Dinner, Drinks, and Dates

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My second week back in Sydney is drawing to a close and I’ve managed to pack quite a lot into my first fortnight back in the harbour city. In the space of a few weeks I’ve managed to go on a trio of fun dates with lovely gals, found myself a full time job, found a fantastic new therapist, and had more than one night of drunken debauchery with old friends and new.

I didn’t give myself much time to settle into Sydney life before I launched myself back into the single scene. ‘Back’ is a bit of a stretch though – since I’ve actually not been single in Australia since I left for Korea in 2007. And even then, pre-Korea Chris was an entirely different animal to the guy most of you would know (and hopefully love).

Earlier in the year I’d joined eHarmony on the advice of my good friend, Brendan. While I’d initially balked at the cost – he reminded me that a hundred dollars is a pretty small price to pay if I meet the girl of my dreams. And if I don’t? I’ll hopefully have met some cool people and made a few friends. That’s definitely been my experience so far.

But date numero uno was with somebody I already knew from my previous year in Sydney, and we had a pretty casual day. Sushi Train in Newtown was followed up by Gloria Jeans, and our hangout extended into the evening where we had Burgerlicious for dinner and Cold Stone for dessert. No undiscovered gems there. Most Sydneysiders will be familiar with all of the above. Newtown is a fun part of the city though. It’s basically a big hippie commune – so there’s plenty of interesting people, artsy bookstores, theater spots, buskers, and vegan cuisine along King Street. In fact, King Street boasts a damn fine selection of food including some of my favorite Indian and Mexican food in the city. Just off of King Street you’ll find heritage style terrace housing and some quiet corners that are well worth a wander.

My next date, on Wednesday, saw me in trendy Glebe for San Churro with my first eHarmony contact. While I think it’s safe to say neither of us left the date having found our soulmate – we did enjoy some delicious hot chocolate and some churros dipped in melted chocolate. A decadent way to end what had been a productive day of working on my novel.

Thursday night saw me out in Parramatta to try Spice Gourmet Thai with another eHarmony girl. I’m always a little dubious when trying a new Thai restaurant – as I’ve been burned by bad Pad Thai before. I’m pleased to report that the near two hour commute was worth it. The Pad Thai was perfect and the Panang Curry was flavorful. The ambience of the place was great as well. Candles, traditionally themed cutlery, friendly staff, and just an all around pleasant vibe made for a fun evening. One of the better Thai places I’ve found in Sydney (my favorite is still Thai Face in Crow’s Nest) and a good venue for a date.

Three hours of great conversation with a fellow traveler didn’t hurt my impression¬†either! She may soon be joining the blogosphere as well, so I’ll keep you posted. She has some fascinating adventures planned and I am thoroughly jealous. Stay tuned.

It hasn’t all been dates, though. I’ve managed to pack in quite a few friendly hangouts as well. My first Friday back in the city featured a house party and all of the usual debauchery. There was drunken Twister (which I somehow managed to win – cheating may have been involved); drinking entirely too much red wine from the bottle in typically classy fashion; and a 2am Burger King run that hit the spot as only drunken fast food can. I woke feeling fine for my Saturday visit to the Eveleigh Markets in Redfern, while Dave was a tad the worse for wear as he prepared for the four hour train ride down to Canberra.

Just a sample of the drunken adventures I’m expecting to have in 2011. This was the Hobo’s Ball in 2009.

I’ve got a separate entry on markets planned, but I was pleasantly surprised by Eveleigh’s selection of food. It’s basically a big farmer’s market out of the old carriageworks – so you get a double whammy of good food and a dash of Sydney’s rich railway history at the same time. We had some fantastic coffee (there are a few good coffee spots) and indulged in some of the famous egg & bacon rolls. Definitely worth a look.

Saturday night and I was out to support Australia’s team for the 2011 American Football World Cup in Austria. The guys are raising money to get themselves to and from the tournament, and while they don’t seem terribly confident of winning – I know they’ll be out there representing the great southern land against the likes of the USA and Mexico with pride. A night of trivia, beers, and pretty damn good pub food at the Alexandria Hotel followed – and while we only managed a respectable fourth, my mate Rob did manage to win some crockery courtesy of the door prize. He feigned indifference, but I know he was secretly overjoyed.

So, that’s my first week back in Sydney. There’s been no big adventures or remarkable occurences, but I’m loving life back here. I’m meeting new people, embracing single life (and there’s an article on that coming soon too), and soon I’ll have some money for actual adventures! There’s a visit from my friend Heather from The Kimchi Chronicles as well as a travel challenge from another Heather (from No Place Like Oz) to look forward to. Exciting times lay ahead!

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