Sydney, NSW: Part IV, Where I Decide To Leave It All Behind

On the 1st we hit Scubar, the backpacker bar at another YHA and watched crab racing, I believe #22 won. We then hit another pub, but called it a short night.

I had found out that the Cheers Bar was showing the Michigan-USC game on Tuesday morning at 9, so I went there and watched the embarassing and disappointing game with a few fellow alumni. That next night was our last night out, so we made it a good one (and long), going out with the girls to World Bar and Empire in the Cross. We pre-partied a bit at the girls’ hostel, then did our bar hop.

Sidebar: One thing I forgot to mention about the Cross the last time we were there, was a bar called Vegas where they had underwater pole-dancing! The dancers, one male, one female, wore weight belts to manage their buoyancy. I hadn’t seen anything like it, it was rather cool.

At World Bar, I overheard a girl speaking in an American accent, and not having heard one in a while, I asked her where she was from. Philadelphia, she said, and then she immediately said that I just had to come upstairs with her because there was someone I had to meet. My eyes lit up, but rather in astonishment when she went on to say that I’d be perfect for … him.

Oh dear god no.

When I told her I wasn’t gay she got really flushed and started stammering, trying to cover her mistake. Not surprisingly, we headed for Empire soon afterwards. I’m gonna go ahead and blame the earrings on that one. I guess two earrings on a man still means the person’s definitely gay here in Oz.

Sidebar: the last time we were at Empire, an ambulance and fire engine were pulling up to the bar the same time we got in line to go in. Later, I took a walk around the downstairs pub area and saw EMTs loading a guy up onto a stretcher. I asked someone what happened and he told me a story that’ll make you think twice about Sydney bouncers too: for whatever reason, this guy got into a row upstairs and got his nose whacked. Holding it and barely able to stay on his feet, he went downstairs and lay down on a couch and passed out. Shortly thereafter, when he came to, he started squirming on the couch, probably disoriented and confused. Immediately, about 5 bouncers pounced on him and just pummeled the cr@p out of him. As the paramedics took him away, I saw his face badly battered and his neck in a brace. Someone said they saw a broken asthma inhaler laying on the ground next to him.

We danced and had a good time at Empire for the rest of the night, dropping the girls off only at around 4 and getting back to the hostel around 5. The next day, Wednesday, after lunch at the Cheers Bar I said goodbye to Brad and Phil.

I had wanted to go to Katoomba, a small town in the Blue Mountains, on Thursday, but couldn’t get a hostel until Friday night. I extended my stay at the YHA by one more night and prepared to leave Sydney.

The next day, during breakfast, an announcement was made over the PA that anyone looking for work in exchange for accomodation should report to the front desk. I obliged and found out they’d give me two free nights (or re-imburse me) if I worked for about 5 hours removing old lockers from rooms. It was only me, but the work was easy. Excluding the lunch break, I only really ended up working about 4 hours, and only 3 of them were spent doing anything. The rest of the time, I followed the Romanian maintenance manager Marin (say Mar-een) around as he tended to unrelated tasks. He was a short, funny guy who reminded me of Bilbo Baggins. He’d knock on doors and in a thick Russian accent and say “Maintenance”, open the door and give a quick “Helloo?”. He’d become noticeably quiet and shy if it turned out to be a girls room. If there were no lockers there to be removed, “Eez Good!”, if only a single locker (thin and easy to move), “Eez OK, we take it out”, but if it was a double, “Tsk, Oh no, eet’s a double. We come back later and take it.” Double’s were particularly troublesome because they were so big you had to remove the door to get them out.

I got my two free nights and Marin said if I came back the following Tuesday, I could probably get two more since we didn’t finish all the rooms. I said I’d try to come back, but I had already almost made up my mind to head straight to Melbourne after Katoomba.

That afternoon, Charlie and I made the $24 climb (well, elevator ride) to the top of the Sydney Tower, the tallest building in the city. The view was really nice, but I think the price was a little unjustified. This is one of Darling Harbor:

Stay tuned for my portrayal of Typhoid Mary, as I transport one nasty virus to a cosy little hostel in the mountains.

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