Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday in Sydney

At first glance it appeared that Brandon got the better room in the Wood Duck Inn, a hostel on William Street a few blocks from Hyde Park in Sydney. He had two hot French girls in a four bunk room while I drew a guy in my two bunk room. After closer examination, I came out ahead.

"Dude talk about a bad beat," muttered Brandon. "That is, unless one of them blows me tonight."

Yeah, Brandon got the two snooty French girls while my roommate was a gregarious Kiwi who happened to be bartending at one of the cooler bars around the corner called The Gaff. We hit it off from the moment I introduced myself and he told me to come on down to the bar.

"It's Ladies Night," he said. "Free champagne from 9 to 10 in honor of Australia Day."

* * * * *

We had to find the STA travel office because Brandon left his UW student ID back in Seattle. He needed it to get a major discount on a train trip to Alice Springs so he could see Ayers Rock. We wandered around Chinatown looking for the office. He also needed a haircut. There were plenty of barbers with signs that read, "$10 haircuts."

"Maybe I should go to the gay part of town," Brandon suggested. "I will get a better haircut at a salon there."

The gay-lesbian part of town was far away and Brandon settled on one store. I snapped photos while he got a new haircut.

I was told to try Hungry Jacks which is the Aussie version of Burger King. For 4.95 we got an extra value meal... a double cheeseburger with a ton of mayo. It wasn't too bad.

We explored more of Sydney before the lack of sleep finally caught up with me. We went back to the hostel and I took a nap. Afterwards we headed to Kings Cross for dinner.

We stopped at the Fountain Cafe. It looked nice with cute waitresses. The bad part was that we were seated at a table next to a loud asshole. He was the first bad Aussie I met in over three weeks.

"Where the fuck is Crown Lager?" he shouted at the waitress. "What is this Perth? I expect that shitty service out there. Not in fuckin' Sydney."

"I'm sorry sir," the one girl said trying to muster up enough courage to stand up to the angry guy. "We ran out."

"That's fuckin' false advertising. I want to talk to your manager."

Another hot chick came back over and calmly explained that they ran out of Crown Lager. She brought them a complimentary bottle of champagne. But he was not satisfied and the verbal tirade continued.

"This is bullshit," he screamed. "False fuckin' advertising. See over there at that table? He's drinking Crown Lager. If you print that you have it in your menu and don't serve it to me, then it's false fuckin' advertising. Are you too fuckin' stupid to understand that?"

He did not give up and kept screaming about it like a spoiled little kid throwing a tantrum. We had already ordered our food and the place was crowded so we could not leave or switch tables.

"What a dick," mumbled Brandon under his breath.

Brandon is one of the most laid back guys you will ever meet. He attributes that to growing up in Hawai'i for the first 12 years of his life. He's totally chill but for the first time since I've known him... he was visibly rattled.

We scoffed down our dinner and quickly left. That guy's bad vibes ruined our meal. Bastard.

* * * * *

We went to The Gaff on Oxford Street located a few blocks from our hostel. We walked up to the bar and spotted several tables packed with young women waiting for the free champagne hour to kick in.

My roommate Ricky wandered over. We drank a jug (pitcher) of Toohey's and watched the tennis match. He told us that he's been traveling all over the world for eight years and doesn't meet too many Americans. He had some interesting political views and mentioned that out the US of A gets a bad rap overseas.

"Several Muslim countries were deeply affected by the tsunami," he said. "Yet, how much money did the Muslim countries donate? Very little. They didn't even care about their own people. Yet America was the biggest contributor to aid."

Ricky knew everyone in the bar, from the Swedish guys and German girls at our hostel who stopped by and the hot Brazilian bartender who served us more beer. We eventually started drinking with these two guys from the Aussie military. They were special forces and cool as shit. They recommended a few bars to visit. The girls started getting hammered and dancing on tables.

Irish poker pro David Callahan appeared out of nowhere. He randomly walked past the bar and saw a bevy of hot chicks and decided to investigate. We drank beers with him before we decided to leave.

We headed back to the hostel and drank up on the roof while we continued our heads-up Chinese Poker match. A few bats circled around above us as I picked up a few points on Brandon, the self-appointed semi-pro poker player.

"Are you Brant-dan?" said one of the girls who was cleaning the tables on the roof. "I have zor key."

Brandon lost his key and luckily, the staff found it. She was a nymphish twenty-something brunette with a funny accent. Time for another prop bet. Brandon picked France and I said Israel. We plopped two red $20 bills on the table.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Alex," she said in an accent that hinted of French. I knew I was doomed.

"Where are you from?" inquired Brandon.

"France. Zee French Alps," she said as Brandon scooped up the money.

I really suck at "Guess what country." I should stop those prop bets. But I'm an action junkie. Alex was way cooler than Brandon's French roommates. She hung out with us while she chain smoked cigarettes. Total cliche. Alas, it happened.

"Vat are zoo playing?" she asked.

"Chinese Poker," I answered.

"Vait. I thought I recognized zoo," she said after taking a long drag. "I have zeen zoo on TV. Brant-dan, zoo won a poker tournament on TV in France, c'est vrai?"

Brandon shrugged his shoulders. Not only is he a rock star in Germany, but hot French chicks working in hostels in Australia recognized him.

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