Monday, February 14, 2011

Cone Snails, Cagefighters and Catfights

and now, for days 12-17.

Chapter 1: Cone Snails and Cannons

i went back to sydney, took a break in canberra, went back to sydney again and had some adventures in all three.

so when i first got back from melbourne i headed to annaliese's house in sydney to cheat her out of the possibility of any time with her family.

she had been talking for a while about the cannons at bradley's head, down the street from her house. apparently back in the day when ships were still a common mode of attacking people, the area was strategic for sydney's defense. now the giant bronze (or at least they looked like bronze) cannons sit there and guard sydney with no humans to man them.

nonetheless, they were pretty cool.

and before we went there, we had a picnic! it was a gorgeous day, perfect for a picnic! we made sandwiches and brought fruit and it was lovely.

here's where we made our picnic. i don't think you can get many places lovelier than this.

and our little picnic bench.

then we went down to the beach below. it was a gorgeous day and although there wasn't much surf, there was quite a lot of wildlife. it was pretty cool.

the wildlife. it was pretty cool walking through it but i was a little worried i'd put my foot in the wrong place and get cut by the oysters or that i'd step on a cone snail and die. although annaliese said that was ridiculous. hahaha

and here's annaliese with some wildlife. she was saying shed been coming down there and picking up the snails for years and she described how they'd suction onto your fingers. isn't that cute? imagining little annaliese picking up snails on the beach. i'm just picturing miniature annaliese with the same amount of hair that she curretly has (so basically a child's head with tons and tons of hair) which is actually a really cute visual. but i was terrified that one of them would be a cone snail and that i'd die. hey, it's not my fault the only news we ever get out of australia is that of shark attacks and cone snails with powerful neurotoxins which will kill you if you touch them in a matter of minutes. ok so i'm a massive wuss. i did try to pick one up after she said they were okay. they stick pretty hard to the rock though. it's pretty impressive. also i didn't try that hard. cause i'm pretty chicken. and also i don't really like snails.

shells and shell debris drew a line where the waves would come ashore. it was impressive. and i found some nice shells there. one of which i have with me today.

this algae, or at least i think it was algae, was intense. it was extremely long. it actually looked kind of pretty when the waves would rush over it. kind of like hair. it'd go whichever direction the water was going. you can kind of see it a little bit.

this picture's pretty blurry. but i kind of liked it anyway. also it was pretty much the only good picture of me actually on the beach in my hat. so i figured it was necessary that i put it here.

these were the cliffs that surrounded the beach. when annaliese was in high school she would come and sit up on one of the overhanging ledges. i think you can kind of see it in the picture. i think it was either that giant ledge in front of her or the smaller one higher up behind her. i can't remember. but it definitely looked difficult to reach. i wouldn't have tried to get up there for fear of not being able to get down.

she was a real climber, that annaliese, i believe i called her a mountain goat on multiple occasions. i was envious.

and here's me on the rocks eating the peach i brought in our picnic basket. notice how i'm not very far from the ground. cause i'm not a very good climber. also the algae surrounding me was kind of slippery.

after we left the beach we walked to the cannons. it was a pretty nice walk. and we got to see some pretty interesting fauna. like this lizard. he was awesome. and quite large. it was a definite change from the tiny lizards we get here in california. and he wasn't terribly afraid of us. there were a lot of them along the path and as long as we didn't get too close to them they didn't run away. it was a pretty warm day so they weren't looking so much for sun as shade. this guy had a nice little spot.

and here's the view from the path

and here are the cannons. annaliese climbed on top of them (with the respect these old war machines deserve, of course) and was just sitting up there. which was when i said something like "ahaha doing the dr. strangelove?" to which she responded something like "what?" and then i explained that it was a movie, considered one of the greatest comedies of all time (even though i wasnt hugely fond of it) and they do that with a missile. and so i described it to her and she demonstrated it with the cannons. haha. clearly these old war machines are respected....

and here's another cute one of her with the cannon.

this was the area that the cannons were in. there were a network of uncovered tunnels to get between the cannons. it was meant to be a defensible position, so the tunnels for the most part were lower. but the ones closest to the cannons left your head wide open. so if there had been any flack coming at you, it wouldn't have been the best idea ever to not duck while running.

and here's another one of the cannon. and a cool tree. it may look like a rather pathetic attempt to look artsy. but you have to believe me when i say i was just trying to get the cannon and the tree in the same picture. haha. ok maybe it was a slight pathetic attempt at artsiness. but whatever. i still like that tree. and the close up of the cannon.

and so ended my stint in sydney living with annaliese. a pretty lovely high note to end on, if i do say so myself.

and then it was back to...

Chapter 2: CANBERRA. Packing and Pacing.

TONIGHT, i wear some goggles, richard falls down a small slope and james says hello to a man!

WAIT. i'm sorry. that was the opening line of the episode of top gear i'm watching. let me restart that. in jeremy clarkson's voice, of course.

TONIGHT, dharini continuously wants to hit me, hugh sits down in a chair and beck visits briefly.

so i went back to canberra so that i could pack for new zealand and our (amy, anna, hugh and me) future beach road trip. cause i wouldn't be coming back to canberra until i was officially going to leave australia so i had to make a months worth of everything fit in my blue suitcase (which is not that big)

i don't remember much from my time there because not a whole lot happened, but there were a few highlights.

first was the night that i got there. hugh had said he was coming to canberra, too, because he had to interview to get into the visual arts department (which is apparently really good at anu). he was bringing his giant portfolio of all of his stuff from high school. which i was really excited to see.

it didn't disappoint. his work was quite pretty. a lot of it was of clouds. the colors were quite vibrant. i really liked it. i wish i had a picture of something to post here of his work. actually he just gave me a link to some of his work. so here's some of it.

this is one of his favorites (and i like it quite a lot) of his sister georgie. and i think he said all of them were taken in sydney. near his house. pretty spectacular, hey.

i'd feel worse about stealing them except the one of his sister is on facebook, in his portfolio and framed. so i don't feel bad about stealing that one. and the others he gave me the link to. so oh well.

and this one i just thought was pretty

and this is hugh's favorite

and this one is my favorite. he used a double exposure to make it. i think it's the beach by his house (the netting) and the sky is on the bottom. which i didn't really realize until he mentioned it and was like "there's no other way i could have gotten clouds on the bottom and ocean on top." which made quite a lot of sense.

