Saturday, 17 March 2012

(Day 11) My new digs

Monday 12th March
Day 11 (part 3/3)

I got a taxi from the hostel to my new place.  The taxi driver I had was an old Greek guy and he was a legend.  He said how he moved to Sydney over 30 years ago and how he has seen the city emerge around him in that time.  He said back when he first arrived Sydney was a small dusty little desert town quietly getting on with life, but in the last 20 years there has been a massive boom and huge buildings have appeared everywhere.  He said that Sydney is now catered more for tourists than residents and that Sydney is more of a place to visit than live in.  I could totally see where he was coming from; Sydney does just feel like a massive tourist city for young people from the rest of the world who are travelling (like me).  I am not saying that is a bad thing like I honestly think that there is no other city in the world where you could meet such a range of nationalities and I would bet a small amount of money in saying that Sydney is officially the most culturally diverse city in the world.

After leaving the taxi and unloading my suitcase the taxi driver quickly came back, I had done my classic trick of leaving my wallet on the front seat.
I was pretty tired when I got in but I couldn’t relax now.  This room wasn’t in a state where I could just move it and be comfortable.  First thing I had to do was lift off all the blankets off the floor that were making a rubbish attempted of being a carpet.  The blankets were dusty and smelt damp.  In lifting up the blankets I found about 5 dead cockroaches, I also noticed some large wooden boards covering half my floor.  I saw a small crack on the floor heading to the wooden panel, I put my foot on this crack and the floor gave in like a trampoline.  I think the carpet was actually put down to hide the fact that my room only really has half a floor and the rest of it has rotted away.

After lifting off the blankets and taking them to the local laundrette along with the bedding to be washed I mopped the newly uncovered floor.  It didn’t take long for the water in the bucket to turn from clear to black.  This room was just filthy and I don’t know how the people who lived in here previously managed.  The air in the room is so heavy and thick with dust.
Another thing I noticed was the number of different anti cockroach products that were left lying around in my room.  There was clearly a problem with cockroaches in this room.  However I was confident that if I kept the room tidy and the floor clean I could clear out the roaches.
After the floors dried I found a vacuum cleaner under the stairs.  There was a layer of dust in every corner of the room and on every surface that wasn’t the floor.  At first when I turned on the vacuum cleaner it was just blowing the dust around, I had put the hose in the wrong hole (insert crude sexual reference here). 

After vacuuming up all the dust and unpacking all my stuff from the suitcase onto the shelves I headed off to get my laundry.  The place was closing and I didn’t have time to put any of my stuff in the dryer.  I hung the bedding and blankets on the clothes line outside but the sun was already going down at this point.  I knew that I would have to make do with no bedding tonight. 
I still had so much to do but it was night now and I would have to wait until tomorrow.  I tried to get comfortable in bed but despite the mopping and vacuuming the air in the room was still very heavy.  I was starting to hate this room; it was small, hot, dusty and full of cockroaches.  I couldn’t actually see any cockroaches but I was paranoid, I kept feeling itchy like they were crawling all over me.

The bed was about as comfortable as lying on a sack of potatoes.  I knew I had to give the room some time before the air would freshen up and the bedding would make the bed more tolerable but right now I was really hating this room and I knew that tonight was going to be a long night.

(Day 11) The Olympic Park

Monday 12th March
Day 11 (part 2/3)

After dropping off my suitcase I headed to the train station.  My friend who I met on the plane is actually a student here in Sydney and her university is in the Olympic park; an area built to host the 2000 Olympic games which if you can remember were held in Sydney.
Getting to the Olympic park by train wasn’t difficult; the trains here are pretty good.  Whilst getting onto one of the trains some crazy woman who was sat down started going ape shit over something and started shouting.  She then stormed off the train, I have no idea what was wrong with her but she might have been talking to the man sat behind her who maybe said something to offend her.  Maybe it was that journalism guy from Saturday night (day 9), he is enough to make anyone go insane.

