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Published: March 21st 2010
Well after I last published my blog in Melbourne I did not make it to the beach as I stated!! Just as I was about to leave I heard this thunderous noise outside and when I looked out there was giant hale stone plummeting to the ground!!! I've never seen anything like it in my life, they were the size of golf balls and they covered the streets before the rain started..............and didn't stop, it was torrential! From the back of the net cafe at first I thought there was some kind of carnival on coz it look like confetti falling because the leaves off the trees were flying round but when I got to the window I was shocked! Now bearing in mind that morning the sun had been shining, I'd put my bikini on along with shorts, a t-shirt and my nice gold sandals and had no kind of jacket or cardigan this meant I was stuck in the net cafe until it stopped..................3 hours later it was still raining! Eventually I just had to brave it and head out hoping I could get as much shelter as possible to walk back to the hostel without buying an umbrella! As I got close to the hostel I walked the route I'd gone the previous day only to find that the road had flooded to about knee height and the traffic was mayhem! Although my nice gold sandals were already drenched I figured I'd try to save them the shame of being dragged through the flood and managed to walk round the block back to the hostel!
What a waste of a day! Apparently the people of Melbourne had never seen weather that bad before! I spoke with loads of people at the hostel who had stories and taken photos of cars half submerged in water, boyfriends giving their girlfriends piggy backs to avoid the flood, people being pelted on the head by the golf ball hale and evil Aussie blokes purposefully splashing people with giant puddles as they stood at the side of the road! It was madness; the hostel entrance had flooded as well as the bar which didn't reopen until the day I left but the rain did stop in the evening. I got chatting to a couple from London, Dev and Emily, and also the girl from Belgium, Lies, from my room and that evening we sat on the balcony of the hostel chatting. Dev and Emily were leaving to go to Cairns the next morning so Lies and I ended up going for a wander around the city along the Southbank of the river. It was really pleasant coz the rain had stopped and it was relatively warm just walking around, we attempted to find a bar to have a drink but just kept walking until we headed back to the hostel, a pretty tame Saturday night!
The next day the weather seemed much clearer although still very cloudy. Lies had left to go on a surfing tour that morning but I got chatting to a German girl called Jana who was actually living in Switzerland. She had just started her travels of 5 months and seemed a little disorientated and perhaps a little home sick. We chatted and decided to do some washing together before heading the St Kilda as I'd planned the previous day. Of course it wasn't beach weather but it was dry and we caught the tram there which took about 20 minutes. It was really nice just walking around, there’s a nice cafe culture going on in St Kilda so after walking down the pier we decided to have a drink and a cake at one of the little bakery cafe places. Jana had a really good camera and was taking shots of people sitting at the tables and walking past............and also of me but she refused to let me take any of her!!! We had such a nice time together, even though she was only 21 she seemed so confident and wise, at times she made me feel a bit stupid with some of the stuff she was coming out with............and this is a girl for who English is a second language! I really envy all these people who can speak a different language, its overwhelming at times how well they can speak English (yes Dad I know I studied French and German and perhaps they may have been useful on this trip but that’s probably about the only time!) Anyway the sun came out in the afternoon so we walked back to catch the tram to the hostel so we could change into our summer gear! We walked to the Botanical Gardens (I know I'm loving the gardens!) but I was gutted when we arrived and the gates were shut.............the stupid flood meant we couldn't go in! 😞 So we just sat in the nearby park chatting about home, our families and boyfriends! When I first came away I felt like the only person who had a boyfriend back home and I did feel really evil to have left him behind 😞 I soon came to realise that there are so many people that have come away without their partners and its nice to speak to them about how they're feel to be away coz they're all so like minded.
We decided to have a drink to celebrate our lovely day together and ended up having a few pints.............yes pints, in a pub! We got chatting to some Aussie guys but they soon pissed us off so we decided to head back to the hostel but when we got outside it was absolutely chucking it down............again!!! We both got drenched walking back and it was cold 😞 I did not come to Australia for this! I knew New Zealand might be a bit chilly but it was nothing compared to this, at least you can wrap up when you're cold but the rain is just pure grimbo's 😞 the Aussie's pipe on about how sunny and hot it is here but so far its been a bit crap and not so different to the UK, although it is much warmer! I felt at a bit of a lose end that night, Jana decided to have drinks with a guy she'd met the day before but I needed to get up early to get ready for my flight to Sydney so I just stayed in my room. I spoke with a nice French girl (again the French would have come in handy here!) in the room but then I was on my own and I ended up feeling really lonely and had good cry on my own! It’s the weirdest thing travelling alone, you can feel so happy one moment and the next be completely down in the dumps..............it’s a total rollercoaster of emotions! I managed to pull myself together to make an omelet for my tea (how exciting!) then I packed my bag and had an early night!
