So I’m trying to write this at 3am, still kinda drunk, before my 15 minutes of paid internet runs out. (Apparently, Australia has the worst and most expensive broadband internet pipe in the world… everyone’s still on 56k…) Anyway, we (me, Catchdubs, Gorky, Ghislain Poirier) got to Sydney, spent an afternoon, and were prompty whisked away to a music summit in Newcastle. Newcastle is… I don’t know how to describe it… a ghosttown, I suppose. Like, there are people living here, but about 10 years ago there was an earthquake which destroyed its already shitty economy, and now every other shop (almost every shop, really) is boarded or closed up, completely deserted. (FUN FACT: Newcastle has the highest rape rate in Australia!)
So after a few days of really dry panels and unresponsive crowds, we finished out the bitch and decided to get throwed tonight. After bouncing to a few pubs and parties at various hotel rooms, we went back to ours to just watch TV and chill with some friends. But as we got off the elevator, we all kind of stopped in disbelief, as there was a girl sat up against the wall (in front of a room, directly in front of the elevator) with tears streaking her cheeks, asleep or more likely passed out… and topless. Just sitting there. We walked past quietly to our room, until Levins (our host) had to listen to his conscience and go out to check on her. But she was gone.
In a way, it was a fitting end to our stay here. The guys told me a bit later that it was probably a hooker, since Newcastle was (and is?) a coalmining town and there are quite a few brothels and “escort” services. But regardless… it was kinda soul crushing, in a way that my drunken brain couldn’t comprehend in the moment that it was happening but fully understands now.
We go to Sydney tomorrow, and Melbourne after that, where I’m assured there are many more open shops and lots fewer prostitutes.
P.S. On a lighter note, they have a reality show about meerkats here. It’s kind of amazing.