Australia: A Christmas Abroad – Sydney, 2004

24/12/2004 to 25/12/2004: Sydney, Australia

Towards the start of my first backpacking adventure, I had been living in a 3 bed dorm with two friends overlooking Bondi Beach in Sydney for several weeks. I was in Australia on my Working Holiday Visa with a company called Bunac, of which there were 11 of us in Sydney still.

Christmas Eve was spent with my room-mate Matt, doing an evening cruise around Sydney Harbour full of backpackers. The cruise price included alcohol and food. I was a backpacker on a boat with essentially free beer, therefore I do not remember much of the cruise itself. I do remember dancing, and panicking when there was only an hour left of free beer. This was the first time I experienced first hand a bar-man making me drink water before they would give me another beer. After the cruise we had a complimentary return bus journey to the relevant part of the city, being a bit drunk, we got on the first bus we saw, and ended up in Kings Cross. Our first stop was Empire Hotel, where we went into the bar, and received a stamp on our arms, so we could get into the club later on. After a drink, we tried getting into the club, only I could not for the life of me, find the stamp on my arm, Matt turned my arm over, for it to be there. The door-man refused me entry for being too drunk, another first while in Australia. We then presumably stumbled into a strip-club, I thinking maybe paying around $20 for entry. I went to the toilet, and when I came out I couldn’t see my mate. I sat down and saw a woman on stage using a dildo with flashing lights on herself, this did my head in, and just left. Matt later said I walked passed him on the way out, he followed me outside and I was gone by time he got outside. I do remember getting into a taxi surprisingly quickly for Kings Cross, and headed back to Bondi. When I got to the hostel, I realised I had lost my room key, so I contacted my other room-mate, who was in Bondi Hotel. I walked down the road to Bondi Hotel where Sandeep was with some other Bunacers. He wouldn’t give me his key, and wouldn’t leave just yet, so I sat there. Then Matt appeared too. I then got kicked out of Bondi Hotel for falling asleep as too drunk. Matt left with me, but wouldn’t trust me to come back with the key after TV room and watch a movie, all while I waited in the reception area.

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On a Sydney Harbour cruise, Christmas Eve, Sydney, Australia

Christmas Day, waking up early, hung-over, and covered in shampoo thanks to my room-mates after I passed out. Holly, another Bunacer was in the room too. The weather was overcast and the summer sun I’d dreamed of for Christmas Day at Bondi Beach. However, determined, we all still went down to the beach in the morning. There were several Christmas trees on the beach, and everybody had dug big holes in the sand to sit in to keep them warm. Myself and a few of the guys also still went for a swimdespite the really cold sea. Re-joining the group, we play charades, with the easiest one to guess being the movie ‘The Beach’. In the afternoon we went to the apartment of a few others in our Bunac group. There we were treated to a best attempt to a traditional British Christmas dinner, with a bottle of Jack Daniels. Harriet set sausage rolls on fire while we watched Sleepless In Seattle on TV. In the evening, we went to go to the only bar open on Christmas Day in Bondi, to find that it was already closing, and everybody was on the streets as it was so busy. We wondered the side streets looking for a party, to be greeted by a man dancing on his roof by himself. We tried their neighbours’ house party, but everybody was already falling asleep. In the end, we sat outside on the street drinking, racing a shopping trolley down the hill to knock over a man’s wheelie bins’, and asking a taxi driver to take us to Dudley near Birmingham, to the response “Birmingham? That’s in fucking England”. A really funny evening with a lot of random conversations, and as a whole, a day completely different to the barbecue on Bondi Beach that I expected.

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On Bondi Beach, Christmas Day, Sydney, Australia

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