The next day I felt sooooooooo much better, its amazing what a good night’s sleep can do! I managed to speak to Jen on Skype which made me very happy and giddy then I also spoke to Mark briefly before having to check out! Jana came with me and we had a coffee together before walking to the station, it was really sad saying goodbye to her which sounds odd considering we'd only spent a day together?! I made my way to the airport on the shuttle bus and checked in for my flight, it took just over an hour to get to Sydney and caught the shuttle bus to the hostel. As soon as I checked in I decided to go a for a wander and explore Sydney a bit and straight away I felt much happier here than in Melbourne, of course the weather helped but there seems to be a different feel to the place! Sydney is bigger than Melbourne but it doesn't feel like that, Melbourne felt very 'London' and you all know I'm not a massive London fan (sorry Caz!) its ok for a few days but anymore and I get claustrophobic! I picked up some food supplies and made myself some tasty pasta for tea before sitting in a net cafe the rest of the evening being sad and boring checking my emails & facebook but it was worth it coz I discovered my friends Charlotte and Katie, who I'd met in Fiji, were staying down the road and were also online! Madness! We swapped numbers and arranged to meet the next day!
I'd arrange to meet the girls at the Sydney Opera House so I walked in the baking sunshine (that was more like it!) up towards the harbour! It was amazing, I was just walking along then all of a sudden the Harbour Bridge appeared before me then as I walked a bit further there was the opera house...............I was quite overwhelmed when I saw it, I thought to myself 'so this is real and not just something you see on a photo or on TV!!'............it was emotional! The girls were sitting on the steps waiting for me, it was so nice to see their smiling faces and great to see someone I knew! We did some catching up about our last month in New Zealand, they'd only been about a week ahead of me on their travels (also on the Kiwi bus) which was a little annoying but they'd also had an amazing time there and we shared our stories before deciding to walk through.............wait for it...............the Botanical Gardens!!! The gates were open this time but there were no nice roses 😞 We sat on the grass in the sun chatting, it was perfect, the weather was glorious! We then walked to Darling Harbour where they have lots of tourist attraction type places and we walked across the bridge and headed back to the hostel. That night I met the girls along with a group of people they'd met on their Oz Experience bus and we went to a bar where I managed to blag a free drink and meal which the others had been given through their tour! Bonus.......that’s one less meal I had to worry about paying for!
I faffed about alot the next day and didn't really do much apart from wander around the city! The girls had mentioned that there was a Topshop here and I got excited so decided to head over there to meet them on Oxford Street - yes Sydney has and Oxford Street but what a waste of time, it was tiny and really overpriced and I wished I hadn't bothered, nothing like the real Oxford Street 😞 The next day I had to check out of the Big YHA Central hostel coz they couldn't fit me in that night so I headed just up the road to another YHA called Railway. It was a stones throw away but lugging that bag in the sun up hill was hell, I was knackered by the time I got there but it was worth it coz the hostel was much nicer, it was smaller and even had some of the dorms in disused train cabins! I decided to make the most of the sun and headed over to one of the nice beaches called Manly. I went over on the ferry and it was great coz I went past the Opera House and the bridge and it only took 30 mins to get there but not long after I arrived the weather changed and it started throwing it down 😞 So I only spent about and hour and a half there!
The following day I decided to check out Bondi beach so made my way over on the bus. I knew Charlotte and Katie would be there and some of the other crew they were with and I bumped into them on the beach! We spent the rest of the afternoon together which was nice and there was also a surf competition on which was also pretty cool although the sun kept going behind the clouds and the sea breeze was v cool so we didn't stay there too late! The next day I decided to go to the Imax cinema which is supposed to be the biggest in the world?! Anyway so many people have raved about this Avatar I thought I'd try to catch it in 3D before it finishes, I raced down to the place at Darling Harbour and just managed to get there before the start and it was well worth it! I really enjoyed it and I am now totally used going to the cinema on my todd!! I then wandered around one of the indoor markets called Paddys market in the afternoon and pottered around the city before heading back to the hostel. On the way I tried to get tickets to see Wicked the musical that night, they had a lottery draw before every showing and it was free to enter, if you won you got a ticket for $30 which is about 17quid instead of $120.............but you guessed it I didn't win which was v annoying coz they gave out 10 tickets and there was only about 40 people who entered - you know me I don't have any luck! I got chatting to a girl from London that evening called Juliet who was 28 and was traveling around Oz for a year. She had also been in New Zealand when I was but just a few days ahead of me and had even met some of the people I'd stayed with at the bay of Islands! Random! She had also met up with 2 girls from Northampton that had been on her tour bus in NZ, Laura and Gemma. They came and sat with us before they headed out on the lash and they left they asked if I'd like to join them on a night out on Monday which was my last night in Sydney so I thought why not?!
