Australia

Australia Journey Part 1

Catching up on all things Australia.

I landed in Australia on Friday, November 13th (it was Thursday back in the States). I didn’t see Thursday at all. If you’re wondering WTF, it goes something like this: I left on Nov 11th and flew from CLT – ATL – LAX – SYD…in doing so, I crossed from Wed into Friday somewhere between LAX and SYD. Time zones…yeah, I’m confused too.

My flights from coast to coast were nothing to write home about. Sleep, ponder where the hell I was at over the US, read, sleep. On my flight to SYD, I had the extreme pleasure of having some really great seatmates. Lelo (I think that’s how he spelled it), who was from AUS and returning home and Varesha and her little one, Feather. Most people would cringe at having to sit next to a child, but Feather was so dang adorable. For take off, she sat on my lap and we watched the lights of LAX fade into the night. She and her mom were returning home as well. During this 15-hour flight, I watched Trainwreck and boy what a train wreck it was. Not nearly as funny as it appeared to be in the trailers and a New Zealand movie, a mockumentary about vampires. It was funny. I feel there was another movie in that mix but for the life of me, I was delirious so I can’t remember for sure. It could be my imagination.

Upon landing and clearing customs, I snag a cab to the Amora Jamison Hotel. This hotel is rad. I give it 10 stars because it was my escape from the maddening crowd and I slept like a champ each night. Seriously, I would move in if they let me!! It’s also owned by a Thai gentleman (didn’t know that when I booked), and when I discovered that, I felt my Crazy Little Thai Woman (my mom) was looking down on me with a smile. After unloading my luggage, I decide to traipse around the lovely town of Sydney or as they call it here, the CBD (Sydney CBD) (we’d just call it Uptown if you were in Charlotte). I hit Circular Quay (pronounced key), Opera House, Botanical Gardens and return to the hotel for sleep. Screw that whole, stay awake and suffer through brain stupid.

On Saturday (11/14), it was more walking. The nerd and stargazer in me wanted to go to the observatory so I walked my happy butt there. Thanks to Beth and Holly for the rain boots! I put them to good use that day! It was raining so they couldn’t open the observatory dome, but they still let us look out the telescope to see a clock across the harbor. I am a giant nerd when it comes to stargazing and spent an hour walking through the museum and enjoyed the 3D movies. The museum is free; the 3D movie is $10 bucks for adults and includes the observatory tour. We were bonused another 3D movie because the weather was crappy. I will be honest, if you’re not a science geek, this touristy thing is not for you. Afterwards, I walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Luna Park because I really wanted to see the iconic entrance and to say I walked across the bridge. (Yep, dork.) The only problem with walking across it is you gotta walk back! But before I do, I grab a quick bite to eat at Flaky Tart Bakery at Milsons Point. After I cross the bridge, which seemed way shorter on the walk back then it did on the way there, I hit The Rocks Market, Circular Quay again and the Museum of Modern Art (free), Dawes Point, and Baranagaroo Reserve. The last was an accident. I zigged instead of zagged and ended up there (aka lost).

On Sunday (11/15), I didn’t know if I was going to have the energy to walk. I really could have stayed in bed all day, but I sucked it up and decided to hit Hyde Park and visited St Mary’s Cathedral, the ANZAC Memorial, China Town, Darling Harbour, and the Chinese Garden of Friendship. The Garden is $6 to get into, but well worth it. It’s a Zen world away from the hustle and bustle of the city outside. If you have little ones, you can find the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, and yes, I walked through twice to find the my Chinese zodiac, rabbit. Found the little booger, hiding in the grass like a rabbit would!

On Monday (11/16), I turned 40. EEEK. No, not really. It’s a number to me. That number does not define me. It may to some but it’s just a number. Any who…I leave the CBD for the beach of Bondi. I return to Bondi Beach House for a week. I stayed there with Suzanne and Heather in 2010 and knew it would be a perfect location for a week of vacation. I haven’t had a real week of vacation in forever so it was nice to just be. I did a whole lot of nothing. Sit on the beach, sit on a patio and stare at the beach, eat and drink. Happy 40th to me!

