Life’s a beach!

Australia, RTW: 2007-2008 — By on December 20, 2007 4:31 AM

Lauren and I have been living at our new house at Coogee Beach for the past two weeks. We both absolutely love living at the beach and Coogee is beautiful and so much fun! We live on the road that runs in front of the beach and are just a few minutes walk to the center of town. Coogee is a small beach town compared to Bondi, which is 10 miles North. Bondi is a much larger each and more touristy. We will be living here until February 15th.

Coogee Bay Road is the main road that runs through town and is filled with bustling cafes with sidewalk seating and shops. Within Coogee there are several hotels, nice neighborhoods, hiking trails, freshwater baths, parks and stunning views.

What I love most about my new place is the front patio, where I can sit and see the ocean. After two weeks, I have a routine going and I am feeling much more settled now. I have found that I can’t sleep late as I use too because there is too much I want to do around the city. A typical day for me lately is waking up early and enjoying my breakfast and coffee leisurely on the front porch as I read a book and appreciate the view of the sea. Next, another shocking thing happens, perhaps more shocking than me waking up at 7-8 AM…I go for a run! Historically, I have found running to be a form of torture, which I blame on Coach Thompson, my high school basketball coach, who made us run as punishment until you puked! But I have found that I actually enjoy running when there are beautiful things around me to see. I like to listen to the “Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs” when I run (thanks for the tunes Spencer!) I have been running along the beach and then North on the coastal trail that runs along the ocean from Coogee to Bondi Beach. This is the first time I have done any sort of “trail running” and it is quite the workout up and down hills, stairs, and rocky paths. The view is amazing and I can hardly believe that I can call this new place my new home!

I became much more health conscious the past year; as I realized I am almost 30, have slightly high cholesterol and a major addiction to cheese. Since I have come to Australia I have a new addiction, thanks to Lauren who introduced us. The new love of my life is named “Tim Tams”, specifically the Sticky Vanilla Toffee Biscuits. When we first met I just couldn’t get enough of Tim Tam, I had to have him all the time! I ate an entire package (9 cookies) each day for 3 days straight. Lauren thought I was rushing into the relationship and tried to talk some sense into me, but I was completely blinded by love! I am hoping the love will fade in the coming months or I will surely have to buy a second seat for my flight back to San Francisco, as my normally bony butt is going to be huge! I have never been one to worry about my weight, and I have even tried to gain weight in the past. Since I have been in Sydney I find I eat twice as much as normal! I have yet to determine how to convert “Energy” into Calories. One Tim Tam has 401kj of Energy. The word “Energy” has such a positive sound to it, even though one needs to watch their energy here instead of calories.

To maintain a relationship with Tim Tam, I exercise each morning. If I don’t feel like running then I swim laps with Lauren at the ladies only fresh water pool. It is such a serene and beautiful place to be until an 80-year-old woman arrives for a swim in her THONG bathing suit! But you are swimming in the ocean, surrounded by cliffs and protected from sharks by the rock walls so you can ignore the old lady…UNTIL she decides to sun bathe topless! I have decided I prefer the views I see while running. I was going to join a gym but instead have developed my own “workout circuit” in my bedroom. I use my chair for tricep pushups, the large brick doorstopper as a weight, and water bottles as dumbbells.

After I exercise I usually have to go to work. I took on a second job at Bazura Café, which is less than a minute walking from my house. The café overlooks the ocean and has outdoor seating. I love a job that requires me to wear sunscreen to work! I have been working about 4-5 days a week at the café, usually from 9-3. I get free coffee drinks all day and a free meal of my choice after my shift is over. I usually have steak or kangaroo since I can’t afford to eat out like that very often and it’s free! My uniform is better at the café; I wear a blue fitted t-shirt and a black skirt. This week I was able to carry 4 plates in my hands at once. I was thinking “Oh shit, Oh shit” the whole time but managed to not drop anything! After my shift at the café, I often have to head to my other job which usually starts at 5:30. All of my shifts for Stedman’s are in the city so I take the bus in from the beach. The Stedman’s jobs are becoming painfully boring to me. My only job the other night was to “top off” everyone’s drinks and I literally stood in the same place for five hours filling drinks. I found myself thinking very crazy thoughts, like…”I wonder how loud this lady would scream if I poured this entire pitcher of ice water down her back?” I thought I might seriously go crazy I was so bored. At least at the café I am busy, there is nothing worse to me than a job that is boring and drags. I usually work until 11-12 at night and then I head home and go to bed with a hot cup of tea and Tim Tam.

