They Think It’s All Over… It Is Now!

I’m typing this from London. Which sounds perfectly normal but for myself right now feels a little bizarre. It’s so different to be home again after eleven months away, I’m excited to be home, its lovely to see my little sis and will be awesome to catch up with everyone else in the next few weeks =)

That said we need to go way back and look at my final week in Australia, which if I can remember everything may make this a lengthy post, it has some good stories in though, so stick with it! So we go back to me awaiting my bus on to Sydney in Byron Bay and I’m sure you’re all on tenterhooks to see if I bought Ugg Boots. I did. Apparently I’m now gay or “metrosexual”, I’m okay with this as I will have warm feet this winter.

The purchase of the Uggs pretty much brings to an end anything entertaining about Byron Bay, which takes us to the 14 hour bus ride down the coast, the highlight of which was buying four pies for four dollars; score! Other than I should apologise to the poor girl who was sat next to me; my adventure hat was in desperate need of a wash, I don’t blame you for moving seats.

Thankfully I eventually made it down to Sydney and after a little bit of searching for it I found my friend Marianne’s house, at this point I must say thank you to Marianne and her lovely flatmates Fiona and Mel for putting me up for four nights. I believe if they hadn’t I actually would have ran out of money before I left Sydney or at the very least not been able to enjoy my last week in Sydney which would also have been tragic, I also don’t fancy ever sleeping on a bus stop again so I was glad to avoid that.

After a bit of a nap I finally got hold of Cristiano, whom I can’t thank enough for flying across for my final week, the man is a legend. We headed out for a bit of a wander around the city and to find some food to cook that evening. We ended up making a delicous curry, my recipe, performed by Cris and his Taiwanese chef friend Andy, their expertise made it much better than it might have been; more culinary lessons learned!

The rest of the night was spent chilling out at Marianne’s, Skins was excellent, thats a show I may have to get into when I get home. Tuesday saw myself and Cris head over to Manly Beach in search of my favourite Brazilian restaurant; Brazuca, of course we arrived to find that due to it being winter they only open on the daytimes on weekends. Buggar. So we settled for a delicious burger and a chance to catch up with one of my former students Cristina, briefly, on a break from one of her classes.

We vowed to make it back to Brazuca at a later date. We headed back across the city and after sitting for ahile on a park bench, shooting the breeze and mocking/eyeing up the various people walking past we decided to call a second quiet night. Mainly due to our collective finances. Of course for anyone who knows myself and Cristiano they know this is a very odd occurence and couldn’t last; it didn’t as you will see.

Wednesday saw myself, Cris and my old friend from Adelaide, who will be setting off for home (Italy) not long after I post this having a wander around Darling Harbour and then heading back to possibly my favourite bar in Sydney. The rooftop one from the teaching course days, it has incredibly dreary name which I can never recall but the balcony on a sunny day cannot be beaten and they serve proper pints in glasses with handles. Sweet.

After a few beers we all headed our seperate days, Cris and Andy were entertaining friends, Peg had plans and I was meeting Marianne and friends for some drinks. While drinking a friend of mine, Elle, came to meet us with a couple of her friends. A couple of drinks turned into a visit to a delightful Thai restaurant, that really didn’t fit my remaining budget but was so nice that three times what we would end up paying would not have been an unfair price.

From there it was for a couple more drinks and arriving back at Marianne’s place after everyone had gone to bed, I didn’t have a key, I had to press the doorbell, I thoroughly deserved the look that would have killed if it could from Fiona when she opened the door; sorry!

Thankfully Thursday gave me a chance at a reprieve, it had been designated as the day I would cook for the girls of the flat, thankfully I had an ace card up my sleeve which I’m glad I had. The girls are seriously into their cooking, as noted by the well thumbed cookery books found all around their place. So therefore much better than myself in all honesty, thankfully I had Cristiano.

After a mad rush round the city for ingredients we had everything in place and the kitchen to ourselves as the girls were out for the day. We set to preparing a delicious tomato salad with a lemon and rosemary dressing. Then came freshly baked bread. The preparation of the green beans and the mashed potato. Then we made our patented Caramello Brownies and that was finished off by the preparation of Rosemary Lamb Loins with a cream sauce.

Preparing it all with Cris was too good fun and educational as always, with him in my corner I may yet become a useful cook yet. I will continue my education under the Birch once I return home. Classic. Although I’m sure X will have a go at me for cheating on him it is essential I continue my culinary lessons 😛

That all said I’m digressing; the girls arrived home and the food was served. It was delicious. The girls seemed to really enjoy it and be impressed, something valuable considering some of the food they had tried out on me, especially there homemade pizzas; wow – Marianne I wan’t your pizza dough recipe!