pretty good, hey.

and then that night he stayed up extremely late in my apartment (since his interview was at like 9 the next morning) as he hastily stuck together a pattern book or something of stuff he found in magazines and art magazines and online and stuff to make it look like he'd been analyzing art for the last year ([shouting to me in the other room] "WENDY I NEED A DIFFERENT COLORED PEN SO THAT THEY THINK ITS A DIFFERENT DAY" "WHAT COLOR DO YOU WANT? I HAVE PURPLE, BLUE, LIGHT BLUE, PINK AND BLACK" "BRING THEM ALL" yeah, that happened.)

it was funny though cause i was like hey tell me about your art and what inspired you and stuff. i want to know, plus it'll be a good way for you to practice for tomorrow. to which he responded "but you're not intimidating. you're just wendy". well either way, i think i helped anyway.

for example, i gave him my computer cleaning cloth that came with my laptop (that i currently want back because he still has it from his interview when i told him to take it with him incase he needed to clean any of his photos at the interview) so that he could clean the EXTREMELY DIRTY/DUSTY PHOTOS ("i probably should have taken better care of these" "uh, yeah."), and i told him to put the photos in the order that he wanted to present them so that he wasn't constantly shuffling through them.

so then he started talking. he had the portfolio laid out on my kitchen table and we were both standing and looking at it and then i noticed he has THE MOST DISTRACTING NERVOUS TICK EVER. he PACED THE ENTIRE TIME. i was like "boy, you need to sit down because you're LITERALLY DISTRACTING ME YOU'RE MOVING AROUND SO MUCH. I CAN'T CONCENTRATE AND I'M NOT LISTENING TO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING I'M JUST WATCHING YOU GO CRAZY" so then the next day at his interview he was trying to stop and fortunately then the people just told him to sit down. which was apparently much better for him haha

and his interview went well and he got in!! yay!!

so then the next day came the packing part of this title.

so remember the wallet incident? where i sheldon cooper-ed my way to making dharini want to hit me? well this time i managed to valley girl my way into making dharini want to hit me. hahaha how, you might ask?

well i have a strange method of packing. i go through everything, put it into lots of little piles and debate constantly over whether or not i want to bring something. ad nauseum. it's like when i decide whether or not i want to buy something that i like but i'm not sure if i like it x amount of dollars worth. and i agonize over it. until everyone present wants to hit me.

well this time dharini AND hugh were the ones who wanted to hit me.

i recall dharini saying "all of that is never going to fit in your suitcase" (it did) and hugh saying "no, shes a pretty good packer. it'll work" (which i appreciated since he likes to pride himself on being a good packer. although when it came to the byron road trip he was easily the maybe that compliment didn't mean as much as i thought at the time...more on that later)

and i'm pretty sure i also recall hugh saying something like "JUST DECIDE WOMAN!!" and dharini saying "IF YOU DON'T DECIDE NOW I'M GOING TO LEAVE!!" wow. i could totally hear both of them saying that in my head.

needless to say, it was pretty funny. especially cause i did make it work, despite dharini's shock. although i did actually have a little bit of overflow cause i had too many bathingsuit's for byron, but fortunately since hugh was coming with us, i could give him my half full duffel and tell him to bring it to anna's when we were all going to meet to go to the beach after i got back from new zealand. (that'll be an important plot point in one of the later posts, i absolutely promise)

and then beck came by. originally i was planning on staying in canberra for a few days. and so i had told beck that so she didn't really need to come by that day because she had work. but then i wasn't and she stopped by and realized i was packing and leaving in like an hour and that was lame cause i didn't get to see her much. but at least she stopped by. haha. it was a highlight.

the reason i wasn't staying in canberra longer was, i think because hugh said something like "why would you want to stay in canberra" and also he convinced me that he wanted to take me around sydney (like he had NOT done in the past) and that i should come back to sydney with him and he'd finally drive me around (and hopefully not kill me). after i got him to promise about a thousand times that he wouldn't flake out on me i decided to come to sydney and stay in a hostel in bondi beach.

Chapter 3: Canberra to Sydney

so hugh and i left canberra together, loaded down with my luggage. i'd been saying that i had seen a llama farm on the drive down to canberra to which he had said that was preposterous as they don't get llamas in australia, but this time i was determined to see them. the only problem was, i couldn't remember when they were going to show up. so i decided it'd been quite a while. at least an hour and all the countryside was pretty but it was getting kind of boring...

hugh's head was unavoidable in them because i couldn't be bothered to move but i still wanted to take pictures of the australian countryside. and even if i had moved, i'd have gotten the chair in front of us in the picture (as i did in the later pictures when i did decide to move) so i figured it was a better picture with his silhouette than with a black splotch of the chair

i liked how the clouds looked in this one

australian countryside

random body of water

and then i got bored so i stopped taking pictures. and i figured we must have passed the llama farm one of the times i'd closed my eyes out of boredom. so i sat back and closed my eyes again and listened to my music. but i pretty quickly got bored again and looked out the window AND SAW THE LLAMA FARM!!! it was exciting. so i actually LEANED FORWARD AND ZOOMED IN and took this extremely blurry picture to prove it.

you can almost see the llamas in it...almost..

and then of course hugh wakes up just in time to miss the llamas. probably about two seconds after they passed. at least with the picture, though, he sort of started to believe me.

so then hugh and i arrived in sydney, pretty late. i think our bus was like a half an hour late or something due to traffic. but after i checked in at my hostel in bondi, we still went to this place called hurricanes down the street that's supposed to have EXTREMELY good ribs.

and i was like well i don't really like ribs so i could get something else and i assumed hugh was getting ribs so at least one of us was. but then he got like a chicken sandwich or something stupid that wasn't ribs so that guilted me into it cause he was saying "well if you're here that's really what you should get cause otherwise we could have just gone somewhere else." so i was like fine, i'll get the ribs. hopefully they'll be good since they're supposed to be like the best in sydney.

they were EXTREMELY GOOD. probably the best ribs i've ever had. they were good even on a scale of not-ribs (since i don't really like ribs). they were really really good. if all ribs tasted like that, i'd totally get ribs all the time. they were delicious.

and then he walked me back to my hostel (on my mothers orders "if you're going to be staying ALONE in a hostel because hugh said he'd take you around YOU MAKE HIM WALK YOU HOME EVERY NIGHT NO MATTER WHAT") and we planned on taking a tour of his favorite beaches the next day.

