As per usual, I'm a bit shit at getting a meet-up post out in a timely manner. What meet-up am I referring to this time? Why the steem event of the year of course, Steemfest THE TEAM AUSTRALIA CHRISTMAS PARTY!!!

Eh. What can I say? It's really fucking hot, it's a few days before Christmas, and basically I've had other priorities this week, like going to the cricket.

For the non-Aussies, I'll take a step back to earlier this year for some context. Talk of a Christmas party started in July and given the level of enthusiasm from steemians around the nation it got the green light. I like being in Australia at Christmas so it was always my intention to attend. When I booked my flights I thought about flying directly into Sydney from Panama/LA but then decided that turning up jetlagged and falling asleep by 7pm would be very poor form. So I flew into Brisbane a few days before and then flew down to Sydney on the Friday.

Unfortunately my trip didn't go smoothly thanks to Sydney's severe thunderstorms on Friday afternoon, which stopped all air traffic in and out of the city. This meant I was stuck on the tarmac in Brisbane for 1.5 hours since we weren't allowed to disembark the plane. Interestingly, waiting around took longer than the actual flight, which makes you realise how inefficient the whole getting-to-the-airport and getting-on-the-plane processes really are unless you're flying long haul. But "high-speed rail" is a dirty concept here in Australia, so nothing is likely to change anytime soon.

On the plus side (I guess) I had a fully charged Kindle with all latest episodes of The Walking Dead downloaded on to it. And no, Kindles don't typically allow you to download torrents, but I learnt how to hack mine a while back thanks to the University of YouTube. Seriously though, TWD has been a bit shit (still) so far this season hasn't it? Except for the mid-season finale where a main character was once again sacrificed in a shocking manner, it was all a bit meh. However, it's got to the point where I've invested so much time into watching this show I have to see it through to the end.

Anyway, back to the point of this story, I knew @mattclarke and @o07 were flying in from Adelaide on Friday morning. I just assumed they would pick up the car when they got to Sydney and head out to the Blue Mountains. So a few days before I asked @bearone which station in the Blue Mountains I should catch a train to. I was not expecting her to go into "mum mode" and get all worried about me catching Sydney's public transport and insisting that the guys pick me up. I thought this was a bit ridiculous cos:

  1. They would have to sit around all day waiting for me, which seemed like a dumb-arse idea. I totally wouldn't do that if I were them.
  2. I have lived in Sydney and the trains are fine. As a frequent traveller, I have caught public transport in way dodgier cities, to the point that personal safety concerns weren't even on my radar. I also pointed out that I would literally be getting in a car, at night, with strangers off the internet and that seemed way more dodgy than taking the train. That didn't go down well.

Anyway, to cut a long and possibly boring story short, Matt and o07 did end up waiting. (Thanks guys.) They spent the day sitting in the domestic terminal talking about Steem Monsters and recruiting unsuspecting Krispy Kreme employees with interests in crypto and gaming into their cult fold. So I guess it wasn't a total waste of their time since talking about, and playing Steem Monsters is what they did rest of the time anyway, when we weren't out and about.

Obviously being in the company of these two meant I got the world's most detailed explanation of how the Steem Monsters game actually works. But it was like a foreign language and I still don't really get it. There were also a lot of jokes about sucking on a bag of dicks, which then turned into sucking on a bag of flesh golems, which inspired @inertia to make this card this during @aggroed's Minnow Mayor Town Hall show last Sunday.

Shit. I've digressed again.

Ok. So I didn't end up dead in a ditch from all the internet stranger danger. But, by the time we stopped going the wrong way after leaving the airport and finished the 1.5 hour drive to Katoomba, it was pretty late. It was also really foggy and cold. In fact, this was the coldest I've been since my European summer adventures of August 2016, when it was a 'balmy' 13C on the worst days. And my British friends wonder why I don't want to move back there...

