Travel Story «42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. Week One »

Australia | 0 Comments 22 May 2006 - Last Update 24 December 2006

So finally we were going to somewhere we could retire our backpacks if only for a couple of months. At this point though, the thought of not carrying all my belongings on my back like a tortoise/turtle, was bringing tears of joy to my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely backpack (Thank you Mam) but it’s been welded to my body for just a little too long now.
Having ditched Lorna and Una in Melbourne, (They did a detour via Canberra) the former residents of Apartment 8, Whitworth Hall (Emily, Aisling and I) flew straight to Sydney. The biggest problem facing us at this point was our weight limits (Luggage!). Emily, who with Lorna, had been breaking records for luggage weight all around South East Asia, was now confronted with the weight limit for internal flights (FYI the Airline was the Australian equivalent of Ryanair – Cheap but not cheerful – the Air stewards were morose). Luckily for her, Una and Lorna were willing to take most of her luggage with them, by car, which means while Emily hasn’t gotten to Canberra yet, at least half of her wardrobe has. Aisling and I had been the lightest (Yes me, Grainne, LIGHT) on all of our travels so far, we decided to bring all our luggage with us on the plane.
Now I’m not 100% certain of the limits but I think it was 20 kilos for 1 piece to go in the cargo hold and 7 kilos for 1 piece of carry on. At this point we really thought we were experts at flying and we knew how easygoing the airlines were about things like the number of pieces of hand luggage. We were WRONG!While our backpacks came under the 20kilo limit, Aisling had tried to circumvent the system, by putting a lot of heavy stuff in her two pieces of hand luggage. You’re not allowed two pieces of hand luggage – just one. So the Ace had to repack her carry-on right there in front of the Airline desk – but she managed it and they let us on. I did not break any rules, did not have to repack anything and did not have to send my luggage to Sydney by car – I also, did not really have any clothes.
Finally after the drama of the weight limits and after an episode of the Young and the Restless, we boarded our plane and headed to Sydney. We arrived in an overcast Sydney and tried to find a way into town. I don’t remember exactly how it happened and I don’t want to blame anyone (Emily) but we got a private shuttle into town. By this point we had already booked our hostel (Big Hostel, Elizabeth Street) and the whole Melbourne versus Sydney argument had begun. (I missed Melbourne but the girls were being positive and objective – yes, they are that annoying). 
 
 

I do not have the gift for writing that other’s have so I know I’m not going to do what happened justice, but we really felt like we were being punked! Our driver was a nice gentleman, whose native language was not English (probably Turkish or Arabic), and he assured us that all though he did not know where our hostel was, his boss knew everywhere in Sydney, really everywhere. Well that was enough for us and at this point we were pretty giddy and probably really annoying to the other two guys who were getting the shuttle with us, as fascinating as we seemed to think arguing the merits of Melbourne and Sydney was (funny how nobody enjoys listening to us arguing as much as we enjoy listening to ourselves). So our witty repartee was interrupted by the driver wanting us to repeat the instructions, we did, thereafter followed a discussion in a language which could have been Arabic or Turkish. Then he asked us again, and we repeated, and there was another discussion in the language which may or may not be Arabic. By this point we weren’t all that affected after all we are seasoned travelers, we’ve done the bus trip from Hanoi to Vientiane. But I think on the 4th time he asked us for the address and when he seemed to be fighting with the boss “who knows everywhere in Sydney” we began to get a little giggly. Aisling and I tried to discuss it in Irish but we’re not as fluent as we once were and it was rude to keep Emily out of the conversation. The next thing he asked was for me to write it down; apparently the thick Cork accent was off-putting, but not as off-putting as the terrible hand-writing. By this time we were on the verge of hysterics, and we’d pulled out a map to show him where in Sydney, Elizabeth Street was but he had decided to ignore us and drop off one of our co-passengers. When this poor buachaill tried to get his luggage out of the back, he was attacked by one of our backpacks which had been moved to find the map. Our driver then seemed to alternatively drive around in circles and fight in Arabic/Turkish with somebody on the two-way. After a while he stopped the car, got out and went for a bit a walk. We decided, we’d done enough and were going to get a taxi to the hostel. Our driver returned and was very apologetic and he assured us that our destination was just down the road, but we had little faith, however we wronged him and it was a three minute walk down the road.   

Once we checked in and had deposited our backpacks, our next job was to look for the nearest watering hole (very thirsty work – being completely lost and at the mercy of someone who dislikes you). This we found with relative ease, and once we’d calmed down a little, Emily contacted a male stripper to further relax us and who should turn up, Paddy Kirwan! (This is a joke/lie)   

Due to the time difference/stress of traveling much of this evening was a blur, but it was a nice way to round off our first evening in Sydney (I think) and Paddy gave us plenty of good advice on getting accommodation/work.  

The next day was pretty short once we got out of bed and made our way to the nearest McDonalds. This search took ages but we saw some more of Sydney, we also met some friends of Aisling who advised us on the various cultural jewels (Pubs) in the area. Due to the altitude/jet lag we really weren’t up to much one day 2 in Sydney and punctuated our hours by eating, having coffee and shopping for food.  

