“Oh, that is the man I was telling you about that saved me last night” as she pointed in my direction. I felt quite uneasy about this statement. Maybe I could have felt a little justified if I had saved her from sharks with a twenty minute life risking swim. Maybe if I had beaten off a gang of attackers in a late night attack. But I didn’t. All I had done was go next door and purchase (with her money, with change to buy a bottle of water at her expense) a large bottle of Pepsi Max. Well, she was dying apparently. Of a drink overdose. Apparently Pepsi Max was her insulin equivalent to diabetes. “I was hoping I would see you again to say thank you”. Acknowledging her unrequited thank you, I wished her all the best. After all, this Irish lady going back down the pub. It was eleven am. I’ll get the Pepsi Max ready next time.
The much made and slightly wearing trip to Bondi Beach that day was made decisively by the weather. For once, there was not a cloud in the sky. Unfortunately for me, it seemed that other people on this Sunday had spotted this fact as well. I was hoping they didn’t notice, but it seems, they did. The train was packed. It was not stopping at Bondi Junction due to rail works, so, that meant a bus transfer to catch other bus. All in all, it took forty five minutes. The buses were so full that half the crowd were refused entry, it seems this was not taken kindly by one rather large man who decided he would try to gain entry by kicking the door in. Everyone else looked on in pure bewilderment whilst the bus swayed off.
As I found a nice place to sit, I couldn’t help (or had no choice) to listen to a telephone conversation an animated American guy was having behind me. “Yeah, I’m in Bondi (pronounced Bondee), man, it’s awesome, it’s like, totally out of this world, it’s all kicking off man. It’s like a hundred degrees or something stupid, I tell you, it’s kicking off, it’s getting ready to explode. He repeated this five times. Then said “Goodbye mom, I miss you”. He then started to cry. All very surreal.
Apparently it’s the lead up to Christmas. They are playing the normal Christmas hits that have been played again and again over the last twenty years. There is, apparently, the brightest and biggest Christmas tree in the Southern Hemisphere down at Darling Harbour (I say apparently as I must have walked past it without knowing), there are even drunk Australian people wearing Santa hats after office Christmas parties. It’s just I say apparently, mainly because it feels nothing like Christmas at all. The signs say “Make sure you book your accommodation now for Christmas!”. Apparently it is the busiest time, something which had not got un-noticed walking the streets.
When I got back to Sydney that night, I realized there must have been a huge concert on. The place was heaving with people, some swaggering, some carrying others, others talking about where they had been, who they saw (Jamiroquai apparently) and showing off photos they had proudly taken. Others seemed desperate. In the city, worse for wear, they were looking for last minute accommodation, unable to get back to where they had come from. After finally managing to prove to the Maze backpackers that I had booked accommodation and wasn’t some crazed drunk, I got my stuff in and decided to go for a beer in the usual haunt, the Sidebar.
As I got to the bar, I heard my name being called from behind me. “Ah Rich, how is going, I thought you were in Perth”. He thought I was in Perth, I thought I was in Perth. That made two of us. “Let me buy you a drink”. It was the man from Norfolk who’s name I couldn’t remember (judging by the state of him I don’t think he could remember), part of the Norfolk get in at 6am whilst I was getting up brigade from the other week. “We met these girls and they said they knew you, they are sitting on the same table as us”. So, it was. All five of the people I had met were sitting there. I sat down, had a number of VB’s and then decided at three am that it was probably best to go, the three hour Perth time difference was starting to kick in.
As I made my up towards the room, a bottle of water seemed like a sensible idea. For some reason, despite my lack of beers, I was feeling slightly light headed. As I waited at the drinks machine, there was a very distressed looking girl, what could be wrong? Maybe she has had an argument. Maybe she has run out of money. “I can’t believe it, all I want is a Fucking Pepsi Max and it’s swallowing my money”.