Day 1: Sydney, Australia, NSW
I eventually arrived in Sydney and checked into Base. Seemed decent, if not a bit generic. Calypso Backpackers is still the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in, and I’m excited to stay there again once I hit Cairns.
I went to a local shopping center and compared cell phone plans. I ended up getting a pre-paid SIM card to pop into my unlocked iPhone 3GS from Optus. For $50AUD I charged the account with more minutes and texts than I need, and 500MB of data — all of which expires after 30 days. I have the iPhone linked to my laptop so I can use the phone’s connection to give internet to the laptop, which comes in handy. ~15MB of data per day is a decent quota, as long as I’m just doing quick browsing/email/Facebook/Twitter/etc.
When I need to upload pictures and video I’ll have to pay to use the connection at one of the nearly infinite internet cafes in the neighborhood.
After shopping I was exhausted and jet lagged, took a nap, and was woken up by two of my roommates returning from their day out shopping. A South Korean girl with a name I don’t remember, and Kimmy from Holland. I figured I should wake up and try to get on local time, so I went downstairs for dinner and drinks.
Base has a pretty lively bar attached to it called Scary Canary. Like so many places in Australia, the food and drink aren’t cheap, but luckily there are specials every night. I made friends with the bartender (Mary, cute little American blonde from Washington state) For $10AUD I went with the bacon cheeseburger, fries and a schooner of Toohey’s New.
After dinner I hung out with a Canadian girl, an English girl, and a group of Ozzie guys. I forget everyone’s name and don’t expect to ever see any of them again. Fun people, though.
Around 9pm they removed some of the tables from the bar to make a dance floor. A shirtless American guy started to DJ, and for some reason he was only allowed to play songs that he had the music videos for, so that every flat-screen TV in the bar was showing what we were listening to. Every popular song from the past 5 years was played over the course of the night. Backpackers love Black Eyed Peas — fact.
Scary Canary has a theme every night of the week, and the night’s drink specials are only valid for people who dress up according to whatever the night’s specialty is. Luckily, they seem to realize that most backpackers didn’t pack their Halloween costumes with them, so they actually provide people with themed gear for the evening. For instance, tonight was a glow-in-the-dark theme, so they handed out tubes of suntan lotion you could paint yourself with that glowed under backlight.
This post is getting long and stupid, so I’ll bullet-point the rest of the night’s highlights:
- Australian guy telling me about all the times he’s been deported from America
- Watching creepy old guys trying to pick up the young backpacker ladies
- Getting a wicked nosebleed and going to bed