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Tuesday 3 Jun 2003
Sydney, Australia


Finally I got my guitar. I was passing by the local pawn brokers this morning when I noticed an abundance of cheap guitars in good nick! After much deliberation (and several groovy renditions of Metallicas "Enter Sandman") I finally decided on the excellent-sounding/built Washburn steel-string acoustic for only 130 euros! This is great value because the original price would be around 300 euros at home and it is practically in new condition. A Quality investment for sure.

I also went off looking for my new mode of transport for the next year and soon found myself in the "Backpackers Car Market" which is located nearby to where I live (Kings Cross is really an excellent place to be situated since its within walking distance of Sydneys major attractions plus my guesthouse is right beside the subway entrance!). The market itself is situated on the 3rd floor of a local parking lot and was populated by the backpacker fraternity eagerly trying to get rid of their hard-driven babies. I soon stopped to talk to one English couple who had a good looking van for 3,999 AU$. This was a little more than I was willing to spend but I soon understood why this is quite a bargain. This van was the only one in the market to have passed its MRT with no failures and it got a pink ticket. Its also registered in NSW so I dont need to rush up to Queensland or whereever to get it regsitered (as does happen to some people who arent in the know). The van is also fully insured, 1st and 3rd party, for the next year plus they even decided to pay for another year of registration (which runs out in July) to make the van a good deal.

The build quality of the van is VERY good (compared to a lot of the basic other ones on offer that look like they came out of a hippy flick) and has sunroof, comfortable seating, shaded windows to protect privacy, great alarm system, stereo (always a major selling point!) and a fantastic (comfortable) large area to sleep on when all the back seats are laid flat - it even has a rear sunroof so that you can look at the stars as you sleep under them.

Oh yeah theres also the included cooker, utensils, canopy and portable fridge which will always come in handy.

As you can see Im mightily impressed with this van... I looked around at all the others and they were more or less the same price (none less than 3000 and none over 4000) but none having quite the same features or quality. Now get this: the van is a Toyota from 1985! But I swear it looks like its 5 years old. The fan works well and the functionality on board looks like it comes from a model you could buy today... Its also in such good nick that if I kept it in the same condition I could probably get 3,000 for it when I sell it at the end of my trip. Quite a few other people were also interested in this van so Id probably better move quick since Id rather not have to go for one of the other options...

All thats left now is to test-drive it... Ill do that tommorrow...

Later today I popped off to the cinema and saw Phone Booth. Its really not very good at all. It stars Farrell (Irelands Tom Cruise), the guy who used to go to Castleknock College, but you can still hear his Irish accent through his put-on New York accent. Give it a miss.

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