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Published: November 30th -0001
Alice Springs - Sydney
This would be our first of two visits to Sydney on this trip, Michelle had managed to talk Abby (an old school friend now living in Sydney) into allowing us to stay in her flat whist she was in turn visiting the UK. This would be perfect since Sydney would be home for the next two weeks over Christmas and New Year and we wanted a bit more space away from the hostel scene.
We got to the flat and were immediately greeted by Jahne (a very pretentious IT girl wannabe who is also Abby’s house mate, you can probably tell she doesn’t become our favourite person). I couldn’t get her name right to begin with, calling her Jarney and Johny but then I got it when she said “Jahne, like Parmajahne”, WHAT THE HELL IS PARMAJAHNE?!! Jahne was making a short film for a festival and asked us to be extra’s for her (we’d literally just stepped through the door and our backpacks hadn‘t come off our shoulders before she asked this), we agreed (since we were staying with her for the next couple of weeks and you can hardly refuse doing something that
would “only involve sitting in a restaurant and pretending to talk, it shouldn‘t take more than an hour to shoot the scene”); four hours later we were done, starving and knackered we headed to bed with the seed’s of loathing sewn for JAAAAHNE.
We didn’t do a tremendous amount during our first stay in Sydney, partly because we knew that we were coming back and we would do a lot of touristy things then and also because we had a whole house to ourselves when Jahne was out and when she was back she spent most of her time out of our way (I think she may have twigged that we found her a little bit annoying).
One thing we did do however was make the English pilgramage to the Botanical Gardens in order to get on GMTV and wave "g'day" to the folks back home. We waited anxiously for the camera's to roll and then scrambled to get noticed, eventually with Michelle on my shoulders we managed to get on for a mighty 3 seconds of televisial stardom (well Michelle did and possibly the top part of my head).
It was brilliant having a small reminder
of the stability not travelling every week brings, especially over the Christmas period when home comforts are a wonderful thing. Michelle and I had never experienced Christmas away from family and it was tough, however, with the house to ourselves on Christmas Day, Michelle put on her Delia hat and cooked up a fantastic Christmas dinner that even included brussel sprouts, we cleaned off our plates and watched the rain outside whist opening our presents next to the mini Christmas tree Abby had put up, it wasn‘t like home but it was as good as we were going to get.
During the next few days we visited the powerhouse museum, where they had an 80’s exhibit and took in some of the sights of Sydney (Harbour Bridge, the Opera House etc) but our main objective was to stake out our vantage point for the fireworks on New Years Eve. Naturally, the very best view points were ticketed events that cost a fortune for the privilege of watching a free display from a slightly better position, whist sipping on a complimentary glass of sparkling wine to see in the new year. Being impoverished backpackers we instead opted to find a
good viewpoint that allowed you to bring your own booze. We found the perfect spot on Observatory Hill, we could see over the river and had an unspoiled view of the Harbour Bridge, now to come back on New Years Eve for a magical evening of fireworks and a few merry drinks.
We were told that it would be an idea to get to our viewpoint early since they pack out by mid day, meaning we would have to spend about twelve hours sat on the grass through either blistering heat or torrential rain (those were generally Australia‘s weather patterns) for a firework display, I thought this had better be damn good. Arriving at 11am with a box of goon, some JD and Coke pre-mix and some nibbles we were greeted by an army of fellow spectators, Observatory Hill didn’t look like this a few days ago, some people had camped out on the hill to get a good space and some decided that their huge numbers warranted them the right to create a large chair circle with nothing but a large patch of grass in the middle giving them the look of an unofficial tribal council, an Asian chap
encroached on their chair circle and one of the mini tribe members said “d‘ya mind, you‘re in our space init” to which the man apologised for standing on public property and moved on. I could tell today would become very trying and there was another reason people pay a premium for tickets for the organised events. As the day went on people got more drunk (as what tends to happen) and the sun beat down whist the hill continued to fill up to the point where you couldn’t see grass and some people sat behind hotdog stands without a hope of seeing a firework display. It occurred to us that toilet runs may become tricky affairs since we were stuck in the middle of a huge crowd and, as anyone that has been to a gig and left their spot in the crowd in order to use the facilities and then tried to return to the same spot would understand, people are fine letting you leave the area but, upon returning, become very bolshy about moving for you as if you‘re cutting in line. At one point I had to tell a woman who wouldn’t move for me that “my
kid is on his own over there”, naturally she laughed at me and made me take the long route back, insensitive bitch!
Finally after a tiring thirteen hours of waiting the it got to the countdown and we were about to witness the greatest firework display of our lives, this is what Sydney were synonymous with and we were going to be part of it… It was alright.
After celebrating Christmas, seeing in the new year, two weeks of eating $10 steaks and strolling round the city not doing much it was time to move onto New Zealand.
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