Tropfest, bars, meetings, preparations to look for a job, etc.

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February 21st 2012
Published: February 21st 2012
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It’s been some days since my last post, so I’ll try to write as much as I remember. Last time I wrote was the day after I went to “Jurassic Lounge” in the Australia Museum. That’s the problem of having let too many days pass, because now I’m having a hard time remembering what I did last week. I’ll just write about the things I do remember and work on the details after I actually post this. Mainly, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I hanged out with the same people from couchsurfing.

Wednesday I stayed home during the morning looking in the web for places to stay, and in the evening I took a bus to a suburb called Maroubra, to look at a house where they were expecting me to talk about possibly moving in. The girl who contacted me was a nurse called Carly, who lived there with her brother and another friend. It was a very good location, the house was very nice and they seemed like really good people, but they were looking for someone to stay for longer than 3 months and I was looking for something cheaper than what they were asking for, so that was it.

Thursday at noon I got together with Eric (US Army officer, couchsurfer) for lunch in a food court in Martin Place. After that I took a train to Bondi Junction and then walked to Bondi Beach, stayed there for a while and in the evening I met with Eric again and Danielle (American friend of his, marine biologist) and the three of us went to see “Safe house”, the latest Denzel Washington movie about a rogue CIA agent. The movie was good, though a bit predictable, but I enjoyed it (I hadn't been to the cinema in some time) and after that I went home.

Friday I met with Felipe Kovacic and Marcelo Salas for lunch at the Westfield Mall in Pitt St. We had lunch at Charlie & Co Hamburgers. Our waitress was a pretty Brazilian girl and a few words in Spanish and Portuguese were exchanged. In all, it was a good lunch with pleasant conversation. After that, they had to go back to work and I had to back to vacations (tough life). I had to wait around the CBD for about an hour, because I had to meet later with César Silva (Chilean friend of friends), who’s helping me get a job in construction. He gave me the instructions to get an ANB - "Australian Business Number" - and where to get a Green Card (which you can get after a 1 day course), which enables oneself to be employed in construction sites. After that, I went to a bar in Newtown to meet with Ronen Galaiduk, an Israeli marine biologist who’s been travelling with his girlfriend for a while and is doing a Masters in Sydney. I contacted him through Geraldine Marien, a Belgium girl (couchsurfer), who told me Ronen had done a Scuba Diver Instructor course in Sydney, so I met him to ask about prices, details, etc. He had done some research concerning which schools were better and the one he recommended was the same one I had been looking at – Abyss. We had a few beers, talked about the course and about each other’s travel experiences, etc. In the evening, I met with Martina (Australian CS) and Rune (Dutch CS) and we went to the Ivy Club (George St, near Hunter St). This is actually a very trendy Club and I was wearing cargo shorts, T-shirt and trekking shoes. Fortunately we got there early and I had black jeans in my bag, so I changed in the toilet and got into the Club without any problems. It is a really nice, huge place with a pool, restaurant, bars, DJ’s, etc. We had a few drinks there and then we left and went to a few backpacker bars. Along the way we met with an Egyptian guy named Abram. He’s been living in Sydney for a while and I had met him in a few CS meetings. Some places we went to were “The Scary Canary”, “3 Wise Monkeys” and “Side Bar”. At about 11:30 we were all tired and everyone just went back home.

Saturday was a very relaxed day; I stayed home with Felipe and Isa. During the morning and up to until 3 o’clock I helped Felipe mount a lamp on the outer wall of the house. Then he made the fire for the barbecue, we went out to buy beers and then to get bolts to finish installing the lamp. After we got home, we had lunch at about 4 o’clock with Isa. During lunch, the three of us got into very serious conversations about religion and other dense topics which went onto about 8 o'clock. Lunch consisted in barbequed lamb and salads and then a typical Australian dessert called "Pavlova" (!f(MISSING)ood%!<(MISSING)/a>) which is basically a meringue cake with cream and fruits. We also had Chilean wine; a “Casillero de Diablo”, Syrah. Then we had coffee and a few after lunch drinks (Felipe makes his own whisky at home). After lunch was over, we finished installing the lamp, which actually functioned (my contribution to the installation was more “moral support” than anything; Felipe did most of the work). That night my couchsurfing friends were going to a Brazilian party, but the thought alone of taking the train to get there at that time was tiring enough. Instead, I stayed home and watched a movie that Isa and Felipe had rented; “The Way Back”, a story inspired by true events about a group of men that escaped the prison in Siberia during WWII. During the movie, we had a few more “Felisaour” drinks (as in “Felipe and Isabelle sour”), their home made drink, and popcorn as well.

