When I last left you I had just completed a monstrous 24 hour, 15 minute plane journey from Dubai to Sydney. I had arrived at 5.10am and was greeted by immigration officials who quizzed me for an hour on my regional work to make sure I had done it. I didn't realise that when you re-entered the country you needed proof, so I was scrapping around for bits of paper and documents to prove I completed work. After showing them my online bank account, photos of me at work, unfortunately the only photos was me with a Gary Neville framed photo or me working in just my Top Banana boxer shorts which my Dad had sent over, god knows what the immigration lady thought to that, they finally agreed to let me back in the country. Luckily too there were no TV crews filming the famous Aussie airport shows either and I was free to go about my Australian life once again.
My first port of call was McDonalds, it wasn't for food, it was to meet my good friend Jack Turner. Once he arrived we caught up and thought we would go for a jug at Scruffy Murphy's , we then headed to the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel where we found pictures of Tom Basford, Josh Spiller and Myself on the Hall of Fame for completing the steak challenge. We had another beer and some food and then I jet lag hit me so I decided to go the place I was staying - This was my Sister's friends Dean and Nina who had emigrated out here. I made the trek to Dee Why to be greeted by Dean who gave me the tour of their very nice house; I was to have a bedroom to myself downstairs, complete with a double bed. I was to be living backpacker luxury! To my horror though Dean insisted on me staying awake to help me with my jet lag and took me a tour of the town showing me the beach and around town. Eventually after some homemade Spag Bol I managed to get some sleep.
The next day I awoke bright and breezy maybe because I had about 15 hours sleep! I met Jack and his missus for a drink at the Opera Bar where a Seagull ever so graciously decided to s*** on my head. We then met my old work colleague Braydon as we were going to watch the State of Origin series final game. State of Origin is one of Australia's biggest sporting events, maybe even the biggest. It is a big Rugby League game between Queensland and New South Wales in a best of three game series. The games were level at the moment at 1 apiece and were heading into the decider. Despite Dean, Nina and Braydon all telling me to support the Blues (New South Wales) I opted to put my alliance with the Maroons (Queensland). My reasoning was that Queensland was the first state I visited when I was in Australia and spent around seven months there, and also I couldn't support the blues when Man United's main rivals City play in blue. I'm a Red man! Queensland managed to scrape the tight encounter 12-10 and win their eight straight series. The game was fun, even though I didn't understand much what was happening. The atmosphere was tense, I was expecting more chanting like at an English Football game but it was still a worthy experience.
The next day I met up with Jack and shared a few beverages and met some friends he had made at his old hostel. A welsh lad called Richie and Argentinian called Daniel. We went to do the pub quiz at Scruffy Murphy's. Unfortunately though Pommy Andy - the quiz master - had gone AWOL and the quiz hadn't been seen for about six weeks. So we made our way back to Jack's flat where we played drinking games and I was reunited with Goon. We got suitably drunk and then headed into King's Cross for indie night. The King's Cross nightlife yet again disappointed me and the evening was marred by Jack and his missus constant bickering. So I ended up in the 24 hour sports bar watching the first day of the Ashes.
Friday came and the plans were to go and watch Man United train at the Allianz stadium. Seeing as though I couldn't get a ticket for the game this was the next best thing. I was joined at training by Adam and Gemma who I met in Innisfail banana farming and also Jack and his missus who had eventually stopped arguing. Training was ok but it was pretty much what you see before a game and I could have maybe spent $15 better on something else. But we did see a dead ringer for Roberto Mancini (ex-Manchester City manager) on the row in front of us. After the game though we made our way to the Broadway Lounge where me and Jack reformed the Arbenals and sang on Karaoke. Singing Arctic Monkeys - I Bet That You look good on the Dance floor and The Lion King's Hakuna Matata.
My first weekend saw me catch up with Korean Kev who I use to live with and saved one of my bags for me. We had a few drinks and then went to watch the Man United game in which they trounced the A-League All-stars 5-1. Sunday was a Basford Day and I chilled out catching up on blogs and planning my next travel plans, which involved traveling Western Australia and Central Australia. I also managed to catch England hammer the Aussies in the second Ashes test.
