We're Never Coming Back

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Day 193 - my tonsilitus

australia How sick am I?

So, its saturday. I still need a job. what do I do? I GO TO THE BEACH, of course. yep, every saturday the hostel puts on a 'trip' down to Coogee Beach (not as big as bondi, but a bit more personal), where they buy as many budget sausages and burgers as they can and make use of the open-air free BBQ stands next to the beach. Its great. Its free, its hot and there's a shed load of fun people. No complaints.

The day progressed almost without incident. Unfortunately, whilst playing frisbee with a swedish dude, he managed to hit some guy in the face with the frisbee. Now, any other day of the year, the guy would have been a bit annoyed and shouted at us for playing on the pavement, but not today. Oh no. Instead, his 3 female friends started howling in shock and he's bent over almost to the floor clutching his nose. I run over, apologising (I didn't even throw the damn frisbee), to be told that he has (just yesterday) had NOSE SURGERY. And right they were - his nose is still bandaged up and he's in a severe amount of pain. I apologise again, run back to the BBQ to grab some serviettes to mop up the blood and run back, to find that he's "ok" although clearly in shock. I love how this stuff only ever happens to me. Swedish dude laughs it off and we decide to stop playing.

Much later Suzi and Minnie turn up, so when everyone else is going back to the hostel I decide to join them for a drink. And this is where is started. We're sat eating fish and chips, in the scorching 5pm sunshine, and I'm shivering like its a winter day. Suzi and Minnie are convinced - its sunstroke. I'm arguing that its not, but they know the signs and they're pretty convincing. I down 2 pints of water, but its making the shivering worse. I'm giddy. I have been drinking all day (of course I have), but its not that.

So, I make my excuses and head off towards home. On the bus I can't read my book or listen to my iPod - everything is weird. Someone asks if I'm ok, and I just shrug them off. My teeth are chattering and I'm delirious. And the bus journey is dragging on towards 35 minutes when I finally get off and trot to the hostel. I see Sam and Jason in reception, about to go out for some drinks in town, and explain that I'm proper ill, so they point me towards my bed and tell me they'll see me later. And I jump into bed, wrapping up nice and warm.

It seems I would be spending the next 4 days in my bed. This wasn't sunstroke. This was acute tonsilitus. I could go on for ages about how awful the next 36 hours were for me. But we've all been ill. I had those nightmares where you're tiny and the bed is massive, like an ocean, and you're being crushed by the weight of the duvet. I had this weird recurring thing where I was trying to find a skyscraper in the city. I could hear myself mumbling and making noises, in an 8-bed dorm, but couldn't control them.

And then Sam came home. drunk. and flipping out. She's throwing wet towels on me in my delirium. Apparently I'm burning up (my bed sheets are soaked with sweat, but I'm still shivering like mad). She's never felt a temperature like this. She's trying to phone an ambulance, but I'm telling her to wait til morning. Carmen is in the kitchen looking for phone numbers of call-out-doctors. The whole dorm is awake, and I'm so out-of-it all I can say is "please go to bed" over and over again.

She does. And I have a hideous night's sleep. I start vomiting at 4am. Then again at 8am (this time pure paracetamol and water - its still fizzing when it comes out). And then back to the nightmares. Its rubbish.

Sam's up early to reapply wet towels to my sweating skin and by midday she's got me up, dressed me and is bundling me into a cab to the doctors surgery (literally 3 blocks away). A 20 minute wait and 30 quid later I have a prescription for penicillin and a diagnosis of acute tonsilitus (there's a lot going around, apparently).

Not much to report from the next 48 hours. I spent the lot in bed. Too weak to leave the hostel. A trip to the supermarket nearly kills me, and drinking hot sweet tea in the tv room is my only respite from the suffocation of my 8-bed dorm room. But 48 hours pass, and the antibiotics kick in. And before long, I'm still whinging but feeling much better. Wednesday evening and we all get invited over to Ricky and Tracy's flat to watch some teen flick about a skater-girl who becomes a gynamstics star, and despite still being a little contagious, we cram 8 of us into a tiny living room and laugh solidly for 4 hours. i even manage to eat my first solids in 3 days in the form of some McDonalds chicken nuggets.

Sam and I have kinda fallen on our feet when it comes to friends in Sydney. There's a group of 8 kids who've been travelling together for ages, and we've all become mates at the same time. They're pretty special, and good fun to be around, so we're hanging out with them quite a bit. Its nice to have some solid friends, rather than the continual transit friendships that get made so easily. There's something more secure about these guys - they're here to stay. Its good.