I got to the Olympic park and met up with my friend, we had sushi from a little cafe off the main high street.  She then took me round for a quick tour of the Olympic Park.  The Olympic park felt a bit like a ghost town because around these huge streets there were no people.  The park just feels very underutilized, the Olympics have moved on a long time ago but the park still remains.  Walking around here made me feel like I was living in a post apocalyptic world.
Near one of the stadiums is a dome you can walk under, the inside of the roof of the dome is made up of TV screens showing footage about the Olympic park and about the 2000 Olympics.  I was wondering how long these TV screens have been showing the same footage over and over again to nobody.  I also got to see the 2000 Olympic torch which was hidden away in some little modest display.

Do you remember this?

One of the displays around the main stadium is a large group of little metal columns that have the names of everyone involved in the Olympics printed on them.  My friend said her dad or granddad* was the head of the Olympic team for the Maldives and we were looking for his name, which wasn’t there.  It is a shame we didn’t have a marker pen with us.

My guide.

(sorry, if you are reading this Hasna I can’t remember if you said your dad or granddad)

After wondering around the vacant and slightly ghostly Olympic park we headed off to my friend’s university library.  My friend needed to take out a book for her studies.  It was interesting walking around the university library because I just graduated last year but walking around the library made me feel like a student again.  It took a while to find the book we wanted because my friend didn’t actually know the name of the book or the name of the author.  When it comes to trying to find a book these 2 pieces of information are generally quite important.
After wondering around past some other university buildings it was time for me to head back to the hostel to pick up my million tonne suitcase.  I had to be at the new place at 4pm.

Apparently there is a message here.

Yeah, we couldn't figure it out either.

Train station.

(Day 11) Leaving the Nest

Monday 12th March
Day 11 (part 1/3)

Today is the day I’m moving out of the hostel and into my room in the shared house.    I have been in this hostel for 11 days now and I am sad to leave it behind.  I have been getting to know (especially just in the past few days) the people who work at the hostel and they are all really nice.  I also enjoy seeing the variety of new people coming into the hostel everyday; all from different backgrounds.
I had to check out at 10am but I wasn’t moving into my place until 4pm.  Luckily I already have plans to meet up and have lunch with a friend today, a girl I actually met on the plane flying from Singapore to Sydney.  I was meeting up with her in an area called the Olympic park.

One last comment about the hostel, the really loud building noise in the hostel for the last few days has been caused by people hammering down the new carpet with nails.  The new carpet came in small squares (about half a metre length/width) and they were hammering it down with a nail in each corner.  I overheard an argument between the builders’ yesterday evening, apparently the owner of the hostel has come in and decided that the carpet looks rubbish being nailed into place and wants the carpet glued down instead.  So I think the builders will have to pull up all the nails they have been hammering into the floor for the last 3 days.  I find this really funny and I feel a bit bad for them but at the same time they deserve it for making so much bloody noise.

Anyway before heading off to have lunch with my friend I had to put my suitcase and bags in the storage room so I could collect them later.  In this hostel they decided to have the bag storage room all the way up on the top floor which is a stupid idea.  My suitcase weights about the same as the moon and carrying it up all those stairs (half of which had lose carpet on) was a nightmare.  On the plus side though having my suitcase on the top floor made it less likely that anyone was going to run off with it.

Sunday Reflection 1

(Day 10) Sunday 11th March 

I’ve decided because Sunday is the end of the week that I would write a special post every Sunday where I have a look back at the week that has just gone by and give my personal opinion on how I am feeling.

I will call this Sunday reflection because I can’t think of anything else to call it.
This week being my first full week in Sydney has been a big week for me, and not just because I am in Sydney but because I am so far away from anything that is familiar.  When I was living in student housing I was only a short drive away from my family home and when I went on holiday I was always with either my family or my friends.

But this is totally different.  I have left all of that behind on the other side of the world.  There are no home comforts here, no family or friends to turn to.  I am entirely responsible for myself here and what I do.  I think everyone should at some point go travelling, just leave everything familiar behind and go off for some time, where you don’t know anyone and no-one knows you.  Because then people don’t have any expectation of you and because of that you are not expected to act in a certain way.  You can just be, yourself.  