Sunday, was “Tropfest Day”. Tropfest is a short-film festival that started in Australia 20 years ago
and is now held in different parts of the world. I found about it (again) through the couchsurfing site I met with 4 other people in Hyde Park at 11:30 and we got going to the “Dominion” at the Botanical Gardens. This is an open air space for mass events. When we got to the place, it was pretty much empty. Tropfest started at around noon with their “junior version” – films done by children 15 years old or less. I guess the films were OK, considering the author’s ages, but I would’ve skipped them and arrived at 4 pm, when the actual “Tropfest” started. It was a very sunny day. That afternoon about 60 couchsurfers arrived in total and we were all in one big spot, talking, sharing food and drinks, etc. At 4, there was a live DJ and then a band performing for a few hours. In the place there were contests, places to buy food and beer, etc. Then it was time for the “VIP” arrivals – Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchet, Nicole Kidman, to name a few. They actually started showing the films at around 7 o’clock and this went on to until about 10. It has been raining a lot during the summer in Sydney (they say it’s because of "La Niña") and this day was no exception. At first it was a mild rain that started at about 8:30 and some people left. Then, at around 9, it really started pouring down, and a lot more people left. There were others, like me, that stayed until they showed the last film (a shared bottle of wine helped as well). Most of the films were very creative and entertaining, definetely an event that was worth going to. We left at around 10, and didn’t stay for the award presentations, it would’ve been too much. Considering it was raining, the temperature was still good enough to endure the rain. It was an excellent day. I got back home at around midnight, soaking wet, (my sneakers are still wet, after two days), had a good shower and off to bed. Of all the people I met that day, I’ll refer to an American girl (by her looks I thought she was Italian). She studied biology in the U.S., worked as a zookeeper for two years, quit her job and bought a hostel in Guatemala. She’s the kind of people you don’t meet every day. Right now she’s travelling and an Australian bartender friend of hers is running the place until she gets back there – what a life.

Monday was a good day as well, I woke up and went to the city to meet a Chilean girl who arrived recently in Sydney, María Paz Romo (quit her job in Santiago and moved here with a “Working Holiday visa”). We met with Eric for lunch in Darling Harbour, at a pizza place. She had to leave early and then I stayed having a few drinks with Eric, just talking about lots of different things. While we were talking, a girl who worked there (very pretty brunette), overheard us talking about France; turned out she was French and I had a short but rather fluent conversation with her in French (I took some lessons about 5 years ago). I asked her if she would join us for drinks later that night, but she said she had another job to get to and, well, that was it. After lunch I went walking to Hyde Park and met an Irish girl, also through CS, (Suzanne, tour guide in New Zealand) and we went to Bondi Beach to meet Eric and Tatiana (a Russian girl who’s here on vacations, works in a sort of law firm in Moscow). We had something to eat and a beer at the “Beach Road Hotel” in Bondi Beach (huge place, really liked it) and then we went back to the city to meet with Rune and Ahmid, an Egyptian neuroscientist who’s teaching in a University in Sydney. Had a lot of fun as well, with this really mixed crowd. Tatiana gave me all the pointers on how to get a tourist visa for Russia, country that I’m considering visiting next year. After three beers, we all went our separate ways.

And finally, today, Tuesday, I’m finishing writing this sitting on the Beach in Manly (really nice place, maybe my favorite in Sydney).

I woke up, received a message from Rune asking about the plans for the day and we decided to meet for lunch in Hyde Park. After I woke up and before I left the house, I started writing this post, then I applied online for an "Australian Business Number" and booked the 1 day course to get the “Green Card”. After that, I took a train from Chatswood, bought some Chinese food near Hyde Park and met with Rune, Chrissy (German girl, friend of Rune’s, whom I’ve met a couple of times), a Norwegian guy named Rune and James, a New Yorker, web designer. After Hyde Park I went to Circular Quay, met María Paz and from there we took a Ferry to Manly, where we’re meeting two Chilean girls for drinks in a few hours (Vicky Fanta and Daniela Andrade, both from Viña del Mar, my hometown).

I’ll try to post more often, to keep the posts shorter than this one. Cheers!


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