Monday, September 26, 2011

Sydney = Awesome (Sept 3 through September 18, 2011)

Back To Civilization

Coming from Fiji to Sydney was somewhat of a culture shock. We had spent the last five days living the slow paced “Fiji time” way of life and now we were in the center of a vibrant city with all the hustle to go with it. I think we both were a little relieved that we no longer had to buy all our drinking water.

We took the train from the airport to central station which was two blocks from Big Hostel where we were staying. We get checked in and headed up to our room. As we walked through the lobby to the elevator there were several people watching a marathon of last season’s Jersey Shore. Apparently the new season premiere is set to start sometime that week in Australia. Funny because we just arrived from half way around the world and we still cannot escape Snokie. I am officially seventeen hours ahead of back home but living at least three weeks behind when it comes to media.

One of the First things we notice was that Sydney (OZ in general) is expensive. I guess Sydney is now like the 7th most expensive city in the world. Also, since the dollar has been suffering up to this point it made things worse for us. We initially lost more than we expected on the exchange rate, but we figured no point in stressing about it now. Besides, even though things are more expensive, tax is already included in the price of everything.  Also Australia is not a tip culture so that makes things a bit better.

"Where'd You Get the
Pink $20s You Cheating Whore"
The currency notes here are made of plastic and are various sizes and colors. The locals even have names for them like a lobster for a 20$ because it is red, or pineapple for a 50$ because it is yellow. I guess it makes it easier for them to gamble on rugby or whatever by saying, “put a lobster on it?” I don’t know about the sizes or colors, but the US government should seriously consider moving the currency to plastic notes. For at least the 1$ bill anyway…The average lifespan of the US 1$ bill is 18-24 months, if they were plastic they would last longer and save on having to reprint new ones daily. Also it would be nice for those who constantly wash their money with their pants, but I digress…

One thing that does suck in Oz is the price if Beer. To buy say a 30 pack of beer it runs about 38-45$ (AUS) depending on the brand and specials. A six pack is about 12-14$...and since we are on the subject, the beer here is shit. Perhaps it is because we only buy the cheaper stuff, but so far all of them have been unremarkable with limited options. If you want to drink cheap then you buy a box of Goon which is wine. Again not the greatest but you get four liters for like 12$. It seems to be the backpacker’s way of doing things and it gets the job done, so I cannot complain too much.

Watch Out...They Bite
This Guy ROCKS!
At the suggestion of the front desk at the hostel we took a“free” 2 ½ hour walking tour around Sydney. It turned out to be a great way to get a feel for the city and to see most of the main tourist sights. Also the guy giving the tour was hilarious. Apparently the walking tour was his company and he worked on tips based on your enjoyment of the tour. For a culture that does not work on tips, this guy is an exception. But everyone in our group gave him at least a “lobster” so he knows what he is doing. The tour its self was fun. We walked around the city and learned the history. Went through the botanical gardens and fed the wild cockatoos and saw the flying foxes which are enormous fruit bats. The tour ended at the famous Sydney opera house where our guide told us that “a private tour is about 65$ or you could walk into the middle doors and use the bathroom for free.” So of course, we did that.

"X" Marks the Pot in
Sydney Opera House

Sydney is a very clean city, which was very surprising to me. It also felt extremely safe. I did not feel the need to examine any shady looking characters in passing on the streets. That being said, I had my laptop stolen from my room by some shady French guy who checked out one morning. It was my fault I should have had it locked up, but lucky that my insurance paid replacement cost so now I have a netbook which is smaller and easier to travel with. Positive attitude, so it worked out for the best.

Believe It Or Not
This Was One of the Tame Nights
Two guys that Pat knew from back home named Nick and Brad have also come to Australia for a few months and we were staying in the same hostel, small world indeed. We hit it off and went out to party almost every night. We were definitely “those guys” which helped us make a few more friends with some more Germans along the way. We mostly went to backpacker bars/clubs which were all a good time. But after a party bus, crab races, toga party and just going out almost every night we finally were getting tired of the same places and hearing the same fifteen songs on loop everywhere. Also, nothing against backpackers from around the world, but we were trying to meet more Australians. We did make it out to a club in Kings Cross which was the best of all the bars we went to. Less backpackers and more locals which was nice change of pace.

The Rugby world cup started a few nights after we got to Sydney. It is hosted in New Zealand which is the favorite to win the cup but apparently never do. Needless to say, people are in a frenzy about it in this part of the world. And wouldn’t you know it, the USA has a team and I read somewhere that we are ranked 18th in the world out of 96…who knew?

Look Up Bondi Rescue 
One of the days Patrick, Nick, Brad and I all hopped the bus to Bondi beach which is a nice little beach town area. We took a walk down the coastline and just enjoyed the perfect day. About half way through the walk we came across a lawn bowling club and decided to get a few jugs (pitchers) from the bar and play a few games. It turned out to be a great time.

Not As Easy As it Looks

On our last night in Sydney we went with a new Canadian friend named Mandy to the Australian hotel for their famous kangaroo and salt water crocodile pizza. Apparently Kangaroo is very lean and healthy for you. I am not sure if it was because it was on pizza, but it tasted a bit sweet. It may be different in steak form which I’ll try at some point in the future. As for the crocodile, well, it is rubbery and fishy. Not too interested in trying it again.

Any Other Country Where You Can
Eat The National Animal?
After two weeks it was time to move on from Sydney. Originally we had planned to buy a van or car and drive up the eastern coast to Cairns. But we calculated fuel cost and decided against it. We got a hop along gray hound pass and can catch any bus going north and get off where we please. So we are just going to bus it up the coast at our own leisure. But first, we decided to go to surf camp which would take us as far as Byron Bay.
Rub the Nose For Luck
Rub the...To Get Lucky

1 comment:

  1. Not sure if I could make it without a tasty cold one. Maybe I can mail you some domestic beer and youcould sell some and makes few bucks. By the way wheres all the sex and women?!?