Chapter 4: Shark Beach and Bondi Burritos

so then the next day hugh picked me up early (as in like 10 or 11, i don't remember) and he planned on taking me to all of his favorite sydney beaches.

our first stop was "the gap" which was extremely pretty and has a history as being like a military base or something from which you could defend sydney. so all of the paths and everything are relatively well done (for what was basically a cliff walk). unfortunately, because it's a cliff, apparently it's an extremely popular place for people to commit suicide.

which is kind of a bummer.

there were signs there that were like "call a friend, call family, call us" and i did not realize it was a suicide hotline. i thought it was just trying to get people to be social or something so i was like "why would you want to call them?" and i think hughs response was something like "you're an idiot" hahaha

nonetheless it was extremely pretty. and there were quite a few tourists up there.

this isn't a particularly flattering picture of me but hugh said "you have to have a picture of you or you're just going to have a bunch of boring pictures of scenery" well i personally think i may have ruined the scenery in this picture, but if anyone does feel i made this picture less boring, then i guess that's good. and if not, well, at least i had a couple unadulterated pictures before this one.

from there we went to camp cove which is another beach that he goes to a lot. it was really nice. the water was crystal clear and warm.

you can ignore hugh in this picture if you so fancy. since his presence doesn't add to or detract from this picture. the reason i posted it is, i liked the way that the water's color progressed from the yellow of the sand to the blue of the actual ocean. there weren't a whole lot of waves at this beach so everything stayed really clear and wasn't murkied at all because of the waves crashing on the beach (although most of sydney's beaches were like that, even if the waves were crashing on the beach). i thought it was really pretty.

me and my constant and ongoing battle with my contacts. fortunately they did not jump out and float away. but they were certainly threatening it.

i have no real explanation for this next one except to say that i just thought that it was pretty. and that i liked the colors.

so this one i posted because you can see the yellow buoy in the background that hugh and i swam out to. it was fun. until i started hearing the jaws music in my head. i mention it in this picture and not the first picture, where you can also see it, because this gives more of a sense of the depth of the ocean as hugh's 6 ft tall (or very nearly) and was already clearly up to his shoulders and we were probably less than half of the way out to the buoy. in the first one, it looks like the sandbar can extend pretty far out. no. the buoy was in deep (well i mean deep as in i couldn't see the bottom. or touch it. and i definitely did NOT want to swim down to it) water.

so hugh was like "want to swim out to the buoy!?" and i was like "yeah sure that sounds awesome!" so we start swimming. and i'm perfectly happy. and then for some reason i started thinking about how deep the water was and that anything could be swimming underneath us and THEN i started to hear the jaws music in my head. and well, i'm definitely afraid of sharks. so i start swimming faster because i'm not one to turn around before reaching a pre-specified destination but i wanted to turn around ASAP. so i started swimming faster, figuring the sooner i could reach the buoy, the sooner we could turn around and head back to shore. and i'm beginning to panic. my breathing was getting faster and basically i was swimming ahead and shouting back "HUGH HURRY UP I CAN HEAR THE JAWS MUSIC IN MY HEAD AND I WANT TO GO BACK TO SHORE!!!"

well of course then he called me an idiot in so many words, and said "don't worry, there hasn't been a shark attack around here for a few years. the sydney harbor used to have heaps of them but when all the boat traffic started they left" OH OKAY THAT'S REALLY COMFORTING. so then i start thinking that they're probably due for another one and that the sharks can probably smell american tourists so i'm really freaking out as we make it to the buoy.

meanwhile, he's just chillin. messing with the buoy, pulling it so that it tips over onto its side so that the bottom is partially exposed. and i was just about to grab it too, and then all this fauna is on the underside. i was like "DUDE!!"

and there were crabs and stuff scuttling on it and moving around, which i probably would have thought was fascinating if i wasn't already panicking about jaws and then shocked by the surprising amount of wildlife attached to this random buoy that two seconds before i was about to grab. i believe i may have said something like "AAH!!" when he grabbed it and it flipped over (which i was NOT expecting it to do)

also i don't really care for crabs since that one time i had two in my aquarium and they kept cleverly escaping while i was asleep and i could never find them for days because they were inside of the filter and irene and i were panicking that they were scuttling all over our room and our faces while we were asleep. it was not a happy time. those jerks.

and since then i've sort of equated them with spiders. they're cute until a) you see them move and realize they move like spiders or b) you're terrified that they're in your room terrorizing you while you sleep. i hated those crabs.

irene and i may or may not have celebrated when they happened to die. even though they were kristen's.

anyway we hung out there for a while while hugh told me to calm down and i treaded water and feared jaws. and then we headed back to shore. and i was much happier when we could see the bottom.

from there, (we didn't stay at either camp cove or the gap very long) we headed to hugh's house and his beach, which took us past vaucluse house.

vaucluse house is an estate. plain and simple. it reminded me of mt. vernon (george washington's house for those of you who didn't know that he named his estate. or that you could visit it. it was really pretty) but smaller and with more gardens and less plantations/slave accomodations.


the house. unfortunately this was the only one i got of the front of it (hugh was walking pretty fast so i didn't really ask to stop for pictures)

more of the house. and also i thought this tree was pretty.

it was cool, too, cause some of the garden felt a bit jungle/foresty and it was really cool to walk through. and there was a little stream running through some of it. and hugh was saying that when he was little and it would rain and the stream would get more full, he and his dad would come there and make little boats and race them. how cute is that.

from there we went to hughs beach which was exceptionally pretty. it was probably my favorite beach there. i also liked that it had nets surrounding it. and they weren't extremely obtrusive. especially after hugh told me that this beach which i had been calling nielsen's because it's in nielsen's park and also because he would refer to it as nielsen's, is officially called SHARK BEACH.

and then he goes "no this beach is called shark beach. it used to have heaps of sharks and they'd circle the beach and swim near the shore. but they've pretty much gone now. the island i was going to take you to, that my family calls picnic island? that's not actually its name. it's called shark island cause the sharks would circle it. we just called it picnic island cause we'd go there and have picnics." OH FANTASTIC. SHARK INFESTED WATERS. so i was extremely glad for the nets. although he also added that i should calm down, there hadn't been a shark attack in years because of all the boats.

