Trolly dolly tour – The land of Oz – wasted and the wallabies

Days 7 and 8 – Wasted and the Wallabies

Heston runs a hostel. Thank God! We weren’t kidnapped by rabid backpackers after all, simply wheeled home by Aarron and Heston and put to bed like naughty children.

When I wander into the communal kitchen, I gag at the smell of Heston’s bacon sizzling in the pan and he gives me a cheery hello.

‘Alright, Aunty?’ He grins at me. ‘How’s the knees?’

Now you come to mention, they are a bit sore? I raise a quizzical eyebrow which sets of a host of flashing lights behind my eyes and I steady myself on the counter while he explains that I tried to can- can down a flight of stairs last night. Apparently I did quite well and managed at least three and a half high kicks before I finally took a less than elegant tumble and had to be scraped off the floor and chucked into a bunk whilst warbling a very loud rendition of Mustang Sally, accompanied by an equally trollied Jo who was providing the ‘ride sally rides’ with much enthusiasm. Christ on a bike!

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We call a cab and ride back in silence to the hotel. Neither of us is capable of speech and it takes a long nap and seven hundred litres of fluid before we are able to consider movement. But move we do…finally. And we spend the afternoon pottering around the gorgeous Terrigal boutiques and taking pictures along the pretty promenade. We have a quiet dinner and Gingy laughs all night and calls us lightweights…and he may be right!

The next day we are up bright and early and ready to see what the locals are raving about. The Australian Reptile park. Since our arrival, everyone we’ve met has told us it’s a must see. Who am I to defy convention? So off we go, driving about half hour south and we arrive mid-morning ready to see Elvis the croc and friends.

One of the things Australians are passionate about (aside from surfing and the very dodgy practice of eating burgers covered in Beetroot, wtf?) Is their wildlife, and boy does it show. This not a zoo! It’s a park and you can wander around amongst the animals instead of viewing them through bars or glass. You’re encouraged to touch them and feed them and learn about them, through talks from the keepers and it is absolutely fecking awesome!

We spend the day feeding the kangaroos and wallabies. One in particulartakes a real shine to me and I name him Joey, cos as I’ve said before, I’m very originalwhen it comes to nicknames. He snuggles up for a few selfies and complains I didn’t get his best side then we have a long chat about how much fun it is to be a kangaroo , especially when you get to eat tourist picnics all day and have folk scratch your belly and tell you your beautiful. I think I’ve found my spirit animal. In fact , chuck in a bottle of vodka and I’m willing to don a fur suit and live out my days here , with my spirit clan….oh hang on , the mention of vodka has made me queasy again, bleugh! Joey gives me a lovely snotty kiss and tells me to come back soon and off we go to see the rest of the park.

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We cuddle wallabies and Koalas we stroke alligators we perch with parrots and we ogle funnel spiders, we feed leaves to giant tortoises and we sigh at the baby dingoes. Elvis the crocodile enthrals us by moving 4cm in 4 hours and we learn so much from the keepers who are injected daily with huge amounts of knowledge and enthusiasm .

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What a gorgeous place and a real treat to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s finest residents. We ride home babbling about how fab it all was. Surely nothing could top that…

Well nothing could…. until the following day……

 

 

 

 

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Trolly dolly tour – the land of Oz – day 6

Day 6A quiet night out

We wake early, 5am to be precise. There was me thinking I’d tackled jet –lag. Hell no! But we make use of the early start by binging on another huge breakfast then ….More shopping! We have discovered the huge Erina Fair shopping mall and we drag Gingy around while we pick up Australian clothes in the sales. They are exactly the same as anything you can buy in the UK, yet we are thrilled at the prospect of buying actual Australian goods, the only difference being the carrier bag. Gingy shakes his head at the logic of women but being the good son and nephew that he is, he endures the trip with his usual good grace.

After lunch we head back and spend an hour or two people watching in Terrigal as the sun glistens on the cerulean ocean and people enjoy a stroll along the Golden sand. I guess it’s only cold in Sydney? We have arranged to meet Heston later for a few drinks and Gingy knows a pub that does Karaoke. He warns us it will be quiet on a Tuesday.

