Sydney – Part 1

I was itching for a wee getaway, and when I was invited for a Camp America reunion in Sydney; I jumped at the chance! I immediately booked my Greyhound and my Air BnB so I was ready to go.

The day came to head back to the first stop in Oz when I moved here, I was so excited! However, the universe had other plans for me as my bus got cancelled and I had to wait till 10pm for the next one. This completely dampened my spirit and trying to find alternative routes got me feeling even lower. You see, it was Australia Day weekend so EVERYONE decided to travel then. After calling/emailing/sending smoke signals out to car rental companies I FINALLY came across a car that I could drive to Sydney. I forgot to mention that I’m terrified of flying so I couldn’t catch a flight and bypass all this hassle. It was a cute burnt orange, Toyota. I cannot describe anything else so here’s a photo of my pal:

It was just over a nine hour drive to Sydney, and I know that sounds horrendous, but I actually didn’t mind it! The whole journey was basically driving along the Hume highway so it was just me, some haribo, karaoke sessions and one longgg straight road. The drive was absolutely fine and only three hiccups occurred:

  1. I got eaten alive by some bugs in a random dunny in the woods
  2. I was chatted up by a creepy guy
  3. I nearly ran over a motorcyclist

Apart from that, all went well! I arrived in Sydney at 9pm and was greeted with a blast of humidity, it was uncomfortably sticky and sweaty. So I ran to my Air BnB to cool down; and oh my goodness – it was the nicest apartment I’ve ever stayed in. It was very modern, great size and I had it all to myself!! I went straight to sleep so I was fresh for the next few days.

First item on the agenda was dropping of the car; which I did in one piece and was quite sad to see her go! Luckily the garage was located in Kings Cross, so I knew where I was (I had lived in a hostel there for a couple of months). I took a wander around and reminisced when I was an actual backpacker.

I smiled when I saw the local druggies causing hassle, and then swiftly got out of there. Next destination was Coogee! I took the bus from Bondi Junction and headed on my old route, back to my old work. I arrived back at Poke and was flooded with memories; I had worked there for over six months and learned so much. Unfortunately, most of the staff I worked with had moved on too so I met two new ladies. I scoured the restaurant; looked in the display fridge and checked out the menu. A lot was the same but there were some new things to try. I obviously had to eat when I was there so here’s a synopsis of my FEAST.

Plate 1 – Fish Tacos

Grilled hoki with fresh tomato salsa, lime aioli, house made pickled veg and a soft tortilla wrap.

This is, by far, my favourite dish; everything just works. It’s acidic, sweet, salty, crunchy and soft. All the ingredients were the same as when I worked there apart from the tortillas, and the upgrade was worth it, they were a soft and smooth way to encase the beautiful ingredients inside.

Plate 2 – Poke

You can’t go to a poke restaurant and not order any! Much of the poke on offer was what I was familiar with, however there was a new flavour combo I wasn’t familiar with – salmon poke with ginger and mango. So obviously I had to order that. To go along with my protein, I chose edamame and their new mac salad; this was all served with organic black rice.

The poke was absolutely gorgeous, the flavours perfectly balanced and made my taste buds celebrate. The edamame was perfectly cooked and the added seasoning of furikake, made it pop. The mac salad was a bit of a let down, as it wasn’t very creamy and had an abundance of capsicum intertwined; I don’t dislike much, but that veggie I cannot stand. The dish was gorgeous and apart from my personal taste buds, I loved each component.

Here is a photo of the two plates mentioned above, along with a big wave pale ale – because I’m on holiday remember:

Plate 3 – Banoffee Pie

So I had just eaten a massive lunch, but I HAD to get dessert. What I loved about working in Poke was that all desserts were made in house, and you get this invisible seal of approval when you successfully make a dessert all by yourself. Which is a task I obviously took on and nailed! I chose the banoffee pie as my treat for the day, and it was so yummy. They had changed the biscuits in the crust, which added a better flavour and more uniform consistency. Everything else was the same though; the smooth, smooth caramel, the slightly tangy bananas and the sweet, vanilla whipped cream on top.

Here is my pudding, with another beer but this time the Luau lemongrass & ginger ale:

I had the best meal and didn’t feel guilty, apart from the sweet, as everything was unprocessed and fresh. I waited around for my old colleague Luca to start his shift and gave him a big cuddle when her arrived. We caught up and gossiped; it was so nice to be back. I did feel like I needed to be doing something though, like wiping tables, refreshing the sides or doing the dishes. It was time to leave and head back to the city. I had a feeling I’d be back though.

