Excerpt: The Sydney Reconnaissance

Part 4, subchapter 49

As I plan to be in Sydney a while, finding the right place to live is important. I’ve been scouting the city.

My first survey mission was to Coogee Beach. It has a small intense centre dominated by pubs crammed with English people. The crowd was fat, badly dressed and couldn’t hold their alcohol. Not my scene.

Next I checked out Bondi. The beach was nice but it rained all day and the vibe didn’t thrill. I then spent a day walking around the leafy inner-city quarters of Surry Hills and Darlinghurst. Nice, but no banana. Randwick? Nope. Kingsford? Naa.


I was looking for something special and felt sure I’d know it when I saw it, but nothing was electrifying me. I put in a call to Eden, my old Istanbul wingman. He suggested a neighbourhood called Newtown, so I went to check it out.

As I stepped off the bus a man with a bright pink beard went past on a bicycle. The main drag, King Street, was full of hip-looking coffee shops, recycled funky clothes stores and same-sex couples holding hands. There was a 30-foot-tall fresco of Africa on the side of one building and a huge painting of Martin Luther King on another. Aborigine-style lizards adorned the walls, along with koala bears, swivel-eyed sharks and multicoloured kangaroos. The whole place oozed cool bohemia. This, I was digging.

The next day I moved into a house five minutes from the King Street action with two natives: Adam and Chantel. The house has high ceilings, white walls, wooden floorboards and a yard. The beach is 35 minutes away.

I have my own kitchen for the first time in eight months and have been revelling in simple pleasures such as frying eggs in the morning. This week I visited a couple of second-hand furniture stores and have decked out my room with a clean, minimalist look. My new address is 119 Australia Street.

An excerpt from the travel and philosophy book, The Jolly Pilgrim.


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