  • @o07, me, @mattclarke, @shaidon in Katoomba.
  • Our Airbnb.
  • The view out the front of the Airbnb.
  • Katoomba in relation to Sydney.

Saturday morning was still cold but warmed up by the time we went for stroll around Katoomba. For those who don't know, this is a small, tourist town west of Sydney. I'm sure it's a nice place to live if you don't mind being surrounded by Sydney daytrippers, retirees, and out-of-control bushfires burning your house down every couple of years.

Then finally it was 2pm and we could go to @bearone's house for the Christmas party. YAY!

Although brief, a storm meant we all had to move inside as the deck got drenched. The girls took this extreme weather opportunity to bond over hot Asian guys like Henry Golding 😍, which led to us watching some Meteor Garden on Netflix. At first blush, this looks like a Chinese version of Home and Away, with a cast of good-looking albeit very young and jailbait-y dudes.

Then SingStar started. I don't know why I always get sucked into this. I know I'm beyond terrible at singing, but I'd consumed a decent amount of sav blanc at this point and bearone had an impressive collection of songs. I was in no position to fight my inner karaoke urges.

Even though I still don't really get Steem Monsters, as the voice of Medusa it then seemed like a good idea to stun Matt and o07 with my glare, you know, for shits and giggles. Although this didn't work too well since in photos we are all frozen. Note to self: video.

Matt then thought it would be funny to kneel on his shoes to look like a midget next to bearone and me.

At some point @chrisdavidphoto showed up.

Then there were donuts.

Then there were shots.

Then there was a bong.

Like singing, I'm totally shit at smoking (I just can't inhale, which I'm actually grateful for 99% of the time) but the sav blancs and shots led me to think I should have a go. I therefore spent the rest of the night coughing and o07 telling me he was getting high just from sitting next to me. I think that was a bit far-fetched since my clothes didn't smell at all the next day. Surely there would have been some residual weed stink if that were true.


Despite all the wine, amazingly, I did not wake up hungover on Sunday. And I didn't even have Crimmy's magic anti-hangover drugs to help me, which annoyingly I'd left in Panama.

Since I woke up before anyone else, I took the opportunity to look through the awesome gift bag that bearone had put together. This included a gorgeous personalised resin tag, which I love.

I have to admit, I was thankful for those Kettle chips after a day/night of drinking. They went down an absolute treat at 8am.

After saying goodbye to Matt, o07 and shaidon, I left at 10.30am to get the train back to Sydney. Bearone (aka, mum) was still worried about this and had given me an iceblock stick thingy that looked like a prison shank to defend myself with. Unfortunately, I forgot it or I would post a photo. But, in a shocking turn of events that none of you will believe, no one spoke to me on the train so I didn't need to stab any random passengers attackers.

Once I was back in Sydney I met up with a real life friend for lunch. There are a few vegan places around Central Station, including Shift Eatery, which is where we ended up. Seriously, vegan food in Australia gets better and better every time I come back. I don't have any photos cos I'm shit at food Instagramming. Also, I regifted the gift bag wine to my mate since I didn't like my chances of getting it on the plane with carry-on only luggage. Sorry bearone, I know you meant well but that bottle just wasn't meant for me. Then it was back onto the train, where, after not getting into an altercation (again), I arrived safely at the airport for my flight back to Brisbane.

All up, I had a great weekend down in New South Wales and I'm glad I made an effort to go. It's always good to put faces to names and I enjoyed meeting, drinking with, pretend smoking with, and hanging out with more steemians. Attending international steem meet-ups is one thing I do not suck at.

Finally, I'd like to give a very big thanks to @ausbitbank, @bearone and @mattclarke for making this happen. You guys are total legends! πŸ‘ŠπŸ˜Ž

And with that, I look forward to meeting even more people at next year's Christmas party in Australia's steemit capital, Adelaide!

Top image source
Photos by @choogirl and @mattclarke
GIF by @chrisdavidphoto
Footer by @ryivhnn