Archives for category: Australia

To round off our trip to Sydney, we indulged in a bit of high class outdoor summery sophisticated culture. We went to the Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Gardens, where they throw up a screen, project a film on to it as the sun goes down and everyone drinks wine and eats picnics like right smug, self-satisfied Australian bastards whose lives are perfect. What a joy to be one of them for the night. We saw Hitchcock even though its official release date wasn’t for some days yet, which only added to the sense that we were somehow among the privileged and better than the rest of the world. The film was great but for me the best bit of the evening was just before the sun went down, when hundreds of birds migrated from one end of the park to the other. Except they weren’t birds, they were massive bloody bats.

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We had seen them before during the day, roosting in a tree, all balled up like little hanging cats with leather jackets on but as they flew towards at dusk it was like being in a vampire film or a Meat Loaf album cover and it was completely amazing (because the vampire film in question was something really good and not Twilight and because Meat Loaf is a bad ass regardless of his questionable politics).

After a farewell meal of Nepalese curried goat with Angelo and Andrew we took our leave from Sydney and set a course for Bali. Lovely.

Australia is a big country, one covered in exciting animals, big rocks, things to do and people to meet. They play a lot of cricket, arguably the greatest sport there is (it’s not an easy argument to win, one that goes “Cricket is the greatest sport there is”, “No it’s really shit and boring”, “No I promise it really is amazing and I can’t really explain why but it just is, ok?”, “No.”) If you are English then you definitely know at least 500 smug people who have been to Australia on their gap year, or just after they finished uni or who emigrated when they retired, and they think its the best place ever in the world. And yet, with respect to all the people that I know and love who have been so fond of it, I have never had any compulsion to go there myself. It always struck me as being just like England but hotter and definitely smugger.

However, as it is very difficult to circumnavigate the globe in this direction without stopping over, and since two of our least smug friends had emigrated a year ago, we gave Sydney the benefit of the doubt and booked ourselves in for two weeks.

Let us begin with a little whining about the downsides of visiting Sydney. It is expensive as a bastard. If you can afford to live here you can afford to be smug. Our budget for two weeks in Sydney was approximately the same as a month in New York. With that in mind, we had to stay in a youth hostel. A very nice youth hostel it must be said, with clean sheets, a more than adequate supply of bread, an excellent toaster, range of cereal, tea, milk and sugar. However, a youth hostel in Australia means being surrounded by English dunderheads, away from mummy and daddy for the first time and not knowing how to behave. They sit in front of the TV all day while the sun is shining outside, then start drinking in the evening and keep everyone awake with the sort of shouty bullshit drunken machismo that they think is going to get them laid by the locals but which is only ever appealing to other English people, the like of which they could have impressed for much less than the cost of a round the world plane ticket. At times it was as though we’d accidentally found ourselves in a TOWIE vs Geordie Shore dick-swinging, tit-flashing, arsehole contest, with the appropriate regional accents for good measure. This though I rather predicted. What I never expected was to leave the confines of the hostel and find myself liking Sydney so very much.

We started off, as one (two?) inevitably does (do?) with seeing the big sites. We walked up to the harbour to see the opera house and the bridge and were delighted to find two properly worthwhile, impressive feats of human engineering and architecture, the first we had seen since leaving New York. Having been so consumed by the natural beauty of the western states in the US and down in New Zealand, it was nice to be reminded that people aren’t that shit after all and can even make things look nice when they try.

As with anything and anywhere else though, the big fat tourist sights are there for the big fat tourists, and once we were done with them, we needed to get the d-low from some locals if we were to get the most out of our stay. Fortunately for us, two of the best locals in town happened to be a couple of very good friends from our Brighton days, Andrew and Angelo.

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Andrew and Angelo know a thing or two about having fun on the beach.

I didn’t even know Sydney had so many beaches. I had heard of Bondi but assumed it was out of town, not a short bus ride away, and not on a bus that takes you past loads of other really lovely walkable coastline. Luckily for us, Angelo and Andrew did know this, so they took us out on a bunch of different amazing coastal walks. Here you can see me and the two of them thinking the warning signs on the beach are a bit lame.

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Fortunately there is no photographic evidence of me, shortly afterwards, fighting for my life, pathetically doggy paddling against the monstrous force of Mother Nature and her massive watery ego.

Aside from that brush with death, we had a most wonderful time at the seaside. Lovisa and Angelo jumped from the rocks like a pair of Chinese synchronised divers:

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We made friends with a french bulldog puppy called Boz:

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And we took ourselves some unashamedly sexy pictures:

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After all that fun we had earned ourselves an ice cream, made of pure science…