Anyway, its Thursday, and I'm alive again. Everything's normal. The antibiotics are stong and make me go dizzy for about 10 minutes after taking them. but aside from that, I'm out and about, buying christmas presents (yeah, like I'm rich) from the market and cooking proper food for the first time in days. I'm not drinking a drop, but agree to go out with Sam tonight to Indie night (again!). She's been texting Rachael (one of her ex-colleague's best friends) who's just moved here and wants to go out tonight. And before long I'm rounding up dave, tom (from brasil) and jason and they're coming with us too. Before I know it, I'm drinking beer, getting drunk, destroying the healing effect of my antibiotics but having a lot of fun. And to cap it all, Dave is the perfect indie poser, pouting at the camera at every oppurtunity. sick.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Day 188 - the job hunting begins

australia I hate job hunting.

Right, the time has come. I've been avoiding this day for MONTHS (6 in fact) but I can no longer escape it. Last week I extended my credit limit on my Egg card to 3,000 quid. Guys - I'm gonna be VERY depressed when I get home, so please be prepared to pamper me with all sorts of attention. But yes, the money is running very dry. I'm into my credit card, I'm into my overdraft, and the situation is getting seriously worse as the (albeit weak) australian dollar eats into my savings. Its time to take action.

I've been annoying Sam all the way through australia about working. "we've got to get to Sydney so I can earn some cash". all the way. If we spend more than a day in one place, I start whinging. So here we are. One week into our sydney adventure and the holiday has to stop and the money has to start being made. No more excuses.

So, Monday was relatively productive. I'm geared up to earn cash, and at 12:30pm I get out of bed, lazily shower, grab some cereal, chat to some of the other residents and put on some clothes. I'm out the hostel by 2pm and in the internet cafe, chatting on myspace to Mark from melbourne. By 3pm I have opened my CV in Word and by 4pm I have added a paragraph to cover my bar experience in brighton. 10 print outs laters, its 4:30pm and I'm ready to hit the bars.

So, I kinda decided I'd get a job working in a gay bar in town. I'm not fussy - I'll work anywhere. But I figure I can probably bag a job at a gay bar a bit easier than I can elsewhere. WHATEVER! It seems my sweet smile and charming english accent means absolutely nothing to the gays of Sydney's Oxford Street. The first bar - a very trendy and upmarket bar - seemed disappointed that I hadn't worked in Soho, and begrudgingly took my CV with a view to calling me.

Now, in the second bar, I was looked up and down by the 50-something bartender, then told "we're not looking for work". This was rubbish. This dude clearly looked at me, assumed I was straight, and rejected even the notion of me working there. It was obvious. He had that tone of voice of "what the hell are you doing in here". Like I'd wandered in off the street, oblivious to the vest-wearing, girly-screaming, bitchy prissy queens sitting in the huge open frontage. I stuttered an explanation of "but I'm gay", but before any words came out, he'd turned his back on me. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. I couldn't believe how rude he was. This place sucks.

So, for the next 6 bars I went to, I tried to camp it up a little bit. Unsuccessfully. All but one of them took my CV without really looking or caring, with the exception of one very seedy looking venue which made me want to vomit, but seemed promising when I was told to return in TWO WEEKS. what the hell? 2 weeks. I need a job now. So I trudged home, despondant and scared for the future, to find that Sam has got a phone number for a flat in Manly.

Good work Sam. So, I get on the phone to the girl. She's a bit mental, but nice. I have trouble understanding her awful australian accent, over the awful mobile phone line, but I get the impression she's nice but a bit high maintenance. And that she's going to vietam for 4 weeks so her room will be free for a little while. OK, this sounds promising. its near the beach too. great.

