My trip, although only 3 days long, started around a week and a half ago. I spoke to some friends from Sydney who all claimed I should give them a visit and accommodation arrangements were made. Work and social commitments popped up on several of them and the trip was to be cancelled.
Mitch: Hey Aimee, dunno if I’ll be coming to Sydney now, I have nowhere to stay.
Aimee: get every1 together and come stay at my place and we can have a party
Mitch: It’s Derby Day weekend, no one will want to come, but the idea is nice!
Aimee: well you just come down and we can hang out and get drunk
And thus, the idea was born. Within 6 hours I had booked my flights to Sydney and back and I was ready to roll. The suddenly it dawns on me: does Aimee really want me down there? Sure we’re friends and all, but we don’t know each other that well!
Friday morning at 4:45 my alarm goes off and I get the fright of my life. Somehow in the night I had placed my water bottle on top of my phone and the vibration sends the bottle toppling down and sends water all over my face. Shit my pants. I stumbled down, shower and shave and make sure I have packed everything I’ll need – I didn’t.
I sit in the airport in writers-mode and try to take everything in. I have no pad like I normally take and certainly didn’t burden myself with my dying laptop, so I try my best to remember things as clearly as possible. I note the nervous guy in the front row who is quite obviously flying for the first time sitting next to the slacker businessman who has probably been in the air several times this week alone. He shuffles his feet and continually talks to his girlfriend in whispers as Slacker grunts a laugh at him and gets shot a stare for being so callus.
I remove my phone from my pocket and go through my to-do list to make sure I did everything. I forgot my phone charger, that is going to hurt me. First flight call goes up warning me that my plane will be ready to leave soon and I pack away my phone, PSP and my jumper.
Making my way to the gate I see families kissing fathers goodbye, boyfriends calling girlfriends one last time before they leave and children crying because they will miss loved ones. I am noticeably unmoved at 6:30 and realise, without any feeling, that I am standing alone simply waiting to get onto my flight.
I sit in my seat and suddenly wish I had a palm pilot or small notebook to make notes about the flirt. Slacker snorts loudly as he squeezes into his seat and the nervous git from the airport is positioned directly next to me, cowering into his girlfriend. “Stewardess, are you certain I can’t listen to my iPod,” I ask hoping to drown out his constant whimpering. She confirms it’ll be 20 minutes before I can begin listening to The Get Up Kids once again and I laugh and turn instead to making fun of him.
“First time,” I ask and gesture towards the Coward.
“Yeah, you fly much,” Coward’s girlfriend replies as I suddenly realise how gorgeous she is.
“Enough not to turn to jelly, your boyfriend is the very definition of ‘Heroic’ isn’t he?”
“It’s my brother, not my boyfriend, he’s just being a pussy and hugging me a little too much.”
Suddenly he turns from Wimpy Boyfriend to Wimpy Bedwetting Brother and I giggle.
“I’m single and ready for Sydney,” she adds with a wink.
Oh yeah, Mitch, you still got it!
I smile at her and cooly say, “me too, what do you have planned for the weekend?”
She blabs for a few minutes about some neurotic baby shower she is going to and tells me about all of her friends while the stewardess gives a lesson on how to use flotation devices. Given that we’ll be flying over land, I decide that floating isn’t a huge priority and ignore her, but also ignore the cute sister. Suddenly she goes from cute and seemingly-interested, to mind-numbingly boring and I tune out.
“Sounds like a hectic weekend, you should have fun!”
She looks at me the same way my mother looks at me when I’ve ignored her and made it rather apparent with an out of left field comment. Soon enough the conversation is over, we’re in the air and I am listening to my iPod and eating my “light breakfast” which would be more aptly described as 100% preservative that is a guaranteed ticket to diarrhea.
I take my headphones off and Cute Sister begins again. “So what about you, what do you have planned?” I give her a large story about a few ideas I have had, none of which are actually close to what happened in the end, and end it with another wise crack about her brother. He is too scared to say anything and we both laugh.
Seatbelts are back on and before you know it we’re landing. “I’m so glad we made it, there were a few times there I thought we were doomed!” Cute Sister laughs while the ever-chivalrous brother looks like he is sitting in his own urine. I laugh at my own joke and we all get off the plane.
Business first, I take care of what needs to be taken care of. Before you know it my day is half over and I am having lunch with >Kevin. I decide that all you can eat is a phrase that sounds so much better when you are actually hungry. It’s good to catch up with Kevin and we chat about a lot of stuff that we always chat about; life.
I travel across the city and get my bag before I wander through the city. I need the necessities with me at all times; music, money and music. My iPod is doing the usual “sure we promise 12 hours, but be grateful if you get 3” battery life and I regret, not for the first time, buying an iPod rather than an iriver.
I get to the city around 4 or 5 and wander for a while. I feel very insignificant amongst the hustle of the city and I feel more alone than I have in a very long time. I walk past homeless people, past churches and all night medical centers, past pubs and clubs and all the while I completely acknowledge that no one is even noticing me. I hear a bunch of New Zealanders drinking at a bar and one of them beckons to me, “eh bro, come ‘ave a beer eh?” I join them and we have a few laughs. I rip on their accent, they rip on my accent, I joke about how Aussies are better, then the 6 Maori gentlemen make it apparent that they could kill me if they wanted to. Departure immanent, I take a pee and tell them I have to keep moving. Time spent fearing for my life: 6 seconds, then a quick dash out the door.
I message James and soon enough we meet up for a few more beers. We discuss the nightclubs in Sydney, what we’ve all been up to and I let him play my PSP. In most cases I enjoy having things to keep me entertained, but most people laugh when they find that I take an iPod and similar devices with me everywhere I go. James is a game and completely understands, we soon depart and go back to his place to enjoy some PS2 on the bigscreen. Time spent geeking out: 2 joyous hours!
After a few games of GT4 James has to meet some friends and I make my way back to the city. I wander along George St for a little while and go past one of many bars I attend frequently in Sydney, The Three Wise Monkeys. I order a beer and barely turn around before I strike up a conversation with some backpackers. It’s an English couple of about 25 on their first trip to Australia, I give them some advice on where to stay and they supply me with a few laughs. I note that the girl is surprisingly hot, the guy suprisingly ugly. I furthermore note that he is shouting the three of us, plus a few other backpackers. Verdict: Loaded, possibly well hung. Time spent trying to change the word “pint” to “schooner”: 10 painful minutes.
I get a call from Aimee and we decide that we’ve had a big day and meet back at her house. We spend hours, literally, talking and keeping each other awake. It was so much fun chatting to her and getting to know her better. Turns out we both had the same fears about the weekend, but they are pretty quickly put in the past and we’re getting on like a house on fire. Time spent laughing so hard that my cheeks were sore: 15 bedwetting minutes.
To be continued…