Another Weekend in Sydney: an ad-hock diary of progressive tiredness
Friday 30th January
Today began what I anticipate to be a truly epic road trip. I say “road” trip…to me that suggests that I’m driving. In fact, I will be flying, coach-driven, walking, boating…heck, I may even cycle. One way or another, I am about to embark on a journey that will take me through four states, three time zones, just as many climates and all within the next month. Two and a half weeks to be exact. Two and a half weeks on the road, with the remainder of the month based in various hostels within Sydney. I might sneak off somewhere else for three nights towards the end. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Sydney, but having been based here now for the best part of a month, I’m sort of…done with it. Who knows? I may miss it terribly and spend my last week of unemployment hugging the ground and apologising for ever doubting the place. On that matter though, I won’t hold my breath.
Anyway! Today I finished packing up the last few bits and pieces, booked an Uber taxi (best invention on the planet) and made my way in a civilised manner to a storage facility in the CBD. Here, I gave one of my suitcases a holiday. Yes, you read right. One of my cases. A bargain investment yesterday ($199 down to $80 anyone?) saw a new addition to my traveling circus. I don’t name suitcases, that would be sad, but if I were to name this case I would christen it “Toby”. Don’t ask me why. Two reasons for making my life more difficult: 1) to make my life easier – it is smaller than the case I travelled out here with, meaning that I am able to go on this adventure without lugging the kitchen sink around with me (I’m terrible at packing light); 2) to prolong the existence of the other case. We’ll call it Dobby. I cringe as I write this because this particular case was lent to me by a friend. Let’s just say that on top of arriving in Oz three days behind me, it must have had one hell of a journey. I am – in part – to blame for its now sorry condition, as I DEFINITELY over-filled it (with the help of its owner, mind…) but WHAT the staff did to it between London, Dubai and Sydney remains a mystery. At this stage then it needs all the help it can get, so by having two cases there is less strain on the original case. Dobby is a free elf.
After leaving Dobby in the (hopefully) capable hands of the storage guy, Toby and I waddled across town to the hostel that will be home for the weekend. Checked in, found room, met/woke up one of my current room-mates Kat (sp?) and sorted myself out before heading out again.
I won’t bore you with every detail of my day. Not that it was boring, just that this is turning into a current autobiography. If I wouldn’t want to read the blurb myself, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to read the blurb. The blurb must be condensed. So here it is: printed vouchers/tickets for road trip; hassled a man at the train station information desk; walked to Darling Harbour via China Town; refilled water bottle (for free) about a mile past where I wanted to go; returned to where I wanted to go only to discover they want you to PAY to get in; walked somewhere else where, turns out, you ALSO have to pay to get in; walked somewhere else; purchased Asian snacks; read book in park on bench; assisted a local with directions; bought grapes; walked 5000 miles back to the hostel where room-mate was now getting ready to enter a public place; hired a towel; had a shower; planted myself in hostel lobby with computer as in need of something to do for free; created half a dozen spreadsheets ready to monitor money-flow for road trip (call me a nerd…); got the confirmation – again – from my bff that she is all booked to fly out here in June (!!!!!!); started to fall asleep; thought of ideas to keep myself awake (at 6pm); decided to set up Word document to record goings-on for duration of road trip as more reliable than WordPress due to not needing an internet connection (and seeing as I have to lug my laptop with me – didn’t trust Dobby’s carers that much – I might as well use it); sat writing this exact paragraph. These exact words in fact. How creepy is that? Like a real-life inception. Guys, my mind is blown right now. I hope I still understand this when I look back however many days from now/tomorrow.
So there you have it. I purchased a salad for dinner (go me) in the knowledge that the bar downstairs is offering free food and drinks tonight from 8pm – first come, first serve – so if I’m still hungry I will ninja my way down there. I’m about to pootle on upstairs, away from the hideously stereotypical British chavette who – about an hour ago – decided quite loudly to call the table behind me “f-ing home” and who is now wailing to anyone who will listen that “she has what Dan had and she’s dehydrating”, to find my salad – hopefully meet the other room-mates – and soon after have a 10-hour nap. WHY DOES THIS HOSTEL MAKE ME SO SLEEPY?!?! Day 1 of Epic Road Trip (E.R.T) = done.
Saturday 31st January
I feel I should now mention that I do not intend to write an essay every day for the next month. Give it a week or so and you’ll be lucky to get a sentence. Still, right now I have no plans and lots of time, so there. Well last night was interesting…
- Got back to room 2 new f-m and the room a bomb site (Lydia and Hayley?)
- Loud but nice. I know the sort. Not going to gel.
