Saturday, October 31, 2009

Brief Encounters - Hostel Hijinks and Surfing Stories

In this section, I recount some people or situations I’ve come across in my travels so far.

So besides the amazing people I met at Hillsong, I met quite a few characters on my last days in Sydney (after I parted ways with Olivia). Here are the stories of the hooligans I met at the the Bondi Beach Hostel and the cool friends I made during my surfing lesson.

Bondi Beach Hostel
When I was planning my trip to Sydney, I could've stayed at the YHA Central, a five-star, full-service hostel that I saw when I left my bags there during my downtown excursion, or at the YHA Bondi Beach (pronounced BOND-EYE), which was close to the beach where I wanted to go surfing on Tuesday. In the end, I settled on Bondi, because of its proximity to the beach, but when I arrived I wasn't sure if that was the right idea.

When I arrived, it was loud, raucous and seemingly full of vagrants. My bed was a room of eight, except the guys already there had been there for a long time and had clearly had a bit too much fun in the room. One of the guys, who was French and introduced himself as "Ogie" (his accent was thick, OK?), bought some weed from another guy in the room and rolled it on front of me not 10 minutes after I got to the room. I couldn't help but laugh. Shrugging it off, I decided to take the opportunity to practice my french. I told him "Je suis fatigue" and "Je veux utiliser la...", to which he responded, "la douche." After a moment of confusion, I realized what he was saying. ...And that's the story of how I learned that "shower" in French is "douche".

Besides Ogie, I met Jamie, this SUPER BUFF guy from England who I later learned was a professional trainer, and Max, a plastic surgeon from Nice. While I at first had a negative image of this plastic surgeon, he told me he was studying to learn how to fix cleft palates in children. That'll teach me to stereotype eh?

Surfing Lesson Mates
Early in the morning on my last day in Sydney, I went to take a surfing lesson at the famous Bondi Beach. Taking the lesson with me were three people from Edinburgh, Scotland and a young guy from Barcelona. I learned during the lesson that two of the Scots (Scotlanders?) were studying to be doctors in the UK and were doing an exchange in Melbourne. I always find people who are doctors or studying to be doctors amazing, because it's something I could never do. I learned that Ann (the one who was amazing at surfing right off the bat) was planning to stay in Sydney after she graduated and that Kyle (the one who was not so amazing at surfing right off the bat) was planning to go into pediatrics after graduation. What amazing people!

The guy from Barcelona, Marcello, had just graduated from university in Thermal Power Engineering and was working for a company that made heat exchangers in Sweden. Such a well-traveled bloke! He was a great guy, picked up surfing pretty quickly, and was really easy to talk to. We talked about ice hockey (he went to a SEL game in Sweden!) and engineering. I even practiced some of my Spanish on him, telling him "Hay muchos playas en Vancouver, pero no son bellas como asi", which I hoped meant "There are many beaches in Vancouver, but they aren't as beautiful as here." I really should learn more languages, or at least a few phrases in more languages! I find people are always freer and open up a bit more when you can say a few words in their own language.

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