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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

First couple of days.

It's Anzac day today and the weather is foul! For the first time since I arrived, I am envious of the people at home, because I know the summer is only just starting for them! :)

It has been quite a week, as I shall try and show.

I arrived in Sydney at about 9pm. It was warm outside, the street lights a but of a funny colour - rather than the orange of the UK, a softer pink (for want of a better word) colour. I got off the plane with a large grin on my face. I was tired, smelly and I had not slept for about 24 hours (I have got some more precise calculations on a bit of paper but take my word for it). I was thinking about taking the train into Sydney but realised I had little idea of where to go, so I skipped into a backpackers' bus and was trundled though the dark streets of Sydney into the centre and the WAKE UP hostel.

The wake up hostel is 9 floors high. Floors 1-8 are named after continents. It's full of bleary eyed backpackers, just of the plane, "little rubber people" out on their first trip away from Mummy and Daddy and then the people in my room, who are not bad.

Kal is from Leeds, Dan G (can't remember) and Emma (outside of Belfast). When I walk into the room the three are talking as if they have known one another for years. It turns out Kal and Emma had only met that morning. Meanwhile Dan had been in Oz for a few months. So far so good. They are friendly and chatty, even though I am slightly grumpy because I am so sleepy. The room is not bad either - the beds are great and I can stretch my legs out (a bonus since I have spent the last few hours in a plane seat).

So the four of us talked, and it was good. I has pleased and relieved - my first trip to this country, six years ago, was a lonely experience often and I had not talked to people until day two. I had landed on my feet, especially as Kal agreed to go to the basement bar of the hostel for drinks.

The next day (Monday) , I wanted to sleep, but was not allowed to. Dan G and Kal said I should get up and start getting over my jet lag - fair enough, but my bed was looking so tempting! Dan G took me around central Sydney. It was a very hot day (quiet too, bizarrely) and the sky was blue, without a cloud in it. We walked and walked - down Pitt Street towards Cirular Quay, the home of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Like I wrote, it was very quiet which was nice - a slow start is always a good thing in a new city. When we arrived at the circular quay I had a little bit of an epiphany. Until that point, although I knew where I was, and what I was letting myself in for, I had not grasped it completely. I saw the Opera house (which looks like a big beetle squatting by the side of the quay) and the harbour bridge - symbols of Australia throughout the world. The sun was dancing on the water, and air was warm with little breezes buzzing about. Tourists were out and about, and the didjeridu-playing buskers were doing their thing and playing along to trance techno. Had I had a camera that day, I would have clicked off a whole roll, but as it was my eyes got to see the place unadorned.

Dan and I walked round the right side of the quay, passed lots of sunbaked australians. I spy with my little eye a didg shop (an aboriginal arts centre) and in we trooped (in I trooped, and Dan followed looking a bit bemused). It was like Aladin's cave (minus silks) for a didg player. I stayed in the shop talking to the owner for about half an hour and then Dan and I walked over to the botanical gardens via the opera house.

We then wended our way home on the overground train, the Central station. That evening me and my room-mates went out for a drink in an Irish pub and watched Aussies dancing. I was pleased to sleep...
More in a bit I guess....

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