Unfortunately I couldn't stay at the Railway again coz they couldn’t fit me in so I had to traipse back to the central hostel the next morning.......much easier as it was down hill and I had consumed most of the food I'd dragged with me the other day! I didn't really like it at Central YHA coz it was really big and not very friendly! I'd hardly spoken to anyone plus some cheeky bugger stole my bread out of my bag in the foodstore in the kitchen! I opened my bag and thought 'this bread looks a bit empty' then realised the skanky person had had the courtesy of tying a knot in the bag which I never do! I felt violated and decided to keep my stuff in the room from now on! So after I'd checked into the room I decided to catch a bus to a beach called Coogee and spend the afternoon in the sun and although it was sunny and hardly any cloud it kept spitting with rain.........yes more rain but it was actually quite nice as the sun was hot! All the beaches here are lovely but after Fiji it’s just not quite the same somehow?! After I made my way back to the city centre I made up my mind that I would walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge so I caught a free bus up there and climbed the steps to walk along the special pathway. It was really cool, I'm glad I did it and when I get almost to the end I figured I may as well carry on the other side and ended up stood underneath watching the sun set as the big cruise ships sailed by with the Opera House in the background............that’s something you don't see everyday!
I got to speak to Jen, Katie and Clare that night as they'd all gathered for Jens birthday! I was a bit sad to see them all together without me and also to have missed out on Jen's pancakes but it was so good to see and speak to them! I also spoke to Mum to wish her happy Mothers day which was lovely but I got told off for not staying in contact and letting them know I'm ok more often! Oops........bad babysitter!!! People go on about how they don't want to use Skype coz it'll make them homesick if they see friends and family but for me its the other way round, it just makes me happy to see everyone's faces and to know you're all ok and I've been able to speak to Mark loads which is ace! Oh I forgot to mention that this guy called Redmond..............thats right Redmond (he was only 18 - just a baby!) said that 'ace' is not a cool word to say anymore!!! I looked at him and thought bloody hell thats the first time in my life that I feel like an old codger who is trying to act cool by saying words they think are good but actually aren't! Anyway I've ignored his comment and carried on saying ACE! So that said I think Skype is ACE and I heart it!!!
It was lovely weather the next day but for some reason I decided to go and look around a museum??? As I got to the door I half thought maybe I should just go to the beach again and make the most of the clear blue skies but the Powerhouse Museum was on my list of things to do so I went in and immediately regretted it 😞 I was only there an hour coz it was full of school kids which pissed me off and it was pretty much like any other museum I'd been to (apart from the exhibition about the 80's which was quite cool)! Afterwards I headed to Hyde Park - yes Sydney also has a Hyde Park - and I sat in the sun writing my journal and ate my cream cheese and ham sandwiches which has pretty much been my staple lunch food since arriving in Oz (super bored of them now, although I do jazz them up with a bit of tomato from time to time if I'm feeling rich!!) I lay there and thought about what I'd like to do on my last afternoon in Sydney so next thing you know I'm sat in the blazing sunshine having a glass of wine in a very nice bar just across the harbour from the Opera House! How civilized............it was so pleasant and I thought this definitely is not something you do very often in your life! I then headed back to the hostel to get ready for my night out with Juliet, Laura and Gemma!
We ended up going to a place called Kings Cross - yes Sydney also has a Kings Cross! - we caught the train there after having some drinks in a cheap bar near the hostel and prepared ourselves for the sights we were about to see! Its a bit like mini Amsterdam in Kings Cross, all the girls are hanging around the clubs in their underwear.............v seedy but luckily we found a nice bar and stayed there the whole night! I liked it coz it was of the design I was being a geek taking pictures of the light fittings!! It turned out Julie from New Zealand had arrived in Sydney that day and was staying round the corner so I met up with her for a bit which was lovely but I stuck with the girls and after a few bevvies we decided to call it a night and head back to the city centre! I really enjoyed my little night out and they were great company so the next day I decided to go with them to Palm Beach aka Summer Bay off of Home and Away!!! It was a right trek though and took over and hour and 30 mins to get there on the bus! It was really lovely to see it though and yes I could recognise it although it wasn't touristy at all which I was surprised at! I even went in the sea and it wasn't too cold either! I was stressing a bit on the way back though coz I was due to catch the overnight Greyhound bus to Byron bay at 7pm and the bus didn't get me back til 5.45pm! I managed to grab a quick shower and made it to the bus stop with plenty of time in the end. I really hadn't prepared myself for this bus thing though, I just thought if I had my eye mask, ear plugs and neck pillow that I'd be fine but how wrong can a girl be??? Very!!! It was the most horrendous journey, I ended up watching the Bourne Supremacy for the first couple of hours but then loads of people wanted to watch Home Alone! Now don't get me wrong Home Alone is a classic and one of my fave films as a kid but by this point we'd made a few stops and it was about 11.30pm and I did not want to watch Macaulay Culkin smashing irons against some burglars face! The neck pillow, eye mask and ear plugs were great which is more than can be said for my bum.............it’s never been so numb, I was sooooooooooo uncomfortable!! We finally arrived in Byron Bay at about 7.30am and I reckon I got about 5 hours kip on and off which was pretty good considering!