The next week started off with me paying extortionate Sydney costs ($19) to go and watch This Is The End at the Cinema. The film was ok, but I definitely wasn't worth the $19 entrance fee. That evening I met up with my former roommate Milan from the Czech Republic. He had just returned to Sydney and it was his last night before jetting off back home. I had a few farewell beers with him and also met one of his Brazilian friends a girl called Bruna, who gave me a lot of advice about my plans to go to the world cup over there. The next day Jack came to visit me in Dee Why and went on a coastal walk and up to the lookout where we shared half an orange and Jack strummed on his guitar. We rounded off the day with a steak and a few beers by the beach rounded off a good day. Wednesday came and we had a lads night out at Kings Cross where me, Jack and Braydon enjoyed the delights of goon and drinking games. Thursday I chilled out and got the news I wanted. Finally I would get some shifts. I would be working Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday came and Nina and Dean took me to the Newport Arms for lunch. The pub was brilliant. The food was awesome even though it was slightly pricey and the beer garden maybe the best I have ever been too. It over looked a lake and had beautiful scenery, and it had a massive big screen TV which would be awesome for sports. I then made my way back into work for the first time in two months. I was to be working on a survey which related to Australian politics. It was horrendous. I thought I use to enjoy working there, but when I returned I lost all passion for the job. I was fed up of hearing the constant no's from people refusing to talk and all the rude people. But still I got through the shift and also through the next two days. Work dried up again then not that I was too bothered as I didn't enjoy my last three days and I would be moving on soon. Due to working my weekend wasn't too exciting and the only thing of any real interest was meeting up with my former colleague Derrie and Jack for a beer and some food. Derrie is not a big drinker at all and tends to get very drunk off just a single schooner. I wish I was the same to be honest it would make things a lot cheaper.
As I said work had dried up again so I had no work the following week. So on Monday, Jack brought his missus and her friend Grace to Dee Why. We walked up to the look out again where we were fortunate enough to see Whales. They were pretty far away but it was nice to say that we had seen Whales in the wild. We made our way to the Reef sports bar in Collaroy to take part in an eating challenge. There were two. The first eat 50 chicken wings in thirty minutes. And the second which we were going to try eat six chicken wings in hot spicy sauce without having a drink. Unfortunately un be known to us The Reef is closed on a Monday. So we made our way back into the city where me and Jack went onto King's Cross where we got a steak and went on to do the Sugar Mill pub quiz with an old guy called Ian we met along the way. We did reasonably well on the quiz and came third winning $25 of bar vouchers. We immediately spent these straight away on more beers. The next day I spent chilling in Dee Why. Wednesday a friend from back home - Peter - had made it into Sydney after five months in Asia. So I met him and after a quick stop off to sell the PS3 I took him a tour of Sydney telling him the little tricks to get by, like to get student train tickets, and telling him about the cheap things such as 30 cent ice creams from McDonalds and two minute noodles. And then I took him to the Opera Bar so he could take in one of the most iconic places in Australia with a beer. We then met Rich and headed to The Great Southern to take part in there pub quiz. We didn't fair that great. But the night was remembered for Kath and '4 Jugs' Mary. Two old girls, Kath originally from Poole in England and Mary from Glasgow, Scotland but were both now Australian residents. They joined us for the quiz in an attempt to help us out which they did and we ended up coming fourth. But the night got very messy as they persisted on buying us jugs of beer all night. It was random, surreal, brilliant and crazy. Thursday was another day chilling out in Dee Why. I did some more investigating into my next travel plans to Adelaide, but by the end of the day still hadn't got a plan and time was running out. Friday I met Pete and let him experience goon for the first time, he hated it. As do I, but it's the cheapest thing for us to drink so we managed to get through a four litre box. A mental night ensued which included acquiring half a bottle of red wine, murdering Airplanes by B.O.B on karaoke and having a small disagreement with the bouncer of scubar.
The weekend was a fairly chilled affair. Well Saturday was. On Sunday Welsh Rich's mate Deano had arrived so we proceeded to have a bit of an all-dayer. I joined them mid-afternoon in the rocks and enjoyed beverages in The Argyle and The Glenmore Hotel. The Glenmore had a brilliant roof top bar which offered stunning views of Sydney and the Opera House. Irish Pete then told us about a great bar called Hero of Waterloo which should have some great live music. He was right it did have live music but it was the type of music that you'd get whilst waiting in a lift or hold music while on the phone. So we had a quick beer and headed to another Irish bar which was playing better more traditional Irish music. We ended up getting far too drunk, but having a belting day out.
The next day, Pete and I decided to head up to Watson's Bay. Dean had previously recommended it me saying around there you could find the best fish and chips in Australia and also do some nice walks with nice views. As soon as we got there we were greeted by the famous fish and chip shop - Doyle's. We opted to go to the restaurant on the beach but soon left when we realised that the fish and chips there cost just over $40! So we headed to the take away shop where there were priced at a more reasonable $13.80. As far as the best fish and chips in Australia go, well let me just say it's debateable. The fish was out of this world, amazing! But as for the chips, well does anyone do chips like an English chippy does chips? We then made our way to South head point, the walk took us by some cannons and also a nudist beach - Lady Bay - if anyone wanted to know the name. Unfortunately the Swedish Volleyball team were not down there and it was just old blokes so we carried on to South head beach and took in the views by the lighthouse. We then made our way to a place called The Gap this is a cliff face on the South Head peninsula and has gained infamy for the amount of suicides that occur there. It was really weird seeing all the helpline signs and loads of surveillance cameras at such a beautiful look out. Anyway we decided to then make tracks into Bondi not thinking it was that far. It was much further than we thought, but we made it there eventually. I then headed back to rest my aching feet and hope for rain during the last days of the Ashes. Thankfully the reputation of it always rains in Manchester proved true and we scrapped a draw and retained the ashes. Hopefully now we can push on and win in style.