As the clock drew toward midnight goodbyes were said and X left, I kipped down on the comfy sofa bed for the last time and on we move to Friday. Friday been pre-planned; the night we went out in Manly, my last time to head out to the Steyne. Myself and Cris headed out there in the afternoon and chilled out. Wandering round to Shelly Beach (I will miss you) and staring out at the ocean, running into people we knew from Adelaide and generally being cheerful.

We headed back to the hostel for the $5 bbq we had purchased earlier and cracked open the wine (on my insistence that myself and goon is over, I’m not sure if Cris is ever going to forgive me.) After the food and a couple of bottles down and our findings of a giant stuffed panda which told some random was our illegitimate love child we headed out. Sadly sans panda, it was too big to take out with us.

We met up with the Peg and headed on to the Steyne, once there I found Radim and Cristina, two of my former students, and we were joined, sadly briefly, by James Rawson. On that note, get well soon Luce, hope the masters doesn’t kill you off. We got into a couple of jugs and then the dancefloor started to appeal. Myself, Cris and Marco brough three clearly eccentric, possibly retarded and definitely enjoyed styles of dancing to the party. I’m sure everyone watching thought we were clowns; we probably are.

Dancing done with we headed home, with a problem, Peg was staying over in Potts Point, a long ways away, we found a solution, Peg slept in X’s bed and X took to the couch out in the TV room. The hostel never realised. Score. I awoke the next day to a slightly fuzzy head but nothing too serious. After a little sitting around on the internet and having to kick X awake it was time for Brazuca to be open. Yay.

Me and X were the first two there and went with a traditional BBQ platter, oh my god. Brazuca definitely goes down as my favourite Australian dining experience, the dishes, the atmosphere, everything, spectacular. The platter consisted of picanha steak, chorizo, chicken wings, black beans, garlic rice and salad. It was too good. I hope all of the food in Brazil is like that, though I know deep down it likely isn’t I’m telling myself that for now.

Our guts more than full it was time to head back to the city, I went to join Cris in the YHA for my final two nights but was denied as they were full, unless I wanted to spend $90 on a twin room to myself; I politely declined and wandered to the Wake Up around the corner. A place I had passed many times during my time in Sydney as its above Side Bar but also a place I had never been to!

I checked in and we headed off to meet Peg and his friend to watch the AFL Final. Geelong won againt St Kilda in an absolute nailbiter, a low scoring affair but a quality game, the St Kilda player who dived headfirst into the goalpost to prevent a goal did not deserve to be on the losing team, pure commitment to the cause.

Linton, Peg’s friend bought a couple of drinks in, as he’s both a gentleman and a scholar, and what was going to be a quiet night saw us leaving Scruffy Murphy’s, heading to Star Bar for a $7 steak and then down to Side Bar. We were joined by US Jake who proceeded to give me a black eye by smacking my glasses into my eye socket when I tried to get the pool balls out of the table, thanks! I then found myself attempting to and thoroughly failing at pulling a copper from England. Ah well. I was indeed more emotional when saying goodbye to X, can’t wait to see you in Europe/South American man!

I didn’t have far to run with my tail (proverbially, thankfully) between my legs, my bed was two floors up in the same building. Genius. Sunday morning was when it began to dawn on me that I was actually leaving Australia, quite the bizarre sensation but not one that was unwelcomed; I was most certainly ready to come home, eleven months is an awfully long time not to see your friends and family other than on facebook/skype.

I spent the afternoon shopping for touristy knick-knacks for various family members before meeting up with the Peg. We decided to have a leisurely wander around the city and down to the Opera House. It was a lovely day and a fitting end to my time in Australia as far as the beauty of the place goes; a fitting end to my adventures was unbeknownst to me also waiting for me.

It started quite innocently, Marco enquired as to my plans for the evening – I told him I would be reading my book and eating my two remaning muesli bars before getting an early night. Peg decided this was entirely unfitting for my last night and insisted I join him for sausages and roast potatoes. Like any sane man would do when choosing between two muesli bars and a hot roast dinner I went with the roast dinner.

This was the trap. As the food cooked we decided to get in a couple of bottles of cheap wine – how cheap? The two were named “Fruitwood” and “Hound Dog” ouch, these two bottles of wine accompanied the start of the drinking games; fuck the dealer and a new one on me; Up the River Down the River.

