Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Back in Sydney

I'll only mention it once, but the weather has been rather fantastic most of the time since I've been back. See. Mentioned it. Now its out the way. Will try not to mention it again.

Right, so. Well then. As promised I have continued to try to update the website weekly... ...have tried. But failed!

It has been a busy old couple of weeks though. After arriving on the 13th - and not yet having a place of my own to live in - I enjoyed the excellent hospitality of my good mate Ed and his lovely girlfriend Dace at their bijou residence in sunny (and quite posh) Edgecliff. The views of the harbour from my bedroom window reminded me of being back in my Cremorne flat on the north shore of the harbour when I was here earlier in the year. It brought on a fair amount of nostalgia. Equally, thoughts of that lovely flat made me determined to find somewhere homely to live for the next year too. And perhaps somewhere a bit handier for the pubs and city centre this time.

Ahhhhh. Chris and I are reunited... in fact it looks as if we've actually glued ourselves together.

I won't bore you with the details of the accommodation market in Sydney but suffice to say that I saw a lot of shoddy apartments. In fact, if I can be so bold, I saw a lot of shoddy potential flatmates as well. It was a blessing that I had nearly a full fortnight of free-time before starting my new job, as I spent a fair amount of time traipsing across the city with little to show for it. In fact, even more worryingly, flat-hunting was starting to intrude on my busy social life.

Perhaps it was fitting then that, when I did at last find somewhere, it was within crawling distance of our regular Thursday Night Lads (or Grumpy Old Men's) drinking parlour, The Shakespeare. For those of you who've seen Shaun of the Dead, think The Winchester, but without the jukebox.

I will be sharing with two Irish guys, David and David - which keeps things simple - and have my own en-suite room. The flat is a nice 40 minute meander through Hyde Park to my work in the city-centre and disturbingly close to Surry Hills bar and cafe facilities.

Oi Lennon! That bottle's not plugged in!

In some ways it feels like a long time since I was last in Sydney and at first I was surprised at how unfamiliar the city felt. But a few things are happily just as good and as welcoming as they've ever been. Firstly, Sydney is just as sociable as ever I remembered. Not least Ed and Dace putting up with me for the first couple of weeks. Their cooking skills and finely stocked liquor cabinet were things of awe for me and I'm already looking forward to having them round for dinner in my new place.
Will aka Bono aka Elvis Costello sings Brown Eyed Girl (or something like that).

Its also been great to get back into the Thursday night routines. The first of which was a real Thursday-night special with teapots long into the night, as you can see below...

The first week was topped off by a rather enjoyable fancy-dress karaoke party for a friend's 30th birthday, at which i managed to avoid dressing up, but didn't avoid the karaoke. Apologies to Keith - i really did think a Sean Paul duet would be a good idea -never mind that he doesn't even sing in English...

Best outfit of the night was the home-made Bjork tribute. Superb.

Violently Happy.

In the first two weeks I also managed to squeeze in a great scuba diving day with Roslyn and some peeps from the Beverly Hills scuba dive club (less glamorous but definitely more friendly than the name implies), a visit to my favourite (Shelley) beach with Chris, Caroline, young James and not-quite-so-young Keith (when I got thoroughly sunburnt), catching up with some other friends and even a visit to a 'soccer' game.

David Beckham came to Australia for the first time last week with his team, the LA Galaxy. They played an exhibition match against Sydney United midweek in front of 80,000 super-hyped fans. In fact, the reception DB got in Australia was just astonishing - even for a Brit like myself, hardened by years of golden balls' over-exposure back in the UK. His photo took up two-thirds of the front page of one of the national newspapers, and his visit to play a friendly club game, sell his new perfume, sign some autographs (ie do nothing!) took up an even bigger proportion of the tv news for the whole week.

I was kindly offered free tickets to the game on Wednesday by someone at work but couldn't go. In any case, I wasn't toooo excited about what I thought would be an uncompetitive and unexiciting knock-about between two exotic but unrated sides. How wrong I was! In a complete shock, Sydney beat LA 5-3 in an end-to-end match, which featured a trade-mark Beckham free-kick special and a sending off for stamping!! And I sat through a 0-0 on Sunday night when the most exciting things were going on in the crowd (Brazilian drumming, female linesmen and beautiful female fans were a perplexing novelty for a footy fan used to Tannadice in January).
Time to get the magnifying glass out. This is halftime in the game between Sydney United and Queensland Roar (bad name, I know). Somewhere in this photo is David Beckham.

With such a busy couple of weeks already under my belt, and with summer, and Christmas (how weird is that?) only just coming around, I couldn't have wished for a better start here in Oz.

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