anyway, here's the beach. i think those nets are the same shown in my favorite picture of his, above.

i would like best the one beach with "shark" in its name. failure.

so we had been waiting for dharini for a while. she was meant to come up from canberra that day and we were going to pick her up from the bus station and take her with us to the beach and lunch and whatnot. but then apparently there was a massive crash on the highway and her bus got delayed at least an hour. so she called us as we were arriving at shark beach.

so the good friends we are, hugh suggests "we'll just go in really quick and then go and get dharini"

hahaha we're terrible.
so then we went to get her. and she got in the car and was doing like i had been doing--talking as little as possible.

so hugh had been telling all of us that when he drives us around we'd have to not talk to him because hes almost killed a couple of his friends twice because they were talking to him and the only reason that he didn't was because the other drivers were being attentive. so, clearly, we were all instilled with a lot of hope for his driving... not.

so i had been trying not to talk to him almost at all when he was driving. he'd ask me things and i'd always respond in pretty short answers. and so when dharini got in the car, she was doing the same thing.

and hugh was like "you can talk! god wendy hasn't been talking at all!"
"cause you told me not to!"
"i just meant you couldn't get into really intense conversations! you can still talk!"
dharini: "well you made it sound like if we talked at all you'd kill us"

haha. so from then on we talked. a bit. but we still didn't trust hugh's driving. here's a picture.

so by this time we were all pretty hungry for lunch and we were meant to pick up anna so we ran and got her (she lives in bondi) and then went to hugh's favorite place to eat in sydney, Beach Burrito Co.

it was really funny cause we get there and irascible hugh parks somewhere that's meant to be close but is down a random side street. and then for some reason we had to go back to the car so the three of us girls go back but hugh is unwilling to wait and goes straight to the place.

meanwhile, after hes left us, we all realize, HE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO KNEW WHERE WE WERE GOING. so we call him and he tells us, sounding as exasperated and unhelpful as ever, "IT'S SUPER EASY. JUST KEEP WALKING FORWARD IN THE EXACT SAME DIRECTION I WAS GOING!!"

haha so we eventually get there. and they're having system malfunctions so they aren't currently taking plastic. and i don't have any cash on me. and neither does dharini. so we ask the guy at the counter where an atm is and he says it's down the street 50 meters. so were like ok sounds easy enough. and we set out walking. and it's HOT. like seriously. and i haven't had anything to drink since hugh picked me up that morning so i was starting to get pretty hot and dehydrated.

and then dharini and i cant find anything. and we duck into this cafe to ask and they told us to go back in the direction we came. which DID NOT HAVE AN ATM THERE. so we were like SICK. and headed back hoping that they'd have fixed their technical difficulties. and fortunately they had.

so then everyone gets served AND MY FOOD IS NOT COMING. so finally im like "hi. ummm my food?" and the people are like "oh ok well make it. our bad" and it was delicious. possibly made more delicious-er by the fact that i was starving. and it was probably the closest to actual mexican food that i got the entire time i was there. it was good.

so i got a fajita burrito because hugh said they were good (didn't realize that he'd never actually tried one and that his friends had just told him so. but anyway it was still good. but GIGANTIC) and he pronounced it FA-JEE-TA. and i made fun of him for the next hour.

and then we went to bondi beach. it was the first time i'd been able to go in the water there. it was beautiful. unfortunately since dharini forgot her bathingsuit she couldn't go in with us. but i gave her my ipod and she sunbathed on the beach.

after nielsen's, bondi was probably my favorite beach in sydney. it was gorgeous. the water was perfect and blue and crystal clear and warm! it was really really lovely.

UUUUUUUNTIL somehow sharks came up and hugh was like "yeah we don't get shark attacks here at all. the last one here in bondi was ages ago. like two years ago." YEAH.

but anyway the water was so lovely it sort of didn't matter and i kept swimming and didn't think about it anyway.

here's a bunch of pictures of dharini, hugh, anna and me.

here's dharini looking lovely on the beach

dharini and me

i love these two pictures. the look of anger on anna's face coupled with the look of joy couple with terror on hugh's is just priceless.

and the funniest thing about those two pictures is that they were taken at two very different times. one was at the beginning of our time in the ocean and the second is toward the end. hahahah

i just like this picture.

and you cant tell me this doesn't look like the quintessential kodak moment picture.

for that matter, a lot of these are pretty kodak moment-ey. but i still like them anyway. we were having a pretty good time and i'd like to think that they convey that.

i think this may have been annas attempt to take a picture of hugh attempting to teach me how to body surf. i don't know what was wrong. cause i'm a good 99% sure i used to be able to body surf up till like the summer before this last one. and suddenly i couldn't. i secretly (well not so secretly actually cause i told him so, and now i'm telling anyone who's actually looking at this) think hugh's actually a pretty awful teacher. or at least with me. cause he pretty much goes like "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? IT'S NOT THAT HARD. I'M DONE!" a good 5 minutes in. hahahaha

and here's him starting to body surf.

anna's gangster

i just love the progression of these. it's probably pretty stupid but it makes the final picture seem so forced it makes me laugh.

you know that nirvana cover with the baby? this reminds me of that. also hugh looks like he's so purely and unadulteratedly (i dont even think thats a real word but i'm using it anyway--grammar nazi hypocrite, that's me!) happy. i thought it was cute.

i just like these pictures cause they look so happy and it's such a beautiful place.

and i just liked this one cause it showed the size of the waves.

and then, the coup de grace...

yep. that's me. getting pwned by a wave. i know what you're thinking. you're wishing you could look that glamorous doing something so ungraceful. well let me tell you, it takes years of practice, and if you haven't started practicing your grace-under-wave-attack-conditions look already, you're never going to get it.

later that night, after the beach experience, hugh and i went to get dinner (cause anna and dharini were busy with family stuff). so we walked to this place pretty uphill and a ways away from my hostel to get food at a place called the flying squirrel. it was a tapas place and it was good. and among other things, we got chicken wings. it was funny though cause hugh was eating chicken wings with a knife and fork.

and i, having not had chicken wings in australia before, was going " that normal?"
and he was like "Well this is kind of a nice restaurant"
and i was like "okay...but you look like you're struggling pretty hard"

so finally he gave up and i laughed at him. cause really, who eats chicken wings with a fork?

and then, he did exactly what my mother told him not to do. he left me in the middle of nowhere, in the dark without my pepper spray (since i wasnt carrying it around there because it's illegal there and i didn't realize) while he caught the bus to his friend's party.

so i'm just figuring i'm not going to walk all that way back in the dark by myself. so i figure i'll get a cab. not like it's that late and i'd rather not be going back to my hostel that early, but really, what can you do in sydney at night by yourself?

so i catch a cab back to the hostel. well it's then that i realize my toe must be infected from where i jammed it so bad it bled when we were in melbourne. so im like okay. i'll go to a pharmacy and get some peroxide and it'll be fine by tomorrow.

and thats when i remember there was a pharmacy that i thought had a 24 hour sign across the street from the flying squirrel. so i catch a cab and go back there.

