Just watching two fat cockroaches saunter up my hotel room wall. It's the type of surreal vision you generally associate with a lengthy alcohol binge.

Mind you, the hotel is cheap. The general theme of numerous guest reviews on the web was "you get what you pay for".

I suggested to the guy on reception that the hotel should adopt this as their official marketing slogan. He looked at me blankly. He doesn't speak much English.

I am visiting Sydney for the first time in years to catch up with some mates. I had forgotten how much I love this city. Oddly, I also really like the Aussies.


The man at Immigration asked where I was staying in Seedney. I said I had no idea, a cheap motel in the CBD. He grinned and said, "maaaaate, I'll just put down a brothel in the Cross". Where else in the world do you get larrikins working for Immigration?

The cheap hotel I am staying at is near Oxford St. It's a colourful area. Lots of buffed young and not-so-young guys in muscle shirts wandering around holding hands. Can't imagine Crocodile Dundee would approve.

I love the old pubs and their counter meals. A lunch special including a beer may set you back $12. The only drawback is that the first beer generally necessitates a few more. Especially when the cricket is on. Watching test cricket generally requires large scale beer consumption to alleviate the monotony.

My favourite pub does a 1kg grain-fed rump meal. I decided to have a go at this Everest of pub meals the other night. When I ordered it, the beautiful young lady with the South American accent looked confused. She said she thought this order was only a novelty for the unfortunate groom on a stag night. But I was determined.

At 850g I had to abandon my valiant attempts on the summit of pub meals. Mind you, I had ordered two extra eggs on top. As the lovely young lady collected my remnants she had a dismissive look that said, "I told you so dumbass".

This is a great walking city. It has some wonderful parks and tracks and great architecture. I walked from Oxford St to Kings Cross the other day.

When I lived in Australia 30 years ago the Cross was seedy, sleazy, loud, dangerous, drunken and debauched. It was great fun. Now it has become gentrified. Urban renewal has a lot to answer for. The biggest risk to health and safety these days would be choking on your bagel or spilling your latte on yourself.

I did the big walking loop the other day. Through the Cross down to Wooloomooloo, then through the beautiful harbour park and botanical gardens, past the Opera House then up through the Rocks.


I got a bit of a scare while strolling through the Domain as a horde of emaciated, frightened-looking people with contorted faces came charging towards me. I immediately suspected a terror attack. It took me a moment to appreciate it was a joggers' club of some description. It didn't look much fun. Why can't people just be content with their God-given BMI?

I love the Sydney Opera House. Only the Aussies could take decades to build something that resembles a collection of scallop shells and have an acrimonious time while doing so. The outcome is a majestic international treasure that almost didn't happen.

Sydney taxi drivers are also a treat. My Lebanese driver last night said he had six children but didn't have sex any more due to prostate issues. It was a little more than I needed to know on a short fare. He went on to say he had four boys then one girl. I was going to question his maths and ask if his wife had had any input. But he didn't strike me as the listening type.

Apparently he used to call them four headaches and a Panadol. But then his daughter grew up. He now calls then four headaches and a migraine. All this in a 10-minute ride. I paid him and wished his prostate all the best. I bet his kids tell a different story.

I love Seedney. The cockroaches have finally made it to the ceiling. I can hear the coughing of a consumptive soul in the corridor outside. I might book a slightly more upmarket residence next time.