I am not saying that you become a different person or anything like that.  It is hard to describe but its just the feeling of responsibility you get out here, the realisation that everything you do is your choice and there are no family or friends to say “that is a bit out of character” or “that is not like you”.

I am probably coming across a bit weird now, but basically travelling is a great experience that I recommend to everyone, and I have only been here just over a week.

(Day 9) The Kings X Hotel II

Saturday 10th March (Day 9) (part 2/2)

Ok, just a word of warning, I got a bit carried around on this one and I will try and not write such long posts in the future...

Tonight the venue for the hostel night out was The Kings X Hotel like it was last Saturday night.  I believe the Kings X Hotel was a regular Saturday Night fixture.  I had no plans tonight and I was in the mood for a night out tonight.  Last time at the Kings X I had a bit of a random night where I found myself on my own (Billy no mates) but as a result I managed to meet some new people who turned out to really nice and since that night I have been out with them on several occasions and have had a great time.

I went down to hang around underneath the board where I met 3 guys who looked like they were going out.  They asked me if I was going to the Kings X tonight and I said yes, we headed off straight to the Kings X and on the way I found out these guys were from Canada.  After we got into the Kings X we tried each of the different floors (each with a different theme) until we decided to stay at the balcony bar floor.

The balcony bar was by far the best floor at the Kings X.  The open outdoor area and large number of chairs and tables compared to the other floors made the balcony bar the best area to socialise.  The fact that most of the bar area was outdoors also meant the bar wasn’t too hot or stuffy (unlike some of the other floors).  The only issue with the balcony bar is that everyone else seems to like it as well and the balcony area is usually very crowded.

Most of the seating at the balcony bar consists of long benches and tables and when we got there they were all full apart from a small space at the end of one of the tables.  There was only enough room for 2 of us to sit down but after a while people from our table started to leave and we took their seats.  It wasn’t long until we had the entire table to ourselves.  Having a whole table at the balcony bar was great, standing around in the crowded area isn’t very fun but by having our own table we were out of the crowd and could enjoy the balcony bar properly.
The Canadian guys had the good idea of using the spare seats around the table we had by inviting a group of girls who were stood near us to come and sit with us and be sociable.  I got talking to a girl from Belgium and after a few minutes I was finding her pretty boring.  People have told me that Belgium is a boring country and speaking to her certainly didn’t change this opinion.

Speaking to the Belgium girl made me want to drink more alcohol, but I had forgotten to take out enough money with me.  There was a cash machine in the Kings X but it is one of those annoying cash machines that charge you for making a withdrawal.  I asked the bouncer at the door if he knew where the nearest cash machine was, he said that there was one in the club.  I said I knew that but I didn’t want to pay the $2 to make a withdrawal.  He then laughed and said that there was a machine around the corner about 5 minutes walk away.

I headed off to the cash machine but the walk felt a lot longer than just 5 minutes.  Walking down Darlinghurst Road (the main high street) on a Saturday night is stressful.  The pavement was just full of people and they all seemed to be walking in the opposite direction to me.  I sometimes had to walk on the road to avoid chains of 5 or 6 drunk people holding hands.  It was mainly backpackers and travelling who were on a night out who were walking down Darlinghurst Road, there were a few dodgy looking people in the crowd also.  Very rough looking locals who you really didn’t want to bump into.  You rather walk into a whole chain of drunk people than walk into one of these nutters.

After what felt like 20 minutes I finally found the cash machine and got back to the Kings X Hotel.  I was joking with the bouncer saying that the walk wasn’t really worth the $2 I had saved and next time I would probably just use the machine here.  He laughed and said but it is about the principle, isn’t it?  The principle of having to pay to withdraw money and I totally agree with him, what a legend.

