I have had no luck whatsoever with finding Couch Surfing hosts in Sydney. Their groups don't seem very active either (especially compared to Melbourne – sorry guys!). It's making me begin to dread going there. Luckily, we're going to be meeting a good friend of ours so that will make things nicer!
We took an overnight train from Melbourne which took 11 ½ hours. Starts to give a little scope to the size of the country. On the map we're still just in the little SE corner.
No sleep on the train. Some woman with two kids got on around 12:30am and promptly bought them soda pop and sugary snacks, so guess what they did until they got off around 3:00 or 4:00am? Giggle. Well, we weren't giggling, but we still made it! We couldn't go to the place we were staying when we arrived as it was still too early. So we wandered around looking for a coffee shop and WIFI. Seems we've landed in the 'trendy' part of town where coffees cost $10 each. So we sat on a bench, used the unlocked WIFI from a nearby library and let the caffeine withdrawal lighten our moods. To make matters worse, we only saw one naked transvestite run across the road in front of us. Only one! (this is fast becoming Brian's favourite story of our trip, so be ready for a telling of it when you see him next :) ).
We joined in with a walking tour around the city to get a basic orientation. I've done these before
in Edinburgh, and they're usually quite informative. We got to see lots of unique places and hear different stories. Like how OZ was a convict state (not new news), but that RUM funded the hospital and the mint. That they were the inventors of plastic money. Underground tunnels fill the city. Submarine bombings in the harbour where Australia was hit twice, but the target neither time. Hourly beheadings in the middle of a shopping mall. Talking dogs (look out Bobby). And how some comedians made a fake Canadian motorcade during the heightened security of APEC (when Canada wasn't even invited) wearing clearly fake name badges and carried a car with someone dressed as Osama Bin Laden and GOT THROUGH several check pointsl!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r082T2fkDpA
Now that we knew the funnier side of Sydney we could have a nice time. We wandered around a touristy market and stared at all the tacky Aussie souveniers. Took a bus to Bondi beach and walked the waterfront. Sat on some rocks for a picnic and listened to the waves while watching beautiful people parade themselves around in front of us in the sun. Lots of surfers floating around on their surfboards (I think they're just out for that as the surfing part only takes 20
seconds or so). Some were crazy enough to surf into the rocks and had to dive off so they didn't crash into them.
We're staying in an enormous hostel with hundred's of rooms full of partying young people that cost's an equivalent of a down payment on a house, but even still, I guess Sydney's not that bad :) Although, we couldn't find Nemo either!