Spend Halloween in Australia if you ever get a chance. Not as many people dress up, but the ones that do take it seriously – some people wear two costumes at once in order to make up for years that they were unaware of the holiday. The Americans at the International School nearby put on a haunted house. Very well done for the limited resources they had.

Without true recognition of Halloween, and no Thanksgiving, Christmas is already being promoted. You can’t turn around in a mall without being stared down by a cardboard Santa or confronted by a candy cane.

Right now I am leaving Sydney for a bus trip to Melbourne. I enjoyed Sydney. Unlike Perth, stores stay open past 5 p.m., and you are never alone walking down the street. I saw “Don’s Party” at the Sydney Opera House, a play about politics in the 70s. It is a popular performance because the conflict in the government then is similar to today’s struggle. I went to two art museums, both free and amazing. I love going to galleries – I feel like I’m visiting old friends… and sometimes I make new ones.

My hostel in Sydney was less than posh. Situated in the heart of the red light district, a hobo greeted me near the door with yellow roses. He didn’t even ask me for money or knock me in the head. He probably thought I was worse off than him. That’s a tip for all you travelers – In order to not get robbed look poor – carry your stuff in a crinkled up grocery bag and only wear nice clothes when you have to.

The view from my room was fantastic, but when I closed the door I realized it had been left open for me not for the view, but because it didn’t lock. The door would also randomly blow open. Not the safest of setups, but luckily none of my stuff was stolen. I had to hide my food from the roaches. I didn’t see any, which was good because they give me the heebie jebbies… I knew that they were frequent visitors however because of the empty can of raid on the “desk,” and the mounds of black roach bait squares. You never know what you are going to get with a hostel, but no matter the condition I always meet nice people from all over the world. And they sure make for more interesting stories than the Holiday Inn.