A diverse city in southeastern Australia, comprising of over priced establishments, sprawling neighborhoods and beautiful harbors.
On day five in Sydney I was tightly holding to the edges of the toilet. Another wave came. I was too weak to be mad at myself. I just needed to pull myself together– we had a flight to New Zealand to catch in a couple of hours. My time in Sydney flew by and the over consumption of alcohol was making my memory blurred.
So let me work backwards. On day four we went to the zoo. Yes the zoo. It wasn’t my idea. And quite frankly I didn’t understand why Dumpty wanted to go to the zoo after going on safari. As expected, it was really sad seeing the animals caged up; especially the chimpanzees. The most heart wrenching though was the gorilla – he lay with his back to us, refusing to be a spectacle to the audience and with one arm raised to hold onto a rope in fading defiance of whatever he could still muster energy to defy. The only positives about the zoo were the beautiful viewpoints of downtown Sydney, the ferry ride to get there and the motorized dinosaurs. I thought, like everything in Sydney, it was overpriced. But at least we got some great pictures of the Sydney Opera House.
That evening we went to Newtown Sydney and met up with Dumpty’s friend, Anna. Of all the neighborhoods we visited in the city, Newtown had the best vibe–cozy restaurants, historical homes and walls covered in beautiful graffiti. Now fortunately for us (or perhaps unfortunately), wine was the one thing that’s not overpriced in the city. And that’s where I got into trouble. After drinking five glasses of delicious Shiraz and eating a ton of gummy bears that Anna pulled out from her purse, I was hammered. I even started arguing with Dumpty when he was trying to stop me from ordering my sixth glass. Don’t forget, I am 4’11” and ___ lbs (no, I am not going to tell you how much I weigh), so for me, anything more than two drinks is excessive. I entered that stage where you think you’re being hilarious but in reality your lack of motor skills becomes the source of entertainment for others. I am so glad there is a positive correlation between number of drinks and memory.
Day three was my favorite of Sydney. Our first stop was the architectural marvel, the Sydney Opera House. It was way cooler in person. In fact, it is my favorite theatrical building. What I didn’t realize before coming here was that 233 designs were submitted before the controversial design by a Danish designer, Jorn Oberg, was chosen. In fact, inside the Opera House, there are pictures of some of the competing designs. Originally estimated to cost $7 million and four years to build, it ended up costing $102 million and fourteen years to build. I was dying to see an event inside the opera house, but the only thing available were presentations from some sort of graphics weekend. So we chose to see a presentation on graphic animation by Rob Coleman (Star Wars) and Grant Freckleton (Legend of the Guardians). I am not going to bore you with what I learned there, but suffice to say I ended up renting Happy Feet. Yes I am a dork. In fact I took “dorkiness” to whole new level at a Lord of the Rings tour in New Zealand, but more about that in a future post.
Afterwards we went to Bondi Beach. So far Sydney was just another big city, but Bondi Beach made me understand what made Sydney special. A thirty minute bus ride from downtown Sydney brought you to a spectacular beach lined with beautiful homes, cute restaurants and awesome waves for surfing. And incredibly fit swimmers. Incredibly.
On day two we did what we always do when possible in a new city–got on the Hop On Hop Off bus. As cheesy and cliche as doing these buses might sound, we found it to be the best way to orient ourselves to a new city and figure what areas we really wanted to explore. With only a few weeks to put this entire world-wind trip together, we didn’t have time to pore endless hours into travel guide books. We got off in China Town (doesn’t come close to comparing to the China Town in New York) but couldn’t figure out how to get back on the bus. I guess we still weren’t oriented.
That evening we had a blast chatting with Anna and ended up downing an entire margarita pitcher (they call pitchers “jugs” in Australia) and several delicious drinks. We have missed talking to friends and having brand new conversation topics, rather than recycling the same material Dumpty and I have been doing with each other.
On our first day in Sydney we quickly learned how expensive the city was (our hotel’s buffet breakfast cost USD $47 per person!) and did some serious damage to our budget. There was a huge Apple store a few blocks away from our hotel–a dangerous store. On the onset of this trip Dumpty was convinced we only needed one laptop and one iPad between the two of us. Within the first few months of traveling he realized his error. We were always bickering over the laptop. Dumpty was considered the “golden child” in his family (i.e. he always got his away for being the oldest of four siblings) and I was an only child growing up. We just weren’t good at sharing and playing nice. So yes, I bought a new Mac. Dumpty somehow found a way justify to the cost–bless his heart. And it worked! We stopped bickering over technology.
Now we just bicker over how we want to spend our day (btw, Dumpty drew a graph describing our relationship; when we were in sync and when we were not – I think it is safe to say that he is a bigger dork than I am).
Anna was definitely my biggest highlight (second highlight might have been the Mac purchase followed by Bondi Beach) for the whole Sydney experience. It was nice swapping stories about the States (she grew up in U.S.) with a down to earth and warm person. She always managed to put me in a positive mood no matter what and I was reminded how invaluable good friends are. I don’t want to remember Sydney as the great hangover or the wallet-drainer city, but rather as the re-uniter of friends and beautiful landscapes..