Last night Jen and I had intentions of going on a guided pub crawl through Sydney but being us, we completely bungled the times and ended up all dressed up with nowhere to go. Again being us, we figured all that glam couldn’t go to waste and so we decided to go out anyway and what an interesting evening it was.
We started out with cocktails at Jacksons… always the way to go… cocktails before 6pm. From there, dinner at a gorgeous little Italian restaurant necking Pinot Grigio and skindering (gossiped for the non-Saffas) in Afrikaans about the odd couple next to us… a balding British man and a scared looking Asian girl who could speak very little English… hmm…
Finally we ended up back at the 3 Wise Monkeys to check out the band and it was there where we met the mad Blacksmith. Despite the fact that he was on a blind date with a Russian girl (fortunately being keep amused by his friend who knew her before), he settled himself across from Jen and I, grinned at me and said, “long time no see.” Sorry, sweetheart, that line doesn’t work on girls who don’t actually live in the same country you do. None of this seemed to dissuade him and he continued to flirt outrageously with me while regaling us with the all the possible details of being a blacksmith. To be honest with you I had no idea that being a blacksmith was still an option post the 19th century, but anyway I know way more about the melting points and rusting and behaviour of various metals then I ever did before.
Then the band struck up, three guys in matching outfits with the singer standing behind a mini-drum kit playing the cheesiest possible rock classics. Sigh… the blacksmith wasn’t complaining though. He made attempts to get Jen and I onto the dance floor but we weren’t having it so he took off on his own. It was like watching a car crash. There was a lot of arm waving and booty-shaking. Seriously all the boy needed was a pole and he could have been centre-stage at Spearmint Rhino. I’ve never seen a man dance like that and I was in no way surprised when his friend told us that he gets a lot of offers from gay men.
Having realised that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with me (sorry dude, I like my Band Boy better), the blacksmith moved onto trying it on with Jen, who was getting on quite well with his friend (now that the Russian girl had gone off it a huff). There’s only one name for that kind of guy… Meat Seeking Missile. He proceeded to ruin any chances of his friend and Jen possibly taking things any further by yelling out, “ask her out” at the top of his lungs. Nice one, dumbass. Unfortunately this was just as we had to leave to get the last train. So we swanned out giggling, leaving the boys to enjoy their evening… alone…
Tonight… pub crawl…
It’s been an interesting couple of days. On Sunday Jen and I went and met my friend Stono in Leichart. She invited us to come and see her perform at The Ever Burning Light Squat. It was a real eye-opener. The Ever Burning Light Squat is literally a squat. Now while I admire anyone who had strong beliefs and is committed to living within them, there is no way I could ever live illegally in a filthy building with a bunch of other randoms. It just doesn’t fit in with my beliefs.
We were made to feel very welcome and Stono and her friend, Jack’s performances were very cool. I also really liked vocalist, Leish AKA She The Wolf and the bizarrely trippy, electro set played by an unnamed band just before we left. They played one 45 minute long instrumental song on an array of unidentifiable instruments. They may have to consider breaking things up a bit for future performances but it was impressively funky.
One downside of the experience was wandering through Leichart pre-gig in red satin leggings I got way more “go home freak” stares than I’m used to. Two guys actually stopped mid-convo and the one turned to the other and said “what is that?” I won’t miss that when I get back to judgement-free London.
Today I headed into Newtown with Jen and her friend Lizzie for some shopping. What we didn’t realise was that on Monday most of the shops in Newtown are closed… boo! I did find an incredible pair of black leggings with these white light explosions on them. They’re the leggings of DESTINY.
Encountered yet another oddly named Australian product… seriously?
Before ending up back in the Cupcake Bakery, where this time we couldn’t resist buying a dozen cupcakes. I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to eat them all, but aren’t they pretty?
The sightseeing continued today with a trip on the Bondi Explorer bus to see the bays of Sydney from Rushcutters to Coogee stopping at the famous Bondi in between. We were fortunate enough to get a fascinating tour guide called Glen who not only whistled his way through the tour but also regaled us with tales of weddings he’d attended, gave us his opinions on what would have happened if the French arrived in Sydney before the British and pointed out random dogs wandering down the beachfront.
We spent some time ambling around Bondi Beach admiring the surfers, splashing around in the waves and soaking up a little sun.
Welcome to Bondi Beach
Riding the waves
After that it was back to the city to get cupcakes at the Cupcake Bakery in celebration of Mat Devine’s 35th birthday. How gorgeous are these? All the bakery makes is cupcakes and you can even buy giant ones for special occasions. I’m trying to figure out some kind of excuse to go back there since cupcakes are right up there on my list of things worth living for.
Choc mint for Jen, carrot for me
We followed that up with a wander down Oxford Street where I was somewhat puzzled by the signage…
The Lick-Her Store is not a strip club, it's a bottle store
The Tool Shed is not a hardware shop, it's a gay sex shop
The House Of Fetish is not a sex shop, it's a Goth Clothing Store
Jen then introduced me to Aus’ answer to Topshop, Sportsgirl. Big mistake. I came out with a pair of bright blue and black stonewashed jeans, a large purple plastic ring in the shape of a rose, a vintage zebra print purse and a pair of red satin leggings. In my defence there was a sale on and the lot only cost me $85. Still wearing the ring now.