WELL UNFORTUNATELY (story of my life) it wasnt 24 hour. i just read 7 days a week on the sign and extrapolated that in my head to read 24/7. genius.

so now im standing ALONE in the middle of nowhere, where there are very few people or cabs coming by on a little strip of shops that are ALL CLOSED and trying to figure out what to do. when fortunately i see a convenience store.

so then i realize hey, they probably wont have peroxide, but they'll probably have dettol (which is an australian antibacterial liquid. so im like ok i'll go and check it out. maybe buy some band-aids too.

and fortunately they do. i got the last bottle there about 5 minutes before the dude working there was going to close. so i got lucky. and then i waited 'till a cab finally came by and took it back to the hostel.

and you'd think my adventure would conclude there, but no. my dettol adventure was just beginning.

so then i go into the hostel which, unlike most of the hostels i stayed in, was not the cleanest of places. mostly cause in bondi tons of people are sunburnt/peeling and theres sand EVERYWHERE and it was just kind of generally not the cleanest place ever
and i've never used dettol before. i just knew, very basically, what it was because chrissy mentioned it a couple of times. but it's this golden brown liquid sort of the color of ginger ale and i figure it's antiseptic, i'm probably going to want to wash this off quick if it's anything like peroxide. so i go into the shower FULLY CLOTHED, right down to my sandals and turn on the tap and pour the dettol on my foot and prepare to rinse it off fast.

but nothing happens. so i'm like hmm. well maybe i'm not using enough? so i start DUMPING IT ON.

and nothing happens. except the water running into the drain is turning a murky white.

so i'm like hmm.. that's abnormal. so then i LOOK AT THE DIRECTIONS ON THE BACK OF THE DETTOL and it's like "mix 1 part dettol with 20 PARTS WATER. so i was like AAH!! I HAVE NOTHING TO MIX IT IN. so i poured a tiny bit in the cap and then filled the rest with water thinking THEN something might happen.

it doesnt.

so then i'm just hoping that nobodys coming into the bathroom and seeing me come out of the shower fully clothed, dry, without a towel and with a bottle of dettol.

fortunately nobody was around. but anyway my toe felt slightly better the next day so i guess it was okay. i dont know if that was because of the dettol or just because i healed on my own (i dont think the dettol did anything. especially after i told chrissy and hugh about my adventure and they both a) called me an idiot and b) asked me if it stung like mad because you're supposed to water it down so it doesnt like liquefy your skin like the nazi guy at the end of the first indiana jones (okay MAYBE that's an exaggeration.) but i was fine. hmm. weird. pointless story but it defined my night and i felt like a pretty big idiot so you know.

Chapter 5: Cage Fighters and Neapolitan Mastiffs

so the next day hugh had told me that he'd pick me up and we'd go out. well he calls me and tells me that he's going to a friends barbeque but he wont be there long cause they're watching cricket and he hates cricket and then we'll do something no later than 230. so i'm sitting in the hostel trying to entertain myself and a couple of the girls who were in my room that i'd made friends with were going out to lunch. and one of them, we'll call her ohio cause that's where she's from, says "hey were going out to lunch with this random guy who likes [other girl who we'll call california cause she was from california]. want to come along so that i'm not the third wheel?" so i'm like sure. i'm not doing anything else for like two hours (it was about 1230).

so i go out with them and we meet this random guy who happens to be a cage fighter. so we're walking along bondi with him. he's barefoot and walking with his neapolitan mastiff who was actually a puppy but would have probably been taller than me if it had stood on it's hind legs. so i'm like hmm. random.

turns out he's from new zealand and his dog is named "druss, the legend". literally, that's what it says on his collar and that's what he's registered as. he was cute. but then he started pooping all over the side walk. literally walking whilst pooping. like a horse. it was strange and disgusting to say the least.

anyway cagefighter dude, named nathan "the nice guy" hurihanganui (who WAS actually a shockingly nice guy) picked up his dog's poo (like a good owner) and then we decide to go and get lunch.

so we head over to this random cafe in bondi and sit outside so that druss the legend can chill with us. he was extremely cute and well behaved, even if he was extremely drooly (as mastiffs are) and he sat next to me so i definitely got drool on my brand new dress i got from melbourne. but it was worth it. he was a cutie.

so it was supposed to be like a lunch date between nathan and california cause i guess she didn't want to go out with him alone but then she like WASN'T SAYING ANYTHING. so i was like THIS IS SO AWKWARD. so i'd ask him the occasional question to keep him talking cause SHE WASN'T DOING ANYTHING and ohio and i werent talking to each other cause like they were there. so i felt really bad doing it cause i wasn't even supposed to be there in the first place. but she wasn't saying ANYTHING.

fortunately once we got him talking he was pretty much on a roll. which would ordinarily be a trait in someone i wouldnt like, but this guy had really LIVED. like SERIOUSLY. so hearing what he had to say was actually pretty fascinating.

so he'd joined the new zealand army i guess when he turned 18. and then i guess moved up the ranks or something until he became a part of the UN special forces. so i was like wow. and then he got like multiple medals of honor from both of them. and then he moved to bondi and became a cage fighter and had gotten second in some national championships in like europe or something. and now he's come back to bondi and between his training and stuff he's working with underprivileged kids who keep getting in trouble for fighting and teaching them respect for it by teaching them how to actually fight. he was saying that to teach them to control their anger they have to stop being insecure and their insecurity is driven by the idea that they're worthless or that they have to be intimidating to survive (a lot, he was saying, come from abusive or broken homes). he was saying that learning how to fight seriously would force them to respect themselves and their own actions. and he was saying they'd all stopped getting into fights because of it. pretty good rationale, hey. i'm glad it was working for them.