This wasn’t just a waitress job for me; I learned to cook, clean and work bloody hard. I am now longer a lazy person; this job really changed me for the better.

Next up on the cards was more beer, but this time in the Bavarian Beer Haus in the city.

I met up with my old flame Matt, and caught up with him over a mango zest pale ale – I’m loving the fruity beers!! It was nice to see him again, but it was quick winded since I had to then go to my third destination; Barangaroo.

I had got lost many times because Google Maps is SHITE in the city, but managed to finally locate the Thai restaurant called Muum Maam. And this is where all my lovely Camp Waukeela friends were. I was greeted by the owner Phil and his wife Cesca, along with ladies I worked with over two summers; Odette and Steph, and some who had been there previously; Ashleigh and Zoe. Here we all are:

It was so nice seeing everyone and Phil even cracked out some old, not – so – flattering photos of us back when we were counsellors. Note: I’m not posting them here but if you do a brief stalk, you’ll be able to find some.

Dinner then came out and, because I had a massive lunch, I went for some lighter options. Yet again, I went for two plates so here’s a description of both.

Plate 1

Fresh shucked oyster with a chilli & lime dressing AND a Moreton bay bug betel leaf
with peanuts, lime, chilli & toasted coconut. Here’s a pic:
The seafood was so fresh and flavours didn’t overpower at all. They were bite size pieces of heaven!

Plate 2

Ocean trout carpaccio with a kaffir lime & mandarin dressing.
This was absolutely gorgeous too! The fish was so tender and the tangy dressing elevated the meal.
We chatted and laughed throughout the meal; unfortunately we didn’t get to sing any camp songs because it’s not really accepted in the real world. Then it was time to say goodbye, we all cuddled and I was off to my FOURTH destination. Literally I was shattered by this point.
I hopped in an Uber and drove all the way back to Coogee, whilst picking up my Green Beaners Lucy and Connor on the way, so we could have a reunion in the Coogee Bay Hotel. Kieren joined us too, so four out of six wasn’t bad!! It was so nice to see everyone again, and a little weird because we weren’t all muddy. We chatted about the good times on the farm and caught up on what everyone had been upto since we left. The boys were being very generous and buying each round, which – in hindsight – I should have paced myself with…
So if you know me at all, nothing ever works out perfectly for me i.e. there’s always an issue/an embarrassing moment to be had with me. And this night was no exception. Let me set the scene;  I had eaten purely raw fish for dinner; no carbs whatsoever, I had started drinking from 3pm, all the alcohol I had consumed were different types and because they were free I was drinking in an unusually fast manner. So what happened???  I threw up right in the middle of the very fancy bar, not only that it was in my hair, down my top and IN MY BRA. I tried saving it but to no prevail. A group of guys asked if I was okay, which was the silliest question I’ve ever heard. Of course I wasn’t! And I quickly bypassed the bouncers. I ran into the ladies and spewed up the rest of stomach contents. After that flashback to when I had first tried tequila, I sat on the toilet floor feeling sorry for myself. I then plucked up enough courage to face world and wash the sick off me. Luckily a lady felt extremely sorry for me and helped me clean up – honestly she was a godsend, I literally think she was an angel. I thanked her so much and headed back to the bar; with my hair up and a soaking wet top on.
My friends asked where I had been, so explained it all and they were very impressed that I was still standing. I felt much better after that episode so didn’t feel the need to go home and I had actually sobered up. Although, all night I swear I could smell sick off me so I kept asking Lucy if I stank, to which she denied.
We then got back into the swing of things and even got a photo of us together, which I really wanted to get before I vomited everywhere:
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I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I think I look pretty good for a drunk, spewy mess!
We stayed till 3am and then headed to good old Coogee Beach for a late night stroll.
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It was honestly so nice to be back with my farm-work friends. The bond that we have is so damn special.
It was time to say goodbye, and I was still apprehensive of my aroma so tried to get out of cuddles, but it didn’t work.
I arrived back at my awesome apartment and immediately went for a shower and when getting undressed I discovered I DID stink!! So those clothes went in the wash straight away. I’m productive at 4am!! I asked Lucy the next day why she lied, and she said she was scared to say I did in case I went home. Brilliant.
Okay, so this post went on much longer than I thought it would, so I’ll end it here and continue my trip (and the antics involved) in the next post.
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