12/06/2008 - 12/06/2008 85 °F
It is finally the weekend and the weather is absolutely gorgeous, so we did what everyone does when the weather is warm and the sun is shining—go to the beach! We hopped on a bus and headed east to Coogee Bay.
Before I left, my neighbor Flintosh told me I should meet up with a friend of his from college, Leighanne. After we got situated in our place in Glebe, I contacted Leighanne to introduce myself and inquire if she’d like to meet up with Dawn and me. I wrote a quick email, did a brief scan, and right before clicking “Send” I realized I wrote the most wonderfully boring two-line email to ever grace the internet. If my goal was to give the impression that spending an evening with a 12th year Mathematics major at MIT describing the Law of Quadratic Reciprocity would be more entertaining than meeting up with me, I had succeeded. This was, after all, one of Flintosh’s friends from college who probably had valuable information about which bars I should be frequenting while staying here in Sydney. Not wanting to throw away such a valuable resource (and potential drinking partner), I went back to the top of the email and began drafting an email that would show my real personality (obviously as someone who be a blast to hang out with). Satisfied with my new email, I clicked “Send” and began to look forward to meeting Leighanne...until I realized that I never deleted the text from the first email. I had sent two messages, both complete with greeting, content, and salutation, in one email. Incredibly embarrassed, I did the only thing that seemed reasonable at the time…I sent another email. I explained the whole situation knowing that there was now little-to-no chance that Leighanne would ever respond or much-less agree to meet up with me. However, (I’m sure after much inner turmoil) Leighanne did finally respond to send her regrets by explaining that she was heading back to the States for Christmas and spend the remaining days before she left working in Brisbane. She made one tiny mistake. She mentioned a farewell party at Coogee for her friends and made a brief invitation for us to attend. There was no way I was losing this chance at ever making contact with her, so Dawn and I headed east to check out the infamous Coogee Bay (I’ll get to the infamous part later).
We arrived at Coogee Bay and walked to one of the points to enjoy the view and take a couple pictures. Dawn was sporting her new fan earrings that she had made at the Glebe Market earlier in the day and had wanted to show them off by posing for some glamour shots (which have been uploaded to the photo gallery). After stalling as long as possible (trying to postpone the impending embarrassment), I finally called Leighanne to meet up with the rest of the party. We met the group in a reserve (Australian for a little park) next to the beach. Leighanne graciously did not mention the emails, but instead warmly introduced us to the rest of her friends. We socialized and had a couple beers. We were offered some very delicious sausages wrapped in a piece of white bread. Our new friend Nick stripped down to his underwear and changed into jeans in mid-conversation. Everyone then started to play French Cricket.
I’ll diverge for a second and describe why playing French Cricket was so appealing to me. Upon arriving in Australia, Dawn and I grabbed a beer at a local pub to commemorate the successful trip across the Pacific. On the TV was a cricket match, and I was instantly intrigued. I decided then that my goal for the next 6.5 months was to play a game of cricket before I headed back home. French Cricket is not traditional cricket, rather it is a children’s game (or a game that you can play after downing a couple drinks). The basic premise of the game is that there is a batter who must stand with his legs together and protect from himself from a tennis ball bowled towards his shins by a circle of people surrounding him. Once the batter’s shins are touched with the ball, the bowler and batter switch places and the game starts again. Dawn dragged me over to the game and I held a cricket bat for the first time. Everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves and we played until the sun went down and we could no longer see one another. By now the beer and sunlight had run out so it was time to make our way to the Coogee Bay Hotel.
The news story I have heard repeated time and time again here in Sydney features the Coogee Bay Hotel. The Coogee Bay Hotel had gotten a reputation for rowdy behavior and had recently spent a lot of money cleaning up its image. The hotel was known as one of the top establishments in Sydney and accumulated several awards. Now the story: apparently a family goes into the award-winning Coogee Bay Hotel for some dinner (a hotel in Australia could mean a pub, a place to sleep, or both—in this case the Coogee Bay Hotel is both). The father complains to his server, the server offers to make amends to the family by serving them ice cream, and the father accepts. The wife takes a bite of her compacted chocolate ice cream before realizing that they were served a crock of sh*t…literally. The family leaves and files a lawsuit against the hotel. The hotel then accuses the family of trying to extort money from the hotel (knowing that the hotel is trying to rebuild their image). It was just confirmed recently that the ice cream was indeed sh*t (more details about the story can be found here.
The entire party migrated to the Coogee Bay Hotel sharing the latest details on the Gelato Feces story. The hotel was packed, the beer was cold, and we had a good time. Dawn and I eventually left saying goodbye to our new friends. I, however, did not try the ice cream.