Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Day 21 in the big brother house...

Just a quick post (hopefully). I just had to let you know of the comedy that has become Manly Backpackers.

This 'home from home' has turned into the Big Brother house. I love it but it is dirty and smelly. There are parties every night - not just until 1 or 2am but last night's was going on a few rooms away until around 7am.

Fun if you want to party - not if you have work in the morning.

So while Danielle and I were away this weekend two chaps got into a fight. Never much love lost between them anyway but it apparently escalated into a full-out brawl and one threatened to press charges on the other. The police came and one went on the run...

However the chap who was pressing charges decided to skip the hostel without settling his bill.

Then there is the thieving which has been going on. Fingers were pointed at a certain aussie/yank guy and he was kicked out, then reinstated when people protested, threatened with eviction again and now, who knows.

There is the British teenager who is dating a girl who's fiance is coming out in a few days (and a similar situation the other week with a different guy), the threat of closure of the hostel by the council and the waterbombing incident.

Certain merry individuals (I was on the beach I'll hasten to add) decided to waterbomb people passing underneath their balcony and cars at the traffic lights. Complaints aglory.

Plus the complaints from neighbours about noise, loud music and so on, the lack of toilet paper drama, the inability to use power sockets because it sets of the fire alarms....

There is bed-hopping aplenty and drunken dancing, drug taking and noodle-only diets. But before my parents have a heart attack reading this, there are also amazing people here and even the biggest party animals are deep-down decent people and good to have a laugh with.

A group of us made a massive Mexican meal last night, stuck to green tea and watched cheesy movies or watched the pool competition. It can be (fairly) civilised in a studenty way.

But today I am job and flat hunting with a vengeance. It's only the thought I can soon move out that keeps me vaguely sane and Danielle, Dani and her chap Taz are determined to move to the quieter hostel up the road in the meantime.

So there we go. Job-wise I'm still doing the casual marketing work, still applying for bar work, still sending speculative emails to the newspapers around here. And of course, improving my tan on the stunning beach here...

Monday, November 13, 2006


Ok so people are actually thinking I am dead or something because of the lack of posts since I got to Australia.

So no I haven't dropped off the face of the planet despite being upside down here. I keep meaning to post stunning pictures of Manly, the friends I have met, views of Sydney harbour etc, my new wavy haircut...

But sadly every time I think - ah I have time to write my blog, I don't have my camera or uploading cables. Fate conspires against me again.

Still, I have been having a ball here. Manly Backpackers is very noisy and very lively and very fun. I have made some awesome friends here, particularly Danielle, a Scottish chick with as much energy to party as me, and Dani (confusing hey), a South African girl with a huge heart and a loud voice.

Being right next to the beach has been wonderful - runs along it to neighbouring coves, sunning myself on it and yes, even having barbies on it! I'm a true Oz now, right?!

Manly is like a little town all unto itself so there are plenty of shops and bars there and good places to eat. Been doing plenty of shopping to try and make myself look presentable after the horrors of Thai wear. Impossible to miss Thai food because so many restaurants here - but of course at ten times the price.

They love their food here and the food courts in the city are an awesome array of sushi, sandwiches of every shape, size and flavour, Italian etc etc and all really good. I am not getting any thinner unfortunately - will have to step up the running!

I have been into the city a few times. Wandered around the Opera House and Circular Quay next to the harbour bridge, visited the 'historic' rocks area (their history basically runs 'There were some aborigine folk here but we don't know much about them' so talks mostly about convicts arriving a few years ago and that's it), went to the Museum of Contemporary Arts. And shopped quite a lot.

Last weekend a group of us had a night out at the city at Chinese Laundry (awesome name) and this weekend, Danielle and I decided to get out of the small world of Manly Backpackers and came to Funk House hostel in Kings Cross.

It's true what they say about this area - walking around there are prosititutes available at ANY time of day, plenty of adult shops and peep shows. But also some wicked bars - one of which OPENS at 7am on a Sunday. Hilarious. Haven't made it quite that far yet but pretty close!

This weekend we have managed to do some touristy things like walk around Potts Point and to the Botanical Gardens, sitting by the harbour with views over the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Can't quite believe I'm here still and I never get tired of that view.

We pottered around Darling Harbour - a wharf with bars, cafes, shops and restaurants, an Imax cinema, aquarium etc and went to Chinatown. Everywhere here sounds familiar - Hyde Park, Gloucester Road, Paddington, Kings Cross, St James this and Queen Victoria that.