I met up with the Canadian guys where I found one of them had a girl sat on his lap with her arm wrapped around him.  I gave him a thumbs up but he shook his head at me.  There was clearly something wrong with the situation here which I later found out myself when I sat down near her and she came and sat on my lap.  Her problem was that she was far too drunk.  She was at the stage of drunkenness where she was just not good company.  She asked me 3 times where I was from because she just kept forgetting; I kept saying I was from England.  She said she was from Canada and started going on about how wonderful Canada is and how much she loves it.  She then turned to me and said that she hated pommies and she asked me if I hated pommies too.  I said “no, I am a pommie” and she looked really surprised and offended at me despite the fact that I told her 3 times I was English.  She got up and left as she clearly didn’t want to spend any more time talking to a pommie like me, which was great because I didn’t want to talk to her.  I don’t think anyone wanted to talk to her, she was a bitch.

After about 20 minutes the Canadian guys said they were going back, they said they had been up the night before and they were all exhausted.  I didn’t spend that much time talking to them (since I had spent most of the night walking to a cash machine) and I didn’t really get to know these guys but they seemed pretty cool.

Just after they left I started talking to a guy who came and sat next to me.  He had black wavy hair that was swept back and a well groomed beard.  He told me that he was a local guy and that he was a journalist, he then started going on about how much he loved journalism, I think he was pretty drunk. 

Between conversations with him I started talking to a group of girls who had sat down at the other side of me.  I found out these girls were from England and Ireland.  It was nice talking to people from the home country.  We started talking about places in England but the journalism guy butted in and said that he was finding our conversations about England boring.  He said because he was a journalist he wanted to talk about controversial topics.  I suggested that we could discuss Aboriginal people and their land rights which I had heard is a sensitive topic at in Australia.  I thought I had him but he returned by saying “let’s talk about the IRA”.  At this point most of the girls who were sat around stood up and said they wanted to leave.  He had clearly offended most of them by mentioning the IRA.

After we left the Kings X the girls said they were going to a dance club across town and that they were getting 2 taxis.  Most of the girls went in the first taxi and I was left behind with 1 of the girls and the drunk journalism guy, by this point the girl and the journalism guy were kissing a lot and weren’t really making great company.

After a bit of waiting we finally managed to get a taxi to take us to this club.  There was a band playing at the club and because of this it was $20 entry, I was not expecting to have to pay this much but luckily the girl said she would pay for me (which was very nice of her).  I think she was also drunk.

The band playing were not what I was expecting.  It was some sort of very heavy drum and bass that included remixes of Prodigy songs.  There were 2 guys on the stage with mics shouting out aggressive sounding lyrics.  They were both bald other than a small but long section of hair that they had at the base of the back of their heads.  They looked like they had cut their own hair but missed a bit on the back and it looked stupid.  We couldn’t find the group of girls from the first taxi and the journalism guy wasn’t making great company.  The girl I was with was very nice but we couldn’t really talk with such loud and annoying music playing.

We made several attempts to find the others and I eventually found them in the other room (which was away from the live music) but by this point they were moving on and I had to find the girl I was with originally and the journalism guy to say they the others were moving on.  I was told that the girl I was with knew which bar they were heading off to but when we got outside it turned out that she knew the bar but didn’t know how to get there.  I was pretty tired at this point and I said I was going to head back but the girl convinced me to stay and make it to the bar.  Together with the girl knowing a bit about where the bar was and the journalism guy's limited local knowledge we finally stumbled to the bar, but it had taken us so long to get there that the other girls had just left to go home.

By this point I was convinced that the journalism guy was actually gay.  I was noticing that he had a very gay manner about him and he was checking out any guy that walked past.  I know he was kissing a girl most of the night but I had noticed that the kissing had looked awkward.  I think he was so drunk that he just wanted to kiss anyone, I guess I was lucky that he hadn’t turned his lips towards me.

We spent some time in the bar where I had some interesting conversations about travelling and stuff with the girl I was with.  The journalism guy had gone off to annoy some other people at this point.  It was getting on to about 3:30 in the morning and I was extremely tired.  I said I was definitely leaving now because I was just too tired.
Overall tonight was pretty interesting.  I had met a boring person, a slightly weird drunk person, a very drunk person who was a bit of a bitch but everyone else was pretty cool.  My nights out at the Kings X are never simple. 