The following day was a Wednesday and this was the day the girls arrived in from Canberra. While Aisling and I began our search for work on the internet Emily, met the girls at the hostel and they went to return the rental car. I was not actually present but I believe that a detour (Accidentally on purpose) past the Sydney Opera House was made.  

As this was the ladies first night in Sydney, we decided to head to a pub called the Three Monkeys in the middle of town. When we arrived we were IDed at the door, not because we looked so youthful, but because this is standard unless you look like you’re older than 25. However Lorna, myself and Una had forgotten ours, but we were left in anyway. I went home for to collect them, incase we decided to move on later. The pub was pretty busy because this was the night of the first State of Origin match of the season.  
The State of Origin is a Rugby League tournament comprising of two teams and this “tournament” lasts for three games. The teams involved are New South Wales (the state in which Sydney is) and Queensland (Brisbane is the biggest city in this state). The tournament is so called because these were the states where rugby league was first played. The first game was in Sydney (NSW) which NSW won, the second in Brisbane (Queensland) which Queensland won and the decider will be played in a neutral place, Melbourne (Victoria).

A nice boy came over to talk to us, but before he sat down we had decided to move on to get some food. He didn’t know this; he was quite nice and was waiting for his friends to arrive from the match. He was talking to us for about 5 minutes when we started to leave, and he pointed out “Everyone is going to ask what did I do to make five women just walk out!”  

Una decided to head home before eating and after wolfing down some McDonalds Emily and I followed her. Aisling and Lorna continued on to Scruffy Murphy’s. 

After these two nights out on the town in Sydney for some of us (Emily, Aisling & Grainne) and one night, out on top of a visit to Canberra for others (Lorna & Una) we were pretty tired. As we had decided we would make Sydney our home for the next few months at least we had to set about getting jobs and accommodation. We all spent our days in the internet café down the road networking and begging for jobs and then chilled out at the hostel in the evenings. 
Some of us got interviews with recruitment agencies but as yet we had no solid employment prospects, so we decided to unit our forces and focus on the accommodation for now.
So on Friday morning (26th of May) we all went to the local internet café, sat close together and looked up websites, rang estate agents and made appointments to view apartments. Don’t ask me how or why we got so lucky but we did. We found an apartment that had everything we were looking for: 2 bedrooms, furnished, in a central location – so we made an appointment to see it that day.  

So while Una and Lorna organized dinner, Emily, Aisling/the Ace and I got the monorail out to Pyrmont. We saw and liked the apartment. We paid a deposit on it, but we wouldn’t know until the next day, when we returned with the documentation she/Linda required, if we could take it.   

So we had a lovely meal and stayed in on Friday night. Then on Saturday morning Emily, Una and Lorna went to view a second place in case the first one fell through. Thankfully though when we arrived, Linda made us fill out the contracts and we had a home.  

To celebrate Lorna, Una and I spent about 2 hours on Saturday afternoon watching TV in our new apartment. Later that night Aisling and Emily headed out to Angela’s (a friend of Aisling from work). The rest of us went to the Three Monkeys before meeting the girls in PJ O’ Brien’s. I met my cousin Karen (Coakley) and was talking to her when the Breakfast Roll (song) came on and missed Aisling who was running around looking for me to dance with her. Thereafter we went to Scruffy Murphy’s. Lorna, Una and I embarrassed ourselves by heading home early at 4 AM. The Ace and Emily though kept the flag flying for team Sterile by staying out until 9 AM and playing pool in a gay Bar.   

The next morning (the same night as far as some people were concerned) we moved out of the hostel and into our new apartment. I somehow got landed with Emily and the Ace, who fell asleep in the lobby in the five minutes they waited for me. We got a taxi to Pyrmont and slept the rest of the day away.  

Week 2 will soon follow, but things get progressively less exciting from here, if you can believe that.  

Grainne.

 

 

 

 

Photo albums from Australia

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23 October 2006 | Australia | Last Update 13 October 2006

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07 October 2006 | Australia | Last Update 07 October 2006

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06 October 2006 | Australia | Last Update 17 September 2006

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30 September 2006 | Australia | Last Update 30 September 2006

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24 September 2006 | Australia | Last Update 24 September 2006

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23 September 2006 | Australia | Last Update 23 September 2006

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02 September 2006 | Australia | Last Update 01 September 2006

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26 August 2006 | Australia | Last Update 26 August 2006

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18 August 2006 | Australia | Last Update 13 August 2006

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23 July 2006 | Australia | Last Update 21 July 2006

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11 July 2006 | Australia | Last Update 11 July 2006

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17 June 2006 | Australia | Last Update 06 June 2006

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20 May 2006 | Australia | Last Update 15 May 2006

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12 May 2006 | Australia | Last Update 12 May 2006

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10 May 2006 | Australia | Last Update 10 May 2006

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08 May 2006 | Australia | Last Update 01 May 2006

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07 May 2006 | Australia | Last Update 07 May 2006

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05 May 2006 | Australia | Last Update 05 May 2006

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04 May 2006 | Australia | Last Update 04 May 2006

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Margarets River (S.W Australia) (14)

02 May 2006 | Australia | Last Update 02 May 2006

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Perth - Cottesloe Beach (8)

30 April 2006 | Australia | Last Update 30 April 2006

  • Lorna, Grainne and Aisling
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