Swanning around Sydney

Trip Start Sep 12, 2005
Trip End Sep 11, 2006

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Eugh, I've let this fall behind again and am now playing catch-up...

So, arrived early Tues (8th) into Sydney after a highly uncomfortable bus journey, but hey, it's our last one in Oz so may as well end on a big'un. It's raining in Sydney. Kid you not. The weather looked miserable and we were freezing. If London was like this in May I'd be moaning my socks off. Hmmm... found a cheap hostel and arranged for the hostel dude to come and pick us up. 25mins after the time specified, he arrives. I tell you, Australian time-keeping leaves a lot to be desired. Nay mind, the hostel's relatively cheap, even though it does smell of wet dog and weed (not a good combination) and our roommate was really nice - a Dutch girl on a week's holiday from Uni in Melbourne. Liz and I just crash for a couple of hours and then head off into the city to take a peek at the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Fantastic. Hence a load of cheezy pics attached, plus the weather begins to perk up. We meet up with Emily and agree to climb one of the pylons of the Bridge which afforded (Matt language = gave) great views of the city. That night we had a quiet one taking equally cheesy photos of the two buildings (can you call a bridge a building??) by night.

Weds (9th) Liz and I spent the day doing separate things - I went to the Botanical Gardens for a couple of hours, where I read, people watched and spotted loads of flying fox bats which I seem to remember from my last visit here. Then I headed to the State Library and mooched round there (including taking advantage of their free internet) then I happened to walk past the Parliment Building and looked inside and actually sat in during a session. Well, I thought our bunch of nancys were bad in the UK, but these guys are petty beyond belief. It was just a slanging match between the two opposition leaders with a lot of jeering and insult-throwing coming from the rest of the members. I actually got quite annoyed with it all and would have left a lot sooner had I not been sat next to a rather delicious looking man...
Dragging myself away from there I had a peek inside a museum which had been created from the old prison, but it appeared rather dull. Then into the main Cathedral and on to the Australian Museum via Hyde Park. The museum was alright but pretty tame in comparision to the Natural History Museum in London, and it was quite amusing to note that the majority of pieces on exhibition appeared to be casts or moulds from US or UK museums. The skeletal section was pretty cool though.
That night we all went out plus the Dutch girl and a roommate of Emily's to Darlington Harbour which was lovely, if a little pricey, and we had a good, if rather tame night out there.

Thurs (10th). Hmmm... Liz left at 10am just as I was getting up. A minute later a Swedish girl (with, I might add, the most horrific smelling feet and flemy cough) checked in. Now, Liz and I were sharing a key between us and as she planned to get in earlier than me, she took the key with her. No worries as the door doesn't lock automatically. I go for a shower, and, you guessed it, when I return the Swedish girl has left and locked the door behind her. So, I scrambled down to reception in my towel to find it closed - the guy's out. Kindly, another guy called him for me and he said he'd be back in 10 mins. True to his word he was. However, I don't know why he bothered because he doesn't have another key. That's right, a 4bed dorm and he only has 3 keys (all of which are now taken) and no master. So, I spend the next 4 hours reading a book in a flea infested couch in my pjamas (thank god I had them with me) till Liz returned. I could have gone out when Liz returned at 2:30 but to be honest I wasn't really in the mood then plus it was raining quite heavily by then, so I just wrote the day off. That night we went to a rather swanky looking bar in the city centre as Emily was due to meet a couple of girls she'd met earlier on the trip there. I had a really great evening actually, even though I spent a horrendous amount of money, but it was nice not to be in a bar full of fellow backpackers for a change (and even nicer that all the guys were in suits).

Fri (11th) we checked out of the manky hostel (managing to somehow get a free night there too actually) and took a bus to Bondi. I didn't have very high expectations of this place and I don't know why but it just didn't do much for me. It all seemed like it's past it's heyday. Nay mind, stayed with a decent bunch of Canadians who were all so excited to be there it kind of got infectous. Sydney was their first stop and before that they had never left Canada - one of the guys had never seen the sea before (and they were in their twenties). Anyway, spent the day on the beach and then that evening our hostel was having a punch night - all you can drink for $5 (about 2 quid). Hungover as I was, this I couldn't miss. Poor Liz was knackered and went to bed after a drink, but I stayed on and the drinking games began. Ended up having what seemed at the time to be a rather insightful and intellectual conversation with one of the Canadian guys to the wee hours, but was no doubt talking bollocks. Then ended up on the beach with the Canadians playing beach sumo - highly entertaining, but which I left after about half an hour of searching for one guy's watch which was buried somewhere in the sand. As I was getting ready for bed, the guys come back saying they couldn't believe their luck - some dude had been walking along the beach with a metal detector and they found his watch in less than 30 secs. Bizzare.

Sat (12th) hungover again and in need of a little excersize. Liz was going to have another surf lesosn that day but the guy who was supposed to arrange it was also too hungover and it never happened. So, we went on a walk along the cliffs, supposedly to a town to Coogee, but in reality we only made it down a couple of bays before collapsing on a rather gorgeous looking beach there for a couple of hours. Had a quite night that day just watching some film.

Sun (13th) we checked out and headed for Manly via the ferry. I remember this to be a fantastic beach when I was a kid with huge waves, but unfortunately the conditions weren't right and the sea was pretty calm. Didn't really think much of Manly either to be honest - it all seemed a little tacky. So, just lazing on the beach etc. Oh, and Liz had an exhausting surf lesson on Mon (14th) where she reckons she swallowed far too much salt water. Can't think what else we did here. Tried to go out on our first night, but Sunday's are really quiet in Oz and we were chucked out by 10:30pm.

Mon (14th) we went back to the city centre and stayed at the nicer hostel where Emily had been. Raining heavily that day which did nothing to help the mood I was in. Felt like I really wanted to DO something but didn't know what. And to be honest I was getting bored of Sydney. Once you've seen the Opera House and Bridge there wasn't a lot else to do. Struggling to think of something, I went to the Aquarium. It was bloomin good though, and I managed to spend 4 hours there, and not just because I couldn't face going out into the rain again. They had one of those tunnels that you walk through to see all the sharks swim around you, and it was great being able to say I'd seen that, that and that.
Liz had decided she was going to go to Tasmania instead of seeing the Blue Mountains on our last night in Manly and as I'd already been I thought I'd should so something else too. After looking at my options of National Parks around Melbourne, I decided to go to Tas too. So, booked my flights Monday night and have to get up at 5:30am tomorrow in order to get the pickup to the airport. Oh the joy....
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