Who knows what weird and wonderful people I will meet next time at the Kings X hotel?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A quick note about all these updates

I have just uploaded 5 posts, I don't like running my blog like this.  I'd much rather do more regular updates of 1 or 2 post per day and I am sure you would prefer to read 1 or 2 posts per day also rather than a big group of them every other day.

I am still having internet issues at the moment and with moving places I haven't had a chance to find an internet cafe until today.  I have another 5 or 6 posts that I will upload tomorrow and then things should be more regular.

I am also going to do a bit of a redesign soon, I have been told that leaving comments is difficult and I agree, I believe you have to have a g-mail account to leave comments and I will look for a solution for this soon.

I am also going to try and shorten my posts a little and add more photos.

Anyway I hope you are enjoying the blog and get ready for a big update tomorrow!

Thanks, Mike

The internet is not my friend at the moment.

(Day 9) Rushcutter Bay Park and the temporary escape from the city

(Day 9) Saturday 10th March (part 1/2)

I had quite a bad hangover from last night, I had drank quite a lot in the gay dance club to try and make me loosen up a bit and to feel less awkward but it didn’t really work.  Breakfast ran from 7:30 to 9:30 and I work up at 9:25.  I ran downstairs to grab a bowl of cereal before it was too late.  After breakfast I actually felt a lot better, the cereal really hit the spot.

Later that day I went out for the picnic with the girls from next door.  I didn’t have any food for myself to take to the picnic so I got a takeaway curry on the way instead (not really picnic food but I like curry).  The girls took me to a place called Rushcutter Bay Park which was in Rushcutter Bay.  Because the park was in a bay it was very close to water which meant there was a lovely cool breeze blowing from across the bay.  The lower temperature in the air made the park very relaxing and pleasant, although it was not very quiet in the park. 

Rushcutter Bay Park was an awesome place.

Across the park was a concrete pathway where people on skateboards, roller blades and push scooters where constantly passing.  I had never seen this many people pass on so many different types of light transportation.  To be honest I never saw what was wrong with walking.  Maybe I am behind with the times and walking just isn’t cool anymore.  

There were some tennis courts across from the path which were adding to the background noise but overall the park was a relevantly peaceful place.  We had to walk down a large flight of steep steps to get to the park which meant that the park felt like it was hidden away and isolated from the busy city above.

The city above, felt so far.

I was lying down on the ground thinking that England was just below me (well when I say just I mean a few thousand miles).  It was weird thinking that my home was straight down, not north east south or west, just straight down and if I dig deep enough I might come out in my back garden at home.  It is really a very odd thought.

The tress in England grow the other way.

Across the park was Rushcutter Bay, here I should see many boats just floating around the bay.  I have never liked boats much, probably because I don’t like water very much.  But I could really see the appeal of having a boat in Sydney.  The city is always busy and hot and I can’t imagine a better way of escaping the busyness and heat of the city than by sailing out into the harbour and beyond.  I idea was so tranquil and relaxing, but I had to snap myself out of it because I do not have a boat to escape on, and after a few hours of relaxing and eating chicken vindaloo it was time to re-enter the busy and hot city of Sydney. 

The chaos is calling me.

(Day 8) Newtown and the gay side of Sydney

(Day 8) Friday 9th March

I was feeling somewhat better today; the banging headache, aches and pains and fluctuating body temperatures had gone.  I still had a blocked nose and a sore throat though.  When I get a sore throat my voice becomes low and husky, people say I have a “sex voice”.  It is a shame that I only sound sexy when I look and feel like shit.

Tonight I was meeting up with the German and Finnish girl from next door and then meeting up with a guy in Newtown that they met at Mardi Gras.  They met him after they asked if they could share the box he was standing on to see the parade.

Newtown is an inner city suburb approximately 2.5 miles south-west from Sydney centre.  I had heard that Newtown has a large gay and lesbian culture and this definitely turned out to be true.  Newtown on a Friday night was like a big gay party town, people where filling up every bar that was open.  Looking around it seemed that at least 2/3 people in Newtown were gay.  The best way I could describe Newtown is it’s like a gay version of Newcastle (if you have ever been to Newcastle). 

