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Published: December 27th 2006
Hi there everyone! Hope you're all enjoying the festive season!
Since my last entry I've arrived in Sydney, left Sydney, started two jobs, quit two jobs, lived on Helen's floor for a week, stayed in various dodgy hostels, invested in Louis our belived little van that's older than I am and headed up the east coast of Australia for a very unorthodox Christmas spent camping just outside Byron Bay. Homeless in Sydney?
We arrived in Sydney almosy three weeks ago now where Fran's sister Helen was good enough to put us up (and put up with us) for a week. Her apartment is fab and it was pure luxury compared to what we were used to. Her washing machine, dryer, television and couch were in constant use for the week that we spent on her living room floor. Our first week in Sydney wasn't exactly fun or touristy infact I'd go so far as to say it was a good ole bout of reality (something I don't think any of us were ready for!).
We each set up interview after interview for job after job and spent our "free time" ringing around estate agents and circling ads
in the Sydney Evening Herald, trying to sort ourselves out with accomodation. Eventually we decided to give poor ole Helen a break and book into a hostel while we continued our seemingly never-ending search for accomodation. We all got job offers pretty quickly but with nowhere to stay there wasn't much point in starting work.
After eventually deciding we were flogging a dead horse on the short term lease front we decided to make a bit of a holiday out of Sydney (I'd been there the guts of 2 wks at this stage and still hadn't even seen the Opera House!!!). So Plan B was to make the most out of Sydney, enjoy Xmas on Bondi Beach and New Years in the city famous for extravagant celebrations before traveling up the east coast to eventually settle in Brisbon (this is the point at which I expect to make my departure). What we hadn't banked on was EVERY hostel, hotel and campsite within a gazillion mile radious of Sydney being booked up weeks ago. We finally found a place in Kings Cross (not the nicest part of town!) that would take us up until Dec 21st and decided we needed
a Plan C. So it was agreed that rather than spend Xmas homeless in Sydney we'd invest in some transport and head for the hills...well the caost! On The Road Again
After sussing out the rail and bus network we decided that with six of us it would be more economical to invest in our own mode of transport...otherwise known as Louis! Louis our 1984 van/home bought off a lovely German couple who aptly enough decorated the inside in the Dublin colours has become everyone's new best friend! It doesn't have power steering which means that it drives like a small tractor (I'll have big muscles by the time I get home) and I swear I've seen people laugh at us (course with 6 people, 6 rucksacks and 2 tents packed into a van older than any of us it's probably excusable!).
A nice sunny drive (with our monster of a sunroof providing us with a lovely breeze) later and we set up camp in Port Macquarie where we did our Xmas shopping for one another, cooked up a tasty BBQ & indulged in a swim in the campsite pool. The campsites here are so well
equiped in comparison to New Zealand and they have an awful lot of actual campsites as opposed to hostels with camping facilities. The prices did however increase noticably as we neared the festive season.
Another days driving brought us to Byron Bay our home for Xmas. After being told by all the campsites in the town that there was "no room at the inn" or that a site to pitch our teeny tiny tent would cost more than our car, we decided to head out of town a bit and landed on our feet in a lovely quiet (errily so!) campsite only a 10 min drive from town and right beside a beach. The Aussie Xmas Experience
A great night out on Christmas Eve (kicked off with my mommy's recpieped mulled wine) was followed by an early morning for me as I went off to make contact with home before they all headed to bed. It was a fab day, gorgous clear blue sky and by 10 o'clock that morning we were in the pool seeking refuge from the heat. A lovely Xmas breckie was followed by present time which was really sweet and lots of
fun....so nice to be able to unwrap something on Xmas morning (course nothing beats my da's prezzie....The Pheonix Annual...stop rolling your eyes at me!!!) Anyway, after a quick snooze under a tree (where we gotten bitten alive by ants!) me, Lynn and Emer headed down to the beach with our boogy board.
The campsite is about a 10 min walk from the beach, a good bit out of town and away from the main Byron Bay beach which means that we had it pretty much all to ourselves. We're not entirely sure if we're meant to swim in it coz it has an incredibly strong under-current (and apparently its riddled with jelly fish) but with waves twice the size of us we couldn't pass on the thought of diving in. A clear blue sky, burning hot sun, towering ice cold waves, and a deserted beach...that's a long way from the usual Father Ted Xmas Special by the fire.
It was too hot to cook in the middle of the day so we headed to the BBQ area as the sun set. Steak for me and Fran and fish for the rest of them was followed by a game
of Pictionary...wild eh?....and some more phonecalls to home. To mine and Lynn's horror a drizzle shower fell just as we sat down to eat but the lads were quick to point out that it made it all the more Xmasy. Turns out the drizzle was nothing compared to the rain we got last night...lets just say we could have been back in Ireland, in fact we would prob rather have been coz at least at home you don't get soaked going from your bedroom (tent) to the kitchen to make dinner! Its brightening up here again now today so hopefully it'll be back to sunny Australia in no time. We'll prob stay where we are camping for another night or two and then plan to head up to Brisbon in time to ring in the new year.
Hope you all had a lovely Xmas and best wishes for the New Year.
Talk again soon,
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