Wake up! (Or not) Sydney

Hostels in Sydney! I have stayed in two….of a hundred. So I’m obviously an expert. Here’s the main thing I’ve learned about Sydney hostels, the folks staying there are a majority people who are moving to Australia to work on working holiday visas (WHVs). There are a handful of people who are working currently in Sydney and staying in hostels to save on money. I’m assuming some hostels must have a weekly discounted rate in that case, because I honestly can’t believe that people save money by doing that. Or there’s people who are just in the hostels until they have found a job or a flat or both. The first time I stayed in Sydney, my hostel was the former, it seemed every single person in my room had been there for ages and they all knew each other and I was kind of the odd man out. I spent all of my time in Sydney the first time alone because of that, which was fine, but not ideal.

Sad Zoe all alone three years ago.

Seriously though, I stay in hostels to meet people and make friends. This time it was kind of similar to the previous hostel, but not anywhere near as bad as the first time. A lot of the people in my room were moving to Sydney, or just somewhere on the east coast in general, but they were all decently new arrivals and therefore looking to hang out and make friends just as I was.

The hostel that I stayed at this time around was, hands down, the biggest hostel I have ever stayed at…or even seen in my life. It held between 500 and 600 people, had 7 floors, a cafe, and a bar. There were activities every night that you could attend, or not attend; and they had discounts that they handed out to each incoming guest as soon as they checked in. A few food discounts at the bar and cafe, some discounts on the sea life and wild life exhibits in Darling Harbour, 2 for 1 drinks at the bar, all decent things.

I was on the 7th floor, I had a mini panic attack when the guy checking me in told me that. I assumed that this hostel, like most, probably didn’t have an elevator. What kind of absolute hell was this that they were putting me through? And if y’all don’t recall, I had just walked all the way around the block just to get to this place, now I have to carry my happy ass with my two backpacks up 7 flights of stairs!? I deserve an extra free drink for this! No, I reacted too quickly, as usual (heyoooo, have ya met me?) and there was an elevator. That being said, this elevator took for freakin ever. We waited so long that I thought the girl who had walked up before me didn’t press the button. That was not the case, she was a perfectly nice girl with an intelligence quotient high enough to be able to press the stupid elevator button, and here I was judging her. And momma didn’t raise no judgmental bitch, I raised myself that way apparently. Off topic, moving back.

This place was very fancy and high tech, just like the trains! I had a key card that we had to tap on the elevator to be able to choose a floor, and then it also got us into our rooms…duh. Don’t forget your key cards kids. The room doors are heavy, and close all the way behind you, and then you are locked out unless someone decides to answer the door for you. The rooms themselves are huge actually. I was in room 702, a 10-bed dorm and there were lockers in the room with a huge window looking out onto the city which I never took pictures of because I am a complete failure of a human being.

The best photo I have is a random one of Beth and Bex doing something to a wallet on the floor of the room while shenanigans commenced…

That being said, there was tons of room in the middle of the dorm for fun roommate bonding and activities such as drinking straight whisky out of plastic hostel cups while listening to Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears…just an example obviously, and not real events (Party in the USA was played at one point too, full disclosure). There was a women’s and men’s bathroom on every floor as well. Great water pressure in the showers, always a plus. There was one toilet stall that was closed and locked the entire time I was staying there…literally. Kind of confused about that, they cleaned the bathrooms every day obviously, never really bothered to check that out I guess. Whatever.

The kitchen was on the 1st floor, meaning the 2nd floor, but not? The lobby was on the Ground floor, and then it went up from there. So 2nd floor but actually 1st floor, I’m just trying to keep y’all on your toes here. Now the kitchen itself, completely massive, huge, yuuuuuuuge. There were something like 20 fridges and an entire wall for dry food locker spaces. Insane. That being said, it was a 500-600 person hostel, which made it so that this kitchen was actually small honestly. I never had enough space to cook, and actually just ended up eating out or eating things I didn’t need to actually cook. Such as this lovely dinner of champions my dear friend Bex and I eagerly consumed.

We found wine at the supermarket for $4 for the bottle! And it wasn’t terrible! Good stuff mate, love it, keep that up. For all of you in the states, that’s under $3 USD. Amazing. My coffe at Roy’s Cafe downstairs in the hostel was more than that.

