Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

Melbourne 148I’ll start from the beginning. This is a lovely story about the beauty of travelling and the kindness of strangers. This exact same week a year ago, (a year?! How did that happen?) I set off for my mini-travel prequel of six weeks in South East Asia. It was here, on a two day slow boat from Thailand to Laos, that I met the lovely Dan and Dana – off of Laos.

Despite only knowing each other for two days, the majority of which we were all sipping Thai whisky, they generously opened up their Bondi beachfront pad for me, (amaze) whilst they are back home for 10 days in San Francisco. What can I say; Boat’s bond people.

My arrival in Sydney was less than glamorous. At 3.30am Joe, Ebony and I were in her Melbourne city apartment balcony drinking Sauvignon, watching the twinkly skyscraper lights and stars, when I actually remembered I had a flight to catch. I practically sleepwalked it all, arriving bleary eyed in Sydney 7.00am. Ouch.

OK. So right off the bat I’ll say you might need to concentrate to follow all this. Sorry. There’s drama. Here goes.

So Dan has left the keys to ches Bondi with his friend Brett’s roommate Kate. (Told you you’d need to concentrate.) I text Kate. She is out of town for the weekend. Oh. But has left the keys with Brett. Except Brett has also been away, and flies back from LA this weekend. I manage to get hold of him, he’s left the keys in his mailbox for me. Good good.

I’m optimistic. I skip down Roscoe street in the heart of Bondi, secretly playing ‘oh I hope it’s that one’ in my head. I rock up to some nice apartment blocks, all with huge balconies. I’m only 5 mins max from the beach. I’ve lucked out. The keys are indeed Brett’s mailbox. The big master key opens the security gate, and I locate Unit 9. I’m so excited. I’ve been deliriously counting down the days to this all week. So of course disaster strikes. The little key fits into the lock, but won’t turn. Hmm that’s strange. I try it again. And again. For at least half an hour. Why won’t it turn?

Like me, you are probably thinking either:

It’s the wrong key?
She has the wrong apartment?
Dan’s false addressed her, LOLS. Or it’s a typo in his email and maybe he meant Unit 19, or 8 if he hit the wrong keyboard key?

My hopes and dreams crash down around me. I head back to Brett’s and ring his doorbell. It’s only 9am. He’s asleep. He’s hungover. I’m hungover. It’s all harder than it needs to be. Turns out, he’s never actually hung out at Dan & Dana’s place (What kind of friend is he, tsk.) But in an effort to appear helpful, he is able to offer me a remote to their underground parking space. Looks like I’ll be sleeping there then at this rate. To be fair, he does invite me in to dump my bags and lets me use his internet to facebook Dan. With the time difference in California and all, it’s more of a slow burning plan.

For the next few hours it’s like the bloody Krypton Factor as we try and puzzle it out. I have a euphoric moment when I realise that at the back of the apartment block there’s a gate and more units, they look more like condo’s, and oh my god – there’s ANOTHER unit 9! I skip up the stairs, key in lock, it fits! And then noooo, it won’t turn. I nearly cry. I stand there for ages jamming it into the lock. And then an annoyed looking guy opens the door. Oh. I apologise and just about convince him I’m not a burglar. He’s understanding and wishes me luck. I return back to the original Unit 9, and knock on a neighbour’s door asking if they know Dan and Dana. The girl at number 8 is an absolute cow – no wonder they don’t talk to their neighbours – she knows a couple lives there, but they just moved in. I check the mailboxes, I check the census reminder card under the door for clues. No joy.

By this time it’s 12pm. I’m hungry and tired and confused. I give up. It’s not the end of the world I guess, but I slope rejected along the beach calculating all the nice things I could have bought with the now $30(£21) a night I’m going to have to spend slumming it in dorms. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I hedge my bets not checking in all afternoon, just in case I hear back from California. Actually, I spend not an altogether unpleasant afternoon chilling on the beach watching the surfers and chatting to nice-ish dorm girls. By 6pm I’ve fallen asleep three times watching Bad Teacher on my laptop (funny BTW) and finally sleep for what feels like a hundred years.

Monday morning….I refuse to be defeated! I have a plan. Yesterday, in my scouring the building, I found a number for the letting agent but being Sunday they were closed. They are on a street one over from my hostel. Inspired. I have breakfast and try and work on my back storey. One that doesn’t make me look like a crazy, or bunny boiler ex girlfriend trying to break in. This is all slightly undermined by my beach bum clothes, broken shoes and tussled hair so I have to wheel out super-blagger Kim instead. Plus I have the English accent on my side, they have no idea that I’m not posh over here. Score. It’s a prettyboy estate agent, this might be easier than I thought. I stroll in, and tell him my ‘I’m having such a nightmare story’ in a smiley ‘It would be amazing if you could help’ kind of way. He’s on board. Turns out I have the right apartment, plus the key is a match to their records – maybe it’s just been cut slightly wrong. He just needs DanDana (still just ‘Dan-a’ if you abrev it together, ha ha) to drop him an email before he gives me a spare. I’m getting excited. This might just work. I haul ass to an internet cafe on the ASAP. Dan has replied and left a mobile number – it’s all happening. I rush back to the letting agents, but prettyboy is out on a viewing. His girl colleague looks mean. I start all over again with my tale of woe. Surprisingly, she’s an absolute legend! Within 5 mins she’s on the blower to a locksmith. This is a little more dramatic than I would have hoped, but needs must. (Dan & Dana might be slightly alarmed to arrive back to find I’ve changed the locks and cut more keys, but I’ll deal with that later.)

So I practically hug efficient estate agent girl (although, come to think of it I wouldn’t want her to be looking after my house. She was quite easy to talk into the whole thing – note to any genuinely crazy ex’s – she’s your gal.)

This is it. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. I eagerly wait outside my nemesis; door 9, for the locksmith on his white horse.

You KNOW what’s coming.

On a whim I slide they key into the door. It’s still bugging me. The same door and the exact same key that I tried at least 50 times for 3 hours yesterday. In my own head I utter those immortal words “I bet it would be sods law if………..”

Yep.  The punch line. It turned. It opened. It f*cking opened???!!!!

I swear, I have never ever had a BIMBO moment like it. All of that drama for nothing. I think in all my tiredness yesterday I clearly didn’t have the patience or subtle safe-cracker’s skills to jostle it gently.

So yet again, I had two options. I had minutes before the locksmith arrived, and everyone had gone to such trouble to help I couldn’t face the shame. I made a split second decision, slammed the door back shut and decided to lie through my teeth.

In my defence it was ridiculously tricky, and even the locksmith admitted the lock had seized slightly, needed oiling and my key re-aligning. Yeah, I know, you lost all respect for me 4 paragraphs ago at ‘It opened.’ Me too.

So the happy ending. I am writing this from my Bondi beach balcony baby! This place is AWESOME. Shiny kitchen, beautiful beige decor, power shower. I ran around for hours yesterday not knowing what to do with myself. I unpacked my entire backpack, just because I could. I went OTT food shopping and in my excitement bought enough for a month. I sat on the couch watching the plasma, drinking tea and eating Doritos and guac. I hand washed my clothes and put them in a tumble dryer. Rock and Roll / I’m such a basket case. 

I should really be exploring Sydney, but I daren’t/why would I want to leave. Just in case I lock myself out ha ha. I have 10 days, I’ll get round to it. Maybe. In all seriousness, huge love to Dan and Dana for their generosity. The drinks are definitely on me on your return next week. x

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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