The surreal Blue Mountains

Trip Start Sep 09, 2011
1
89
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Trip End Jun 29, 2012


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Where I stayed
With Christian!
What I did
Three Sisters
The Blue Mountains
Echo Point

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I signed up to Couchsurfing earlier on in the trip, and had arranged for us to stay with a guy called James in Katoomba so that we could explore the surrounding Blue Mountains. James had emailed me to say that he would be away working for a few days but that his housemate Christian was expecting us.

We caught the train out from Sydney, and tried to hunt for the address he'd sent me. Once we'd finally found the apartment and knocked on the door Christian answered, hair spiky and eyes a bit wild (turned out he had been on a night shift and had been up for a looooong time) and a look of surprise on his face. He didn't know we were coming. Not a great start. However, he then went out of his way to make us feel welcome and apologised for the state of the flat (which was actually very clean and tidy).

In the course of the next ten minutes Christian also revealed that he spent the second half of each week living in Sydney where he is currently doing a fancy animation course (with the guys from Pixar). It sunk in quickly that neither he nor James would be around and I said "ummm, does that mean that neither of you will be here for the next few days then?" and he said "Nope" as he handed me a set of keys to the flat, "But you seem like nice girls, so make yourselves at home, and just leave the keys in the flat when you go!"

The next few hours allowed us to enter the surreal world of Christian, as we chatted and found out more about him. It was a hilarious insight into a creative and unique person, but also on occasion, considering we had just met him, a touch alarming. For example, within half hour of meeting him he informed us that he and his housemate loved nothing more than using a taser on each other. That's right. A taser.

I asked 'didn't it hurt?' and he said 'Oh yes. It really hurts. You pass out and wet yourself.' Didn't sound like that much fun to me... Christian said that he sometimes had to be careful when he left his room in the morning, rattling the door tentatively before leaving the room, as James had a tendency to put the taser against the metal doorknob waiting for Christian to put his hand on it to open the door before turning on the taser and electrocuting him from the other side! He then asked us if we wanted to see the taser, to which Bec and I assured him we were fine, there was no need, we didn't require seeing it etc, etc, etc. He then said that 'actually James usually hides it in his room when he goes away so that I can't take it', but that he was sure he could find it, before bounding off into James' room. Bec and I stared at each other having a silent conversation about whether we should make a run for it or not, but then Christian appeared in the hallway triumphantly wielding the taser in the air. It was so loud when he pressed the button, but fortunately he came no closer with it, and quickly returned it back into James' room.
 
Although this is the first in what could be a long list of very surreal experiences in the company of Christian, he was in fact a real sweetheart. He ended up coming back from Sydney the next evening as he wanted to spend more time with us (so driving at least 2 hours back to us, and then returning the following morning) and then returned all the other evenings we were there too! He also cooked us lamb, bought us baklava back from a bakery in Sydney, and shared his beer with us. He played guitar for us and showed me his Artwork and photography.

Katoomba was a lot colder than anywhere else we had been in Australia, and we were wearing jumpers and jeans for the first time in a while. After Christian had headed off to Sydney we walked down to Echo Point and then took the walk through the beautiful Blue Mountains, going past the Three Sisters (three mountainous outcrops), Silver Mist Park, Honeymoon Lookout, and Leura Falls, before reaching the incredible Bridal Veil Lookout which looked back towards Leura Waterfall across a deep gorge: Breathtaking.

It was sort of drizzling on and off while we were walking, but when we left Echo Point on the way back and started to walk to the flat, it started pouring down. By the time we were back we were pretty soaked and ended up huddled (after changing into dry clothes), and trying to get warm, on the sofa. It felt strangely comforting to be cold and wet... made me think of home!

We spent a lovely few days of relaxing, walking, watching The Killing on Bec's I-Pod (an AMAZING Danish thriller series) and having Christian turn up at various points back from Sydney.

On the last morning there we were having an early lunch before heading to the train station and back into Sydney when the door started rattling again and we assumed it would be Christian, but in fact it was James returning from work. He gave us a lift to the train station, which was very nice of him, especially as he had worked 60 hours in the last 4 days. As we waved him off we had yet another surreal experience in Katoomba... Bec in fact lists it as the weirdest 30 seconds of her life... a man (looked homeless, but was certainly 'vulnerable') came up and asked us 'Are you going to Sydney' we said 'yes' and he replied, 'Be careful... men will want to have sex with you there.' We assured him that we would be fine and then quickly moved on, turning away from him and nearly into the path of a woman who was pushing her dog in a specially made dog-pram. Seriously; a covered pram with her dog peering out from where it lounged.

Weird.

Heading back to Sydney we realised that we would be back in time for the $5 barbecue at Original Backpackers. Excellent :o)
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