Our final stop on the tour was the independent Palace Theatre where we watched a Swedish vampire film called, Let The Right One In. I’m not sure how to describe it… I supposed bizarre is the best word. I’m not afraid to admit that it might have been just a little too avant garde for me.
Tomorrow we are sleeping in!
After following Jen’s craving for bacon to Java Lava for breakfast yesterday (where I discovered, based on the looks that I was getting, that my bright red hair, nose ring and tattoos might have been just a little too much for pensioner’s Tuesday in the suburb of Revesby) we took a drive to Cronulla to check out the beach. I’m not sure why but it reminded me a lot of the white sand beaches in Port Elizabeth. We took a stroll around, inspected the locals and soaked up the sun, good times!
Our evening plans had us getting glammed up and going into the city to meet Jen’s lovely friends, Em and Roze for Tapas followed by cake and then cocktails at the 3 Wise Monkeys. It didn’t take us long to descend into giggles and stories about boys. Put a bunch of girls together, give them booze and the results are inevitable. Roze and Em had to leave at 10 to get their train but Jen and I decided to stick around and head upstairs to see if the band was any good. Unfortunately we had picked up a pair of lurkers who were quietly following us around the bar… sigh…
The band turned out to be offering up mostly late 90’s post-grunge, soft cock rock covers. They weren’t bad but the guitarist was considerably better than the rest of the band and one gets the impression that if he ditched his mates he might be able to do a bit better than playing covers to an empty room in a bar on a Tuesday night. Things pepped up a bit when the band took a break and the DJ whacked on some RnB hits. Jen and I remained in our corner giggling (only possibly fuelled by vodka) as the 3 Wise Monkey’s clientele brought out their moves. We were particularly charmed by the white boy who was attempting to glide and coming across as if he had gum stuck to his shoe paired with a nervous twitch. To the audience’s credit they stayed on post RnB and continued to jump around to the band who were noisily murdering first Kings Of Leon and then The Killers. It was better when they stayed in the 90’s where they belonged.
Sadly the last train called and we headed back to Town Hall station to catch our ride back to Revesby just before midnight. Not before we stopped to get free hugs from a boy with a sign… well from his mate anyway. Slight case of false advertising there… the boy with the sign was a lot cuter than the one doing the hugging.
Still in our party gear we watched the dodgy copy of the Doctor Who Easter special that Jen’s mum’s workmates sneaked off the net for us. It was a very interactive experience with both of us waving our hands and shouting at the TV a lot. Conclusions… better than the Xmas special, Michelle Ryan is a crackwhore and who cast Lee Evans as a Welsh scientist??
Today… koala hugging! Stay tuned!
In the spirit of getting some serious sightseeing done, Jen and I were up, dressed and on the train into the city at 9 this morning… yawning and dazed, but filled with enthusiasm. Of course serious sightseeing needs serious fuel and we started our mission with massive pancakes (and coffee… biiig coffee) at Pancakes On The Rocks, which apparently one has to go to. I’d certainly recommend it…
After that it was onto the Sydney Explorer bus for a whirlwind view of the city from Opera House to Anzac Memorial and every museum in between. We took a short break and a bit of a wander at the Botanical Gardens where I took this sign way too seriously.
Of course if you take me anywhere where there is an aquarium, I will insist on going. There is nothing on earth I like more than an aquarium. I instantly regress to the age of four. For the sake of the other visitors, Jen was probably not the best companion for me. We shrieked and squealed our way through turtles, glow in the dark coral, dugongs, sharks and crocs, pulling faces and doing impersonations of everything from pig-nosed turtles to moon jellyfish. Jen particularly liked the crocs.
Next to the aquarium is the Wildlife Centre so we popped over there too to check out a series of very creepy creepy-crawlies (is it weird that I was more afraid of the twig and leaf bugs than I was of the giant spiders and snakes), some fascinating and adorable nocturnal creatures and of course this cuddly koala, who appeared to be a little stoned on blue gum leaves.
On exiting the Wildlife Centre we discovered it was raining as if the ark was about to arrive at any moment. I honestly believe that the city gods where attempting to drown me for cheating on my beloved London with the beautiful Sydney. There was nothing to do but buy some ponchos from the gift shop (they have a little shop… I like it when there’s a little shop) and brave the storm. We looked like escapees from a bad horror film. There are no photos of that… it’s too wrong for visual documentation.
We will be heading back to the city to check out some of the hotspots in more detail and to do the Bondi Explorer bus tour so we can see all the beaches… well once it stops raining anyway!
Greetings from sunny Australia. My second flight was relatively uneventful. Got squashed in next to a rather large Aussie man and what I think was his Thai mail order bride (seriously). They alternated between arguing and making out… most of it half on my seat… I honestly can’t tell you which was worse.
My arrival in Sydney was probably the most laidback stroll I’ve had through immigration. I don’t think they even checked my visa. I was fortunate enough to be collected and whisked away by Jen and her lovely mum to their adorable house where I even have my own room. Since then all they have done is love and feed me. I might stay forever, even if only to spend all my time cuddling Jen’s dog, Oreo (Aussie terrier cross Shih-Tzu) who is probably the cutest dog in the universe.
