Sydney Impressions

Sydney Travel Blog

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Can I grasp it?

Here are some impressions of my time in Sydney from 21 June - 08 July 2005

 

My first day in Australia. My first day in Sydney. My first day at the Pink House in Kings Cross. The receptionist Melinda greets me in her flower child way and let’s me know: “Don’t make so much noise when you’re sitting ouside or come home late because of our stupid neighbours. They are a pain in the ass. By the way, this evening we are all going to a bar, get some free Long Island Ice Tea and get drunk very quickly. So feel free to come along.”

 ...

Right now being here is still very surreal.

Opera House in retro colours
You think, alright, now this is the Opera House and it is a beautiful example of architecture and now I’m standing in front of it, but do I fully understand that I’m here now? Can I grasp it? I just stand there scratching my head in amazement.

 ...

One year, this is day 2. Maybe this is still the jet lag. I’m walking but where to?

 ...

8am. 13 hours of sleep. My room invented noise. Banging doors. People talking rubbish.

„Melinda, do you think I’m a bad guy? I mean, how done am I?“

Obviously this fellow thinks it’s great to be down-and-out and needs some reassurance every now and then.

 ...

In the morning loads of alarm bells are ringing but nobody gets up.

 ...

I’m going outside into town. Why? Where to? No idea. What else should I do? I’m sitting down on a bench at The Rocks where I enjoy the sun’s 17°C. Next to me two pensioners are talking about money and traffic problems. Then they talk about the many sea gulls and (when an obstreperous sea gull disperses another) one of the retirees goes: “There’s always a bully among them.”

 ...

I’m sitting in the hostel’s TV room.

Pink House TV room
Melinda walks in: “I’ve got work for someone tomorrow. Somebody has to take a train to Cronulla, deliver some drugs and get back. You’ll get 20 bucks plus the train tickets.”

A drunk Briton raises his hand and says "No worries, I'll do it".

 ...

I get up around 7, step outside and buy a muffin. I can’t eat it all so I feed the rest to the pigeons, so that these can shit on the city a bit more. I smoke a good-morning-my-lung-cigarette.

...

I go to bed at 5pm. This fucking jet lag. In the middle of the night I wake up. Two drunk girls are in my room. One of them is lying down next to David who is sleeping in the bed underneath mine. They start whispering for a while and finally she says: “This is the moment where you should take advantage cause I’m totally fucked.”

So David takes advantage.

my bed in the Pink House
It doesn’t take long until you hear the typcial hearty kisses and undressing noises. The whole room must be fully awake. David then puts a blanket in front of his bed so that nobody can peep. And here we go. The bed creaks with every movement. David is on top and I’m one metre above. The whole play lasts for about five minutes. She breathes a bit louder while David is absolutely silent. After it’s done they whisper a bit more. Maybe they’ve done this before. Then she leaves and everybody else can go back to sleep again. The snoring starts anew. I stay wide awake.

 ...

Sitting in the TV room again watching films with raunchy jokes. I’m watching the pretty French girl Helen who’s sitting opposite me. English speaking French girls are simply sexy. Helen sounds a bit like Julie Delpy in “Before Sunrise” which makes her only more attractive to me. She has eyes as black as a crow so that you don’t see where the iris ends and the pupil starts.

Then there’s also the strawberry blonde English girl who is wearing pink socks. While sitting there among these beauties I have this stupid amatory feeling even though I’m not in love at all.

reception of Pink House
In any case this feeling always makes me sad but I pull myself together.

 ...

Sitting at Darling Harbour enjoying the moment. I like it here more and more.

I’m watching a street performer who continously tells jokes about passers-by and bystanders. Then he picks a volunteer to hold his four metre high unicycle. And of course I’m the victim. Mike from Germany. Hahaha. I’m just standing there for 15 minutes holding his stupid wheel. My legs are shaky. He keeps on telling his jokes. Then he urges me to step into the middle and animates the crowd to applaud for me. Then finally • after recruiting a second victim • he jumps onto the unicycle, rides it for a bit while juggling three burning sticks.

