Monday, 22 September 2008

Irish Rover - Part 3




.....Continued from Irish Rover - Part 2
After an extra big night out in Camden (bad idea but inevitable), I poured myself onto the plane at Heathrow at 8am for a twenty something hour flight to Sydney. I'd never taken a long haul flight before. In fact I think my longest flight prior to this marathon was 3 hours but they had non stop free beer who could argue with that - certainly not me.
I finally arrived a bit green around the gills and jet lagged but was lucky to be met by some friends where I had reserved a sofa to crash on. They lived in Bondi beach as many expats did (and still do) and within 2 hours of arrival, I'd been introduced to the nectar of the Gods - Victoria Bitter (VB beer to the heathens) and the Silver Spoon Thai restaurant (2 ingredients that I still crave today). Penang chicken is on my mind as I write. The quality of Asian food in Oz is phenomenal as is the wine. The system of B.Y.O.B. (bring your own booze) is genius. Who wants to pay 100-200% mark-up on wine / beer when you eat out - not the Aussies - proper order too.
Thru my Bondi sofa donor I got in contact with a work agency where I secured a 3 month contract as a bean counter / techie geek with a company that made weighing scales and meat slicers (GEC Avery) - The company was miles out in the burbs of Leightonfield and they were on their way under when I joined. It no longer exists today but they a great bunch of people and we would end in the R.S.L (Returned Servicemen’s League) club for cheap beer on many an occasion.
I really got into horse riding back then and I actually got pretty good at it and practically every weekend was spent galloping the plains in the west of Sydney near Campbelltown followed by some crazy nights back at friends who lived out there where impromptu karaoke sessions in the garage would ensue (I still have the videos!)
I shared a house in Bondi beach with some travelling Israeli's who couldn't cook so I perfected a chile con carne / bolognaise hybrid that I still use and packs a wallop and was our staple diet at least 5 nights a week. For obvious reasons the loo was to be avoided back then and probably still is off limits now.
I eventually moved to the more happening neighbourhood of Paddington. Oz truly was a land of opportunity. A land of sunny weather, outdoor activities and golden beaches. A land of endless possibilities and they loved the Irish. It was a far throw from the cold, grey, dark, damp, London I had left.
I remember spending Xmas day on the beach (which was surreal) and going for a BBQ afterwards. As a pasty Irishman my skin was not used to this heat and sun and I got sunburnt quite a bit. Laid back is how I would sum up Oz - Very Laid back!
The 3 month work gig turned into 12 months and could have kept going but I had yet to see the country and my itchy feet needed a scratching, so I decided to pack it all in and go walkabout.
..more of this drivel to follow!

Tags: Sydney, Australia, Oz, Paddy, POME, Prisoner of Mother England, Paddington, Bondi Beach, R.S.L. club

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11 comments:

Megan September 23, 2008 1:04 am  

These recaps are truly fascinating. How old were you at the time, if you don't mind me asking?

Old Knudsen September 23, 2008 3:04 am  

If Australia is so laid back then how do you explain Hitler?

Shaunj September 23, 2008 6:50 am  

couldn't agree with you more about BYOB. People in europe (read ireland) are being fleeced! And you eat more food when you booze alot....everyone wins

Asian food in Aussie? The only place outside Asia that's anyway comparable. I lived in Coogee for 3 months and spent many an evening stumbling oer the cliffs from Bondi to get home.

VE September 23, 2008 10:56 am  

I am so jealous you are in Australia. It's at the top of my travel list but alas, I want to spend three weeks there so it won't be for another 3 years. Meanwhile, I'll live vicariously through you...

roy September 23, 2008 11:04 am  

round round get around I get around
Old knudson is funny!

Nick September 23, 2008 3:05 pm  

Ah Sydney, what a magical place. So magical in fact that Jenny and I are going back there at the end of the year. Not just for the food and drink though, also the scenery, the ambience and the culture (the Art Gallery of NSW is brilliant).

Quickroute September 23, 2008 3:44 pm  

@ Megan: Early twenties for the Irish Rover #1 - 3

@ Old Kudsen: I thought he was from Detroit?

@ Shaunj: I did that walk a few times - best done in daylight

@ VE: I wish I was there but alas this is a blast from the past

@ Roy: I bet you do you! - but yer right I do too

@ Nick: Yes sorry - didn't mean to gloss over the other attractions - scenery is out of this world.

Baino September 23, 2008 4:58 pm  

@ Old Knudson - they still sell T shirts in Germany and Austria with "There are No Kangaroos in Austria" printed on the front! Also Americans still ask me what language we speak and how good is the skiing!

Wow you lived in some nice places Quickie, very buzzy the ol Paddington and Bondi! Although Bondi is overrated in beachy terms. They rescue more foreigners on that beach than any other in Australia. And BYO? I'm amazed it hasn't caught on anywhere else. And you're right, we LOVE the Irish for some reason. I'm expecting two Irish visitors this summer! Pumped I am! One is staying with me for three weeks so I'll have to buy SPF30 in a five litre pump pack! He's a ghost!

Baino September 23, 2008 4:59 pm  

@ Nick . . try to hire a car and have a weekend in Canberra. There's the National Gallery and a new museum and the War Memorial museum is excellent!

Broke But Still Drinking September 23, 2008 10:04 pm  

I'm confused. Do you live in Buenos Aires or Australia? I have a few questions about a drinking man finding work south of the border.

Quickroute September 23, 2008 10:22 pm  

@ Baino: I was taken aback at how easy it is to be healthy in OZ - outdoors is appealing unlike back home

@ Broke: I live in B.A. - this is just a trip down memory lane - got questions - just fire away - 'Contact me' link top right

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