April 30th – May 5th 2011
Arriving in Sydney around noon I felt like I had been run over by a freight train a few times over. I made it through customs and immigration before the substantial caffeine rush I had been working on all flight started to wane. Then I had to figure out the shuttle to the hostel. Due to a miscommunication on arrival dates my friend turned out to still be in Indonesia resulting in a hostel check in. After wandering round like a lost puppy for about 20minutes I finally figured out where the meeting point was and was found by the shuttle about 10minutes later. After a few stops to pick up others we headed out into Sydney. I was staying at a hostel called The Maze, one of the older and more popular hostels, according to the website. It turned out to be quite large and maze was an understatement. I am sure there are backpackers wandering the halls lost for decades trying to check out.
I was shown a 6 bed dorm and as I placed the key in the lock I relished in the thought of collapsing in a bed… only to discover the lock was busted. Too tired to lug my bags down 3 flights of stairs I left them and went in search of someone. Luckily I found someone only 2 flights down and soon had the manager and assistant manager attempting to open the room. Eventually they offered me a free upgrade to a 4 bed dorm and I was led back into the maze. As it turns out sheer exhaustion appears to have given me a better sense of direction as I found the room before the assistant manager who had argued with me that the hallway, that ultimately contained my room, was not the right hallway. But I managed to open this door only to discover that I would have the top bunk of the squeaky beds, I remember when I used to love top bunks… does this mean I am getting old or smarter??
As it turned out I was too tired to sleep and so had a shower and then headed out to try find a meat pie for dinner. I was directed to an Irish pub and what I got was essentially so so irish stew with a massive pastry dome and some chips. At least the pastry was good.
There were certain signs that let me know I wasn’t in the States anymore, such as:
It turns out that finding wifi in South America was way easier than finding it in Australia, and when you do manage to find some it costs you an arm and a leg. So when I purchased my 24hr internet card (giving me 24hrs from the time of activation) I was determined to use it to the fullest and managed to keep myself awake watching online tv until a whopping 7pm Aussie time. Then I promptly passed out.
Due to the price of things and general confusion as to what the heck I was supposed to do in the land downunder now that I had made it here, I decided to head to friend’s house in Canberra. Most who I told of this plan looked at me dumbfounded saying “but there is nothing in Canberra”. Turns out there is a beautiful lake, good friends and a free couch… sounded good to me. I spent the week getting over jet lag, fighting off a cold, watching internet TV and working on my blog. All in all a great week.
Some pics from Canberra:
During my recoup time in Canberra I browsed the gumtree posts, essentially the same as craigslist. I cam across the following ad:
Experience Aussie Farm Life
Free accomodation, free food, free horse riding or riding lessons all for only 3hrs of work a day. Set on a beautiful beef farm near the town of Boorowa.
Sounds near perfect, so I called up and headed out… little did I know…