- Apparently Lydia “knows” the chavette (awkwaaaard) – she seems to know everyone. Her opinion on Ultimate Oz and Surf Camp, “it’s like being back at high school” (from her POV that’s a good thing). #SeeWhyIDidntEnjoyInductionWeek
- Decide to go to side bar with them as it’s free. Y’know, make an effort. They abandon me, leaving me with two people they know-ish (1 korean 1 canadian) who seem more like my sort of people
- Drink was terrible. Music too loud. “Food” was chips and wedges being passed round on platters. Trying to talk to the 2 girls but was difficult as had to shout. Sunni (I think) and I left early. Had long chat in hallway
- 2 American girls walk past, in to my room (so they’re the American girls Kat said she’d met) and I hear them almost scream (obviously the same shock I had when I got back to the mess)
- I walk in to room 5 mins later, one of them is stark bollock naked getting changed in the middle of the room. The other one in bed. The one in bed (Amy? I’m terrible with names) “I’m amy(??)….are you going out? Oh we can be lame together *rolls over*. Her friend didn’t introduce herself. Neither made any effort to talk (was barely 9pm) URGHHH of all the personalities I could be sharing a room with I got THIS.
- Need new shoes.
- Tried to use laptop. Reflex. I have no wifi.
- Tried to SLEEP, but that’s too much to ask. “Whispering” turned to talking, food munching, laughing, lights on….sure I’m glad they’re having a good time, but why are people so inconsiderate? Three of us are sleeping/trying to sleep, you came home to the lights off…get the hint? Around 3/4am before I nodded off.
Woke this morning to a conversation between Kat, Lydia, Hayley and the two American “self-proclaimed bitches from Atlanta Georgia” (we’ll call them “the Georgias”). For as long as possible, I pretended to still be asleep. When half of them had left, I slowly rejoined the land of the living and made brief small talk with the Kat and Lydia. Having been chatting to Lou (who is in Amsterdam this weekend) I realised that we are actually REALLY nice people. Lou is having inconsiderate-room-mate issues as well in her hostel…why do people not consider others? There are communal areas for chatting, drinking games, being loud etc. (let’s remind ourselves that these are all “adults”).
Example of the Georgia’s level of interest: Hayley and Lydia both explained what base camp (Ultimate Oz) and surf camp were like…both described the daily activities (which were received with quiet nods and obviously forced interest) followed by “nights of piss-ups and getting absolutely wasted on the beach” – to which, in unison, without fail, the Georgias exclaimed “cooool” “that’s awesooome” and pretty much every other stereotypic American-teen phrase you can think of. They sound like a barrel of intellectual laughs.
You know, I’ve stayed in this hostel before on the 3rd floor…I am now on the 6th floor and last night was louder and more uncomfortable than before. Thank god I only have one more night until three of the noise/mess-makers move out. Sure, that leaves the beds open to possibly more of the same, but you never know. Until they arrive, I could get lucky and end up with four like-minded, considerate, interesting people.
Anyway. One more sleepless night with that lot, then a further night with yet-to-be-mets before I jet off to Melbourne.
It’s now 12:09pm and I’m finally about to venture out. Not sure where to go or what to do now – definitely filling my days with “why not” as opposed to “I’ve always wanted to…” at the moment. Sydney, I am ready to leave you. Now, where to have brunch…. (New “roomie”, Laura/en; seems nice!!)
The rest of my day went something like this:
- I went to the Ultimate Oz office to upgrade myself for the final stay in WakeUp before travelling to Griffith.
- Darling harbour via China Town (found amazing Asian supermarket above Paddy’s Market & had an awesome lunch there).
- Had hot chocolate with banana/caramel crispy bits at D.H.
- Sat and read book for a bit.
- Got boat to Circular Quay then train up to Newtown.
- Walked around, found hostel. Found pay-what-you-want restaurant. DELICIOUS. Spent $1.40 on two course dinner.
- Also found my new favourite supermarket “7* supermarket” – sells organic plus normal stuff REALLY CHEAP in Newtown. I can tell I’ll be happy when I stay here later in the trip 😉
Eventually made it back to the hostel where I purchased wifi reluctantly. Had wanted to go to the cinema earlier but it’s far too expensive, so thought I would pay to watch the cinema films online (it’s a thing here). Wifi signal is best in the hostel lobby. BUT. Side Bar downstairs is run by deaf people, so as I write this my butt is vibrating on the chair. I have earplugs in and can STILL hear the tat they call music. Not really comfortable and certainly not the place to watch a film. I will try the signal in my room. If it fails, then I have wasted money I don’t really have paying for wifi. Though it does mean I can aimlessly peruse YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the like. OH AND IT ALSO MEAN I CAN CHECK MY WORDPRESS ACCOUNT!!
My blog officially has more than 50 followers!! Almost 60 if you include email subscriptions! This is a BIG deal for me as it means people are liking what I write and have some level of interest in what I have to say, which is cool Especially as I had totally fallen off the bandwagon since December – going from averaging 150 views a day to barely scraping 20. My fault for not blogging and keeping folk engaged. Still, now there is something to talk about, things this end will definitely pick up again and I hope that people continue to take an interest in my adventures. (I realise that when you read this it will already have happened…welcome to my line of thought.)
RIGHT, off upstairs to attempt wifi. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE WORK! I don’t want to come back down here! People will think I’m weird! I must remember to find my earplugs for tonight…I have a feeling they will be needed, what with 4/5 room-mates out on the piss again.
Ended up having a good long chat with Lydia. Two of her friends were in the room when I got back but they were all just chilling. Turns out – when she’s on her own – Lydia is quite similar to me in the sense that she doesn’t like drinking for the sake of drinking, there are other things she’d rather spend her money on, etc. She leaves tomorrow morning to begin the Loka tour up the East Coast.