But it seems Sydney is a lot more compact than London and I'm constantly surprised how quick it is to walk from one side of the central area to the other (not so good in heels mind). Chinatown is virtually nonexistent, King's Cross merges into area around it - it is not like London where each suburb is a small town. Here, each area has its own character but it's just far far smaller.

It makes me appreciate the size and diversity of London, but I love the atmosphere here. If you grow up in the sunshine, next to the beach, how can you not have a sunny outlook on life?

Job hunting has proved to be a little nightmare. The Daily Telegraph interview seemed really positive and the managing editor was a friendly chap. But they decided to give casual reporting shifts to someone with more local knowledge - which is fair enough - but a little disappointing.

So job hunting went on hold for a bit. Still, got a few options and I am 'marketing' for a real estate agency on a casual basis. Very excitingly this involves printing out leaflets, folding them and posting them through people's doors. Taxing. But hey, it's seven pounds an hour.

Also handed out leaflets for some raving loony DVD presentation about how to make your life whole and find inner peace - we had to chase people virtually yelling 'Don't you want inner peace? Can't you find some room for it?!'

Also got a few proper options ticking over and doing a course tomorrow which means I can work in bars and restaurants - it's not what I was imagining but it could be fun and pay well. I am realising that this is truly the first time in my life I don't have to be studying or doing work experience or something like that and it is nice to be able to kick back a bit.

Until I see people in the city with their nice pencil skirts and hot little handbags and I long to join the rat race and feel human again! Plenty of time for that though methinks.

Have also caught up with Steven Lewis a few times, my lifeguarding, blogging, real conversation friend - Danielle and I get a bit stir crazy with hormonally charged 18-year-olds running around the hostel all the time.

It's great to go to better bars and drink proper wine instead of goon (wine in a bag - you have to slap it, it's obligatory).

Had a cold the last few days but I have chased it off with ginger and fruit juices, sudafed capsules and a few nights in. Luckily for my bank balance the fun of going out virtually every night and coming home to dance in room 17 (party central) has definately lost its gloss. An apartment would definately be good!

Thinking about Christmas and New Year now. It's so odd to be wandering around Sydney with all these shops that look and feel like home, with weather like the best British summer days and then to hear Jingle Bells, see Christmas wreaths and wonder where to have a turkey dinner in 80 degree heat in a few weeks time. It's just all wrong.

Still, it was the coldest November day in Sydney since 1905 on Thursday. We spent the miserable day curled up on sofas watching The Notebook and other movies with blankets and hot chocolate. The following day was a scorcher!

Anyway, I think that's pretty much the update from this end. Summary for those who skim read to here (you've done well if you reached the bottom mind!): no job, not much sleep, a lot of fun, a lot of sunbathing, but a realisation responsibility is just around the corner...

Friday, November 03, 2006


Leaving Thailand was strange and hard. Had a pleasant last day in Bangkok posting Christmas presents (so organised for once) and getting CDs of pictures burned and so on.

Had the most hilarious waxing experience ever (I think she thought I wanted to be a porn star) and a lovely foot massage.

The trip to the airport was a nightmare. Horribly I saw a teenager get run over. He was crossing the freeway from the central reservation and a group of boys ran out across the road. This boy almost made it but was clipped by a car and went hurtling up into the air, crashing down on the road and rolling several times. Like something from a film. Not one person got out to help.

His friends had to pick him up and carry him to the reservation and the driver just sat in his car. Vehicles behind stopped but no one helped. I was ina minibus on a sliproad next to where it happened - not much I could do not speaking the language, having all my luggage and so on. Luckily it was right next to a hospital but I don't know if he was even alive still.

Boarding the plane I met John and Steven - an aussie guy from Sydney and a British chap who'd lived here for some time. They took me under their wing and, knowing about the media, were excellent people to run into.

At Sydney, they bought me coffee and suggested I stay at Manly - a beach resort a half hour ferry ride (across Sydney harbour) from the centre. They gave me a lift and Steven took me around the backpackers there and bought me lunch next to the beach with its rough surf and golden sands.

The weather here is a coolish 23C - cold after Bangkok's 35C minimum at the moment. But it will soon be sweltering. Everything seems horribly expensive after Thailand. A big shock.

The hostel I'm staying in is ok. Have been out with Steven and John and their swimming/life guarding friends and Steven took me up the coast to Palm Beach where Home and Away is filmed.

Last night I went out with people from the hostel - great fun. But I am looking forward to getting into an apartment or travelling up the coast. Not sure whether to try and settle somewhere or keep moving while I still have a few funds.

It's a hard life eh.