Ever since my auntie brought me a boomerang back from Canberra with pictures of Australia on it, I’ve wanted to go there. The surf culture and laid back attitude is what had always enticed me the most. I even used to keep a picture postcard of a girl carrying a surfboard on an Australian beach in my wardrobe to remind myself to eventually go there. I remember one time inviting half the people in a night club back to my house for a party, I still lived with my parents at the time and in my drunken state I completely disregarded them being asleep in bed. There used to be a pool table in one of the rooms at the back of the house, so I somehow had the crazy notion that if I crammed everyone in there then they wouldn’t wake up. Inevitably they woke up and demanded I order everyone to leave, right as I was in a deep conversation with some stranger that had piled in with everybody else, and I recall blabbering to him about my postcard and how I’d get there one day. Well that day finally arrived, I managed to get a return flight to Sydney for £878 pounds flying from London. Fortunately, now that Ste – who came to party all night in Las Vegas with me – was living there, as well as Dean – another close friend I was going to visit in Melbourne – it meant accommodation costs would be kept to a minimum.
Ste’s place was in one of the Sydney subarbs, called Cougee. He was living beach side in a shared accommodation house, I never really seen much of anybody else in there though, apart from an older guy who would always stop me on the stairs to give me some daily insights into the best way to live your life, he was like an Australian Dalai Lama, I quite enjoyed bumping into him.
After a couple of days of adjusting to the time difference and mainly just chilling on the beach, we took a bus ride to Centennial park.
The park was HUGE and took us ages to walk from one side to the other, but it was cool being able to stroll amongst the palm trees in a pair of shorts while the sun was setting. Every now and again a couple of keep fit enthusiasts would jog past and flash a friendly* smile, at which point I’d look at Ste all confused. It’s not that British people don’t want to smile at each other, I think most people have just forgotten that you don’t need to have a reason to be friendly.
Eventually we reached a grassy arena where a big inflatable cinema screen was in the process of being blown up. There were already plenty of people sat waiting, some on picnic blankets, and some on these weird shaped bean bag lounge seat things, they were a few dollars extra but we hadn’t brought anything to sit on so they were a blessing really.
It was strange being sat outside watching the remaining shades of blue fade out of the sky as the trailers began on the big screen. It felt really peaceful and tranquil.
Whilst the twilight crept in, flying fox bats circled above our heads. There seemed to be loads of them, but nobody was perturbed by it. I asked Ste if they ever poo on anybody? ‘Probably’ he laughed. Contagion was the movie we watched, starring Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow. Half an hour into the film I felt a thud against my bean bag in the darkness, it gave me a shock and I turned to Ste to see what he wanted, ‘I’ve been shit on’ he whispered, he was wiping his hands in the grass after having to flick the excrement off his lap. He blamed me for manifesting it and shuffled off to wash his hands in the toilet cubicles. On his way back he brought some chicken and refreshments that were sold from snack bars at the back of the amphitheatre.
On the unfortunate occasion that it begins to rain, you can retain your ticket and return to a separate screening, but the same movies rarely get shown twice. If possible take a your own low positioned camping chair, the bean bags were comfy enough but not necessary as you can take your own seating, and the same with food and drink. Also there is no lighting when you leave so if possible remember to take a torch!