After spending some time in various bars and on a roof top bar we decided to head into Sydney and to go to a drag club to see a drag show (lol).  The place looked like a retro disco from the 80s with coloured glass tiles and a large mirror ball hanging from the centre of the ceiling.  The stage was covered in cheap looking red fabric with a red stage curtain drawn closed.

We had met up with some other people that the guy from Mardi Gras knew and we were in a fairly large group sat at the table nearest the stage.  I was worried about being sat so close to the stage because I thought the show might involve audience participation.  I had horrible images in my mind of one of the drag queens coming off stage, picking me and dragging me onto the stage to do some dancing.

It was interesting to see some middle aged guys on their own sat around the club waiting for the show to start.  They looked somewhat uncomfortable, but wouldn’t you be if you went to a drag club on your own to see a drag show?  They didn’t really look gay either, I wondered if any of them had wives at home who didn’t know about their husband’s little guilty pleasure?
After waiting around for like an hour word got around that there were no more shows tonight and that we had arrived just after the last show finished.  As you can imagine I was somewhat relieved, although I was curious to see what all the fuss was about.


After the nonexistent drag show we headed off to a dance club and this was definitely the gayest club I have ever been in.  At first it seemed like your normal dance club with a big dance floor, a few platforms for pole dancing and some lasers beams shooting across the ceiling but I quickly noticed that most of the guys were taking off their shirts and were going around topless.  It was a bit intimidating to see all these guys walking around topless because they all seemed lot bigger and more muscular than me.  I felt a bit weedy and small compared to all these well tanned men walking around showing off their over developed pectoral and abdominal muscles.  After an hour or so of drinking and awkward attempts at dancing I left the club with the girls to go back to the hostels.  I had an invitation from one of the guys to stay and dance with him and to “see where the night would take us” but I told him that I would not make good company.
Tonight was...interesting.  I find the atmosphere is always good in gay clubs because people are a lot less pretentious or judgemental.  

No, only the guys go around topless.

An alright night, but this really isn’t my scene.

(Day 7) Illness

(Day 7) Thursday 8th March

I woke up today feeling like I had been in a car crash, all the exposure to the elements from Mardi Gras and putting down my deposit had come at me at once and I felt like shit.  It was also probably due to living with so many different people in the hostel.  I heard a lot of coughing so there was probably something going around the hostel.  The person who brought the cold to the hostel is probably long gone but the cold survives by going from one new person to the next new person.

This morning I couldn't even get up to go down for the wonderful free breakfast.  Instead I just spent all day either sleeping, watching Australian TV or blowing my nose.
Australian TV reminds me of American TV, it is all very dramatic.  There were adverts for programmes that exposed “evil people”.  One of these programmes I watched was about a shipping company that refused to rescue 12 men from the sea during a storm.  Another programme was about a bank that was firing or paying staff very low wages whilst people high up in the bank were having champagne parties and business trips to Fiji. 
During these programmes you are made aware of who the good people were and who the bad people were.  The good people always come across sincere and speak very clearly, there is a warm filter lens over the camera and simple slightly upbeat music is played in the background.  However when the bad person comes up on your screen, the camera lens is dark and grey and the background music becomes moody and sinister.
It is interesting watching this kind of TV.  Programmes like this in the England are always more neutral where these programmes really get your emotions going.  You really start to feel for the good people and when the bad person comes up your like “there’s that fucker!”

Another thing I noticed about Australian TV was how commercialised it was.  There were just adverts everywhere!  TV programmes would stop abruptly and some dickhead would come up talking about car insurance.  Even the programmes themselves had adverts in them.  I was watching some live sports programme (think it was rugby) and a slow motion action reply was shown.  At the end of the reply the commentator said “This action reply was brought to you by Freddie’s Autoshop, the autoshop you can always count on” (or something like that).

Anyway I have had quite enough of TV now, hopefully I will feel well enough to leave my room tomorrow.  Not the best way of ending my first week in Australia.

