March 4th 2007
Well as nearly a week has passed since my last journal entry I thought it was time I wrote the next one and made you all green with envy again!! On Wednesday we had our first real beach day on Bondi Beach but unfortunately it didn’t go to plan – we managed about an hour on the beach before it started pouring down with rain so we had no choice but to go shopping – which as you can imagine was a real hardship. Before the rain clouds emerged I was embarrassed, but not shocked, to see that I could well have been the palest person on the beach, something that I am now trying to rectify as quickly as possible. The rain also gave me the opportunity to be sensible and open an Australian bank account – because I’m here on a working visa I’m allowed to (felt a bit like a fully fledged Aussie).
In the evening we had our first proper night out since we got to Oz, we went out with David and his housemates to a really funky backpacker bar with a club upstairs. Before we went out we sampled the backpacker speciality called “goon”, it’s a box of wine and it only costs $9 (about £4) so it’s a definite winner for those of us on a budget. Laura and I decided to get the bus with David’s housemate Tanya (who’s quite dippy) because we were too lazy to walk and she ended up getting us completely lost – so we arrived at the bar a good hour after everyone else, but we got to see more of Bondi than we would have done otherwise. We stayed in the backpacker bar until just after 12 and then went to a hotel on the beach front which had a club night on, it was a really good night and to those of you who received drunken texts at 4 in the afternoon your time my sincere apologies!! The next day as we were nursing small hangovers and the weather was a lot better we put in some vital sunbathing hours.
On Friday we left the flat at 6.30am in time to catch a bus to do the Blue Mountains tour. The Blue Mountains are mountains located about an hour outside Sydney and they’re renowned for the spectacular views and wildlife. First stop on the trip was the Olympic Village which is absolutely huge, the stadium was awesome but it was quite shocking that it costs $36 million a year to maintain and isn’t really used very much anymore. We only had a quick stop there to take some snaps and then we were driven into the mountains. We were taken to a site where there is some aboriginal artwork carved into the stone, once it was pointed out by our guide Priscilla you could see it was an aboriginal drawing of a Kangaroo – I took a couple of photographs of it but I don’t think they’ve come out too well. Just to educate you all while you’re reading my journal I thought I’d tell you the story of how the name Kangaroo came about. When the first English settlers came to Australia one of them decided to compile a dictionary of existing Aboriginal words for different things. He saw a kangaroo pointed at it and asked an Aborigine what it was to which he replied ‘kangaroo’ hence the name. However, kangaroo actually means “I don’t know”, so the aborigine wasn’t sure what the Englishman was pointing at and from then on the kangaroo has been named an “I don’t know” – us clever Brits honestly!
We were driven to an amazing lookout point at the top of the mountains which is where most of the photographs of the view are from, it was absolutely stunning. I was doing my Mum bit and worrying about Laura getting too close to the edge! It was a bit scary because when you looked over the bridge there were a few burnt out cars and I dread to think how they got there. While the tour guide was telling us about what we were looking at some idiot in our group decided it would be good to sneak off and start doing graffiti on some of the ancient rock. Well a local was walking her dog and spotted him and as you can imagine was understandably less than happy, but the idiot could not understand why everyone was angry at him and thought it was perfectly reasonable to be carving up the rock.
After he received his telling off we were taken to a place called Scenic View which is where the old mine in the mountains was. A businessman bought it after it closed down and turned it into a visitor’s attraction. He turned the old mine train into the steepest train ride in the world it has a 53 degree angle – it was a bit like the Alton Towers ride Oblivion only slower – and we rode this down the mountain, I was a big wimp the whole time convinced I was going to fall out or that it wouldn’t stop at the end!! We then went on a walk around the bush within the park and saw a really nice waterfall before getting the cable car back up the mountain which I loved, the views from it were spectacular. On the way home we went via the national park to try and see some kangaroos in the wild but unfortunately the part of the park they were in was closed due to flooding so we couldn’t see any. Everyone was really disappointed but Laura and I were OK because we’d seen them already at Anglesea golf course, so thanks again John and Adrienne.
The day finished with a ferry ride from the Olympic Village into Sydney Harbour which was lovely – I’ve decided that Sydney is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to. When we got back Laura and I decided to treat ourselves to tea overlooking Sydney Harbour which was the best view. The photographs of people in colourful fancy dress are the Freshers from the university who were enjoying Freshers week they were hilarious. They passed all of the restaurants by the harbour chanting and dancing.
On Friday night we went out in Sydney, we went to a club on Oxford Street called Milk, where Tanya (David’s housemate) had a trial shift before heading to Darling Harbour. We went to a bar called Cargo which had a really great atmosphere. We got talking to some guys from America and I annoyed them by asking what they thought of George Bush and telling them exactly what I thought of him – well I’ve never been one to keep my opinions to myself! We stayed in Cargo bar and then me and Laura decided to go home because we were shattered from walking up mountains all day. We promised that we would let David and his housemate Mikey in when they got back but unfortunately fell asleep so they had to climb in the bathroom window oops.
On Saturday after receiving an early morning wake up call from my sister Jacqui to say she was in Sydney I headed across town to meet her at her hotel. It was a mission to get to and took me a good couple of hours not helped by the fact that I thought it would be easy to walk to and it was miles away!! Jacqui checked out of her hotel and we headed to Bondi beach for the day, we spent the day sunbathing and catching up because I hadn’t seen her for ages. It was lovely to see her and the difference in the two of us was really funny ( as you’ll see from the photo) Jacqui was looking very glamorous next to her sweaty backpacker sister – love you lots Jacs thanks for a lovely day.
At 6.30pm Laura and I caught the overnight bus up to Byron Bay and arrived here at 8.30am this morning. We’re staying in a shared apartment at a hostel, it has two bedrooms with four beds in each, a kitchen, bathroom, living room and TV. We’re sharing our room with two Danish girls and in the other room are two Canadian blokes, an Aussie and an American who all seem really nice. We’re going back to the apartment now to shower after at a day at the beach, then we’re going to drink some Goon and head out to a really nice beach bar. Tomorrow we’re getting up early to go and watch the sunrise and then I’ve got a surfing lesson at half 9 – can’t wait (that’ll soon be me in the journal picture!!)
Love and miss you all lots and lots
Keep sending me messages and emails I love reading them all – and those of you who still haven’t you are rubbish!!
Big hugs and kisses to you all