So, we trudge the 25 minutes up Pitt Street towards the harbour and board a ferry across to the northern shore to Manly. Manly is kinda cool - it has a beach, and its connected to the main city centre by just 30 minutes on a ferry. But after walking ALL THE WAY across the centre of town to get to the ferry port, we find its a whopping $6 (2.50ish quid) to get across, so $12 return (they don't seem to do cheaper return tickets here, its weird). Great. Although, the ride was nice cos we got to catch the sunset behind the opera house. anyway, we arrive at the ferry terminal and guess what, Suzi is stood there with one of the guys we met in Buenos Aires (I bloody love this town). We say hello to her, then scoot up to the bus stops where the flat girl is waiting for us in her car. 5 minutes later we're inside the hippiest flat ever. proper tie-dye throws on the walls, stoner art-work everywhere, mushroom ashtrays, loads of tassled cushions. its small, but nice. and her boyfriend is manic but quite cool. sam and i pace around the flat, gushing about how nice it is and how perfect it would be, but we need to discuss it first.

we say we'll call tomorrow, and get outside, and straight away we agree its not for us. Its nice. and it would suit so many people. But we want a place that we can party in. we want a flat that we can stay up late in, be noisy in, invite people back to. Its not gonna happen here. we'll always be their guests. AND its $6 and at least an hour from chinatown - where all the other backpackers are. yep, its nice, but its not for us. So we trot home, catching some more opera house views, and hit the sack, hoping to feel a bit more alive tomorrow and ready to attempt a different set of bars and some employment agencies.

In the morning, I did pretty much the same as yesterday. Late rise. Sam's still sick, but she's well enough to check her email next door at the internet cafe. I'm pretty depressed at this point, and despite the urgency to get a job, I need to get some fresh air. Things are low. So, I leave Sam in the internet cafe, grab my camera and my iPod and head out across town for a walk. alone. I get loads of shit out of my system when I walk. I always have. whatever is going on in my head seems to come out of my pores when i walk. and afterwards, I might not feel any better, but I feel more prepared, more ready to tackle stuff. So i started walking.

a couple of parks passed me by - I wasn't paying much attention. this massive fountain that I quite liked reminded me of Paris. Onwards into The Domain, a huge expanse of grass and trees stretching as far as the eye can see, and yet right bang next to city centre. And there she was. Sat, staring at me, smiling, was my mate from home, Jenna.

Now, I LOVE jenna. she's one of Dora's friends, and she's mental. And I knew she was in town, but we'd not arranged a meeting point yet. And here she was. Not in a bar. Not somewhere obvious like a busy high-street. Not even somewhere totally random but predictable, like a tube station. No. This is the middle of nowhere, practically in the middle of field, alone, sat on the grass. sketching. I LOVE this stuff.

I'm all thick-headed from the stress-busting walk, so I'm not making much sense, but we sit down and shout it out for 20 minutes, before I head off for more walking, agreeing to meet Jenna for a drink later today. I carry on, down through the botantical gardens, under trees filled with bats, around fountains, across bridges, past poisenous plants and signs that politely ask 'please walk on the grass'. Its pretty, and the sun is shining.

And a quick stroll along the harbour bank and I find my spot. You know when you find a place that you just sit down and soak up everything around you? This was my place...

It was nice. I had a view of the harbour bridge, and the opera house in the foreground. I had a panaroma of the city. The water of the harbour lapped at my feet and everytime a huge boat passed by, even far away, the waves would splash around by my dangling feet. I sat there for an hour. There was something about it that sucked me to the spot. I dunno what.

And then I headed on. spirits rising. feeling more myself. not even thinking about the time I was wasting when I should be looking for a job. I walked round the harbour this time to the opera house itself (passing Jenna again on the way, this time facing an iron fence around an old tree). And man, is that opera house amazing. shit. Its SO photogenic its unreal. And the curves are like WOW. And changing perspective of the shell-like turrets are awesome. I loved it. There's only a very limited area you can walk around the building, but I spent 30 minutes plodding around, stroking the brickwork and admiring the structure. Its nice guys. Its EXACTLY as you'd expect it to be from the photos. But its just SO COOL being here and walking around it.

I then I headed back into town. I went via a christian bookshop, bought myself a new bible (yeah, that'll help with my already flagging financial situation) and headed home. And before I knew it, I was drunk again with Jenna, laughing about everything and being as mischievous as we could.

So, wednesday, and I have to start concentrating on getting a job again. No more days wandering around. I'm prepped and ready to make today count. Well, I kinda am. Today is my RSA. Yes, in order to serve underage kids and alcoholics in a bar, you need to pass a day-long course in the 'responsible service of alcohol'. So, I'm up at 8am, out the door by 8:30am and sat at a chair discussing the positive (more relaxed) and negative (fancy ugly people) effects of drinking alcohol. Its boring as hell, and it goes on and on and on. We're not set to finish until 4pm. And when we do, my pervy teacher (who practically touched a girl up during class when commenting on her sunburnt chest) insists on quizzing me about cricket, which I know nothing about. I shoot back to the hostel, and since its too late to actually job hunt, I settle for the hostel pub quiz and an early night.