Tuesday came around and I helped out at Nina and Dean's by mowing their lawn and trimming the bush at the front of the house. It was the least I could do really with them putting me up and all the advice they have given me on where to visit etc. Nina then took me and her little girl up to Palm Beach where they film Home and Away. Luckily enough we managed to catch a couple of scenes being filmed. Disappointingly I couldn't get on as an extra. The extras are all 18-25, long blonde surfer hair with six-packs. They didn't like the look of a pie loving, bearded over weight Englishman. But maybe if I go up again I might get lucky. We then went to the local RSL where I had an amazing Beef and Bacon pie, mash and gravy for dinner. The next day I spent chilling out getting odd jobs sorted like chasing up my Open Water Scuba diving card which I had still not received even though I completed the course last December. Then that night I met a friend in Manly and went to a bar called InSitu, it was a really nice bar, there was a guy on guitar who was really good and gave the place a nice chilled out feel. I also dabbled in a few local ales Little Creatures, The Chancer and Whale Ale. All three were good but if I had to pick a favourite I think The Chancer may just edge it. The next day I saw rain for the first time since returning to Sydney. Unfortunately this restricted me from doing anything as I put all my clothes in the wash the previous night and had to wait for them to be dry. Meaning I had no sensible clothes for the day and if I wanted to go out it would have to be in shorts and t-shirt. With that being far from ideal I decided to give that a miss and opted to have a Basford Day. This consisted of me watching films all day. I watched The Hangover 3 (7.5/10), 21 & Over (5.5/10), Spring Breakers (2.5/10) and Wieners (7/10). The next day my washing successfully dry and the sun kinda back out I was free to roam the streets of Sydney again. My friend Carina who I use to work with many years ago at the Idlewells Kwik Save back home had announced on Facebook that one of her best friends was leaving to go to Sydney. Me being the kind sort of guy I am said if she needed any help with anything or showing around then she should get in touch. She did and we arranged to meet that Friday. We met at Darling Harbour and after a quick drink we made our way on the ferry to Circular Quay. On the ferry I had a little claim to fame where I caught the sight of one of the Australian X-Factor contestants who I auditioned on the TV that week. He was a bit of a weirdo on the show saying his inspiration was animal noises like birds, but he could sing! Anyway we got to Circular Quay and like I have done with everyone who I have took around Sydney I took Jo to the Opera Bar for a drink to take in the views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. We then made our way round to The Rocks for a few drinks and up to where Jack works at The Morrison. It's fair to say that we both pretty half cut and Scubar the next bar where I met Richie got to see what I had for dinner. I trooped on though only to be refused entry into the night club, not for being too drunk which in fairness I was but for having ripped jeans on! If you think English bouncers are idiots then anyone who is travelling over here wait until you meet Australian ones they are absolute dicks.
The weekend was really relaxed, I met Rich to exchange films from our hard drives and headed up to Jacks new place for a few drinks. We met Braydon and his new TAFE friends in the city for a couple of beers, but it was nothing mental. And Sunday was the same with me chilling out, perfecting my Dream Team and watching England swing back the momentum of the fourth Ashes tie and Man Utd win the Community Shield.
The Sugarmill quiz was on Monday night so Pete, Jack, Jo and myself formed a formidable team but ended up doing rather disappointingly. But we all had a good night so it didn't really matter.
The next day I was too meet Becky. Becky was a girl I met through Anna in South Korea and she was now heading over to Sydney as her Mum was having surgery so wanted to give her a bit of support. So I started out by taking her up to Palm Beach with Richie, where they shoot Home & Away. It didn't look like they were filming today as they were not on the beach but as we walked around we found them shooting near the boat house. Unfortunately there was no Alf Stewart there again. We had a great day full of laughs and fun though. A couple of days leave she invited me round for a movie day. After that we had a great week, having heaps of fun singing karaoke, visiting the opera house. It got to my birthday and we were having a bbq down the beach to celebrate. It was a great day and night, rumour has it that I was sick in a taxi; I can confirm these rumours are false. I was merely being a gentleman and taking Becky home after she had chundered all over my shoe. The next day I was meant to leave for Adelaide, but I declined the offer of a lift to spend more time in Sydney.
After a few unsuccessful attempts it was also time for me to leave Sydney. I was off to embark on a tour around the west coast and central Australia, which would be sure to be great fun!
So until next time
Stay Safe and Take Care