As the night rolled in over the Blue Mountains and the sky turns from deep blue to pitch black, what would become of this small mountain town? As the cold night air fills the streets we headed to one of the local pubs, it was here when I noticed something rather strange about this place.
(Sorry no photos on this post)
A night out in Katoomba
Returning from Echo Point we first headed to our youth hostel. We initially had some issues with our booking but the very nice lady who owned the hostel (who also owned a little bakery in town) made a few phone calls and got us booked into a room in another hostel just down the road called The Flying Fox.
The hostel seemed to have been converted from an old Victorian house with very high ceilings and tall doorways. The best part of the Flying Fox was the lounge which contained large comfortable sofas, a big wooden table and a very well stoked log fire. The floor in front of the fire was covered by a brilliant large red and gold rug that matched the colour of the large sofas in the room. The fireplace consisted of a medium size metal wood burner sitting in a rustic brick archway. Considering the outside temperature was plummeting and the other rooms in the hostel weren’t very well heated because of the high ceilings, this lounge was the perfect place to be.
It is in social areas in hostels like this where you may catch the travel bug. I remember sitting in this very comfortable room listening to the travel stories from an American university lecturer who was over here on work. He told me that there were stages in life.
- Between the age of 20 and 30 you should be travelling and experiencing life and the world.
- Between the age of 30 and 40 is when you should be settling down with a better half and starting a family.
- And between 40 and 50 is when you should be at the top of your career, whatever field of work you have been doing before by this age you should be at the top of the ladder.
But this of course this isn't relevant to everyone, it is just one man's opinion.
After this we headed to a pub across the road. It was an old style English pub with lead windows and a dark wooden bar area. Towards the back was a stage where a local folk band were performing. The pub was pretty full with everyone sat down around small circular tables. Everybody had turned their chairs to face the band towards the back. I guess this is what passes for a entertaining night out here in the mountains.
The music was quite good though and I loved the rural feel of the pub. It is exactly what you’d expect from the pub in a small town high up in some mountains. After a while many more locals began cramming themselves into the pub. It seemed this pub was part of a local bar crawl. It was at this point I started to notice something very peculiar.
The generation game
Whilst looking around the bar people watching I got a strange sense of Déjà vu, and then it hit me. I noticed a lot of the locals here looked very similar. Basically I first noticed somebody had a distinct shape of nose, keeping that nose in mind I would look around a spot several other people nearby with the exact same nose (not literally). The same was true with other prominent features, such as people with matching ears, or eyes etc. It was more than just a coincidence; these people had obviously inherited these distinctive features from the same person several generations ago.
I have never seen anything quite like this before, it was almost surreal. I grew up near a large and very diverse city (Manchester) but I’m guessing something like this is not uncommon in more rural towns. Here there are less people coming and going and therefore less variety in the old gene pool.
(I am not trying to be rude and say Katoomba is full of inbreds, it is just the resemblance between so many people was just uncanny.)
The pub we were in was getting very busy so we moved to another bar round the corner. There was a fancy dress party here but I couldn’t spot a theme. The bar was just a sea of typical fancy dress outfits you could buy from a cheap shop. Here I continued to play my new game of “spot who has the same grandparents”. This was fun for a while but again this place started to become rowdy with locals. I couldn’t help but feel like a bit like an outsider here so we finished our last drinks and headed back to the hostel.
I guess most travellers who visit the Blue Mountains stay for the trekking and sights but don’t go out to the bars at night. Tomorrow was the day we were going to do the trekking and I was very much looking forward to it.