and i wouldnt have believed any of it except like he had a video on his phone of him cage fighting and like the way he talked about everything like it wasnt so vague as to be made up. and also i googled him.

he was also EXTREMELY NICE. i was SHOCKED. i mean you'd expect someone who makes his living by doing something as meatheaded as cage fighting to be a complete jerk. not to mention he was a very good looking half kiwi half maori dude. but i swear i've never met a nicer guy. and he was saying that he didnt like boxing for the same reason i dont, because all it is is hitting someone in the head 'till they get concussed and pass out and he was saying that in all of his cage fighting he's been hit in the head "probably less than four times total out of over thirty fights". his technique was to be fast and dodge as much as he could and then get the opponent tired enough that he could put him in a headlock. he had a video of himself taking down a guy twice his size on his phone. it was pretty impressive.

i actually really respected him. and to be honest, i have even gained a bit of a respect for the cage fighting business because of him. the way he talked about it was just really knowledgeable, self aware and dare i say intellectual? yes. intellectual.

it was eye opening, it really was. i didnt even mind that hugh didnt come to get me till past 4 cause talking to him (and i say talking to him cause california and ohio weren't saying ANYTHING and i was the only one asking him questions to keep him talking) was really fascinating.

and then he introduced us to weiss bars. which are DELICIOUS. i just wish someone would have introduced me to them BEFORE my last month in australia. hahaha. it's like a popsicle but without the stick so it's literally a bar in a wrapper. and it's somewhere between sherbet and ice cream and it had macadamia nuts in it and it was mango and creme flavored and it was EXTREMELY GOOD. he was saying they were his new favorite thing and i can see why. it was genius.

regrettably that was the first of only two that i got my entire time in australia. but when i someday go back, im going to buy a box of those things first thing. they're genius.

so hugh finally picked me up at the hostel over four hours later than he was supposed to, but fortunately i'd been well entertained and we went to this street/area in sydney called surry hills that's supposed to have good shopping. and we weren't there as long as we were supposed to be since he picked me up so late and we were supposed to meet dharini and sarah ladyman for dinner, but it was still cool.

so we met up with them and got dinner at this lovely little tapas/mediterranean restaurant. alex, sarah ladyman's boyfriend came too.

wait. backstory. so beck and dharini HATE alex. like seriously HATE. him. and he knows. and hates them back. so this dinner had the potential to be extremely awkward. i'm indifferent to the guy. his teeth are a little gross (and we all know how OCD i am about my own teeth) so i find that a bit offputting but otherwise the guy's not bad looking. and he's never been particularly rude to me and i've never seen him in action being a jerk like beck and dharini have so i really dont have much by means of an opinion about him.

so anyway they hate him so dharini made sure to position herself away from him. so hugh was at the head of the table with dharini and i sitting next to him, across from each other, then ladyman was next to dharini and i was sitting next to alex. and i wasn't bothered.

it seemed a little awkward at first but it didn't really bother me. probably because i was expecting it to be much, much worse. also apparently my head was in the clouds cause later hugh informed us (dharini and me) that the awkward was so thick that he excused himself to go to the bathroom just to get away from it (always good in a crisis, hughie). dharini agreed that it was so awkward you could stick a knife in it and cut it like bread. but i didnt notice. typical oblivious wendy.

so hugh goes to the bathroom and in my opinion that made it more awkward. cause at least when there were five of us at the table it felt less awkward. i definitely resented him, at the time, for it.

but when he came back he did have a funny story. apparently he went into the bathroom and then got LOCKED IN. and couldnt get out. and was messing around with the lock for a disproportionate amount of time (he did seem to be gone for quite a while) before he finally managed it. as he told it,

"i was pushing on the wrong side of the door. you couldnt see the hinge so i thought i was trapped and then i was freakin out so i just got more disorientated"

and as he told us later, he went to the bathroom to escape the awkward, and apparently (by my own interpretation) it followed him in there and then when he came back he used the story to end some of the awkward. and that was basically how he told it. except i recall there being an "and i was like AAHH!!" inbetween the "i thought i was trapped" and the "i was freakin out". as chrissy's always said, he's basically a human soundboard and should have his own cartoon where he does all the voices and sound effects.

so in telling us the story he sort of cut through some of the awkward which i didnt notice.

but it was good. and the food was really good. and the people who worked there were really really nice.

so after hugh, dharini and i were going to walk around some more and we were going to say goodbye to ladyman and alex but then alex graciously offered us a ride to the better shopping place. so we were like alright why not. so hugh and i got the edges and dharini had to sit in the middle and didnt have a seatbelt for whatever reason. so i was like its okay you're squished in here pretty good, just so long as alex doesn't try to kill you.

and then, it was the funniest thing ever. alex threatened to kill dharini. hahahahaha

which would have just been like yeah whatever if it had been like hugh or something driving or someone that we knew liked dharini. but when alex said it it seemed like either a) a forced joke or b) a thinly veiled death threat. so we all laughed awkwardly and then when we got out of the car i basically started making fun of dharini saying "DUDE ALEX THREATENED TO KILL YOU HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA" and she was responding with something to the effect of "yeah. thanks for having my back, jerk" but clearly not in those words cause those would have been my words, not hers. but anyway her, hugh and i were laughing pretty hard about it after.

and after walking around some more, we walked dharini to the train station because she had to go home and hugh and i went back to bondi and i insisted we go sit on the beach. it was a really nice night and the beach was really really nice and we always go to the beach at night in california and i figure those are not nice beaches in comparison so WHY WOULD I NOT go to such a fine beach on such a fine night.

well then hugh starts telling me "we're probably going to get stabbed." "what?" "bondi is extremely scary at night. we're definitely going to get stabbed."

and he repeated that several times. and said that he was terrified of bondi at night cause that's where all the sketchy people go at night and it's where you go if you want to get stabbed. and i was in heels so if we were going to get stabbed, i was definitely not going to be able to run away fast enough to get away.

so we're walking down to the beach with this mentality so i'm much more on guard. but when we get down there, there's only a couple of couples and a group of like teenagers sitting down there. so i'm like dude. we'll be fine. calm down. and it was pretty relaxing just sitting there. the sand was extremely soft (as usual) and it was just nice. we could see some stars. and the ocean. it was cool.

