I walked down the airplane aisle, my eyes scanning the row numbers searching for my seat. I spotted it in the corner, right next to some gigantic, mean-looking Asian with a shaved head and strong jaw. Once I started talking to him I realised he was the nicest guy ever. He wanted to practice his English with me and told me about his time in the army and we found out that we shared the same music taste with his favourite bands being Mumford & Sons and Snow Patrol. His friends called him the Korean Zombie but he had a gentle soul.
I stirred awake as we arrived in Sydney with beautiful sunshine breaking through the shutter. Making my way through customs, this Australian border control lady asked me if I had any food products with me. Absent-mindedly I asked, “are Vitamin C tablets okay?”. Without a beat she replied, “fortunately for you it’s Vitamin C Friday, otherwise you would be in trouble”. People always warned me about Australian customs since watching that border control show but I just breezed through.
The train ride over from the airport I accidentally bumped into two passengers. Both excused themselves and laughed. What kind of creatures are these Australians?? Leaving the train station I realised that I should have brought a map or at least know what direction I needed to head. I took a chance and chose a street to head down. I started to notice a lot of strip clubs, sex shops and prostitutes I should have realised that Kings Cross was Sydney’s red light district! Australian’s have such a laid back attitude that there were middle-aged, middle-class people and couples roaming around, going about their business normally. I turned the corner and appeared in a posh area. I stopped and spoke to a cute girl who was a travel agency rep and was so friendly, she pointed me in the right direction to my hostel.
After spending a long time in the winter of the northern hemisphere, the heat of Sydney was uncomfortable. Add the 13 kg backpack I was lugging around, droplets of sweat ran down my cheek. When was the last time I had drunken something? Last night during the in-flight entertainment? I stumbled into the familiar sanctuary of McDonalds and after fumbling with the foreign change I bought a frozen coke. I cannot tell you how good that icy cola tasted.
I arrived at the Blue Parrot just before midday and was greeted by yet another attractive female with a big smile. She gave me the lowdown on the hostel and showed me around. My first ever hostel bed was next to the window and a cool breeze sailed in on the warm day, it was a well lit, very clean room with ten beds and an en-suite. It started with only four occupants but it increased to full capacity by the end of my stay. My favourite character of the hostel was a guy called Jake from London. He had a big beard, shaggy hair and a guitar he would strum from time to time. A real traveller, my beard was of no match!
After I had settled in, I took a leisurely stroll through the neighbourhood until I came out to the water’s edge of the harbour. It was a stunning day…almost TOO sunny so I was forced to dash into a convenient store to buy some factor 30 sun screen and some blue-flavoured Gatorade.
USEFUL FACT!!! Did you know that Factor-30 blocks out 97% of UV rays while Factor-50 blocks out 99%?
I continued to follow the coastline until I reached a lookout called Mrs Marquais’ chair. Across the sparkling, clear water was the famous Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. I had arrived in Australia.