And then its Thursday, and after a usual late morning, 2 hour internet session and opne hour 'lunch break', its 4:30pm before I start my job hunting. I'm SO RUBBISH at this. The one agency I go to tells me there is noone in the office to talk to me and tells me they'll call me (they never did) and I head home, sinking into the depression that made me so rubbish on Tuesday. Things are bad. So what do I do? I know, I'll go out and get drunk and spend some more money. Indie night it is, and of course, its messy. This time we drag Jason out from the hostel and he gets Sam wasted on champagne and gets me free drink passes!

And so onto Friday, and another lazy, hungover morning is accompanied by an afternoon scouring the local market for some respectable work clothes (which I'll need when I finally get a job). None found. Check in town - everythings too expensive. I HATE SYDNEY. I wish I was still travelling - not worrying about jobs and timescales and finances and flats and stuff. I hate thinking about what I'm gonna fill my time with. I hate thinking that I'm still gonna be in this position at christmas, and hence have no cash to last me through china, SE Asia and India. And I hate even more the thought of running out of cash BEFORE christmas. I have no secret stashes. I have no hidden reserves I can credit into my account. I'VE SPENT THEM ALL. Urgh! Sydney's great, right. But I badly need a job. My sanity depends on it...

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Day 183 - city life

australia I'm so bored of partying...

So, after getting a free upgrade to a twin room (I love it when that happens), Sam and I dropped off our bags, threw on some shorts and a t-shirt, and headed out to explore the city. Our hostel is RIGHT in town. Its about 10 minutes walk from the main shopping drag (Pitt/George Street) and 15 minutes from the bridge and opera house. Its not actually possible to get any more central.

One thing I love about Sydney is that it fits my mould for a classic city perfectly. As you walk down the streets, the high-rise, reflective buildings shoot up either side of the road, reaching seemingly miles up. The streets are narrow, and drenched in shadows. Yet the high reaching summer sun is always shining somewhere. The harbour bridge can be caught between the buildings as you walk down George Street, and the sydney tower (with a revolving restaurant no less) peeks into view everytime you cross the street. The gardens are big enough to look like they never end, when in fact they take just minutes to cross. And, as with every great city, Sydney has an extensive Chinatown.

And Sydney's clean - that's totally noticeable. There's not even a real chewing gum problem on the streets. No litter, no smog, no dirty buildings. Just shining, gleaming, radiant cleanliness.

Anyway, enough gushing. No matter how well it fits my mould, will Sydney stand up to the character test? I'm writing this blog after being here about 2 weeks, so I've had a bit of time to guage the place. Its great. I love it. But it is a little souless. I don't really feel connected with sydney. Don't get me wrong - its charming. Both in appearance and in excitement. There's loads going on, and its vibrant and hectic. Like it should be. But I don't wanna 'hang out' anywhere in particular. There's no real areas where you just want to 'be', or no must-go clubs or bars. The trendy kids keep themselves to a select few clubs, and the gays line Oxford Street exclusively - you'd be lucky to see two guys holding hands anywhere else, but on Oxford Street its hard not to see it within each block. Its weird. I like it here. And I'm embracing it as much as I can. But Sydney isn't embracing me back quite as much as I'd hoped.

Anyway, that aside, the last two weeks have been crazy. I feel drained - I've had more alcohol in my system in the last week than I have done in the last 2 months. After spending the day wandering around the city, sorting out an Aussie bank account, trying to get a tax file number for when I get a job, looking for smart clothes to wear to my first job interview (when I get one), I get an email from Kelly (who I met in South America) and we're straight out, dancing like idiots in Bondi Junction.

Kelly reliably informs me that Aussie men are rubbish. its official. apparently they don't EVER make an effort. they expect girls to do all the hard work. So as the night goes on, she's the one persuing this guy (who was a bit of an idiot if you ask me), while I'm doing my usual and chatting to anyone who'll talk to me, including a raft of guys with moustaches (its Movember here, where guys grow 'tashes for a month to raise money and awareness for testicular cancer) and anyone whos wasted beyond comprehension.

As we leave the club, we end up in a cab with two twenty-something lawyers who are coked off their heads, and end up in another club with them, where I stupidly offer to buy a round which costs 20 quid. Nice work duncs. But they were boring, and way too wasted to be fun, so we ditched them and headed home at 4am.