until hugh decided he had to pee. so i was like oh fantastic. that means youre going to leave me alone. so he goes walking down to pee in the ocean (like the extremely classy boy he is) and leaves me alone.

well of course that's when everything that had seemed perfectly innocuous before changed to seeming extremely scary and threatening. so i'm scanning between looking at the ocean to see when hugh starts coming back, and all of the different people on the beach. and i've got my phone out and everything and am like ok nobody will mess with me if i've got my phone out.

so anyway he set this whole tone of paranoia for the beach. but when he got back i was fine again. but when we were leaving, later, and were walking past all these people (including what looked like the quintessential hippie VW bus) i was much more on edge. and after we left i was like "you're lame. that wasn't sketch at all. i've been to way sketchier places/beaches than that" hahaha

but he seemed much more on edge--like we'd narrowly escaped death. ok well maybe not that bad. but he seemed pretty grateful to be out of there. and my hostel was down the street so i dont think hugh walked me home (cause he saw a cab and was saying that they dont usually come here at this time of night, can you walk the last block yourself) so i was like ok i can see my hostel from here, no problem. and he left with the promise that he wouldn't stand me up for so long tomorrow so i walked home with no problems and all was well.

Chapter 6: Day 4: Ah, The Joys of a Boy and His Dog and, More Importantly, FRENCH CATFIGHTS!!!

so hugh didn't stand me up again, so that was a plus. haha. i mean he was late, and i had to get a cab to his house, but it was fine. we went to the beach again which was awesome and then he had said we should go to this place called the tropicana for lunch.

it was like a two minute drive from the MIDDLE of the city/kings cross, which i didnt realize. and hugh was saying it was right near his eldest sister's apartment so he normally parked there because he's not allowed to drive in the heart of the city (because it's too crazy---which, let me tell you, it wouldnt be easy, but it wouldnt be half as bad as san francisco which is a NIGHTMARE, let me tell you.)

but so we go to this place and get pasta with pink sauce which i'd never had before (but which, since, tracey has made and i was like hey! i had that in australia!) and it was really good. also cause i was really hungry again as it was the first thing i'd eaten all day and we'd already been to the beach.

and then we were going to go shopping but we both decided that we didnt really care to and that we'd both rather go back to the beach. so then we drove around a lot. hugh accidentally got on one of the main thoroughfares of sydney (it leads into king's cross, the red light district where i stayed in a hostel when brittani came and was also the road that the hotel i stayed in during the UC orientation when i first got there was on. so i excitedly pointed my hotel out) and he started panicking going "AHH I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ON THIS ROAD! IT'S EXTREMELY BUSY!! AHH!! and then after we got off of that, i'm not sure if it's because hugh was lost (which he probably was, sort of--i say sort of because he probably wasn't ACTUALLY lost but because we (beck especially) always made fun of him for only knowing one way to get to and from places ("like a dog"--beck's words) so he probably just took a needlessly long way to get there. but actually it was kind of nice because i got to see some of sydney while relaxing in a car with someone i trusted (rather than a cab driver) while listening to good music on a lovely day with the windows rolled down. it was nice.

and then we went to his house. which i'd only briefly seen before. and i met his dog! he was so cute!! and EXTREMELY SOFT. like, you know how puppies are really soft? well he was still soft like a puppy. even though he was older. and his name is felix. hes cute. and hugh basically turns to marisol when she sees a small child ([high pitched voice] "BABY!!!!!! AWWWWW I WANT A BABY. AWWWW THEYRE SO CUTE!!"). except substitute "baby" with "felix!" or "feli!" (short for felix--and pronounced like fee-liey)

and fortunately even though felix was little, he wasnt an obnoxious puntable dog (as my mom calls them--"where you almost wish you could punt them")

here's the boy and his dog.

and after we took felix for a walk we went to the beach again and took a little hike between the beaches near hughs house. it was really cool.

so there was this cliff. i can't remember what hugh called it but apparently people jump off of it a lot cause it's relatively high and the water beneath is deep enough. the cliff is probably at least 30 feet from the water and the water was so clear you could see the fish swimming around in it. it was so cool. i really wanted to jump (especially cause i was kind of hot and i was in my bathingsuit anyway) and hugh was saying ordinarily he'd do it (although he'd never done it before) but the tide was out so he didn't fully trust it. i think it still would have been fine, but i wasn't about to do it without him.

and from this cliff you could see shark island, the island that hugh and his family call picnic island because they used to go and eat picnics on it but that was originally circled by sharks. it was a cute little island but clearly you could only probably get to it by boat. we had toyed with the idea of taking surfboards out and just using them so we wouldnt have to swim (so that i wouldnt start being like JAWS IS BELOW ME AND HE'S GOING TO EAT ME!) even though most likely that would have attracted sharks more. but at least i would have felt better because for some reason if my legs arent like paddling (like how in jaws they always show people swimming from below) i feel better. and we talked about taking his dad's like dinghy out but apparently his dad has recently sold it or something hahaha

but it was okay. here's what it looked like.

and here's what the cliffs/cliff path we were walking on between the beaches looked like. from the outside. cause most of the time when we were in it it kind of just looked like jungle/forest. it was cool walking around in there though because you didnt have to fear anything attacking you (ie rattlesnakes, coyotes or cougars) because they don't have them. so i didn't have to watch my back at all. and it was kind of nice not to have to analyze every rustle in the bushes.

and after we hung out at the beach for a little while we took the short walk back to hugh's and then got ready to go out to dinner with annaliese. and i got to meet his sister georgie!

she's his favorite sibling, far as i can tell. especially seeing as he describes his 13 year old brother jack as "SO ANNOYING" and in my dealings with him he's been a...let's say precocious. which i've personally found to be hilarious. and i want to meet him and hugh keeps going "WHY?! WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO MEET HIM. HE'S SO ANNOYING!!!

and i'd talked to him a couple times through hugh's facebook which was funny cause he constantly schools hugh [like on the inbetweeners, how simon's brother is constantly making fun of him. well in this case hugh is simon and jack is simon's little brother.] it's hilarious cause hugh gets so worked up about it and then it usually ends in him telling jack to "F*CK OFF!!!!" just like simon and his little brother.

and dharini and i were saying that they're totally the same as the characters and hugh was like "yeah except usually i school jack" and we're like "uhhhhhh not from what we've seen, love. haha it's so funny.