Then the show’s over and his Akubra hat works a circuit. And I’m free at last.

 

While strolling along the promenade an older lady suddenly starts talking to me:

“Excuse me. Are you a student?”

“No, not really. I’m doing Working Holidays.”

“Oh, okay, when did you arrive here?”

“I just arrived here on Tuesday. What about yourself?”

“I’ve been here for two weeks and today is my last day.

street performer at Darling Harbour

“Okay…”

“What I wanted to ask you. I’m from Romania and I lived in the United States for the last 20 years. Six weeks ago my son Chris died in a car accident.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Yes, and now I am here and I have some food here in my bag, some burgers from McDonalds and some grapes and I wanted to give it to a student as a donation.”

And I’m thinking, okay, whatever. So I take the bag, thank her and go my way. A few times I turn around to see if she is not following me. A bit further away I dare a glimpse into the bag to see if there aren’t any drugs or a bomb in there. But no, there’s a whole McDonalds menu and a big bunch of grapes looking very fresh.

Darling Harbour
I taste two grapes and they taste good. Nevertheless I throw the whole bag into the bin since I feel a bit below par. I even go to the next shopping centre to wash my hands, that’s how paranoid I am!

 ...

Already at noon the bouncers in Kings Cross are trying to lure me into their joint so that I can see a stripshow. Semi-pretty and ugly whores are leaning against a wall, waiting for customers or anything worldshaking.

Some whores are more direct and get down to the nitty-gritty: “Wanna have sex?” And the bouncers are doing their best to drag the people in: “Come in, free entry, free girls”. I’m thinking that in Kings Cross everything is free until you’re asked to pay.

The bouncers are seemingly most successful with their birdcall among African-Americans. When a bouncer sees some of them they even sprint across the street to stop and allure them. And mostly they go along because they say it’s “awesome”.

 .

..

 The next day the rain sets in. I’m seeking shelter at a bus stop and watch the world weep with Coldplay in my ears.

Later inside the Sydney Aquarium I’m hearing the same sentences over and over:

“Look at the teeth!” (sharks)

“Aaaaawww, how cute!!!” (sea lions)

“Look, it’s Nemo!” (the one and only)

It’s all fairly nice but also very touristic. After that I go to the IMAX Theatre and watch James Cameron’s „Aliens of the Deep“.

Look, it's Nemo!
After that I walk back to my hostel at a snail’s pace. I’m having this melancholic phase in which you open your eyes in slow motion. In this moment everything is in perfect harmony. Millions of people around me and me all by myself. I savour being here, walk on further than necessary, back and forth. Then I’m buying a coffee to go and everything is enchanting. The city, the coffee and me.

 ...

One week in Sydney. A resume:

I live in a metropolis. The essential word is “live”. I mean, of course I’m still a tourist, but I LIVE here.

The city is pretty big for my sense of bigness. But I get the feeling that give it some time and this big city would bore me. Sure, you can endlessly go to a bar and watch Britons in polo shirts drinking beer while talking about yesterday’s flush. But even this gets boring after a while.

Kings Cross: A few sex shops, knocking shops, striptease bars, bottle shops, one McDonalds, hostels and hotchpotch food places.

Stefan, drunk No. 1
All the dossers are sleeping in front of the Funk House and probably survive thanks to McDo.

In my hostel, the Pink House, everything sucked in the beginning because I didn’t know shit but the longer you stay the more people you get to know. But either way, in the long run, you always need at least one person with which you can do more than just have a cigarette or a beer together.

Every evening some film is put into the DVD player and everyone just stares at the box. A bit later some people are going out, get plastered or stoned or both.

Some have been here for months. Some like to be cool. Some are looking for girls. Some stink as if they haven’t taken a shower for weeks (and probably haven't). Some are close-mouthed and shy. Some you don’t see before midnight.

For people who catch up with others easily and like to party and watch films rather than have some interesting conversation, the Pink House is the place to be.

