There’s no way it’s December. Everyone is lying about it being Christmas and new year’s and there is absolutely no way Australia actually exists. It’s way too hot over here for me to even imagine that it could be winter elsewhere, and the Christmas spirit is way too mellow for me to even consider feeling Christmassy. I miss England’s over the top hype.
I’ve at least tried to get in the mood. Mum gave me an advent calendar in Thailand so I could count down the days (and saviour each bit of chocolate that hasn’t been shat on by anti-melt), but I ended up eating the whole thing in almost one go. I tried wondering around the supermarket to see what Christmas food they had, but it was pretty much the same as any other day (except Eggnogg, but who actually drinks that?!). Can you believe it, here you can go to the supermarket on Christmas eve, and there will still actually be food on the shelves.
I even tried watching Home Alone to get in the festive spirit and that didn’t even work! But luckily for me, I still managed to get spoilt for the day. I woke up to presents and cards my family sent out for me and even got to have a roast dinner.
Needless to say, despite not feeling Christmassy- wrapping up in a warm coat, hot chocolates and Ferrero Rochers, going to Winchester market and being able to see my own breath when I’m outside- it’s been heavenly having Christmas in the sun. But I refuse to get used to it; next year I want the whole Shebang. A Terry’s chocolate orange, a stocking, poofy coat, I want to decorate a tree, wrap presents, go to a really, really, really busy Tesco on Christmas eve… fuck it I might even buy a snow machine.
But yes Christmas was perfect. Christmas eve was spent with twelve other backpackers, drinking the cheapest goon and listening to Christmas songs (RIP George Michael). Markie, Jess and Aine managed to not only make a roast for thirteen people, but a bloody good roast with all the trimmings. I’ll go as far as to say it was one of the best roasts I’ve ever had (sorry mum, it didn’t beat yours don’t worry).
I think the highlight of my Christmas Eve was when Jenny asked me to pass the stuffing, only for us to discover something on the table was ON FIRE. Everything had been so adult-like and civilised up until that point, when suddenly everyone was screaming and flapping their hands in the direction of the fire, but too scared to actually touch it or do anything to put it out. Jess ran over and poured ALCOHOL on to it, then smashed a glass and dove out of the way like it was going to blow. Luckily for us it ended with an unharmed carpet and fits of laughter, rather than other people’s burnt presents and an evacuated, disintegrating building.
The Christmas day plans didn’t go as planned, but they were just as cheerful. Word had been going round about a beach party at Little Bay, but we got there only to be met by crowds of pissed and pissed off people wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers who had been kicked off the beach, alongside lots of annoyed police. So we ended up going back to Markie’s Air Bnb, getting a takeaway pizza, getting merry and watching films. It was the BEST.
As a whole I’m loving my time in Sydney so far. It is 10000 times better than Perth and I finally feel like I’m getting the proper experience that I came out here for in the first place. Sydney reminds me a lot of London. There always seems to be something going on and there’s all kinds of different types of places to eat and go out.
Seeing the Opera house and the harbour bridge in the flesh was surreal. Even now, every time I see them (we have an amazing view of them both from my new hostel), I just think of finding Nemo and find myself splurting out quotes like “P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney”, and “I’M A PIRANA”. Anyone coming to Sydney, you can get some great photos of the bridge and opera house from Sydney’s botanic gardens.
By far the best view of Sydney’s skyline, the opera house and bridge for me, will have to be from Milk beach. A big group of us headed done there a couple of weeks ago and it was almost magical. The tiny beach is a pain in the ass to get to- you have to walk through trees and up hills- but it’s secret and quiet and honestly, the view of Sydney is spectacular. I wish these photos could do it justice…
Coogee beach is also great fun. A lot more sociable and completely PACKED. I haven’t had a chance to go to Bondi yet, or do the Bondi to Coogee beach walk (definitely on the cards for every backpacker), but somehow I feel like I will much prefer places like milk beach. Less built up and less crowded. But you can’t come all the way to Sydney and not see Bondi can you?
Darling harbour is another one of the city’s top places to go. If you have the money, you can go out and get smashed and enjoy the view of Sydney sparkling and glistening at night. I would love to recommend some bars, but my lack of income has prevented me from spending much time at Darling Harbour, and even if I had a purse full, what’s the point in spending $12 on one pint when you could just get a box of Goon for the same price and be sorted for the week?
A quick word of advice to anyone looking to come to Sydney over Christmas- BOOK YOUR ACCOMODATION WAY, WAY, WAYYYY IN ADVANCE! Trust me, this is something me and Jenny didn’t do and it caused us quite a bit of stress. Also, be warned, any hostels over Christmas and New year will snatch your money off you like a month early, so you will definitely need to put a few hundred aside for that.
I could happily live in Sydney for months to come, but unfortunately, it looks like I may have to leave earlier than I thought, as I’m not earning much money here. But if that is the case, I’m more than ready to go so I can get saving for the next big thing. Plus, a lot have people have told me that Melbourne is a lot more arty and cosmopolitan and a lot more ‘me’, so I’m onto the next thing!
It’s just such a good feeling knowing that it’s possible to be this happy whilst being this skint. I’m so content with life and even though it’s annoying not getting as much work as I would like, there is always something you can do for free and I don’t feel too stressed at all. I’m surrounded by lovely people, all on the same boat, all helping each other out, and it would take a lot to bring me down at this moment in time.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!