We quickly polished off those two bottles of wine and bought two more. Classic. Ring of Fire came out. These proved to be the straw which broke the camels back. My last memory is of pouring the final drop of wine out of bottle #4. I then have a gap of an hour or three and find myself infront of the TV in the wake up drunkenly watching the Singaporean Grand Prix.

Marco’s admittedly limited memory informs me that in between these times I made a bet with an American San Francisco 49ers fan that Frank Gore would not rush for 100+ yards against Minnesota. As Gore only rushed for four yards I feel vindicated and although I’m unlikely to cash in my week at the American Guy Whose Name I Can’t Remember’s House in San Francisco I have the pride of winning the bet.

At some point around this time Marco bundled me into a taxi and instructed the driver to get me to the Wake Up, which the evidence points to him actually doing as I did indeed Wake Up there, terrible pun intended. And I felt a million times better than I deserved to, which was welcome considering I was flying home that very afternoon.

I met up briefly with the Peg to recover my Tim-Tams from him as I’d left them in his bag; they were my sisters present and to shoot the shit one last time. The last thing we saw together was two guys attempting to fight on the train platform despite being surrounded by police officers. Classic.

Marco has stated he would like to add some words to this blog if given the chance so you may get his opinion on things sometime soon, I will most definitely post them up, despite the fact they probably make me look the idiot I am!

That said as I left the platform I was on my way to the airport; it was time to go home. That I had thrirty hours of travelling ahead of me at that point did seem like an obstacle but not an impassable one. Here’s the break down:

Step One: Train from Central Station to Sydney Airport – uneventful post platform.

Step Two: Check in – annoying due to being unable to take 2 items of hand luggage, had to change into my Ugg Boots as couldnt carry them on.

Step Three: Wait for three hours – refuse to pay $16 for a baguette and wait for plane food – why on earth does the domestic terminal have fast food and the international one not? Surely they need to serve the needs of Americans and people like myself?!

Step Four: Board flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.

Step Five: Spend fifteen hours aboard Airbus A-340, watch three films – Fast & Furious (good if you want something mindless), 5 Minutes of Heaven (good if you want to think) and the Boat that Rocked (absolutely class). Eat actually nice plane food. Read a hundred pages of the Fifth Sorceress. Caught an hours sleep.

Step 6: Wait for two and a half hours in Abu Dhabi airport, spend most of the time chatting to cute London accountant or eating a Burger King (it is no longer “Hungry Jacks” – huzzah!)

Step 7: Board flight from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow.

Step 8: Spend eight hours aboard Airbus A-340. Chat to awesome Scottish guy who cycled all over America in seat next to you, watch one film – the Soloist (brilliant), eat more actually nice plane food, read a couple of hundred pages of the Fifth Sorceress, play Tetris on the in-flight entertainment.

Step 9: Touchdown at Heathrow, get through passport control, collect bags.

Step 10: Walk to underground station, get ticket from counter after cards fail in machine.

Step 11: Take tube from Heathrow to Earl’s Court. Chat to cool French couple for the duration.

Step 12: Change tubes and go from Earl’s Court to Putney Bridge

Step 13: Finally see my little sister for the first time in eleven months, wait for bus.

Step 14: Take 15 minute bus journey to my sisters flat.

And some 14 steps and a ridiculous amount of time after I left I found myself at my sisters flat in London with no further travelling to do until tomorrow. At which time a train from Kings Cross to Leeds should seem like a doddle.

It was/is so nice to see my lil sis, she’s at uni as I type this and is just starting her final year, as per usual she is going to come along three years after and kick the arse of my grades and I don’t mind one bit! Before we headed out we talked shit, I’ve made a bargain with her that will see me in a costumer at an anime convention in May. That should be interesting, I promise the pics will make it to facebook for you all to laugh at. If anyone has any suggestions for my costume please do feel free to fill me in.

I’m going to spend the next few hours waiting for my sis to get in while resisting (hopefully) the evermore tempting overtures of jet lag, if I can bully my way through til nine or ten tonight I can hopefully be in some form of reasonable human shape for my friend Richard Sanderson’s wedding this weekend. I can’t wait.

So thats it, I’m home, Australia is finished, there will be a post in the coming week thanking everoyne I can remember and reliving some memories but I’m home and the adventure will have no more chapters added to it. I’m a little sad about that but I’m mor excited to be home and able to see everyone!

Love and Home

J. Xx


One Response to “They Think It’s All Over… It Is Now!”

  1. Can’t believe the almost year has passed, and what fantastic times you have enjoyed and new people you have met! Great to have you back albeit for a short while, here’s to your next adventure and me coming out to join you wherever?

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