Cheers Bro…G’day Mate!

I spent my last night in New Zealand at Gaby and Blake’s house.  They were feeling burnt out from a long week of partying, so I had to hit the town on my own – what kind of life-a-holic would I be if I let my last night in NZ be sober and mellow?  So, I joined the late night freaks and weirdos on the Link bus (actually its a pretty nice bus w/ relatively normal people) and rode into the city.

I walked into a random bar on a random street, and was faced with a very random coincidence – The girl standing behind the bar was Jana, who  I’d met months earlier in Raglan.  Random and awesome occurrences like this have been happening to me all the time.  My old friend Libby used to say that when things like that happen, it’s just the universe telling you that you are right where you’re supposed to be.  Bokonists would just say Busy, busy, busy.

Well, I think I was right where I was supposed to be – I had a few drinks, she got off work, and somehow she got me in (for free) to the club across the street where Dan Deacon was playing.  I’d never heard of him before, but he rocked my life.  I can’t even describe the awesomeness of this strange and irreverent Baltimore DJ.  If I had to try, I’d call it cocaine zombie music, fueled by pure love.

img_4740.jpgAnyway, I danced my face off (and many of you know that I don’t usually dance), then caught a cab home, slept, woke, had a few afternoon beers with Gaby and Blake (thanks again guys!), then caught a plane to Sydney Australia.

That’s right folks, I’m writing this blog from Australia, the land of Kangaroos and beer koozies.  It’s been a long time coming, really.  I’ve been intending to come to Oz ever since those early travel days with Zoe and Alana in Turkey way back in 2005 (have I really been traveling that long?).  So it’s great to finally be here!

I spent the last week in Sydney, staying with Alana and James (thanks guys!) and hanging out with Zoe and Hugo while exploring the city.  I was happy to get an email from Lena and Christina, two of my favorite Germans from Raglan – they changed their travel plans and were in Sydney too, so I’d have some fellow tourists to explore the city with while my Aussie friends were at work.

sydney harbor at nightI also got to catch up with Sian and Miky, a couple of Australian girls who I met in NZ, and we had some expensive drinks at the fancy Opera Bar.  The bar is nestled in the Sydney Harbor at the base of the iconic Sydney Opera House, and as you sip your overpriced (but delicious) cocktails, you can ponder the splendor of excess that is downtown Sydney.  Towering buildings with mirrored façades reflect the starry lights of the city, rivaling the Southern Cross in the sky for beauty. And with the funky mellow beats that the DJ was spinning that night, I was lulled actually enjoying city life.

Blue Mountains, AustraliaSydney is certainly a beautiful city, but its fucking huge, and expensive — very LA in many ways.  I haven’t spent much time in big cities over the past year (Raglan’s population is estimated at only 2,500), so I felt a bit bewildered by all the buses and traffic lights.  To excape the madness, I rented a car with the girls one day and drove to the Blue Mountains, a couple hours outside town, just to get back into nature.  A barefoot hike and a short climb up a little waterfall and I was feeling recharged.

Then it was my Birthday.

Last year, I was at a lodge in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand, a beautiful location, but a mellow day.  This year, I was in the big city, so you can be sure I was going to party.  It wasn’t too wild, but it was fun, to be sure.  We all met at the Gas Light in Surry Hills, and then headed around the corner to a secret bar.  The entrance is in an alleyway and there is no sign, just a guy who stands inside, behind a glass door, and if he likes you, he lets you in.

He liked us.

We walked up three flights of stairs, to a sweet little lounge bar and let the boozing commence.  Coopers beers, Caipirinhas tequila shots, and more Coopers.  After a few hours, we stumbled into the streets and ended up at another secret spot.  The bar was called Shhh, but it was actually a sneaky no-cover backdoor entrance to some fancy club called Panic.  More beers, dancing, making out with some girl, pizza, cab, home, sleep.

Not a bad day at all.

Today, I’m leaving the city and heading North.

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