After a bit of afternoon napping (read 3 ½ hours in a coma), I braved the jetlag to go and see MSI at the Roundhouse. Quite the experience. The Sydney crowd seems to be a lot more aggressive than your average London crowd. I almost got wiped out a couple of times.
First support was called Spazmoo and consisted of a drummer and a singing bass guitarist. Their sound was bizarre. The singer varied between sounding like a cow dying and a very, very bad impression of Eddie Vedder. Do not check them out…
Next up was The Red Paintings who were… unique. Their stage costumes where fascinating. The bassist seemed to be dressed as the Spirit of Goth, the cellist was some kind of dead thing and the singer had a Yoda doll attached to his back, which he talked to randomly. Added to this there was a girl on the side of the stage working on a giant abstract painting. Their sound was pretty cool (kind of like Placebo fighting the Flaming Lips) although the stage show was very distracting. I’d have to hear them recorded before I could make a proper judgment but their cover of Tears For Fears’ Mad World was wicked cool.
How to even describe MSI. Unfortunately they are not touring with heavily pregnant bassist, Lyn-Z, but the onstage behaviour of deranged frontman, Little Jimmy Urine, make it difficult to pay attention to anyone else anyway. His antics included stripping, flashing, sharing his whisky with a random audience member, sticking his mic down his trousers, giving another audience member a whirlwind tour of the stage for $20 and putting together a chorus of fat girls to join him onstage (apparently “skinny bitches” don’t put out). MSI are an absolutely riot of sound and their powerful beats over Jimmy’s crazy falsetto had everyone dancing. We left sweaty and exhausted. Here’s a little video of Stupid MF for you to enjoy.
Today Jen and I are lying on the couch helping me get over my jetlag. It turns out Torchwood is good even on the other side of the world.
I met up with Band Boy for lunch today. I’m not sure how it happened but we were wearing matching outfits… me in my red check dress and black leggings and him in a red check shirt and skinny black jeans. I have to wonder what the other patrons of Thai Metro must have thought of the two of us in our tartan, covered in tattoos and talking animatedly with much arm waving. Band Boy seems to think that we might have been mistaken for members of some kind of emo cult. One day our kind will take over… and then you will all become fabulous, every last one of you! He really is crazy fun to hang out with… he’s so laidback and upbeat that I can’t help but leave with a smile on my face.
I have spent my evening packing. Anyone who knows me, knows I despise packing. I think I have reverse OCD. I don’t like things that are folded or having to predict what I’m going to want to wear in two weeks time. I have without doubt forgotten something vital… I did once manage to arrive in SA without socks or a toothbrush.
I will be heading to Sydney, Australia tomorrow afternoon, returning on 25 April. Fear not though, Frank will be accompanying me on my journey to visit the lovely Jen, who does have an internet connection, obviously, there will be bloggage (assuming I survive both 13 hour flights)… it might just be a little less regular. Miss me, y’hear…
I am so excited… I went to pick up my passport from the Sorting Office yesterday (after missing a delivery) and glued neatly inside it is… an Australian visitor’s visa. Yup, that’s right… the terrible twosome of Jen and Abbi will be together once again when I head to Sydney on 9 April.
Since before Jen’s trip to London, she and I have been plotting and planning a trip to Sydney for me… and today it all finally became a reality. Because I am still cursed to be travelling on a South African passport (not that I think being South African is in any way a curse… it’s just the obstacles that come with the passport that are exhausting and expensive), I was forced to get a full visa (if you are European or American you can get a speedy online one). I sent off all the documents about two weeks ago and I’ve been frantically waiting for the return of my passport by post. The whole process made me nervous because the idea of surrendering my travel documents to Royal Mail horrifies me and I had many nightmares where they got lost and I was stuck in a foreign country with no visa so a massive sigh of relief was breathed when the parcel slip came through the door yesterday.
Of course step two was booking a flight. I managed to get a good deal on United Airlines via San Fran on the way there and LA on the way back… stroke of luck in this case that I have a valid US visitor’s visa because you cannot even transit in the States without one. Next option would have added £60 to the cost of the ticket. The weird thing is that because I am flying “backwards” the time differences are mind-boggling. On the way there, I leave SF at 10pm on Thursday and then arrive in Sydney at 6am on SATURDAY. An entire day disappears… I know I should be over the wonder of time differences by now but I swear by the time I land I’m not going to know if I’m Bruce or Sheila!
Needless to say Jen and I are already making many lists of things we want to do while I’m there. I think our lists are probably a bit different from the standard tourist ones since they include things like “watch Torchwood season 2” and “general fangirling”.
For those who are interested in the tattoo, it is healing nicely although it is now at the super sexy stage where it sheds bits of multicoloured scab and itches as if I have a flea infestation. At least tonight the Clingfilm comes off and I can stop feeling like a human sandwich!
*Disclaimer: before you all comment me and tell me I’ve made a mistake… I haven’t. It’s a reference to the first scene in Dumb And Dumber