Down Under Day 1: The Hell Hole that is King’s Cross

After waiting around in the airport terminal for long enough, we finally boarded our plane to reach Sydney on its second try for the day. I thought we had it bad but apparently from one of my fellow United victims I was told that there was another United flight that stopped in Canberra and had a different experience from ourselves. Since Canberra doesn’t have an international airport (absurd for the country’s capital city), the passengers were not allowed to exit and wait in the terminal. From pictures and tweets, they were held up off the runway with revolving brigade of security guards. For a long time, they had to stay in the plane as supplies went thin, including the bathrooms. Then, a food truck was sent over to serve them the same crap they had been eating during the flight over the Pacific Ocean. I guess we didn’t have it so bad. Anyways, I finally got into the Sydney airport and passed through the international security with a little more success this time around. By the time I got into Sydney central it was far too late to do any sightseeing so I disappointedly continued on my way to the hostel. Boarding the second leg of my train journey, a guy asked me how many more stops till a place he was looking to go to. Clearly, he didn’t seem my immense backpack that practically blared clueless. Fairly good with a map, I managed to point him in the right direction. We ended up chatting a bit about his experience teaching English in South Korea, which has been a goal of mine for a little while. So we exchanged information and went our separate ways. The hostel is located in an area known as King’s Cross. I was dropped off at the nearest train station in a most peculiar place. King’s Cross is something you have to see for yourself to really grasp the reality of it all but I’ll give it a try. A lot of youth and activity fills the streets with many Aussies and transports looking to get their drink on. Sounds like a regular old bar district, right? Not quite. King’s Cross has its share of vices that go beyond a few scooners (their name for a standard beer). The main street that I am walking on has a wealth of entertainment shows of the adult variety, which isn’t overly surprising. I continued plodding along looking about with great curiosity and wonder for the many scenes my eyes would behold. While scanning the area, I noticed a few scantily clad women on the street corners or next to the show entrances. Not until later did I find out that Australia or perhaps just Sydney has legal prostitution. I avoided eye contact since I already felt dirty walking past them. After getting some further directions, I found and entered the hostel called Brados. On Hostelworld, the reviews were fair, nothing special but the rooms were relatively cheap and the photos taken of the rooms seemed quite nice. Those photos were a complete farce. Walking into my room, I felt as though I had never left the street level of King’s Cross: dirty and sketchy and God only knows if there is a hooker posting up somewhere. After leaving my stuff in the room I went to get a couple beers and go meet people in the hostel. In their party kitchen, I met some people from Finland, Netherlands, Ireland, England, and the U.S. After doing that for a while two guys, one from Texas and the other from England, joined me for beer at local bar. Apparently, Australia has some strange drinking rules. For example, someone cannot leave a bar after midnight and enter a new one. Once you enter a bar by then you have to see there. Who knows, they might just be screwing with me. We talked awhile about random topics that I was curious about like how to play the game of cricket. Another tidbit I found shocking is that the minimum wage I Australia is 20 Aussie dollars. Absurd. Thoroughly exhausted after all the time on the airplanes and in the airports, all I wanted was a quiet night of sleep. Little did I know how rare and precious that really is. I get into my room and find a French girl sitting in my bed (what should be a start to a great story) and my backpack shoved aside. She tells me she was assigned this bed earlier in the afternoon. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. After dancing around the topic for a little while I went downstairs to ask for assistance. I was assigned a new room and bed for the night until everything got straightened out tomorrow. Quickly, I fell asleep, a sleep that did not last long. At about five o’clock in the morning, I hear music blasting from downstairs and then drunk two biotches walked in the door and wouldn’t shut the hell up. Eventually they quieted down but I was still pissed. This could be a rough five nights in Sydney.

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