(Day 6) The Second viewing

(Day 6) Wednesday 7th March

I went on my second viewing for a place to live today.  I found this place off the same website as the first place and it was for the same price so my expectations were incredibility low.  I wasn’t sure if I could even be bothered going after yesterday’s fiasco.  But I did go in the end, probably out of curiosity more than anything.
The place was only about a 20 minutes’ walk and I arrived at the house at the same time as a Japanese girl, she was here to see the room as well.  I joked that we were going to have to fight it out over the room.

The guy who was selling the room opened the door and showed us around.  The front section of the house looked nice but the further we followed him the more dilapidated the house got until we finally arrived at the room (just like going through the classes on the plane coming out here).

The room was small and dusty with bits of clothing thrown everywhere, he clearly had not bothered tidying the room for viewing.  There were different scraps of odd fabric on the floor overlapping each other making some kind of makeshift carpet.  There were no windows in the room, instead there was a blanket pinned up in the door frame so you could leave the door open whilst maintaining some privacy. 

He then showed us the back garden which was the communal area for this house and the house next door.  The garden had several old armchairs and settees placed around a big table.  There was a large TV in the garden that was sheltered under a wooden panel.  The chairs and table were also shelter by a large blanket that was strung up by several metal wires.  There were cigarette butts and empty beer bottles scattered all over the garden. 
The guy showing us around said that people from both houses chill here and the atmosphere in the house was very good.  There were about 10 people living in the 2 houses, their ages ranged from about 20 to 30 and they were all different nationalities, no Australians were living in the houses.

When it came to making a decision about the room the Japanese girl said that she was not interested at all, which was great for me because I was very interested.  The house reminded me a lot of the student houses I used to live in back in England.  The houses weren’t nicely furnished or very clean but living in a house with like minded people who are doing the same thing as you is great.  I told the guy I was interested but I had one more place to look at tomorrow.

I managed to get back to the hostel using my map without much difficulty.  I started to worry about the house; I knew that other people were looking at the house that night and that the room would go very quickly because of the low rent and the house’s proximity to the city.  I had a viewing tomorrow for a place that I thought looked very nice (from the photos), although the rent was more expensive.  But by tomorrow I was worried that the place I had just seen would have been taken.  Holding off to see the place tomorrow was a big gamble, I phone the guy who showed me around and he said that the other people who had seen the room were also very interested and I would have to make a decision quickly so I told him that I would take the room!
I had to go straight back to the house to drop off a deposit before someone else beat me to it.  By this point it had started to rain heavily, I managed to make it to the house and drop off the deposit okay but the walk back to the hostel was terrible.  I thought if I walk back really quickly I could avoid getting too wet but my map by this point had become illegible in the heavy rain and I ended up getting lost.  I had been around this area before so I knew roughly which direction I needed to head towards.

I managed to get back but getting lost added about 20 minutes onto my journey.  When I got back to the hostel people where giving me funny looks.  I was so wet it literally looked like I had just walked out of the sea.  I didn’t feel well at all, I had felt a cold coming on in the last few days and getting soaked made the feeling a lot worse, so I went straight to bed.  I didn’t bother looking at the board to see what night out was planned for night, I was just going to have to write this night off and hope that I feel alright the next day.

(Day 5) The View

(Day 5) Evening, Tuesday 6th March

This evening I was getting pizza with the girls from the hostel next door and eating it on their roof terrace.  There was a special offer on at a pizza place nearby where you can get a pizza for a very cheap price.  We got our pizzas and headed back to the hostel to sit on the roof terrace.
Because I wasn’t a guest at their hostel I wasn’t supposed to be on their roof terrace as it is for hostel guests only.  I think all hostels don’t allow visitors in most of the building for security reasons.  It was quite funny walking past lots of massive signs telling me I was not allowed in this area and that I would get kicked out or arrested if found.  But I really didn’t want to eat on my roof terrace on my own.

The views from the roof terrace were incredible.  The sun was just setting and to see Sydney light up whilst the sky was darkening was just awe-inspiring.  It was just a perfect evening in Sydney and I just can’t put into words how awesome being on that terrace was.  It was just epic!

