Ah, Australians. Can’t accuse many of them of being self-effacing and polite. On Saturday night, I sat after a Thai dinner with Chris and his Canadian scientist friend in a park in Glebe, sipping beer and cider and watching the moon. We were entertained At one point a middle-aged woman walked past us with her dog, an animal of indeterminate breed named Oscar. Oscar started sniffing something on the ground and, thinking he’d found chicken, she let rip as only the Australians can. “Ah fer fuck’s sakes,” she called in a voice rich with years of cigarettes and beer. “What have you got there?” It turned out to be a piece of wood. She threw one of the two balls she had for Oscar, who galloped past us in the shadows, claws scrabbling on the concrete pathway.
In the glow of the streetlights, a kookaburra swooped down to catch something on the lawn.
Day two in Australia had kicked off much earlier, with my usual 4am wake up. It’s hard to tell whether this is jet lag or just… normal. Eventually I drifted back to sleep and woke up at 9am, which means I’m about on par with my South African timetable.
Chris drove us to his favourite breakfast place, the Riverside Deli, where we picked up a long black, a flat white (which pretty much describes me), a bacon roll and toasted raisin bread for $17. Times by 10, and that’s what I paid in Rondts. (I’m trying not to convert.) We drove to Tambourine Park by the river and enjoyed breakfast sitting on a bench with this view:
Sydney is full of views like this. It’s a beautiful city, in my experience, full of parks and vistas filled with yachts and waterfront homes. After breakfast, we went for a stroll up to the grounds of St Ignatius, one of Sydney’s private schools, and I picked up a couple of blisters because I was wearing slip-slops, which were lovely in the oppressive heat, but not very practical for extended pedestrian activity.
From Tambourine Park we headed to Hornsby and the Westfield Mall. There I picked up a Telstra 3G USB with 2GB for $59, a comfortable pair of shoes, two extra pairs of pants and a handy mini shampoo and conditioner. (That’s the trouble with taking along a suitcase weighing only 6.8kg: you’re bound to get found out.)
For dinner, it was over the Anzac Bridge to Glebe, one of Sydney’s older suburbs, and full of character. Not as well known as Paddington (Paddo, home of rich hipsters) or the Inner West, it has a charm of its own. Think Parkhurst pavement culture on steroids. In fact, that’s one of the things that astounds me most about Sydney: the sheer vast number of restaurants. If you love pavement culture, you are spoiled for choice.
After watching Oscar and his owner in the park, we marched off in search of dessert, which ended up being chocolate lava cake at a cafe by the name of Badde Manors. Then it was home to Lane Cove where we watched Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Space Mutiny, which featured an astonishingly bad movie filmed in Cape Town in the 80s, which features many of our actors and the world’s worst American accents. The guy from the Castrol Can of the Best ads features in the most awkward seduction scene ever.
I ingested one of my Zolpidem so missed out on the very end. Not sure I missed much. Up next: day three and the Blue Mountains.