The weather has improved tenfold and I’ve been taking full advantage of it. Yesterday Lydia and I walked all the way up George Street on the pretense of her trying to find a job. We met up with Verena and Frank at the Opera House then walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Now, New York City has Central Park, and it’s nice, but doesn’t compare in the least bit to the Botanic Gardens. First of all, the park is HUGE. I don’t know exactly how big but you could spend hours wandering around in there. Secondly, the wildlife is teeming. There is an abundance of interesting, prehistoric-looking tropical plants and many, many birds. Including, actually, a flock of wild, scavenging cockatoos known to take full advantage of our desire to feed and pet them. There are also these crazy, foot-high, long-beaked dinosaur birds of whom I’m still in awe. But what really got me excited at the Botanic Gardens was a rare sighting of a full-grown tree specimen of the Araucaria group. If I remember correctly, these guys are relatives of the prehistoric trees preserved today at Petrified Forest National Park back in America. Straight from the Cretaceous or some shit. You’ll see.
When I got back to the hostel, I cut a deal with Adam the front desk guy that if I created a list of “Free Things to Do in Sydney” to be posted up in the hostel for other cheap college-students-gone-travelers like myself then I will get an upgraded breakfast for my remaining time here. It’s all a part of my scheme to prove to Adam that there is ALWAYS something to do for free – you just have to look a little harder for it sometimes. You would want to prove things to Adam too. He’s one of those cynical guys who hopes America will someday become as expensive as the rest of the world and then the Americans will all suffer, crash, and burn. But he means well of course.
Last night the hostel was running a special – A$5 for a burger and beer/soft drink, so I tried Kangaroo for the first time. Tastes like beef. And now I know this is maybe the only country that eats its own national animal.
I don’t know if this is even relevant to report because I slept straight through it, but apparently last night my new, darling German roommate, Julia, came back from a night out and vomited all over the floor – and on some of Lydia’s clothes. Poor girl has actually never vomited from alcohol before (support for my theory that the drinking age should be lower so teenagers don’t abuse alcohol) and felt so guilty. I’m sure I will have more to say about Julia later ‘cause she will be staying in our room the remainder of my time in the hostel.
Jordan Sernik, the son of my second cousin’s friend, called today and is going to “show me the town”. Don’t really know what that means but it will be neat to be shown around by someone who actually lives here.