This past Thurs/Fri, I hit the town (Sydney, that is) with fellow Arizonan, S., a friend of a friend back home. I don’t really remember much of the two days, but I blew a lot of money on stuff that I can’t find receipts for. I think that means I had a good time.
Thursday, S. rang me around 11:00. He left a message saying, “I’ll meet you outside Starbucks downtown. I’m wearing a Woody Woodpecker shirt.” At that point, I knew he was quality people. We met up a few hours later and caught the wrong train, got lost, but eventually ended up at Bondi beach. Bondi is the most famous beach in Australia; consequently, expectations were set high. For anyone reading this, tell your friends: Bondi is one of the lamest beaches I have ever been to. All the hype around it is simply hype. All the talk has more to do with the restaurants and shops around there than the actual beach.
As soon as we walked out on the beach, I was quickly reminded of something my mother told me back home. I thought, “Hey, that lady isn’t wearing a top.” Sydney beaches are either clothing optional or topless. I’m not sure which. They are very liberal here. For example, in a movie trailer (not the movie itself), there was swearing, violence, two sex scenes, and nudity. I saw a commercial recently of a skinny man sliding around in tiny underpants. Back on Bondi beach, a handful of males paraded in Speedos and a woman was topless. It was one of those awkward moments like, “Whoa, you aren’t wearing a shirt.” I wanted to hand her a towel or two hats.
After a half hour swim, we hit the shops, bought Bondi-themed clothing, and caught a bus back to the city. On the bus, S. decided he wanted to go out to dinner at a place requiring jeans. One problem: I only packed a pair of boardies, a t-shirt and thongs for a beach outing. To remedy this, we hit Park Street Mall looking for a pair of jeans. This regrettably kicked S. into a shopping frenzy of clothing trendiness. I couldn’t keep pace. What started at jeans ended at all types of shirts. Lots of them. He dropped around $400 on shirts while I held a $60 short-sleeve shirt pondering the exchange rate and the value of weaved cloth with plastic buttons. When it comes to clothes (aside from jeans, my weakness), I’m one of the cheapest people. Nearly everything non-pants related is used and under $10. Unfortunately, as I’ve already mentioned, Sydney is ridiculously expensive as is. And the pressure was on to keep up.
I bailed on the YD staff he was single-handedly employing and searched for a cheaper place. Again, we were in downtown Sydney in a mall with fancy people who wore huge sunglasses at night. I aimlessly walked around to find some hot clothes to construct a facade of cool. Pink (the color) is ‘in’ right now in Australia. I do not have the goolies* to rock a pink shirt. I instead went with a trusty fitted blue striped shirt and I’m banking that, with current trends, it will remain cool for another month or so. I paired this up with some trendy jeans, borrowed a pair of S.’s shoes, and looked pretty much like any jackass who clubs in Scottsdale. AKA, a word I won’t use on this site.
We ended up at a trendy bar in Darling Harbour called Bungalow 8. It was right at the end of the pier and had an amazing view of the harbour and docked boats. S. had Atlantic Salmon while I gave fish ‘n’ chips a go. Afer a few Stellas and Redbull vodkas (or “vodbulls” as cool lushes like Shan call them) and talk of ‘what to do in Australia’ + real estate investment ideas, I was ready to head back. Exhausted, I caught the 12:30am train back. I cranked my iPod to stay awake for the hour train ride. Missing your stop this late at night is not a very good idea.
The following day, I woke up early, called into work and made an excuse about “needing legal approval on documents before continuing the project.” I wasn’t hung-over. I’ve never been. I just needed to sleep more. Really.
Later on, I caught the 2:00pm train to Sydney to meet up with S. for a trip out to Manly beaches. The locals in Sydney recommend Manly or any of the northern beaches. This one paid off. Great waves and a beach lined by tall trees. Again, lots of speedos and one topless woman. It’s not that I was staring a these ladies; I just noticed the two women I saw looked really uncomfortable. In my opinion, if I’m naked, it’s because I want to be comfortable. You can’t just rip your shirt off because you can. Well, I guess you can here. That’s all I’m saying.
Afterwards, S. headed out for a performance at the Opera House, and I crashed at his Marriot suite. If it wasn’t for his Marriot credit card, this amazing room would retail for $600 a night. Instead, it was free. I slept with Empire Strikes Back playing on the TV. He returned at 10:30pm, and we headed back to Bungalow 8 for more trendiness.
I must say, I’m not much for the club scene. We reenacted the previous evening (Stellas and Vodbulls), and watched people get drunk and dance. One cute blonde danced an Irish jig for ages. It started as normal dancing, and then evolved into dancing on one foot Irish-jig-like. Another drunk girl fell onto a couch full of complete strangers, who kindly pushed her back to her feet so she could fall onto other complete strangers. We laughed heartily.
After a quick bite at Subway, I headed back home. I caught the last train out of Sydney at 1:30am and was struggling again to stay awake. Two guys walked up and yelled over the music blasting from my iPod. “Hey mate, can you wake us up at Penrith?” I replied, “Man, I’m not even sure if I’ll wake up at my stop.” He laughed and said I could stay at his place if it was too late. I stayed awake the whole time, and these two guys fell asleep. Asleep isn’t the right word. They were gone. At my stop, I walked over and started with, “Wake up!” This progressed to “Wake up!” + a knee tap. I tried it on the other guy. Then I started to slap their legs and yelled. It must have looked comical, but for all efforts, they didn’t wake up. I had to jump off at Blacktown, and I’m pretty sure they found their way to the wrong part of town.