Darryl, drunk No. 2
I’m not saying it’s a bad place, I actually quite like it, but in the long run the hostel - as Sydney itself - becomes to stale.

 ...

Back in the hostel we are playing a game called „Shithead“ which is THE backpacker’s card game in Australia. We, that’s Swiss Mike, Stefan from Cardiff and Darryl from Oxford. Darryl sounds like a human version of an Oxford Advanced Dictionary.

Later we go out to the Empire Hotel where I start talking to a 20-year-old Australian girl who I find pretty in the pissed way. She talks her head off and I don’t understand a single word. Therefore I just nod, smile and say things like “yeah, you’re right” and she doesn’t seem to notice so it’s fine. I write down my email address on a beer mat but she’ll never contact me.

An awfully drunk Australian with blonde eyelashes has two Thai girls in tow. One of the girls starts talking to me and the Australian thinks I’m getting off with her.

Swiss Mike, drunk No. 3
He tells me to fuck off about ten times but in the end I can calm him down.

About 4 in the morning I’m leaving. Outside the Empire Hotel the Fuck-off-guy is waiting for me muttering his two favorite words in my direction again, this time even with a raised fist. Then suddenly his mood changes, he laughs like a dork and shakes hands with me.

Me and Swiss Mike leave the scene. I buy a colossal spring roll which is so oily and disgusting that I can’t have more than two bites before I throw the rest into the guttter. I wasn’t hungry anyways. It was just imaginative drunk hunger.

All bars are closed already and the bouncer at the Sports Bar refuses me entrance saying I was too drunk. Looking at Swiss Mike and then at me he says “You can come in, but you stay out!”. So we go back to the Empire Hotel for a final beer and then back home to the hostel.

In our room Darryl and Stefan introduce us to a drinking game called “Circle of Death”.

Stefan spills some wine on the carpet and without further ado tells Darryl to “drink the carpet”. And indeed, Darryl is quite responsive to Stefan’s pleas and slurps and sucks the wine off the carpet. I leave it to your own imagination about the age and condition of this very carpet.

 

Later I’m lying in bed but can’t doze off, so I get up again and head straight for McDonalds without knowing why. I’m eating a BigMac menu and feel even more muzzy afterwards. I’m staring at people. A whore comes in, buys a small Coke, fills it with five ketchup and chug-a-logs the damn thing.

 ...

Two days later I’m standing underneath the Harbour Bridge at Milson’s Point thinking what it would be like to dig a hole here and bury a box, then wait ten years, send your girlfriend here with a treasure map. And she digs and digs and digs until she finally finds the box. She opens it and finds a note saying “Do you want to marry me?”

Yes, I know, it’s very corny but still a nice idea.

lovely tree at Sydney's Botanic Gardens

 ...

A new roomate. She’s 35-years-old and from New Zealand. She let’s me know: „Swiss Mike said he will be late“ and as a joke I repeat “Swiss Mike said he will get laid?”. While I’m almost dying of laughter the Kiwi just looks at me as if she was thinking what a young bugger I am.

 ...

Tuesday evening, 9.30pm. The whole Pink House crowd is ready to go to the World Bar because it’s time for some free Long Island Ice Tea. When I order my first one I wonder where Long Island is since I only detect Ice Tea. So I get a Victoria Bitter instead which also tastes like water but at least with a bit of Victoria in it.

I do some small talk with an American girl who is also staying at the Pink House. You notice immediately that she’s from the States. That’s not because she’s wearing a red sweater that says “Maryland” on it but because of her general appearance.

holding the Harbour Bridge :-)
She is simply gorgeous but probably thinks herself only average and that’s why she wears comfortable clothes even when going out, as many Americans do.

Then I’m talking to a Kiwi of Chinese descent. He tells me he was very hungry, so we go to “Carlo’s Pies” where he orders a pie and shoves it into his mouth like a wild animal devouring its prey. Of course he’s still hungry so I accompany him to McDo where he eats a BigMac in the same manner described. Then we go to the Empire Hotel but leave again very soon since the smell of puke, shit and other excrements is too obtrusive.

