My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

The end of the affair

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It’s a small world

The drive back to Melbourne presented no problems (shocking I know) and there were no charges waiting for us when we dropped the keys off. Taxi back to the hostel and we took a tram to St Kilda’s to explore the beach.

Obviously we were both starving, so we popped into a nice looking cafe for a spot of brunch. And, of course, it was the cafe where Hannah (who I met in the Blue Mountains) worked. It amazes me how small the world really is.

After gorging ourselves – and enjoying a free coffee – we set off with Hannah for some cider in Abbey Road. St Kilda’s is very like Camden, so it seemed appropriate that we were in a London themed bar!

Onto the beach – past some hippies dressed in fluorescent tutus, dancing to huge ghetto blasters – and into another bar to meet up with other vagrants from Sydney.

Back to the hostel to beautify ourselves and we headed out – German roommate in tow – first to the hostel bar (hello jugs of sangria) and then to another appropriately named bar: The Berlin Bar.

After entering a door marked ‘No Dickheads’ and going up some steps, guests have to push a little green button and wait to be admitted. We were then ushered past the sophisticated white stools of West Berlin into East Berlin, where there are boxes and bunk beds! The prices were definitely more west though…

After a quick Pie Face (for all three of us) it was back to the hostel to watch our Italian roommate’s brush with death (aka crocodiles) before a relatively early night.

The next morning we visited Victoria Market, which sells all kinds of crap, as well as organic food. We then indulged in homemade muffins and delicious coffee before spending the rest of the morning riding the (free) tram which goes around the city,

Luggage collected, it was a sad farewell that Miss H and I bid as I headed back to Sydney. It had been an epic few weeks, but now I was leaving Australia for the delights of Asia.

By the time the shuttle bus had deigned to appear, dropped me off (last, again) and the receptionist had managed to find me a room – after I traipsed up the stairs, bags in tow, and was told in no uncertain terms to leave: “Sorry babe, this room’s full”, all I had time for was a pot noodle, a shower and a film (The Magdalen Sisters) before attempting to sleep.

Sadly, my fellow hostellers were having their traditional Sunday night rave, so when I got up at 6.30am I’d barely slept a wink and had a flight to catch!

After two minutes in Sydney airport I was being made over by a Benefit lady, so I bought some eyeshadow. I then saw that my flight was delayed by three hours, meaning that my Singapore trip was cut by half a day. I stormed off to get a coffee and then realised that it wasn’t my flight that was delayed, so had to run to my gate. It wasn’t until I was on the plane that I noticed that I’d left the make-up in the airport.

Ah well – It would be far too hot for make-up in Singapore!

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Moving on to Melbourne

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Not so smooth sailing

The rest of our time in Sydney passed in a blur – I took the ferry to Manly, sat on the beach and bought a bikini. As Miss H’s time was drawing to a close, we spent Friday night with her friends from her last hostel, lapping up the free drinks and making lots of new friends wherever we went, ending up in O’Malleys.

Saturday was much the same – a late brunch, followed by sunbathing and packing up. We then drank some Kopparberg, ate a $10 steak, drank some Binends and went out with some of the gang from New Year’s Eve – nothing too hardcore. Just lots of dancing in O’Malleys (standard).

Of course, certain circumstances meant that we didn’t have time to sleep before our flight, so exhausted and a little worse for wear we caught a taxi to Sydney Airport. Upon arrival, Miss H realises that she’s left her phone somewhere. I ring it – yup, it’s in the taxi. The driver refuses to come back to the airport, even though she offers to pay the fare, as he wouldn’t make it in time.

Then he rings back to say his friend is on her way to the airport and has the phone. We manage to collect the phone (only a $10 charge), get through security and onto our flight with time to spare.

Once we get to Avalon, it’s an hour on the coach to South Central Station and a good 25 minute walk to our hostel. But, we make it and are able to check in. After showers (where I embarrassed our roommate who walked in to find me wearing just a towel, muttered hello and promptly exited), we set out to explore.

Mooching in Melbourne

Just a short walk from our hostel, we stumbled across a new restaurant called Pepper Lunch, which served traditional Japanese food. By this time we were starving, so we tucked into huge plates of sizzling rice, chicken and cheese.

Following the Lonely Planet guide to Melbourne, we walked around the city, past a lot of theatres (I could live here), beautiful old (for Australia) buildings and colourful graffiti. We also wandered through some alleyways full of shops and caf├ęs and even saw Woodlock (a band Sarah told us to see if we could) perform in the street.

Then, of course, it rained. So, aware of the fact that we had to drive in the morning, we headed back to the hostel and chilled out in the living room, before a ridiculously early night, interrupted by the delightful voices of two Spanish girls who were enjoying their own personal karaoke session.

Even once they were politely told “you have beautiful voices, but shut the hell up” they continued to sing, shout and giggle with their window open so that everyone could hear them.

Hardly the peaceful night we had envisioned, having had just three hours’ sleep in almost three days.

Ah well – c’est le vie.

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