and then jack added me as a friend on facebook and i was like HAHAHA and hugh was like "don't add him. he's so annoying he's just going to bug you and last time he paid you out" (when i'd talked to him on hugh's facebook he said that his girlfriend was hotter than me.) to which i replied "dude, he said his THIRTEEN YEAR OLD girlfriend was "hotter" than me. excuse me, but i'm not exactly threatened by a girl eight years younger than me who is barely pubescent." but he didnt/hasnt ever really bugged me. and beck added jack at the beginning of the year much to hugh's chagrin and jack is convinced that she's basically insane. it was hilarious.

anyway back to georgie. she's hugh's second eldest sister and i'm pretty sure she's somewhere around my age. he described her as "crazy" ("remember that movie crazy beautiful? she's like that" "dude i hated that movie" "yeah i don't even remember what happened. but from what i remember it seems like it'd apply to her" "oh okay hugh." hahahaha) and "you'll love her" i unfortunately didn't get to talk to her all that much but she seemed really nice.

and then there's kate who's hughs oldest sister and i think shes like 24 but she doesnt live at home anymore. hugh says he looks most like her, though, as both georgie and jack (who he describes to his face as "probably an accident" because of the huge age gap between them and him, [what a nice older brother] are both blonde)

anyway so i'm at their house and we'd been hiking along the beach so i wasn't really smelling all that kosher anymore and i go up to hughs room and am dressed and ready to go and everything but i'd forgotten to bring deodorant. so i was like hey hugh can i borrow yours. i'll smell like a dude but at least i won't smell bad. (i've used trents several times so i don't know that i mind all that much smelling like a dude. at least i'd smell like a good smelling dude.) and he was like yeah whatever but then georgie came in and was like "wendy dont be silly you can use mine so you dont have to smell like a guy" and i was like "aww you're so sweet i <3 you!!" well okay i didn't say it exactly that way but whatever.

but then i had a new problem. they use spray deodorant in australia. and i have no idea how to use that. so that was a bit of an adventure in itself. but whatever. and then hugh sprayed me with his moms perfume cause i'd asked to use his and he told me not to be stupid. and he said his mom had good taste and that he liked it so i was like whatever i trust you. and it did smell good. it was nice. even though i felt bad stealing some of his mom's perfume.

and then it took him WAY LONGER than me to get ready. so i made fun of him and chilled with felix.

and when he came out i was like "hey who named felix/why is his name felix?"
and hugh took umbridge and was like "GEORGIE. I KNOW FELIX IS A CAT'S NAME WHATEVER"
and i was like "uh...i hadnt even thought of that. i was just wondering whose choice it was and stuff."
and he was just like "oh...."
hahahaha idiot

so finally he was finished getting ready and we went to dinner with annaliese in new town. which is supposed to be the area of sydney with like the best food and stuff. we walked up and down the street several times trying to figure out what we wanted. since we didnt want thai and indian because we got it all the time in canberra and all of us were tired of it. and also because new town is known for its thai food...oops. in the end we got turkish/mediterranean food which was really good. mine seemed more greek than turkish.

here's hugh and annaliese

they were greatly displeased with me for taking this picture. but honestly, i didn't have a whole lot of time left and so my finger was getting pretty twitchy and trigger happy. and by trigger happy, i mean camera happy. it just sounded cooler saying trigger happy.

and so after we left there we were going to go to this bar that was like across from the opera house so you'd have a really good view of it. but then we decided that we didn't really care to go and annaliese already had to go home so hugh and i sat on a bench and enjoyed the view of the opera house for a while before he had to drop me off and give the car back to his sister.

so when he dropped me off it was like 11 and chrissy had just arrived at our hostel. we were leaving the next morning from sydney for new zealand so we figured that staying in the same hostel together the night before, in sydney, would be a good idea. so she'd just gotten there from canberra and was starving.

so hugh left us and we went searching for food for her. apparently very few eateries besides mcdonalds are open at 11pm in bondi. and she was definitely over "maccas" as it was pretty often one of the go-to places in canberra. so we ended up going to this bar down the street that had a ton of people there and was selling pizza (it wasnt particularly good pizza as it was meant for drunk people but fortunately chrissy was pretty hungry so she was willing to eat it with minimal complaints anyway haha)

and we sat there and talked for a while and then decided to go out to the beach. chrissy hadn't been to sydney in several years and so everything seemed really different to her. and she greatly admired their palm trees. and she was saying how the beaches in melbourne aren't really the place to go so she hadn't been to a beach in a while so we went.

and it was really funny cause i was telling her "hugh said the beach is really sketchy at night" blah blah blah and it seemed totally fine. it was a completely different ambiance from the night before because chrissy, unlike hugh, wasn't afraid of the beach at night. hahaha

so we went and walked along the beach in the moonlight and she was happy since she hadn't been to a beach in a while and it was quite pretty. although it was getting increasingly colder. so then we went home to pack. we had to be up at 7 the next morning to catch our flight.

so i end up being up 'till 4 finishing packing, meanwhile chrissy was already packed so she just knocked out.

until 515, an hour after i got to sleep, she was being woken by a FRENCH CATFIGHT.

hahahaha apparently these two drunk french girls were screaming at each other in chrissy's room and LITERALLY physically fighting about something. and one spilt her red wine on some of chrissys stuff. and chrissy and this other australian girl were trying to tell them to stop, shut up and leave the room in the french they remembered from high school. which was pretty good if you ask me cause the best i probably could have come up with if i was them and had just been woken from my slumber at 5am would probably have been broken english at best (yes, english is my first language but i have a very poor grasp of it in the morning, as any of you who know me should know), maybe scattered with a few italian words if i could remember them.

so chrissy did pretty well. except then she couldnt go back to sleep.

so when i woke up at 7 and called her to make sure she was up and ready to catch our cab to the airport, she informed me that she was sitting in a cafe across the street with all of her luggage and drinking coffee. hahaha

and so our trip to new zealand began on certainly an interesting note, if not a high one. it was more hilarious to me than certainly it was for chrissy. nonetheless, i think it made for a pretty interesting first hostel experience for her. and new zealand certainly was made much more amazing from that somewhat rocky start.

so. next up, NEW ZEALAND.

ps. today, as i post this, is brittani's birthday. so i shall dedicate it to her. happy birthday! <3