Speaking of Roy’s, it was quite good, but a little overpriced maybe (clearly). I only had breaky there one day simply because I hadn’t made it to a supermarket yet, and it was amazing, ugh I’m drooling just thinking about it. It was avo toast with tomatoes and feta and two poached eggs.

So tasty, however, it was $16! Gah, terrible, I was upset with myself afterwards that I paid so much for that, but in the moment it was worth it. There was, however, a cute little cafe around the corner that had avo toast for like $7. Now, I never got that avo toast and it could have been literally just avocado on toast and not the full meal that I received at Roy’s, but the world may never know. I sure won’t at least.

Moving on to Side Bar, the quaint little basement bar downstairs. It was also decent, nice little ambiance, I never ate down there during the day, only spent some time drinking a few nights, but it apparently served nice pizza and chips as well as the alcoholic bevy’s. Now…I did learn a law about Australia, actually it could be a law in the United States that I simply never knew about because, contrary to some of my recent actions, I do not party that hard. But, here we go. Bex and I were enjoying our roomie activity time with dear Beth in room 702 with our $4 bottles of wine in plastic hostel cups (no drinking in the rooms by the way, so don’t rat me out), when we were presented with free drink wristbands for Side Bar for that evening. Awesome. They told us to be down there at 9 pm, because that’s when they would start handing out the drinks, and they only handed out 100 free. 600 person hostel…you do the math. So Bex and I both have a little bit of wine left so we decided, well we live here, so we’re going to wander down with our wine in our jammies, get our free drink, and then head on back up to bed, as if we’re just planning on running to the kitchen to grab ourselves more wine. She finished hers in the elevator and snuck the cup into a secluded corner in the lobby, I was not so lucky or smart. I was not done yet, so I walked outside with it and got into line for the bar which stretched just around the corner. As I retell this story, I realize how stupid I was, I really do. But seeing as how the bar was within the entity of my current house, I gave myself regular house rules for being here. Meaning I could drink my wine outside…yeah. Dumb.

(Here it is, the corner which breeds nightmares, the terrible terrible corner, so innocent and unassuming in the light of day) Anyway, as I walked around said corner I tipped my cup up and finished it. Boom. Done. The bouncer saw me and asked me what was in the cup. I was feelin a little quippy after my bottle of wine (yikes I know, looking back…I did not need another drink, whether free or not) and I simply told him, “wine.” He was not amused by me. He stopped me and I thought he was stopping me because he thought I still had wine in my cup, I’m not stupid, I know I can’t bring outside alcohol into a bar. Duh. Nope, that wasn’t his issue with me. He told me “I can’t TECHNICALLY let you in because you were drinking upon approach.” So, I was still feeling adorable and funny, and I was thinking that since he really dragged on the word “technically”, that he was still going to let me in. Nope, wrong again. He turned me away. Heartbroken I waved a sad farewell to my friends. I was a bartender, I was a server, I wasn’t going to argue with him, he was doing his job. Dejected, I went upstairs and sat down in bed, pondering if I would go to sleep now or in 30 minutes, really good stuff here, I know. But, my beautiful amazing lovely friends all came up to convince me to come back down. So we prettied me up, I even put a skirt and make up on, and I went back down there, confident.

Nope, he recognized me, “You’re the wine girl aren’t you?”

Glad to know I’m memorable at least. I responded with a well thought out and intelligent, “aweeee, come onnnn mannnnnn!” With a well practiced pout to accompany my immature whining. He let me in, but made sure I knew it was a law in Australia in a totally douchey way. I mostly am just embarrassed that he was simply thinking “stupid American” and not just “stupid drunk girl”, like bruh, I understand laws, I just want to hang out with my friends in your establishment. And, honestly, I actually wasn’t being some stupid shitty drunk, I was perfectly respectable, so, fuck you guy. Oh, and to top it all off, I had to pay for my one drink that I had before we all went upstairs and went to sleep at a completely reasonable hour. Anyway, that saga all winds down to…don’t drink ‘upon approach’ of a bar. Most normal human beings already know this, I’m just apparently more stupid than I give myself credit for. Cheers.

Now, lets talk about one more fun experience involving Side Bar, the pub crawl, and something that will never, ever, in my life make sense to me as something that actually happened. So, this pub crawl was actually really fun and worth doing.

If you go to Sydney, stay at this hostel, if you stay at this hostel, do the pub crawl, it’s entertaining and you get a hot dog. It was $10, and you get 4 free drinks, and the aforementioned hot dog (they even had vegetarian!). Huge bread to hot dog ratio though.

