I landed about an hour late yesterday, getting through customs and baggage claim at around noon local time, and headed straight to The Big Hostel. The fellow at the front desk was kind enough to check me in a bit early so I could head to my dorm room, and after calling my mum (brief plug for the loveliness that is Google Voice and the Hangouts Dialer) I hopped in the shower, hoping to feel human again shortly. I chatted with one of my roommates, a Brit who’s been in Oz for over a year now, and when she heard I was a beekeeper she tried to relate to me some place I should visit… which, as it turns out, were the Flow Hive people, who I’ve already arranged to stay with later in this journey.
I wandered around the town a bit, just circling the few blocks around my hostel to get my bearings. The architecture in this part of Sydney’s pretty great, but not in particularly stand-out ways. It’s a fairly classic city, built largely with brick (or at least brick edifices), which I always enjoy. What stood out for me is the sheer number of balconies. As opposed to commandeered fire escapes, even the tallest residential buildings have intentional outdoor access on each floor. As a dyed-in-the-wool porchsitter, I love seeing these living spaces stretching ten or twenty floors above me.
At the end of my ramble, I grabbed some Thai food that came at the recommendation of the same front desk fellow, and sat down to eat and plot out a travel game I’m building for my nephews.
After choosing a couple dozen cities I’d like them to learn about, I put myself down for a nap. I intended to go to the Vivid Festival that evening, but when my alarm went off, I babbled uselessly at my roommates while trying to find my phone and shut it off, before falling back asleep. I’m not sure if it was jetlag so much as having had approximately 10 hours of sleep in the past 72, though. I’ll be sure to check it out another evening while I’m here, even though I apparently missed the fireworks.
I woke at 5am local time, having had about 12 hours of sleep, and now I’m downstairs in the hostel, updating the blog and sorting through my plans for the next couple of days. Later today I’ll be heading out for a ramble through the Blue Mountains, taking advantage of my Opal Card’s Sunday travel cap. Monday I’ll be going by the Consulate to check in and see about passport renewal and whether I ought to do it here or when I’m in South Australia. At some point during the next few days I’ll spend a few hours walking from Bondi to Coogee Beach.
While I’m glad of the chance of a few days to acclimate before getting into the gruntwork, I forgot to take into account the fact that, well, I am here to work. A lot of the folks at the hostel are a fair few years younger than me, and the hostel culture in general is about young people from around the world getting together and drinking. I’m not one who makes friends easily or quickly (outside of the confines of airplanes and airport lobbies, apparently), and while I enjoy drinking, it’s not something I’m comfortable doing too much of with strangers. Both of those things make me an excellent solitary traveler, but not the best hostel roommate. Me and my wardrobe, which is composed mostly of work jeans, work shirts, and work boots, are looking forward to getting the Australian experience as seen from the farms and homes of Australians. This big-city big-drinking touristy thing is best, for me, when observed from a distance.
Well, except maybe the guided tour of The Rocks, with its promised “stories of murders, muggings, and mysteries.” And perhaps a shot at this kangaroo pizza I’ve been reading about.