The Search for Satisfactory Accommodation (and how it failed)

Besides from finding a job in Sydney, I’ve also had to organise some living arrangements for myself. Sleeping in the park wasn’t really an option despite the clement weather, so I was expecting to go just one step up from that and stay in a backpackers hostel while I got myself settled in, and then maybe look for a flat share later. Luckily however, Freddie had a great contact here in Sydney, a childhood friend of his mother’s who immigrated to Australia and has a gorgeous house in the lovely suburb of Paddington, where we ended up staying for three weeks.

Betsy and Martin made us feel so welcome in their home and were a constant support to us while we searched for jobs, which was often extremely frustrating. Their daughters Maddie and Prudie also helped us out by giving us advice on where to apply for work and how to go about it. We had some really enjoyable times with the Duncans (and their dog Welly), including some great meals and conversations… (I was a huge fan of their personal library). I was all the more grateful for their hospitality because of how I was just the travel companion of Freddie’s who they knew nothing about, and owed nothing to. After telling Betsy that I was considering doing some busking on the saxophone, she surprised me by saying that she and Prudie both played and that she didn’t mind one bit if I borrowed one of their old saxs! So I’m supremely thankful to the whole family for their generosity and hospitality. Without them, settling into Sydney would have been a hell of a lot more challenging.

It was also through Prudie that Freddie and I found our next place to stay: a shared flat in Glebe. It was only for 3 weeks and the two of us shared a room, sleeping on mattresses on the floor… but the rent was super low and it was great to get to know a new part of the city, and also a new person – Phoebe, our flat mate. During this time, Freddie and I worked our butts off at our respective bars for Mardi Gras, so earnt tons of money. It also gave us opportunity to research and discuss our next place to live. Which is where we are now…

The Rooftop Travellers Lodge on Glebe Point Road seemed fairly appealing because it was super cheap, in a cool area, and was semi-permenant, meaning that although we’re sharing rooms with strangers, there isn’t such a high turnover of them, like in your average hostel. There’s 4 people to every room, a TV, an en suite, a computer (that’s unlikely to work), a fridge and a kettle. I arrived on Saturday in the middle of the day and moved my stuff in. There was a guy passed out in one of the beds and I briefly met another roommate before he left for a cigarette… first impressions weren’t stellar but the room seemed adequate. I finished unpacking then rushed off to meet my friend Cristian and then go to work.

I returned from my shift to the lodge at 3am. Expecting everyone to be asleep and preparing myself to tiptoe in and get ready for bed like a ninja, I climbed the stairs to the second floor. The first thing I noticed was the powerful odour of alcohol. Then it was the shouting and loud music. There are 15 rooms on each floor but naturally, the party was happening in mine. With sinking spirits I opened the door and entered…

Beer bottles everywhere. People smoking (cigarettes) in the room, right next to my clothes. A random girl out cold in one of the beds. A group of guys, most of whom didn’t sleep in this room, jeering and shouting and laughing, over the constant thrum of pumping house music. This is the environment in which I met my roommates. I wasn’t best pleased, so I got ready for bed regardless (I was knackered from working 3 consecutive night shifts and being busy in the day times as well), tiptoeing round pools of spilt beer to brush my teeth and asking random people to shift over so I could put my clothes away. I scrambled into bed hoping they’d get the message… and they did leave around 4am to drink elsewhere I guess, although they returned at 10:30am, cus that’s how I was woken up. To say the least, I was absolutely mortified about the predicament I’d gotten myself into. Was this gonna be my life from now on? I’ve signed up for a 6 week stay in this place…

As a result of the guys staying up all night drinking, Sunday was a much quieter day (although I spent as much time out of the lodge as possible). Turns out they only party like crazy on weekends and don’t do anything in the week. They all work pretty hard in physically demanding jobs like demolition and the like, so I guess their weekends they like to go a bit wild. So I think I just arrived on the worst night possible. Things won’t normally be that bad! Here’s hoping!

During the day I realised I’ve got the next two days off work, so thought it a great opportunity to get out of Sydney for a couple days. Then I remembered Jacqui, a friend I made when in Madrid last September, who lives in Canberra. A quick Facebook message and a visit to greyhound.com and my trip was booked. More about it next time =)

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