! Bondi was nice but it was certainly full of showy people; it was like being in a 'world's best sun-tan' competition. The really funny thing was that there were also lots of older people there who clearly came and sunbathed everyday and whilst I'm sure they are lovely people, their skin looked like old leather - I was really tempted to go and tell the girls sunbathing in nothing but a g-string "you might look good now, but one day your going to look like old boots"! We only ended up staying at Bondi for about two hours and once Tom had gone for a swim in the (freezing!) sea we packed up and headed back into Sydney on the train. Within half an hour of being in Sydney we were back on the train for the two hour journey to Katoomba and our next destination of the Blue Mountains.
We got into Katoomba at about 6pm and walked down to our hostel. As soon as we got there we couldn't believe how well we had landed on our feet... the hostel was absolutely beautiful. Rather than being a cramped, character-less building with manky carpets, it was a fantastic old-fashioned, clean timber house. It didn't feel like a hostel at all, it was like being in a guesthouse and the best thing was that there was no TV, so it was incredibly peaceful and serene. Our room was like an attic-style room with a lovely view out over the mountains. We were both walking around with huge grins on our faces feeling unbelievably happy to be here
. There were some really nice people staying at the hostel and also some, what Tom calls, 'interesting characters'. As Tom was cooking tea, there were two guys sitting on the sofas talking to each other. Now even though I was busy reading my book I couldn't help but overhear what they were saying and I came to the conclusion they were con-men. They were chatting like they were in an episode of The Hustle; talking under their breath about marks, targets and practising their opening lines on each other. Later on in the evening, I don't know how this happended, but we ended up playing Trivial Pursuit with one of them called Brandon and we found out that they actually worked for a charity. Tom and I still haven't decided whether or not we believed him, but this guy told us that they worked for a third-party company that signs people up to making charitable contributions to UNICEF. To cut a long story short we found out off the hostel owner that they did indeed work for a charity, UNICEF had paid for their accomodation, but she had experienced nothing but trouble from them since they had arrived. It turned out to be a very strange night indeed as Brandon was quite an 'interesting' person and loved to tell us lots of stories about himself. I could tell just by looking at him that Tom really didn't like this guy but to be honest I felt a bit sorry for him, he seemed really desperate to make friends. We never did find out how legitimate Brandon and his friends were, but either way I don't really agree with their techniques when it comes to getting charitable contributions from people, after all a portion of the money that people were donating was actually going towards paying their room and board at the hostel. So despite sharing a game of Trivial Pursuit with him, we both had our guards up with Brandon; but it just goes to show the weird and wonderful people you meet when your traveling about!
Last night was our final night in the hostel so we were up with the lark to pack our bags (it's becoming a real pain in the bum having to do it every few days) and check out. Looking outside we had another lovely sunny day so we left our backpacks in the luggage storage at the hostel and went down to train station... we figured that our trip to Sydney wouldn't be complete without a trip to Bondi Beach. We had been told that Bondi isn't the best beach in the area (Manly is supposed to be much more beautiful) but considering that we only had a few hours before we had to get the train to Katoomba we thought that we might as well go for a little look. So we got ourselves some train and bus tickets to Bondi and off we went. Our guidebook describes Bondi as the place for models and model-wannabes and as we approached we started to see some people who fitted that bill. As we walked along the beachside we even saw a group a people in little spandex pants doing aerobics in the park behind the beach, which I thought were bloody hilarious; including one very tanned woman doing sit-ups in a teeny tiny bikini, I didn't think that people did things like that in real life