde Park, a great three-block park right in the heart of the city (at this point, all you who have been here before can skip ahead if you'd like). At one end of the park is a magnificent fountain with numerous sculptures of characters from Greek mythology in the water. As an added bonus, there are plenty of lunatic Asian tourists running amok to keep yourself entertained
After the park, I walked up and down George St, the Broadway of Sydney where most of the nightlife is found. From there I sliced through Chinatown onto Darling Harbor, a beautiful spot that often gets lost in the hype of the main harbor (where the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are -- but more on that later). Those rezzies out there will be relieved to learn that, amazingly, in two years very little has changed in the city. Darling Harbor has changed around many of its shops and some spots have gotten a little too modern, but otherwise, just about everything else is precisely as I remember, and it was shocking how quickly I regained my bearings.
That night I renewed an old tradition and headed to Scruffy Murphy's. Again, the rezzies will be glad to hear that Scruffy's is the place to be on a Tuesday night. Not only that, they still charge just $7 for a jug and, best of all, Big Nyte Out still rocks the place
Since I wound up being on my own, I started talking to this English guy, Mike, at the pub. As it turned out, he's trying to start a Web site that will be the equivalent of thefacebook for travelers (and since he kept me in free beer all night, I'll give his site some free publicity, it's travelfaces.com). He was friendly but had a personality that I can only describe as bizarre because without a degree in psychology I'm not entirely sure I can fully put it in words. Toward the end of the night, we started talking to two English girls. After a few minutes, we worked to the part of the conversation of where we were from. When I said the US, the girl I had been talking to said, "Oh, I've met a few Americans, they were all wankers. I don't like Americans," and walked off. Good to see that people can meet three people and apply their reputation to 250 million of us. It's that sort of general attitude that most people assign to Americans. I guess that just makes her a massive hypocrite. And a bitch.
After way too little sleep (I got back at roughly 5:30) I walked into town with my Norwegian friends and then left them to go job hunting while I wandered up to the harbor. You've seen the Opera House. Even if you've never been to Sydney, you've seen it, on television, in pictures, you know it before you even get there. Most landmarks that are that way never live up to the hype. You see them and think, "Yeah, looks familiar." The Opera House is not like that. I've seen it up close and personal countless times and it is still stunning. Even with the grand Harbour Bridge across the harbor, the beauty of the harbor itself and the skyline in the background, the Opera House still commands all your attention
Exhausted again, I decided to spend the rest of the day hanging out outside my hostel, where, around 5 or 6, people just start bringing out six-packs of Toohey's and chill for the night. The plan was working out beautifully until around 9:30 when the hostel receptionist announced that there was $100 bar tab at the nearby Empire Hotel (two notes -- for you non-Aussies, hotel=bar and for you Aussies, the Empire, in case you forgot, is the sister club to the Coogee Palace). Since only six of us were keen on going out, it was setting up to be a good night. The plan was to drain the tab and go home. That didn't really work. I wound up pounding jugs with two girls, Lena and Monica, who recently graduated from Texas, an English girl Claire, an English guy Nick and a German girl, Judy, who had a handshake like the jaws of death.
One of the goofy, endearing things about Australia is the culture lapse between here and the States. In general, they're still living out the 80s, but popular music has a three-month lapse
Just before the end of the night, I also had one of the most random reunions ever. When I was in Paihia, I wound up making friends with an Irish girl, Sharon, on my dolphin swimming trip. I gave her my email address because I had a few pictures she wanted and we were set to get into Sydney within one day of each other. As I only now know, a few days after I met her, her campervan was broken in to in New Zealand and all her stuff was stolen. Basically, that was supposed to be the end of our friendship since my contact info was in her bag and I had no way of getting in touch with her. Until I bumped into her playing pool at a club in an area of the city nowhere near where she is staying.
And to put this in perspective, some quick background on Sydney. As you all know, Aussies like a good drink here and there, and they've established a few places where they can acquire one
Anyway, you're probably bored by now, and since I didn't make it back until 3:30 (while managing to avoid getting propositioned by any hookers) I'm starting to feel a little drowsy. I have a feeling this pattern will continue itself straight through the New Year. If I'm still alive.