On Tuesday (11/17), I decide to do the Coastal Walk from Bondi to Bronte, but my short walk turned into an all day adventure. Along my walk, I met a fellow Aussie, who offered to buy me a coffee if I made it to Coogee in 40 minutes. Well, that was an epic fail as I stopped at Mackenzie’s Bay to watch surfers. Even though I didn’t make it in time, I did get to travel to Botany Bay and Le Perouse before being dropped back off at Watson’s Bay to walk back to Bondi. It was my choice to walk. I really do enjoy the walk and I got to walk through Waverly Cemetery again. I stood and chatted with some crows (yes, I mean birds) that seemed so sad and heartbroken in their cries. I also was able to find the world’s largest aloe plant. Okay so it might not be “the world’s” but it was pretty damn large and it’s the largest one I’ve seen in my world.

On Wednesday (11/18), I was able to have a coffee and catch up with Jay. Jay was the first Aussie that Heather, Suzanne, and I met in 2010. It was great to sit with a smiling face and another human that I knew. Want to know what I did, more walking. Just walking and looking and taking it all in.

On Thursday (11/19), full day of Bondi and ended it with a Nutella milkshake. (Yep, it was delicious).

On Friday (11/20), it was Satan’s day. Bianca Del Rio would have wanted to say “Not today Satan. Not today!” but he was like “Bitch, sit the fuck the down.” He decided to rain hell on Bondi with a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit at 2:45 pm. Earlier that day, I had my first run in with a Huntsman spider. He scared the bejeezus out of me…mainly because he was the largest spider I had ever had an encounter with that wasn’t a pet. He was about the size of 2 business cards from legs to legs. His body was about the size of half dollar/dollar. I made a deal with Mr Spider aka Harry, he could stay in the corner of the window to get out of the heat only if he kept the mosquitos and other bugs at bay and away from me. He obliged and I didn’t have house keeping suck him up with a vacuum. It was 5000 degrees outside. I understood his need to keep cool as I was trying to the same. If you’re ever in Bondi and want to work out your butt and legs, I suggest a walk up Bondi Rd. You’ll instantly regret it, but there’s a bar called the Stuffed Beaver that’s worth the walk. Or I think it’s worth the walk. I remembered the bar from my 2010 visit and it was just the same this time around. Friendly service, great drinks, and good food. Did I mention friendly service with a smile? I even tried to tip Kat for being a kick ass bartender and she didn’t take it. She said I could tip her once I got a job in Australia. I dug that. Kat, I’m coming back to tip as soon as I get a job!

On Saturday (11/21), I really didn’t have an agenda. I knew I wanted to walk to Ben Buckler and see what was other side of Bondi. It wasn’t a lot, but I did the reserve on the other side of the golf course and then walked the Coastal Walk from Bondi to Bronte again.

On Sunday (11/22), I left Bondi. ☹ I picked up a car in Sydney and white knuckled driving through there with my stomach in my throat and my nerves all fucked up. Driving on the left side of the road isn’t a bother, but driving from the right side of the car is. Hailey the Hyundai, seems like a tank driving down the road even if the reality is she’s a compact car. Once I was free from the confines of the city, I might have gone 20 minutes out of my planned route to go take a picture of the giant reptile statue on top of the Australian Reptile Park. Afterwards, I headed towards Camden Haven, a sleepy little town outside of another sleepy little town, Port Macquarie. I could have stayed in Port Macquarie, but I remember my disdain about that place. It not only sucked my first time through in 2010, but it sucked when we came back through. I drove there to pick up supplies for my road trip, and guess what, it still sucks. It is actually the one thing I don’t like about Australia. (Sorry Port Mac fans.) I honestly think that if the zombie/vampire/gloom doom apocalypse starts, it will start here.

Miles walked in 10 days: 50.91 miles
Drove: 436.4 kilometers
Dead wallaby/kangaroo seen on the side of the road: 1
Alive koala, kangaroo, elk, and deer seen crossing the road: 0
Turkey crossing the road: 1

Pictures coming when I have wifi that is one step above dial up.

Coming up…camping along the coast to Brisbane and more…

PS: hope this post isn’t all goofy since its from my phone 🙃

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