Wow. We met at the kitchen area at 6 and received our hot dogs and our first drink – Goon. Yikes, this is a popular drink among backpackers and students because it’s stupid cheap. It’s basically boxed wine, only somehow so disgusting. There’s decent boxed wine out there, okay? This is NOT THAT. Holy lord, none of the three of us (Beth and Bex of the room 702 girls joined me) drank any of ours. We all tasted it and set down our full cups to sit there for the rest of the night. Instead we all drank our second bottles of $4 wine, so classy. We all had to sign in on some sheet and people were really slacking on this so we were standing around waiting for ages.

Due to this, the three of us decided to run down to Side Bar and have a quick 702 bevy while waiting. The bartender saw our pub crawl wristbands and was astounded that we would risk having a drink first since the crawl was about to commence, but we convinced him to serve us and he left in a little bit of a huff. I got a $9 corona, I want to punch myself for paying that much, and we chugged and then headed to the first destination to meet up with the crawl. Some hotel, which I’ve already forgotten the name of. The bouncer was impressed that I was from Colorado, and I agreed with him that I was impressive for having had the privilege of not choosing my birth place. Thanks mom and dad. You made me impressive. We had some terrible wine, because our free drink was chosen from a list, and then we moved onto the next bar…an Irish Pub, that I also forgot the name of already. I took as selfie though, as I do

And they did have this in the bathroom…

Which I think is really important and awesome.

We were spending about an hour in each place, and the first place we showed up late to anyway, so it felt like ages here. Our one free drink here was vodka so I was doin great with mixing my beverages. Wine, beer, wine, vodka; beer was next when we finally made it back to Side Bar. My favorite bouncer was working again but I don’t know if he recognized me this time so, maybe I’m not as memorable as I thought. It’s really unfortunate actually because he was super hot and all the girls were drooling all over him, but he was a total douche. You are such a cliche mean bouncer guy, don’t be such a dick. Rant over, sorry. This saga truly keeps going, but that’s all that is important to the pub crawl section of the story. It was fun, and decently worth it for only $10, do it. Anyway, we ended up back in 702 with whiskey and things went off when I pulled the speaker out

(remember the Britney and Backstreet Boys? Yeah…), we eventually all ended up back in Side Bar, because more drinking is what I definitely needed after the wine, beer, wine, vodka, beer, and whisky, sans mixer. I spent too much money, as you do in bars, and finally made it back to bed, cozy and asleep in 702 by 1. Here comes the part that will astound me until the day I die, I will tell my children about this someday. There was a fire alarm, a loud one, in the words of a random guy in the hostel, “it sounded like the entire country was being invaded, there’s no way you slept through that.” Yeah, you read that right, I slept straight through a fire alarm and evacuation drill. It was obviously a false alarm or else I’d be dead and you wouldn’t be reading this entertaining story of my night. Yes, there were announcements over some loudspeakers saying to evacuate and a massive blaring fire alarm that I don’t even vaguely remember. It’s not even somewhere in the back of my mind as a weird dream, no, there is absolutely nothing in my memory of this. Three people in our room evacuated, and Beth and Bex both woke up to the alarm, but by then the firefighters and staff had come to the door to tell them it was a false alarm. I’m still astounded. Insane stuff. The next morning as I checked out, the guy at reception apologized for the alarm and offered me a lolly. I said “That’s okay,” and took the lolly without feeling any sort of remorse at all. Thanks for the lolly guy, and thanks for the good times to the team from room 702. You all are absolute legends.

This hostel rocks by the way, that is what I was trying to get at. It was definitely on the expensive side at $43 AUD per night, but like I said, you get a few decent discounts and it is a really nice place. Clean, spacious, great free wifi, along with being in a really good location just across the street from Central Station. Just make sure you come out on the right street…of course. Downstairs had plenty of power outlets, there was a tour desk where you could conveniently have different things booked for you. Each bed in the rooms had it’s own light and power outlet, gosh things just keep popping into my head and you all are getting the brunt of what my mind is like on a daily basis. Sorry for that. If you need a hostel in Sydney though, I realize there are 83 (according to HostelWorld, so…there’s that), and I’ve only stayed in two, like I said, but this hostel is actually pretty awesome. Definitely expensive, but in Sydney, I’ve found that you definitely get what you pay for (and money just can’t buy great friendships BOOM MIC DROP). Tata for now friends.

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