It was great! And my buttocks have never been so steely!

The great malarkey trip began at 7.30am for the Newcastle crew (jt, arkaem and I). We had been to a party type thing the night before, so right from the start the day was a challenge. Moods were low (okay, my mood was low, as I'd forgotten my book and magazine for the trip) and it was too damn early.

We eventually made it to Central Station, where we asked for directions to the rendevouz point... then got lost. We walked up and down Hay Street then wandered through Chinatown, tempers fraying, until I persuaded jt to give one of the noders a call. We then discovered that we'd walked past the damn restaurant way back at the start, right after alighting from the station. ("How hard can it be to find it?" Mmm, very?)

We made it to the yum cha palace, and were met by the snazzily dressed kalon. He was a little too smartly dressed- were we dressed too casually? Would everyone be dressed in evening gowns and tuxes? But no, we were led to a decidedly casual group, and our fears were allayed.

...and as we arrived, the gang stood up to leave. We had dithered in Chinatown too long. As a group, we departed, taking a few group photos at the exit. Hurried introductions were made, and we forgot everyone's names immediately. arkaem and I whispered questions to each other- do you call people by their nick? Or real name? What's that guy's name again? Have we met her yet? We were nervous. And thirsty. Luckily we were headed to a pub.

We climbed a million steps, and had some lovely drinks on the roof of the Glenmore Hotel. As the alcohol loosened our tongues, we started to talk to other noders. About e2, alex.tan's dreams of a better xp system, sneff's recipes, everything. We descended the stairs to refuel, climbed back up, then back down... We walked through The Rocks to... another rooftop. The view was gorgeous, more photos were taken, spank became an international star, and we walked back down.

The Palisade was next on the list, and this rooftop proved that my legs and butt just aren't what they should be for a sprightly 22 year old. They hadn't experienced anything like that workout since my fleeting (and I do mean fleeting) experience with the Stairmaster. Up and down, up and down... oh yeah, and we talked to more noders. We got to know the lovely and charming lignocaine as we continued to drink in the hot Sydney sun; the fair skinned and Guiness slamming Inoshiro_K joined arkaem, Colin the man with no name and I in the shade as the others sweltered in the sun. It was then time to go- and get something to eat.

BBQ King is where it's at, and we ate a veritable feast of yummy foodstuffs. I got to know simonc and anjum, and found them to be interesting, funny and sweet as we stuffed ourselves with the famous everyday soup, pork, duck, chicken and vegies. Mmmm, makes me hungry thinking about it!

The group disbanded as everyone started to think about heading home. It was left to only a few of the noders to walk the ten million kilometres- all uphill!- to the Hopetoun, where we enjoyed the groovy samples and sounds of Sub Bass Snarl. Anjum and sneff whipped jt and colin at pool as I lost money on the pokies and we all continued drinking. But alas, it came time to leave, and jt, arkaem and I returned to Central. We made it in the knick of time, and enjoyed a lazy trip home; content, sunburnt, fitter.

It was great to meet you all; you're all gorgeous, and smart, and funny, interesting and cool. Thank you to alex.tan for driving us around, and thanks to simonc for making us feel so comfortable and helping organise it all. My butt has never been better.