Then I can’t talk the Kiwi into going back to the World Bar again. He says he had to get up at 9am tomorrow. Now it’s midnight.

So he leaves for the hostel and me for the world. There I dance a bit but soon decide to stop because I’m sure I look doltish.

The notorious liar • a Canadian • is here as well.

in Sydney's Hyde Park
He has already told me stories about when he met Penelope Cruz and had coffee with her and that he has 13 cars and 5 motorbikes and that once upon a time he had spider babies growing out of the back of his head. He orders a teapot which is, well, a teapot with Bacardi Orange. He pours me some shots. We have about 7 or 8 of them each when I tell him it tasted like orange juice. He says all I had to do is wait 20 minutes and then it would “kick in badly”. I wait for an hour but it still doesn’t kick in.

I look at some girls. Then I sit outside on the terrace again where I listen to a German girl who has been to New Zealand for ten month and arrived in Sydney just a couple of days ago. Of course she speaks fluent English which is great but she’s also talking constantly and doesn’t pause to let other people put their two cents in. She has probably told the same trash a thousand times and gives this speech thinking it would make a good impression which it doesn’t. Generally speaking, she has nothing to say that is worth mentioning so I say “Cheers” and clear out.

 

The last morning.

My alarm goes off at 5am. I pack my remaining stuff and say „see you“ to the darkness in the room. I’m out!

 

 

 

Morle says:
Hi Len! Trust me, I had similarly weird encounters in Melbourne :) But I actually do prefer Melbourne over Sydney.
Posted on: Jul 10, 2011
ozcamper says:
Thats what happens when you stay in Sydney...lol. should have stayed in Melbourne....Hahahaha
Posted on: Jul 10, 2011
outlanderinvermont says:
oh my...i loved reading this post!!...im thinking id probably feel the same way when i get to Sydney in September (can/could i grasp it??)...i wonder if theres a girl version of this post somewhere?? :)
Posted on: Jun 23, 2011
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Can I grasp it?
Can I grasp it?
Opera House in retro colours
Opera House in retro colours
Pink House TV room
Pink House TV room
my bed in the Pink House
my bed in the Pink House
reception of Pink House
reception of Pink House
street performer at Darling Harbour
street performer at Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour
Look, its Nemo!
Look, it's Nemo!
Stefan, drunk No. 1
Stefan, drunk No. 1
Darryl, drunk No. 2
Darryl, drunk No. 2
Swiss Mike, drunk No. 3
Swiss Mike, drunk No. 3
lovely tree at Sydneys Botanic Ga…
lovely tree at Sydney's Botanic G…
holding the Harbour Bridge :-)
holding the Harbour Bridge :-)
in Sydneys Hyde Park
in Sydney's Hyde Park
street perfromer at Darling Harbour
street perfromer at Darling Harbour
storm approaching Sydney
storm approaching Sydney
oops :-)
oops :-)
Bondi Beach in Winter
Bondi Beach in Winter
view of Sydney from Botanic Gardens
view of Sydney from Botanic Gardens
Please walk on the grass :-)
Please walk on the grass :-)
Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
another relaxing day in the Botani…
another relaxing day in the Botan…
Look at the teeth!
Look at the teeth!
at Taronga Zoo
at Taronga Zoo
at Taronga Zoo
at Taronga Zoo
Sydney Harbour
Sydney Harbour
Sydneys Hyde Park
Sydney's Hyde Park
skyline of Sydney
skyline of Sydney
Harbour Bridge
Harbour Bridge
Harbour Bridge
Harbour Bridge
downtown Sydney
downtown Sydney
Sydneys Sky Tower seen from Darli…
Sydney's Sky Tower seen from Darl…
the most annoying bird in Australia
the most annoying bird in Australia
advert in Kings Cross
advert in Kings Cross
Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour
rainbow next to AMP Tower
rainbow next to AMP Tower
Channel 7 studio in Sydney
Channel 7 studio in Sydney
Sydney
photo by: Sunflower300