Ringing in the New Year
Trip Start Nov 29, 2005
79Trip End Nov 21, 2006
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One quick story that I forgot to mention in the last entry before I get to the play-by-play for the week. Those who have been reading along will remember my coincidental reunion in a Kings Cross club with Sharon, the Irish girl I met in New Zealand
Anyway...On Thursday I made my triumphant return to Coogee to meet my friend Anthony and his American girlfriend Courtenay (Anthony studied at UNC a semester before I went to Australia -- Courtenay lived on the same floor as me freshman year). Before meeting up with them I made a quick stop at the Coogee Residence to make sure it was still standing. After that, I went to the beach with Anthony and Courtenay and we bumped into a couple of his mates, including Dave, who I met when he studied in Chapel Hill with Anthony two years ago. I then walked up and down Coogee Bay Rd, and I'll repeat the sentiment from my first Sydney posting -- nothing, and I mean NOTHING has changed. With maybe two or three exceptions, everything is just as I remembered it two years ago. Even many of the bouncers at the Coogee Bay Hotel are still the same. Since we were in the middle of a record heat wave, we stopped at the Palace Hotel for a few cold ones. Thankfully, the Palace has changed. The Palace was one of those places that went out of its way to embrace all the Americans who flock to Coogee and Uni New South Wales every year, giving everybody a VIP card and holding "America Night" every Wednesday
Two days later, it was New Years and it was a sweltering 44 degrees. You don't need to convert that, just know that by noon I had already taken two showers. After raving about the weather for Christmas, this was taking it to a bit of an extreme, but I suppose I really shouldn't complain. We spent the first few hours of the day not deciding how we were going to ensure this would be the greatest New Years ever, before finally reaching the conclusion around 2 that we should at least be having the meaningless conversations with beers in our hands. Around 7, after splitting a slab of beer with my Canadian friend Craig, we embarked on a mini pub crawl through Kings Cross as we slowly worked our way toward the Harbour. We arrived at Circular Quay (the Harbour side) around 11, and as you might imagine, it was absolutely packed with people. We couldn't really get a proper view of the water so we headed back up through the Botanic Gardens to get to higher ground. The view we had didn't enable us to see the fireworks with the Opera House as a backdrop, but the display was still spectacular. Maybe because they'd been built up so much we were a little disappointed (the show went on for about half the time we expected), but it was still the best I've ever seen.
As it turned out, it probably wasn't the worst thing we weren't in the Quay
After a half an hour of stumbling along, me, Tom, Sion and some girl we had just met, Meg, found our way to Scruffy Murphy's for a night cap. (Everybody else who I watched the fireworks with just went back to the Cross and went to the same bar they go to every night -- so boring). We got there around 2:30 to find out that Big Nyte Out (the band that plays there every Tuesday) would be performing a set at 3. It turned out to be a perfect way to open the New Year. My holiday spirit got a little out of control as I ran around buying rounds for perfect strangers, but hey, it's New Years, and they only come around so often. Especially in Sydney. By the time the band was done and Tom and I were ready to finally call it a day, the sun was out. Not rising. Out.
I didn't show signs of life again until about 2 in the afternoon where I scrambled to shower and get out to watch the end of the Giants game at the sports bar around the corner. Fortunately I found a table with three other Americans who were watching the game and had drinks out, so I didn't have to feel obliged to get something (I'm pretty sure my body would've hated me even more had I gotten anything that wasn't H2O)
I leave Sydney Friday to work my way up the New South Wales coast before getting into Brisbane. Once that starts, I might have some more interesting things to say than, "Today, I got up, walked around, and then drank." There is always the chance, though, that it could just be the same thing but with "went to the beach" instead of walked around.