So, in case anyone out there was losing sleep, I made it to Australia in one piece, despite the chest infection (later revealed to be gastroenteritis – more on that fun time later), and accidentally forgetting to fill in the form declaring what I was bringing into Australia, and getting told off at customs. Whoops.
So, my first twenty four hours down under weren’t the highlight of my trip, to say the least. Gastroenteritis meant that I couldn’t actually eat anything without intense pain in my chest, meaning that, on day one of the introduction week, I broke down in the bar over a piece of pizza I just couldn’t eat. Way to make an impression on all these new people, Meg… Coffee, alcohol and dairy products were also banned by my doctor, meaning that my first few days were spent being hungry, sober and tired. And in need of chocolate. But even my (very) ill state couldn’t erase my excitement that, oh my god, I was in Australia! Seeing the opera house and the harbour bridge are moments that’ll be with me forever, and not only because I wanted to get a perfect picture. Which didn’t work out too well, due to the aforementioned gastroenteritis issue…
Sydney is, without a doubt, one of my favourite cities in the world. I can totally see why people come here and never go back to rainy, cold England. Everything about this place just makes me smile, from the traffic lights that sound like a video game as they beep and then whoop when it’s time to cross, to Darling Harbour, covered in hearts for Valentine’s Day, to $5 Dominoes and make your own burgers at McDonalds. Yep, after a month of rice in Thailand, definitely loving the food here! Chilling on a boat cruising around Sydney harbour in the sun, I just thought this is the life. Dancing to Rihanna’s Work in a bikini on a boat under the harbour bridge? Amazing. I felt like one of Simon Cowell’s posse of glamourous ladies he’s always seen on his boat with.
And then there were the typical ‘oz’ experiences that had to be done when in Australia. Yep, the wilderness, kangaroos and dolphins. The last two? Great. Wilderness? No. As part of the ultimate oz week we retreated to Port Stephens for a camp out with their live in kangaroo, Josie. The cutest thing ever, however the way she moved, using her tail as an extra limb, weirded me out beyond belief. The jury is out on how I feel about kangaroos, if I’m totally honest. However, Josie was the least of my problems when it came apparent that the camp was rat heaven, in particular the kitchen, which I avoided for the entire two days. And then there was the possum sex. On the roof. With liquids falling through. I’m gonna say no more.
Swimming with dolphins has always been on my bucket list, so I was chuffed when we did a dolphin cruise on the last day of the trip. Being a natural pessimist, I was convinced I’d see nothing and it would be basically shit, but how wrong I was! I saw loads of the things, and even if it was just a fin, the excitement never went away. It was all, omg dolphins! However, I’ll admit that when we went to swim with them in the attached net, which seemed to turn the water into rather vicious rapids, I was a little too preoccupied with not losing my bikini top/falling into any of the people I’d known five days to actually look for any dolphins. So did I actually swim with any? Who knows. Fun though!
After a great first week with Ultimate Oz (there was a messy paint and glitter party too, but we won’t go there I don’t think!), I ended up signed up for surf camp, in an impulsive moment. I’m pretty lazy normally, so I’m not sure why I thought things would be any different here, but anyway..
Controversial, but I realised approximately one hour into my first lesson that, nope, I don’t like surfing. Standing up on the board is just too difficult, and the ratio of standing up to falling down? Totally not worth it. And then there’s trying to walk out with the ginormous surf board, getting bashed back by every wave ever. Eurgh. Just not really my thing, if I’m honest. Especially not for four hours a day, for a week. So as soon as I got a picture of me standing, I basically decided that screw this, I’m over it.
In my defence, I don’t think my body has ever taken so much of a beating. It’s used to Netflix all day every day with the occasional walk to the shops. It’s totally not used to pushing it’s own weight up on a board. And then there was the flu. Which, believe it or not, wasn’t really helped by cold water everyday. So, in total, I did 3 out of a possible 7 sessions. Money well spent (not).
But my ultimate hatred of surfing came when I managed to concuss myself pretty badly. My instructor was on the board with me, trying to teach me how to stand, when he fell, and then as a result, I fell, resulting in a whack to the head by the (not very) soft board. Totally freaked when I couldn’t stand or keep my eyes open, but the typically Australian instructors were all ‘chill out, duuuude, and don’t sleep, duuuude’. It was a bit like being drunk, but not fun. And then I got caught several times trying to sneak off for a nap. Never before has a nap been such a crime.
So the verdict on surf camp? Great if you like, erm, surfing. Otherwise, no. However I did read a lot of good books and eat a lot of free carbs and check out some hot blonde surfer types. So not a complete loss.
And now? I’m back in Sydney, staying with my aunt. Because, guess what, I’m ill again! This time with a throat virus. I’m not sure Sydney agrees with me… Fingers crossed for better luck in Melbourne where I’m off to next, via a night on a farm! Here’s to hoping I finally get to lasso something 😉