It all starts out quite innocently as we get the first round in. Some shifty looking locals knock out a few tunes and we smile and clap along merrily as the pub slowly fills up …to oh at least six more people. The host comes over for a chat and shows us some photos of his Tranny alter-ego.

‘Come on Saturday!’ he enthuses ‘I’m Sharon on Saturdays’.

We praise him heartily for his pink, glittery fashion sense and exotic eye make-up and he rewards us with a 25 dollar drinks voucher. Well, cheers, Steve/Sharon/whatever, how lovely.

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Gingy gets up to go to the bar and a few of the locals stare at him while a group of girls whisper energetically in the corner. We presume it’s because four young lads have arrived, all very handsome and smiley and the girls flash their teeth at them and undo a few buttons on their tops as the lads cluster around a table at the front and start to write out their tickets to sing.

Jo and I, fortified with three or four vodkas now, step up to the mic and belt out a couple more tunes and we’re met with applause and few whistles and I get the feeling this will be a good night. The crowd’s very jolly and warm and everyone’s all clapping along as each singer channels their X-factor god or goddess. One of the handsome boys gives me a high five as I leave the podium and I get the feeling they’re a nice bunch of lads.

Steve/Sharon sidles over a whisper’s ‘They’re the mariners.’

Well that’s nice I think. Nothing like a bunch of young sailors to pep the night up!

‘Nooooo’ scowls Steve/Sharon. The footballers, ‘The Mariners’, they’re the Central coast’s premier team. We blink at him/her, non-plussed. Ah right! Ummmm, nope …never heard of them.

‘And you’re …’ He/she trails off and giggles at Gingy and gives him a swift nudge in the ribs. Oh no, not the curse again.

Sharon/ Steve goes over to the lads and we see them turn and look at us. Steve/Sharon is a naughty gossip! I give a jolly wave. They whisper among themselves. Then Gingy makes toward the stage. In his wisdom he has chosen to sing ‘Photograph’ by Ed Sheeran…..Why? why? Why? why? I put it down to the five vodkas he’s now had and watch with interest and a slight feeling of trepidation as everyone in the pub makes a beeline for the front of the stage. Dear God, I hope Gingy can sing!

Heston arrives and gives me a rib crusher and pats Gingy on the back as he passes, looking every bit like a giant bouncer.

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There are cheers, the air buzzes with anticipation and the jolly sailor footballers start off the loud clapping and shouting as Gingy grins from the podium and then the rest of the pub goes mental as the first chords of the song start.

Jo and I decide if you can’t beat em join em and laughing hysterically, we join the crowd. Everyone is singing, the Mariners are jumping up and down, no-one can hear whether Gingy can sing or not, they ask our names and Jo tells them she is Gingy’s mum. …its rather pleasing to have four handsome young men on their knees bowing and chanting Mrs Sheeran at you, so she tells me afterwards.

Gingy finishes, there are selfies, more drinks, introductions, Harry, Mathew Jake, Mathew, Josh was it Harry? Who knows…we try and explain….but its loud and they are thrilled , more selfies, more booze more singing, we have bonded with the sailor footballers and so the night goes on . The grand finale ensues. Heston, who has been watching quietly from the sidelines with a wry smile sings the final song….and nearly blows off the fecking roof! He growls his way through ‘The midnight Hour’ with a voice that would rival any superstar, even Ed, and the crowd goes wild once more. Steve/Sharon declares it his best night ever and tells us we must, absolutely must come back on Saturday.

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We are vodka- addled so it seems like a good idea to take a taxi on the suggestion of the Mariners, back to their house. It’s about twenty years since I went to a garage party but I find myself limbo – ing under a mop with a supermodel by the name of Tameka (I think), where did she come from? There is more vodka, more singing and so many belly laughs that I fear I may have pulled a stomach muscle. These boys are funny , charming and totally in awe of the amount of booze two middle aged women can sink!

Eventually, Heston takes control and we stumble home, me and jo swinging off each of his huge arms. At least I think its home. ….

Until a few hours later I wake shivering. I have no blanket and I almost certainly swallowed the Gobi desert, a large carpet and a tramps sock.

There is a groan.

