Life is what's happening while you're busy making other plans

15 septembre 2010

Sydney hesitations

More than ten days in Australia and still no new post !

I didn't want to put up a new post without any photos and truth be told, I took my first australian photos only 4 days ago !

So what have we been up to and what can be said about Australia so far ?

Well, we stayed 9 days with our couchsurfer Steve and his daughter Cassioppee. It was great to be settled and get out of the pack-your-bag-every-2-days routine ! On our second night in Sydney there was a couchsurfing party in a bar in town which was great because it allowed us to meet other locals. We liked the atmosphere of Sydney so much that we started to ask ourselves if we didn't want to stay here forever !

So we spent the week rewriting our Cvs aussie style, looking for ads on the Internet and sending out applications. It all went really fast, and by the end of the week we took a breather and decided to think it all through again. We decided that maybe we were rushing into things and that the best thing to do was probably to stick to our original plan (ie- buy a car and go traveling around the country doing fruit picking and other small jobs). If in a couple of months we're still as enthusiastic about the country, then maybe we'll think about settling in a city, looking for a “real” job and trying to stay here more long term.

So back to square one then, a week late! After spending so much time with our couchsurfer it was time to move on. We booked two nights in a backpacker's hostel in King's Cross. The comments on the website were absolutely terrible but the price was just too good for us to turn it down. So off we went to our new home, not too worried after some of the places we've seen in South America! Conclusion? Definitely not the friendliest nor cleanest hostel but really not that bad. We had booked an 8-people dorm but when we arrived we were told we'd be “upgraded” to a 4-people dorm. It was actually a big room with one double bed and one bunk bed, a fridge and a sink, and an en-suite bathroom. So quite good, except that our roomies were a couple that have been in the hotel for the past 9 months! So we felt a little bit like intruders in their home but hey!

Definitely an interesting couple. They spent a few months driving up and down the coast selling strawberries. Their visa ran out a few months ago, so they asked their embassy to write them a “note” saying they'd miss their plane back home. This allowed them to get a “temporary bridging” visa valid for a month. They hope to re-do the same scam until December. In the meantime they are living in this hostel, getting free accommodation by helping out with the cleaning of the dorms. And they spend their day in the hotel room, watching TV and smoking pot. Just occasionally leaving the room to clean a dorm or two!

There is no wi-fi in the hostel so we've spent quite a few hours at McDonalds. We're in the red light district so we've seen some funny characters go in and out of there. The best two we've had so far:

  • a young guy who was sitting in front of us and his trousers were so far down that we could see his underpants. Ok, no big deal, we see that all the time these days, it's the fashion right? Except this guy's underpants were so old he had a huge hole in them, big enough for us to see more of his bottom than underpants!

  • a forty-ish year old man, probably homeless, and a little crazy, trying to discreetly pour a little cocaine out of a plastic zippy bag and sniff himself a line or two.

But that's is really the craziest we've seen. Apart from that, Sydney is really a peaceful and safe town. The other day we were by the beach and there's a sort of semi-natural swimming pool. It costs 3 dollars to get in. Well, you get to the gate, and it's open. There is no-one at the cashier, just a little dish with some coins in it and a sign that reads “Pay your entrance here and take back the change you need”!! Incredible! You wouldn't imagine that in Europe!

What really strikes me is that Australia is really THE immigration country. There are people of different origins everywhere, be they australians, foreigners with permanent residents or travelers with working holiday visas. It's hard to meet people who were born in australia and whose parents were also born here! And yet, there is something that links all this people, one trait that they all have. They are terrible friendly! If you need directions or advice on anything you can stop anyone on the street and they will stop, smile and take the time to answer you and make sure you've understood everything before going on their way again.

Back to our plans... as I said, we'd gone back to the original plan of buying a car. We had several options:

  • buy a second-hand van from a leaving backpacker

  • buy a second-hand van from a local

  • buy a van from a second-hand dealership

We decided to go with the second-hand dealership because with the dealership we get a warranty with the car, which is more reassuring for us as we know nothing about mechanical stuff! And although backpackers sell their vans with all their stuff in it (tent, cutlery, solar shower and all the rest), we figure that all that equipment isn't worth the price difference. In any case, let's hope we have thought this through correctly because we've just put the deposit on a van today! Yipee!

It's a 1998 Ford van. It's being checked by a mechanics tonight, and we'll pick it up tomorrow. Very exciting, it's the first time for both Thomas and I buying a car and it's going to be our home for the next couple of months.

I'll take photos of the van as soon as we've picked it up so you can see what our new home will be like :)

Before I go, I almost forgot to mention that we ate kangaroo! Our couchsurfing host cooked us diner on our last evening. He made us bolognese sauce with kangaroo meat. Apparently it is healthier than beef because it contains less fat, and it is also more ecological as kangaroos consume less water than cows. It has a much stronger taste than beef. I enjoyed it. I don't know how I would have like it as a plain steak, but in bolognese sauce it definitely spiced up the dish.

Posté par wendorej à 01:33 - Australia - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#] Partager

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    Wow! Sounds pretty cool - and very exciting! Must have been quite a relief to come back to something fairly familiar after all that time in Latin America?
    Sounds like you guys are having the times of your lives though ... living the dream!!!

    Posté par Nic, 20 octobre 2010 à 17:19

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