DAY 4 - SYDNEY
The trip’s first downer struck on day two. Somewhere between getting on the bus home that evening and going out an hour or so later, my day pack went missing. It hasn’t turned up and almost certainly won’t. The biggest loss is my new digital camera, but also annoyingly gone are: pairs of shoes and sandals I bought earlier that day, my Let’s Go Australia guidebook, and the bag itself.
So far I’ve replaced the fancy Teva sandals with a pair for $2 thongs and am getting a Lonley Planet guide from Dana who is about to leave the country. Oh, yes, Dana. She’s a friend of my friend Katie, and she’s spent the last three months in Sydney. “It hasn’t been as great as I hoped,” she admits, but hey it’s warm and exotic. It was on my way to meet her that I realized my bag was gone so she had to deal with me whining about it until we got drunk and the lost bag became easier to take. “Traveling the world is more fun when you’re drinking,” I told her.
Another friend of a friend has shown me a good time. Thomas Odelfelt’s Connecticut chum Dave invited me out last night. He’s lived down under for four years now and introduced me to a slew of fun, hard drinking Aussies. Somehow the country manages to be constantly buzzed without all the bad connotations Ireland suffers for it’s drinking. We were supposed to go to dinner “after a couple drinks” but five rounds later Dave decided dinner would be a waste and instead bought $200 worth of liquor and invited us all back to his place. It was one of those perfect 60 degree nights out on his suburban porch and we proceeded to get drunker until the need for pizza took over.
I can’t remember his sober name, but one of Dave’s friends is known as “The Bull” once he gets wrecked . “Be careful when he gets here,” Dave warned seriously. “He’s as dangerous as anyone you’ll meet.”
The Bull charged out onto the deck around midnight after throwing some back someplace else. “I’m here for Brook!” he said, as if he needed a reason to be here. “You’re the Boss,” he decided and proceeded to pick me up out of my chair. “You look like Springsteen. Roll up your sleeves and get up here with us,” he insisted.
Still jetlagged, and having just started some antibiotics it was all a bit much. Not long after someone shouted from a window that it was Wednesday night and we were loud and something about the cops. So then everyone had to go home and that was okay with me.
I’ve made one hostel friend so far, a Canadian name Katherine who’s spending the year in Australia. She’s heading up the coast tomorrow. I could probably be more social—-the smoking blonde to my left looks like she could use a friend-—but I haven’t been so far.
There is something different to this kind of lifestyle. One major difference is how money and time work as commodities. Back home I had plenty of money (more or less) but not much time (relatively); here it’s the opposite proportion so spending an extra 15 minutes to save a buck or two makes perfect sense.
There’s also way more alone time and down time. You live in your head a lot because you can go long, long stretches without even speaking a word. Then when you open your mouth the words stick in your throat because you haven’t used your voice in so long.
There’s a sense of loose community among the many people here in such similar situations, but there’s also an isolation since it’s a group of people so accustom to being alone.
Not sure how much longer I’ll be in Sydney. My next stop I think is heading up the eastern coast to hit all those great beaches. Still plenty to see here, though I took today off after getting burnt pretty good at the beach yesterday. In a way it feels like wasting a day to just sit around and chill but really that’s half the fun of this year: being able to take things in at a slower pace.