Checked out at the crack of dawn and went into town to check into Boardriders. We had heard good things about it and believing that nothing could be worse than Manly Backpackers we went with the intention of paying for a week's accommodation. On arrival we were informed we would be in three separate rooms so we checked in for a night hoping to reassess the sleeping arrangements in the morning. THANK GOD!
Once out of the scariest lift in existence we made our way to our rooms. Much like Goldilocks. Maz went to the first room which was far too big and full of six smelly boys. Lissie went to the second room which was far too small and contained two very established and smelly boys. Amy went to the third room and found it to be just right, with two very quiet Swedish girls and two spare beds. Maz was too scared to go back into her bachelor pad so quickly bunked in with Amy. Lissie being far braver resigned herself to a night in the pig sty.
Even more desperate now to find somewhere a little more habitable Amy received an e-mail from heaven - A lady (Shez) had a place for the three of us in her place 'The Outback Lodge'. It was a shared house and sounded lovely so we arranged a viewing after our first beach session. With sunburnt feet we walked over to the Lodge, took a look around and signed up for a week.
It was a small room but big enough for the three of us with Lissie and Maz sharing a bed. It was comfortable, clean and felt safe.
At this point it is important to mention Maz's new kleptomania. She managed to walk out of the first hostel with someone else's phone after swearing blind that she had not seen it. She also took two phone chargers with her, as one is obviously not enough. This was to become quite a recurring theme.
However, before being able to settle into that home away from home we had to endure our first night at Boardriders. To help Lissie through the night Amy and Liz invested in a bottle of 'Rock Paper, Scissors' and drank in the communal area trying to entertain themselves with card games while Maz watched a fitting program about the greatest escapes from prison.
Maz and Amy bunked down for the night and left Lissie to her own devices. She walked into the room to find a drunken guy singing 'Sexy Back' to her and trying to convince her to go out. After performing her three part harmony to 'Sexy Back' she politely refused his invitation and clambered up to the bed (making interesting use of the sofa on her way up).She soon realised she was not the only lady in the room. Below her, behind some sheets/curtains, her roommate clearly had company. She was reminded of this throughout the night as she was gently rocked from side to side. Nothing like feeling welcome.
At the crack of dawn Lissie was showered, breakfasted and had already run around town twice before Maz and Amy had even cracked open an eyelid.
Nothing had felt as good as finally unpacking our bags at 'The Outback Lodge' later that morning.
We had a day in Sydney ahead of us and after some very boring admin we went to do our RSA Course (Responsible Service of Alcohol). Everyone who wants to work in a place which serves alcohol (bars, cafés, restaurants, hotels) has to have done this course. At the time, we were still hopeful of finding job so we invested $60 into doing the course.
It was actually quite entertaining. We all relished the chance to take notes and learn and some of the videos we were shown were unforgettable. 6 hours of educational fun. We are still quoting interesting alcohol facts to each other even now and we love charting our testosterone levels during the course of a night out. Best $60 we have ever spent and we got a nice certificate out of it too.
After a ferry ride back 'home' we were looking forward to a cosy night in and our first night out of hostels.
At 12:38am we all sat bolt upright in bed. There was screaming coming from the corridor outside our room and someone was slamming doors and cutlery in the kitchen. 'These bloody tourists!!!' Lissie said her goodbyes, Amy was stunned and Maz just told everyone to get back to sleep it was just a random crazy woman. Nothing to fret about.
Meet Jenny. The friendly Outback Lodge lunatic. She was to become quite a fixture over the next few weeks and the combination of Shez and Jenny together nearly caused Maz's mental breakdown.
22.1.10 - 25.1.10
Over the next four days little happened apart from frequent visits to the beach to top up our burnt skins and lots of nights in watching interesting Australian TV.
·Wondering around the Manly market not buying anything
·Watching very fit (in a healthy way of course) people taking part in The Surf Rowing Competition
·Watching a few outdoor concerts by the beach in aid of the Queensland floods,
·Dancing to Whitney in our room
·Maz and Liz swimming through some very 'thick water' before realising they were surrounded by jellyfish.
·Coming up with the phrase 'You got Pommed!' after being referred to as Pommes (a lot)
In and amongst all this fun we had still not found jobs (because we weren't looking) and we were still unsure about staying in Manly/Syndey. So on the 24th we had a 'Goon epiphany' where we came to the unanimous decision that we wanted nothing else but to travel Australia together and re-live the fun we had had in Hong Kong. We would use our savings to do this and move our flights forward ...a little.
On the 25th we sat in the tourist information office and planned the trip of a lifetime taking a month to travel up the East Coast of Australia, starting in Sydney and ending in Cairns doing some diving, sailing and exploring on the way. We were so excited we couldn't contain ourselves, so we went out into town and had a celebratory drink.