Earplugs in, eye mask on. Let’s hope tonight is a good’un.
Sunday 1st February
Okay so even WITH earplugs, I could hear the Georgias get in at god knows what time this morning. THEY ARE THE RUDEST MOST INCONSIDERATE SELF PROCLAIMED BITCHES I HAVE EVER BEEN UNFORTUNATE ENOUGH TO MEET IN MY LIFE. It can’t have been any earlier than 3am when they got back, along with the rest of the room-mates. They didn’t bother whispering, they cut straight to it and switched the light on (bear in mind Lydia didn’t go out as she had to be up really early to catch her bus)…they played videos on their phones and were chatting loudly, in and out of the room for what felt like an age. If I had been in the bed closer to the light switch, I’d have turned the light off. If the window were openable, I’d have thrown them out of it. America, y’all can keep them.
Woke around 9am this morning. The Georgias were still packing ready to go to Base Camp. When they finally left and Kat had gone for brekkie with Laura/en, I got up and sorted my stuff out. The MESS the Georgias had left behind was disgusting. They really were trash. I wouldn’t normally speak so highly of people like that but…well…if you were in my shoes. Keeping me awake two nights in a row? I pity the rest of their tour group. SO relieved I was able to book an upgrade for my last night here at the end of Feb…anyone keeping me awake the night before I have a 5am wake-up would definitely feel my wrath.
So anyway, today I’m meeting a friend of a friend of my Gt. Uncle and Aunt for lunch over at Elizabeth Bay. Hopefully it’s not too expensive there. Mind you, we won’t be eating until 1pm and if I eat enough, won’t need to eat again. I still have grapes and other foods to snack on today and in to tomorrow. I live in hope that some will make it to Melbourne, saving me a little bit of money there. Will definitely have to find the “pay what you want” places that Lou told me about. After lunch I will head back to the hostel, sort my stuff for tomorrow’s flight, leave only what I’m wearing tomorrow out of my case annnnd then do something else. Not entirely sure what, but I’ll think of something. Wifi runs out at 8pm, so best make the most of that. Top up my phone…find out where to collect medicare card tomorrow…yeah I’ll think of something.
Did this morning’s entry read angry to you? Sleep deprived, perhaps? My bad.
I love discovering new areas of Sydney! Elizabeth Bay is one of those areas. Just beyond Kings Cross and Darlinghurst, a quiet suburb keeps itself to itself. Close enough to all the action, far enough from all the crowds. Definitely one of the nicer areas I’ve been to since arriving in Sydney.
I met Harriet at a water-side café – one of those secret escapes that only the locals know about, where delicious Vietnamese-style “light” food is served in the most chilled and welcoming environment. Definitely one to re-visit! We shared a number of flavoured rice-paper rolls (one tuna, one avo – each packed with other yummy stuff) and a couple of steamed dumplings, washed down with frozen coconut water crushed with lychee, mint and cucumber. Everything was delicious and was reasonably priced (that said, Harriet insisted on paying for this round! My turn next time). We had been in contact for about a month already but were yet to coordinate ourselves and actually meet up. I’m so glad that we did though. Nice to know a friendly face when I’m back in the area!
Caught the bus back to the hostel, indecisively pondering the idea of hopping off and exploring the suburbs as we passed. Not today. Two nights of disturbed sleep have really affected me! I had every intention of venturing out again having freshened up back at the hostel, but I really cannot be bothered. As yet there are still three empty beds in my dorm. Fingers crossed it stays that way/whoever moves in will not be too loud at 3am? I don’t even care that it makes me sound old. I AM old…er. Well, I’m not 18 anymore. The thought of drinking alcohol doesn’t fill me with excitement parallel to four year olds on Christmas morning…that novelty passed years ago. Besides I need my beauty sleep. Hell, I just need my sleep. (The realisation has just hit me that when I was eighteen, these guys were JUST out of primary school…..…)
I had thought I would update the ol’ blog with what I’ve written so far but I always get sucked in to it and spend hours changing things so no. Again, not tonight. I need something to do at the airport to pass the time, so maybe tomorrow? For now I’ll watch my film, re-pack my suitcase, have a shower and attempt one final night sleep here at the WakeUp hostel. Lord knows I need all the energy I can muster tomorrow…it’ll be a very long – exciting – day.
This weekend in Sydney was always going to be a filler before the start of my trip. I never expected anything amazing to happen or for it to be filled with fond travel memories. Maybe I should have left it out of the blog?
One thing I have learnt for sure though: I will never stay in the WakeUp hostel in Sydney EVER again. Convenient if paying for a private room and you need to get to/from the airport at unsociable hours, but that’s it. Learning something is a good thing, right? So this weekend has been worth something.
Travel: it’s just life in a different location; you get your highs and you get your lows. I have loved my time in Sydney, but am more than ready to leave.
Melbourne, we’ve never met but I’ve heard a lot of great things about you so Toby and I are coming to stay for a week or so…hope you don’t mind….