And after a hungover day in bed on Thursday, in the evening Sam and I are gearing ourselves up for an indie night at the World Bar in the seedy Kings Cross region of town. Sam's way too excited about this - and before long is drunk in the hostel, rounding up other travellers to come with us. We manage to persuade a group of 6 Kiwis to come with us. 2 hours later we're dancing to indie like we're at the Pav Tav back in Brighton, getting barged around by English routs everywhere. I meet a girl from Bournemouth; ricky and tracy who make me laugh all night; dave from new zealand making me skull my drinks. And before long I'm sipping water in a corner because I'm too wasted to function, and shouting at Sam for making me wait for her before going home. Messy.

ANTOHER hangover, another day in bed, another dent in my productivity. I'm being so rubbish at the moment. But we're meeting Adam for drinks tonight. He's one of Sam's ex-colleagues who's moved out here, and after spending an uncomfortable 2 hours talking to his dull (sorry adam) friends, I was ready to leave. That was until I stumble into Mark at the bar - Anthony's ex and friend from London. Its nuts - to bump into someone on the other side of the world. I loved it. We caught up, before realising he knows new friends ricky and tracy from last night (weird). AND THEN, who walks into the bar, but bloody Suzi from south america - who we travelled with for 2 months. She's only just got back to her home country and I bump into her and Minnie too. This pub is mental. So of course, my night of not drinking becomes another wasted one, as does the following day.

AND THEN, as if this isn't starting to get boring for me as well as you, we spend Saturday night out on the town. I wasn't gonna go out, but by middnight we had rounded up a gang of 13 people, including a Mexican and an Ecuadorian, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity of getting drunk and talking bad spanish at them. So of course, we're wandering the streets again, getting turned away from over-strict bars, getting ID'd, even though I'm 27 years old (compliment or just annoying) and ending up in bed AGAIN at 4am drunk.

So my round of wasted nights out has done my motivation and self-esteem a severe battering. I look like shit. My eyes are dark and sunken, my skin is oily and smells of vodka even after a shower, my hair needs some serious work and I'm losing the will to live. And despite all this, Sam has arranged for us to meet her long-lost GODFATHER, never seen since she was 7 years old or something, for lunch. Great. Trudging across sydney to the posh Darling Harbour area, scorching sun beating down on my alcohol-filled pores, and we meet Allen Dodd at the entrance to his very grand apartment.

He's nice. Super friendly and his wife is lovely. We exchange a few introductions, chat about sydney for a bit, then head out for a slap-up lunch on the Dodd's (cheers guys). Sam goes for snails (she's so rank) and kangaroo, and after a thoroughly enjoyable 2 hours in their company, we bid them farewell and rode the town's monorail (which seems almost exclusively a tourist attraction) back to the hostel (doing a complete loop of the city first, of course). The evening was spent recovering (what? no alcohol?), watching DVDs and chilling out.

Tomorrow's gonna be different. Tomorrow is the start of the new duncan. in the new sydney. I'm gonna get a job. and a flat. I'm gonna be productive. and it all starts tomorrow morning. finger's crossed...

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Day 181 - Sydney

australia We made it!

Arriving in Sydney is a bit of a landmark. Its the closest we have to coming 'home' during our trip. Sydney is the place where we plan to get a flat. To get jobs. To get sim cards and semi-permanent friends. Its here we are gonna settle, recharge our batteries for 2 months, and prepare for the onslaught of south-east asia. Its gonna be massive. I'm sure of it.

Driving there from Newcastle (2 hours away) was BEAUTIFUL. Its the first 'beautiful' drive I've done in australia (remember, I've seen a shed load of beautiful landscapes guys). But this was stunning. Rocky, craggy, forested, valleys stretching for miles. Nothing as impressive or as huge as the things we saw throughout the andes, but still - impressive and beautiful.

And the same road that comes right down the east coast takes us bang into the heart of sydney. We're getting closer. The anticipation is rising. And as yet, all we know is that we wanna drive across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So we're following signs. The buildings getting taller, the landmark Sydney Tower drawing closer. And then I caught sight of the bridge...

The lonley planet stupidly says there is something magical about seeing the bridge and the opera house for the first time. They're idiots, whoever write that stuff. Its not magical. But it does kinda grab you by the throat a bit. As we pulled up to the toll bridge, paid our 3 dollars and started to drive across, first we see the harbour, spreading its crystal blue legs for miles, then the opera house comes into view, sparkling in the sunlight. The bridge is HUGE. The opera house is small. But together, they're picture perfect.