I took this picture on my phone and I really
doesn't do the view justice.  Imagine this, just
a million times better.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Future accommodation

Day 6

My week here in this hostel is nearing its end, which is a shame because I am starting to like this place.  I have started to get to know some of the people staying here and some people who are working here.  The feeling of loneliness from the first few days had gone (like I knew it would).  I enjoyed coming down to the kitchen every morning (expect when I was ill) and seeing new faces.  But my stay here was always going to be temporary until I found a more long term place.

Sounds tempting from the advert

I have been chasing up some adverts for places during the last few days and I had a viewing today at a place across town.  I am still not familiar with Sydney and I misjudge distances on my map very badly.  What I thought looked like a 30 minute walk across town actually turned out to be a 1 hour 30 minute walk across town.  After the frustratingly long journey I was hoping that the place would be worth the journey, but it really wasn't.

The entrance to the property was a small door hidden between 2 shops; it was so hidden that it took me 3 walks up and down the high street to find it.  I walked inside to see a mattress in the living room, seeing a mattress in the main communal space is always a bad sign.  I asked the woman who was showing me around how many people lived here and she said 10 people.  10 people!  Where the hell were these 10 people staying?  The only way you could have 10 people staying in a place this small is if you stacked them on top of each other.  She said that there were 2 bedrooms of 4 people and 2 bedrooms of 1 person.  Oh, and in case you are wonder who the mattress in the living room was for?  That was for her 2 children.  She also showed me the downstairs toilet which had a massive turd floating in it.

Nothing says "welcome home" more than a creaky mess front door

I know the rent was cheap for this place but you would actually have to pay me to live there.  In fairness the single room I would be staying in wasn’t all that bad, but overall I think staying in that house would have driven me mad.

After viewing that terrible house I had to walk all the way back across town to the hostel.  The journey getting there was bad enough but I had lost my map, I think I left it in somewhere on the way to the viewing.  Trying to find your way in a city you are not familiar with on a hot day is not fun.  I think the point where I realized I was totally lost was when I walked past an abandoned car with no wheels.  After about 2 hours I finally stumbled into an area I knew and managed to find the hostel from there.  By this point my feet felt like they were on fire.  I have only seen one house but already I think I need to raise my budget if I am going to find a place that is liveable.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The noise!

Day 6

They are doing building work in the hostel at the moment and the noise levels are close to unbearable.  The builders like to start making noise at the bright and early time of 8:15 in the morning.  I think they are laying drop new carpet but it sounds more like they are trying to demolish the building.  All this noise makes writing difficult.

This is not my phone number; this is my phone number’s Australian cousin (part 2)

(Day 5)

I walked into town again this morning to get my sim card sorted.  I had tried to buy one online but I kept failing the credit check, and once you fail once you cannot reapply for another 3 months.  So instead of getting a contract I just got a pay-and-go sim (known as prepaid here), and to be honest this was probably a better idea than getting into a contract.  I had changed the welcome message on my phone before I went into the shop; it now reads “Hey” which is a much friendlier welcome message than “fuck you”.

Much more welcoming

Whilst I was in the shop some aussie guy came in and started talking to one of the sales girl, his opening line was “Can you guys tell me what the fuck you are doing about my internet?”  Apparently he was a business owner and his internet had been down for 5 weeks which has been costing him a lot of business.  What was funny was he kept apologising saying “sorry if I sound pissed off by the way” and then he would proceed in using the f-word again several times in the next sentence.  It seemed in his mind that by apologising he could use the f-word a few more times again.
Anyway, I finally have my phone sorted which is great.  It is a nice feeling to be contactable on the phone.  Not having a phone on a local network made me feel isolated.  I can now look for future accommodation and a job.

Another glorious day in Sydney
And this is supposed to be one of the roughest areas

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sorry about the lack of updates

The internet at the hostel is just too bad to keep this blog up to date at the moment, I am moving into a house share which has internet that works tomorrow, so expect a lot of new content this week.