‘What time is it?’ rasps Jo

‘Oh dear God are we in hell?’ I ask

‘No, were in a backpacker’s hostel.’ She replies.

My befuddled brain tries to assess the situation but I can’t raise my head without shards of glass piercing my eyeballs. I need fluids, and a blanket and my lovely big bed at the Crowne Plaza. So much for a quiet night out! There is a ping from my handbag, which I find under the bed and I squint at my phone.

‘Thanks for a fantastic night! See you Saturday! Love Matt and Josh’

I groan and close my eyes. I feel like I’ve been in a train wreck. I knew coming to Australia was a bad fucking idea!

 

 

 

 

Trolly dolly tour – the land of Oz – day 5

Day 5 – Ed Sheeran goes to Sydney

Good morning! My brain thinks its morning; my body thinks its morning and outside the sun is shining through an early morning haze. Finally I have acclimatised, just!

Jo is not so lucky.

‘What time is it?’ she mumbles.

‘Time to get up’ I shout and she drags herself out of bed.

Gingy is taking us to Sydney. We feast on yet another massive breakfast and in the lift a few teenage girls giggle at him and one takes a quick snap as we head on out. The sun dips behind a cloud and breeze makes me shiver. We set off on the hours’ drive to Manly, a suburb of Sydney that boasts a spectacular beach and a must-see ferry ride into Sydney harbour.

By the time we arrive, the beach is covered in a foggy drizzle and the ferry is bobbing on a rather choppy deep green sea, but like the brave adventurers we are, we step aboard. It starts to pour down and the wind picks up. We sail past a grey blob that turns out to be the Sydney Opera house then underneath a very soggy Sydney Harbour bridge complete with rain-ponchoed tourists and finally step back on dry land, our pallor matching the green waters behind us. First impressions of Sydney are its cold, its wet and it’s cold and wet.

We plough on through the rain, taking brief refuge in the Sydney Arthouse to sample the best steak I have ever had and a Tooheys, the local grog. Then it’s onward to the Westfield shopping area to feast our eyes on the huge Sephora, plump with every beauty product ever made. After a blow to the credit card, we emerge back into the rain and try and side step around a massive crowd. I ask one of the dolly birds what’s going on and she tells us Miranda Kerr the supermodel is coming to flog some new product and for a bazillion dollars, we can get a tiny eye cream and a meet and greet. Erm, no thanks. She squints warily at Gingy then whispers something to her dolly bird friend.

It’s like wildfire. Ed Sheeran is here. The crowd turns and eyes us and we back away. There is a ferocity in the eyes of those Japanese tourists that is terrifying.

‘Go, go now’ hisses Gingy and we quick march it out of there, sharpish.

Gingy announces he needs new shoes so we pile into a little store and start to browse. ‘Thinking out loud’ comes on and the two young girls behind the counter start giggling and nudging each other before one eventually slides over to me.

‘Scuse me’ she rasps. ‘Is that Ed Sheeran?’

I burst out laughing which for some reason she takes to mean yes. Jo and Gingy are on the other side of the store but spin around as the girl starts shouting and jumping up and down.

‘Are you shitting me? Oh my God? I’m dying right now.’

I’m still not sure she believed me when I finally stopped laughing and told her that sadly, no. Her idol wasn’t in the store. We get the shoes and on we go but it’s no use. Sidelong glances, giggles, cameras. We decide to send Gingy to the barbers. If we chop of his pirate locks, maybe he’ll be left alone.

Thirty minutes later a much smarter pirate emerges and we see the boy we waved off two years ago. We pay the barber and out we go. Hurray! We may finally have shaken off the curse of Ed.

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Battling the cold with a round of hot chocolates, we make it to Darling harbour which is so pretty with its Ferris wheel and swanky cocktail bars. Its dusk and the harbour is soon lit up with twinkling fairly lights and as the rain finally dies off, we take in the view and it’s hard to believe I’m standing inside a perfect postcard.

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We head back on the ferry and see the Opera house lit up, much more impressive than it was earlier in the day. Soon were back home and chomping snacks in my giant bed whilst watching a movie I start to think that maybe coming to Australia wasn’t such a bad  idea after all….