And before we know it, I'm changing lanes and driving down George Street, the 'Oxford Street' of Sydney. We dark around for a bit, find somewhere to park to work out what to do next, and decide to head to the world famous Bondi Beach.

So, after driving the wrong way around sydney for half an hour, and then another horrendous hour navigating the streets around Bondi (which are a mess), we eventually find the beach. Now sure, I've heard of Bondi Beach lots of times. Its world famous, right? But have you ever seen a picture of it? I mean, I had no idea what to expect. So for those who didn't know, like me, here it is...

Its not massive. And its certainly not overly special. But its a 20-minute drive (provided you know where you are going) from the city centre, and its big enough to fit truck loads of english tourists. And apparently the waves are quite fun. But we didn't come to surf or swim. we came to find a place to stay. We tried our luck at a hostel, but they said we'd need a campsite. OR, we can sleep in a carpark on the beach. Its our choice. So of course, we headed straight down to Clovelly Beach where there's a massive car park, a couple of other campervans, and after some fish and chips and an episode of Australia Idol in the fish-and-chip shop, we made our bed in the back of the van and caught some sleep, with the sound of the ocean lapping the rocks next to our van. It was special.

We had just one more night in the van to get through before we returned it on wednesday, so drove the van back to Bondi Beach for the day to catch up on some internet stuff. 2 hours laters, I went back to move the van, and of course, the stingy australian traffic police had given me a parking ticket. But guess this. It wasn't for overstaying my time. No. It wasn't for parking in a disabled bay. Nope. It was for 'parking in the opposite direction to oncoming traffic'. what? are you having a laugh. you're not allowed to park on the 'other' side of the street. what the hell is that about. $128 fine as well (that's 51 quids!). How rank is that.

Anyway, after that sam and I went to sort out our flights. We were told to change the dates of them when we arrived in sydney, and if I'm honest, I'd been a little worried about the outstanding dates of our flights. some nagging feeling in the back of my head was telling me something was wrong, but I always get that stuff. And then, there is was.

'I'm afraid you missed your flight from Melbourne to Perth 2 weeks ago, and your flight to Hong Kong leaves tomorrow'. Bugger. Its gonna cost us almost 140 quid to sort this out, and all because neither of us bothered to check the dates on the tickets and sort this out sooner. what a nightmare.

so, we leg it down to Quantus, who are part of the OneWorld people who issued our massive tickets. We're told if we beg them, they'll probably let us off because we spent so much with them in the first place. And despite the girl serving us looking like she wanted to shoot someone, without even questioning it, she just rescheduled the flights, FOR FREE, winked at us, and sent us on our way. It was beautiful. For a good half an hour I was properly depressed about that stuff. But it all worked out.

One more night down at the beach left, and this time, Sam gets propositioned by an old man dogging. I love this story. So she's hanging her legs out the van at 2am, preparing to run to the rocks to go for a wee, and some car on the other side of the car park sparks up its engine, hits the lights on and drives right up beside our van. I'm awake (nocturnal, ain't i), and hear sam say 'hello?' in a very 'what the hell are you doing?' kind of voice, to which the old dude in the car asks where she's from.

I mean, I know people go dogging in car parks loads, and strictly she shouldn't have been waiting by the side of the van, but after a brief 30 second exchange of hellos, he realises he's not getting anyway and drives off. filthy bugger. I reckon sam would have been tempted had it not been for his age though.

Anyway, day breaks, and we're up at 8am along with loads of people who've come down here to watch the sunrise. we've missed it, but the rest of them didn't, and awoken by the mass of people leaving simultaneously in their cars was enough to get us out of bed, our teeth cleaned, and the van returned to Wicked Rentals. Farewell to the little pink van that has housed us for the last week. Its been good. Not GREAT. just good. I dunno. There's good points and bad points. did we save much money - probably not. did we miss out on the social aspect of travelling - probably. But we got to drive, and that freedom is pretty hard to come by when you're travelling. And it would have been our last shot at that freedom until we get home, laden with debt and unable to afford a push-bike, let alone a car. So yeah, it was worth it.

And with that, we jumped on the subway (double-decker) and headed towards to the city centre, where our hostel awaits us right in the heart of the city...

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