Subject: Heah in Sydney Still Mates
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2002
From: -= Aussie Allen Kanga Rue =-

Folks! Here I am again! You want to see a permagrin? Please indulge me for a moment by imagining you see me through your screen with my deep suntan giggling at you because you're home right now and I'm HEAH! I'm here relaxing in sunny Sydney while you're doing the routine! I'm in a big Internet cafe jamming to the new Michael Jackson album with about 50 other blokes. It's so warm in here at 11PM that they have fans pumping air though the place. There is no door here, only a metal gate they put down at night because it never gets cold enough in Sydney for them to close it. HA! Ha! HA! Enough rubbing in my happiness, let me tell share what's making life so brilliant!

Where to begin? Well, I just keep meeting people Australians, Germans, Americans, British, and Irish. I feel very comfortable walking up to complete strangers here asking them about things. The fine thing here at the Internet cafe almost choked on a snack when I was joking with her earlier.

Everyday I go to the Royal Botanical Gardens which surround Sydney Harbour. Not only are they free, but they are the best gardens I've ever seen. This park goes on for acres and there's so many unique trees and animals there that it amazes me. There's the one white parrot looking bird that I thought was really cute at first, but now it's annoying the crap out of me. Every once in awhile he makes this awful noise and very often many his friends start making the same horrible noise. I thought I made them feel uncomfortable at first playing my pennywhistle in the gardens, but it's not that. Speaking of the pennywhistle, I practice by a magnificent view of the Opera House and the bridge the Aussies call the "Clotheshanger" everyday. Sometimes I want to pinch myself to make sure I'm awake. I must be getting better at my whistle because tonight an older gentlemen sat on a bench nearby as I pumped the tunes out laying out on the grass.

I'd like to tell you that everyone in the entire world could handle Sydney. I know why the Olympics were here. I haven't gone to the arena, but I still have 9 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days to check it out. I found out today that I can come back and work again for another 4 months and stay for 6 more after returning from the US. Well, if I can't do all the fun stuff I plan... as Swartzenegger said, "I'll be back." Sydney is not very exotic to me. I find Western Europe more exotic. Sydney is a clean modern beautiful city. There's trains, ferries, monorails, and buses. I would relate Sydney most closely to New York City at 1/3 the price. There's a lot of people here and they're all really thin...

Let me talk about that: The Sydneyites are THIN. I feel I fit in better here in terms of my weight than I do in the US. There's so many guys built like me here and the girls are even smaller. I think I dropped about 5 pounds already here. I'm in heaven.

I've been eating really good here, but quite differently than in the US. You see, I ate sushi three nights this week and a swarma one other. What the heck is swarma you're asking? It's an Arab delight that's a cross between a hoagie and a gyro. Foods are dirt cheap here, especially for a frugal guy like me who prides himself on sniffing them out... there's so many sushi places in Sydney... I eat a good sushi dinner for $2 or $3 USD a night. Food is good, fresh, and prices are reasonable. Portion sizes are excellent. Come heah and find out for yourself. Surprisingly, it costs more for a beer than it costs for me to eat sometimes.

Just like any other great city, there's homeless people and other whacked people that are less fortunate than us. I can't understand why people would be unhappy and fall to ruin here. It's warm - not humid, sunny 300+ days of the year, cheap, and there's so many FREE things you can do for fun. Drugs are just stOOpid! People ask me for money all the time and it's getting frustrating.

Tonight as was leaving the Botanical Gardens after sunset, I discovered a place with hoards of people in the park "open air cinema" I was intrigued by all these people behind gates in the park mingling and jamming to some smooth house tunes. I walked up to an Aussie girl that looked like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and asked her about the event. She told me this was an "open air cinema that plays a different movie at 8:30PM every night (sunset is 7:35PM here). Tonight there were playing "Riding in Cars With Boys." I was going to hide out behind the event like many of the Aussies, but I was hungry for some sushi and took off.

Remember Woolworth? The 5 and 10 that kicked the bucket in the United States? Well, it's the #1 store in Australia as far as I'm concerned. I buy everything there: food, tools, and accessories. It has the best prices in town. On Australia Day (celebrated on Mon Jan. 28 because holiday fell on Saturday) people were mad when they closed at 6PM instead of their regular 8PM. I love going to the store at the end of the day because they have GREAT specials on all their fresh items. Breads are 30% off; sushi rolls are buy 1 get 1 free. They call cantaloupe rock melon here and I eat a lot of it. It costs me 50 US for a half rock melon with a spoon. Nothing beats summer without humidity and fresh fruits in the park. I repeat again - I'm in heaven.

Things have been great for me on the women front. I met a great German girl name Suskia (spelling?) last night. I never saw a German with red hair and I kept complimenting her on it. When everyone else in my hostel room went to bed we kept talking. The music began, one instrument at a time... the momentum was in the air.. then ... then... zzzzz.... nothing happened. She left with her travel partner Susan at 7:00AM. I woke up in the morning and told Suskia (I think you're really cute and I'm sorry we'll never see each other again). I'm not doing bad for 6 days in the country.

I don't know why, but I seem to get people talking in my hostel rooms. I am really impressed that a little nudge of friendliness can take you a long way. I hope my letter gets you talking and considering some travel or adventure plans of your own.

Tomorrow night I'm leaving Sydney. I'm on an overnight bus to go see the other great eastern city of Australia, Melbourne. I'm trying to decide which city to work in. I found out today that Melbourne has the better swing dance scene, so I think I'm moving there. When I get to my working destination, I plan to buy a used guitar and take lessons. My focus this year is about good times, exploring, and music. It's good to be alive!

Have a great week and I'll write to you all soon!
Aussie Allen :)

'As the Australians like to say "Life is a game, take some risks"' - Kay, the Australian florist born in mainland China
Allen "Kanga" Rue - the Australian traveling extraordinaire