I did work at a private house party last week that was more entertaining. The party was to celebrate Victoria’s 50th birthday and 200 people attended. Victoria looked and danced like she was 35, as did most of her friends. I was in awe and hope I have it going on like her when I am 50! The house was in Rose Bay, one of the most expensive suburbs of Sydney. The house was enormous and the view reminded me of a house you would find in San Francisco facing the Marina Greens and docked boats. It was gorgeous. I worked behind the bar with a hot Venezuelan guy who confirmed to me that all Latin men cheat. He was checking out all the older women at the party all night long so I was shocked to learn he had a girlfriend. He told me he has cheated on every girlfriend he has and he just can’t help it. He has been with his new girlfriend for three months and is trying really hard not to cheat on her but knows that he probably will one day. Note to self… yes Latin men are gorgeous but do not date them!

When I am not working, I can usually be found on the beach! I love to nap, read, meditate, and listen to my Ipod on the beach. I was in complete bliss the other day as I spent three hours alone with my new digital SLR camera exploring my new neighborhood. I took 600 photos of the beach, the coastal trail, and all that is beautiful where I live.

I had last Saturday night off and my English friend Jenny came out with Lauren and me and she ended up crashing on our floor. Jenny is still living in a hostel, as she couldn’t find a place that offered short-term housing. Jenny and I think it’s fate that we shared a bunk bed for a week and we are all becoming great friends! The three of us got dressed up and went out at the happening spot in Coogee, the Coogee Bay Hotel. The place is huge and overlooking the beach. There is large outdoor patio area that was packed, a bar with live music, another pub upstairs, and a dance club. We danced until 3 AM and had a blast! I met an Aussie boy who told me he thought I was Australian until I opened my mouth. Apparently I say “Aussie” wrong, it is correctly pronounced “Ozzzie”. He also told me to tell my boss I need a day off because “A good looking Aussie bloke wants to take me out to dinner”. I have yet to determine if all Aussie guys are as confident and charming as this one, but those are two traits that are high on my list.

I am living in a two level house with 5 bedrooms upstairs, and 2 bedrooms and a dormitory style bathroom downstairs. We have a huge kitchen, dining room, and living room. I am sharing a room with Lauren, but I share the house with my 12 other roommates one of which is the “house manager”. We feel like we are on the real world as we were all thrown into this house together none of us every having met before. We might as well be on the “Real World Ireland” as the majority of our housemates are Irish. I do still have a hard time understanding them sometimes as they all have very thick Irish accents!

Kira & Samone – Scottish
Jonathan & Catherine – Irish couple
David – Catherine’s brother from Ireland
Trevor & Garret – Best friends from Dublin, Ireland
Anne & Fergal – Irish couple
Keith & Mark – Irish
Danny – Australian (house manager)

I am the oldest one in the house, and everyone else is 21-28. My housemates still can’t believe I am almost 30. Everyone guesses I am somewhere between 21-25.

Although our living situation is not ideal, we have heard of far worse situations. Our friend Regina lives in a one – bedroom apartment with 8 people. There are 4 girls in bunk beds in the bedroom, 2 people in the living room, and 2 people living on the patio! Crazy! When I realize how much worse it could be, I don’t mind sharing a room with Lauren and sleeping in a twin bed!

It didn’t take very long to unpack and if feels so good to have all my stuff out of my bag and I don’t have to lock everything up whenever I leave the room. I have a twin bed, a desk, and a clothing rack. Lauren & I decided to make our room look as much like the college dorm room it is. We hung cheap posters, maps, flags and my sarong on the walls for decorations. We even got creative and made a collage of our favorite things out of magazines and glued them to cardboard and hung on the wall. I insisted that we buy a king size bed sheet to hand in the middle of the room for a slight sense of privacy. Lauren and I have very different schedules so we are rarely both just hanging out in the room. Her friend Laura from Florida is visiting for the next few weeks so I have had the room to myself. They flew to Alice Springs yesterday and are currently camping in the Outback!

What we hate about our new home…having to walk downstairs to use the bathroom and remember to bring our toilet paper each time. I have to carry my toiletries in a bucket each time I shower…I haven’t done that since college! We also hate the huge roaches that come out at night. EEWWWW! But really…we are both quite happy here. This trip has made me so relaxed and I find that I am not sweating the small stuff as much as I have in the past. If I don’t like what is going on in the house all I have to do is retreat to the beach and be at peace at once. Like the Aussies always say “No Worries!”, and that is exactly how I feel 95% of the time here! Everyone is so laid back and I am feeling completely relaxed and happy.

The way you pay rent here is bizarre. Rent is paid weekly, due on Monday, and everyone has to pay rent at the post office! Each person has a “Quick Rent” card with a customer number. You give the post office the card and you have to pay them with cash.

The other odd thing I have discovered are Australian “iced coffees”. I ordered an iced coffee the other day and got what appeared to be a milk shake. Yes there was coffee in my drink but there were also two huge scoops of ice cream and milk. It was very good but Tim Tam is still my favorite!

To see all my photos of Coogee CLICK HERE!

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