Halloween and House Hunting

I got up at 4am this morning! I’d been given a contact number as I was supposed to meet someone. So last night I txt them “Hi Leslie, its Maria, etc… Will you be there at 7am tomorrow?” A reply came back “Hi Maria… Can you make it for 5am please?” After a few more messages to and fro I agreed and so I arrived at five this morning, super tired. Of course Leslie (not their real name by the way) wasn’t there.

So at twenty past I called the number over and over. It rang through but no one picked up. Eventually the phone was switched off. After waiting some more I finally went home pretty pissed off. Later I called Leslie, dialing directly from the scrap paper where I’d written the number down. Turns out, I had saved Leslie’s number wrong and had been txting some stranger who decided to play  prank on me! Grrrr!

Admittedly a good one though. Bet they didn’t think it so funny after all when I started calling them at 5.20am! Anyways, at least now I have a whole morning to sort through photos and catch up with the blog… I haven’t written since we got back to Sydney. City life has swallowed us up whole and we’re loving it!


After Ben and Alex had saved us, we moved into a six bed dorm in Cambridge Lodge Hostel in Stanmore.

Aidan of course had a new job to start so I was left house hunting and job hunting. Finding a house share in the arty-farty, alternative, hipster, colourfully interesting Inner West part of the city proved harder than expected. All the awesome rooms got snatched up literally under our noses by people who viewed the room ten minutes before we arrived. That left the dives which felt more like a work house and places with nasty house mates.

One place I viewed was downright creepy. The ancient landlord showed me around while the tenants were out. Each room had a padlock on the door and the downstairs living area was strewn with different size and styles of shoes, bicycles, jackets and other rubbish. Enough for at least ten different people though there were only three rooms. A cluttered stairwell led to a garage. Exited I asked if we could store the bikes there. But the landlord said it was off limits and mumbled something about it being full of stuff.

I quickly got the impression that the landlord was luring hapless people in with cheap rates and then locked them in their rooms. Once ripe and ready, he’d drag them into the garage to be butchered. At  least that would explain the locks, why the other tenants weren’t available to meet me and all the left behind things. I escaped with an excuse of having to talk to Aidan before committing and rode off as fast as I could.

Of course it wasn’t all work and no play. Some evenings we just didn’t get any viewings, so we made the most of what the area had to offer. Of course we had to see another gig or two at Blackwire.

We went for a stroll or two, tinny in hand… The cheaper-than-the-pub exploratory night out soaking up the local weird and wonderful little details that make up this colourful area. It just reinforced our desire to live here, reminding us a lot of the beloved East London.

One or two local shops situated around a market square collect rubbish and disused items, fix them, up-cycle them and sell them. You can find amazing old things. And if you want to do the work yourself, they have a whole store of discarded materials to chose from. Anything goes: tires, wooden boards, rusty old screws, cloths and curtains, bicycle frames or cutlery. If you can imagine it, chances are, they have it. All neatly stacked and sorted into categories of course. It’s a great place and if you have the time, chat to one of the many people working there to hear their interesting stories, a crazy fact about recycling or simply the history of the item you’re buying.

And then of course there is Young Henry’s in central hipster-town, which has opened a bar inside their brewery and offers amusing people watching over  yummy, if slightly pricey schooner of pale ale.

Halloween had crept up on us and we hadn’t made any plans. So we just popped over to Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice, a rock bar that serves pizza and has live music. We were greeted by a naked bar man with a tiny black top hat over his genitals. A closer look revealed a skin-colour, skin-tight costume. It looked pretty realistic though! The place soon filled up with vampires, bloody nurses, evil clowns and the like and I was regretting not having dressed up. The bands were great and we had a blast. I had left my CV earlier but I’m pretty sure I lost my chance at a job given that the bouncers had to restrain our new friends from dancing on the furniture. Oh well, at least that means I’m free to have fun in that pub in future.

A week in the hostel turned into two and the price was burning a hole into our pocket. We were starting to consider the most grimy rooms a possibility. Then someone told us about a facebook group where most Inner West flat shares are advertised. I txt and emailed all that looked good but still hardly got any replies. Instead I got to know our hostel room mates pretty well. With all our camping gear and panniers the room started feeling really claustrophobic.

Rooms in the area are obviously in high demand. Being a couple and not wanting to commit beyond 3 months was working against us. But where there’s a will…. I started stalking the facebook group and searching gumtree day and late into the night. I called as soon as the ads were posted and soon find out people prefer you to call rather than send a message. Finally the viewings were lining up. Too many to fit them into the evenings, I started to go and see places without Aidan.

Finally I found a place in Annandale. It was perfect with golden skeletons hanging by the neck on a string in the bathroom and thrown-together furniture, most of which had been scavenged from the street on rubbish collection day. The building was quirky and made up of extensions to extensions creating a confused bunch of corridors, stairs and cosy little rooms with a big living area leading out into the overgrown garden. The housies seemed awesome so I agreed to the room there and then. Aidan would love it too, I was sure!

Now we had a few days till we could move in. The Sculpture by the Sea Exhibition along the coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach was finishing soon. So one evening after Aidan came back from work, we rode down there to catch a glimpse before it got dark. There is something really special about walking along the rocky shoreline at sunset in a light breeze with sculptures popping up here and there.


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