The hostel had a little courtesy bus which was good and meant I didn't have to lug my rucksack down the road but the problem was I couldn't check in until 11am so I ended up doing my laundry and spoke to Mark on the phone. After freshening and having some lunch up I headed to the beach which again was great, I also bumped into Katie and Charlotte again, they were off out for St Patricks night and I said I might join them after I'd been for my sunet walk to the lighthouse. Earlier I'd met a woman called Karen who was 50 and although she was originally form Liverpool she now lived in Exmouth, she mentioned how she also wanted to walk to the lighthouse and we agreed to meet that evening! The walk took about 45mins and was quite tough at time but it was well worth it coz the sunset was fab and of course I got some great photos! When we walked back we didn't quite know which way to go and it soon got dark, I was a little worried coz there were no street lights and I was so glad I hadn't gone alone as I'd originally thought of doing! We soon made it to where the lights were and I decided that I would have a splurge and go out for pizza with Karen! I realised this was the first time I was eating out since I'd had my Fergburger in Queenstown...............almost 3 weeks ago! It was soooooooooo lovely to actually sit in a restaurant and eat real food instead of pasta or omelet or noodles! I've been craving that kind of thing now for the last few weeks, I can't wait to get back and have Dominoes and curry and Chinese and Italian and Gourmet Burger and Wagamamas etc etc..........although thats not going to be happening anytime soon if I don't have a job to go back to?!! Anyway we had av pleasant evening and in true backpacker style I even took the last piece of pizza for my lunch the next day!
I decided to go for a run the next morning so got up and ran some of the route we'd walked the previous night! Thats the first time I've been running since Queenstown and it felt really good to do some proper exercise running along side the beach in the sunshine! I then grabbed some supplies from the supermarket before heading to the hostel where I bumped into Karen again, we decided to head to the beach where the sun was shining and the surfers were surfing..................and soon the rain was raining!!! We made our way back to the hostel just in time but it did clear later on so we laid by the little pool they had there! That evening we went out for a few drinks and I was super giddy because I'd managed to straighten my hair!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh! OMG it felt amazing! Randomly someone left a pair of straighteners with an Aussie plug in Juliets dorm coz they said they wouldn't be able to use them back home! She got them for me after we chatted about my evil hair and how much I missed my GHD's so I'm now the proud owner of some inherited straighteners and I have to say even though they're cheap they're not bad!!!
So that brings us pretty much up to date!!! I caught the Greyhound bus from Byron on Friday and arrived in Brisbane where I stayed for 2 nights and I've now come up to Hervey bay so I can head out to Frazer Island on a 2 night trip. I wanted to upload this blog before I go coz I don't think I'll be able to get on the net for a few days and I've been v slack again at keeping you all updated! Sorry! So I'll talk about Brisbane once I'm back from Frazer................promise! I'm doing ok generally and I'm really excited about coming home in less than 3 weeks!!! I've decided that Australia is ok but I think it’s over rated, I haven't made a connection with it over here like I did in New Zealand. Its weird coz I've always wanted to come here but its just not for me?! Maybe the weather has let it down a bit, I think I've only had about 4 or 5 rain free days since I arrived and although its not like rain back home coz its still warm, I really wanted to chill out for my last couple of weeks in the sun on the beach..................looks unlikely seeing as the cyclone that hit Fiji is headed this way so knowing my luck it'll ruin the last week or so 😞 Not a happy bunny!!! I don't think I'm in any danger though, I think the cyclone will hit Cairns and I'm not there until next week by which time I'm hoping it'll have cleared?!
Hope all is well with everyone back home, thanks to those of you that have emailed and sent messages! Sorry I haven't had chance to reply but its good to know what you've all been up to and I think about you guys all the time!
Best be off coz I'm running out of net time.................again! Also the French girls next to me are pissing me off.....................go and chat in your room instead of when you are on the internet! How rude!
Love you all lots
Solo Simmons signing off xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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