Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sydney, Australia: 10 Different Angles of the Opera House

So I realize the blog has been M.I.A. for about two weeks - which I apologize for.  Some not-so-great issues threw a wrench in my blogging abilities, which I will explain further in the next couple posts.  But I am committed to finishing it.  So for now - the end of Australia.

After saying good-bye to Jess and his fam, I took a flight to Sydney for a couple days of exploring by my lonesome. Is it sad that the first thing that came to mind when people asked me what I wanted to see in Sydney was, "P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way!" Apparently my entire knowledge of the world has been shaped by Disney movies.

What It's All About:
Sydney - that big famous Australian city.  It's obviously one of the largest cities, it's the capital of New South Wales, and has the well-known sights of the Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, and the Sydney Harbour.

The Opera House!

And just to clear any confusion up, it is not eternal summer here. Sydney at night was the coldest I've ever been ever - which makes sense, given that it's way South of Brisbane.

Cliffnotes of the Day:
  • Arrived in Sydney, checked into my hostel - and met up with a travel friend of mine, Sarah!  Sarah is from NYC originally, also left her job to travel, and we had met in Colombia a couple times - in Salento, Medellin, and Cartagena.  And after a couple months, she had ended up in Sydney doing the working-vacation thing - and ended up at the hostel down the street from me!
  • Sarah, her hostel friend Matt, and I headed down to the famous Bondi Beach the next day.  Yes, it is the middle of winter in Sydney, but I wanted to see it! There is also a really picturesque walk you can do from Bondi to Coogee Beach, which I also wanted to do.

    And here is Bondi Beach!  Which is apparently famous because of a TV show I've never seen. Also, it was SUPER packed the day we went because it happened to be the day of a famous race called City2Surf - and Bondi Beach was the finishing point. The beach is not usually this packed in the winter.

    I love the ocean

    Sarah and I!  We sat on the sand and sunbathed (in winter jackets) and chatted for a couple hours

    Then we started the walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach

    There's a fancy swimming club/restaurant on the way out. How pretty is this pool?

    Part of the oceanside walk - the walk itself is supposed to be around 7km, but I'm going to say that's a lie - it felt more like 20km. But it was beautiful (and exercise!), so no complaints here

    The walkway extends alongside the ocean the whole way!  Though apparently a big storm this past summer destroyed parts of the walk, so there were a lot of detours for repairs and such.

    Sarah, me and Matt

    Also, the walk passes by several other beaches - which is A TEASE when all you want to do is reach Coogee Beach and you come upon a beach and think "omg maybe that's it!" and THEN YOU FIND OUT IT'S NOT.

    This beach had a lot of surfers. Australia has a lot of surfers.

    We walked by a fancy cemetery. Some of these tombs were super, super, super old

    Here is another fake beach that is not Coogee Beach

    Then the sun started to set so we stopped and watched for a bit (I am now starting to realize why this walk may have taken us so long.....)

    That cloud looks like a big box!

    This man was very dedicated to taking a cool photo - he hauled himself over the safety fence, then lowered himself onto the cliff's edge for a photo.

    It's sunset! And we still have not made it to our destination.

    AND HERE IT IS. COOGEE BEACH, EVERYONE. It was a miracle we made it before it got completely dark. We hung around the area for dinner, then headed back home afterwards (which is apparently located in the red-light district of Sydney. Congrats, us)

    • The next day, Sarah was kind enough to accompany me while I continued playing tourist, even though she's already been in Sydney for several months already.  Of course, all I wanted to do was walk around downtown and see the Opera House. 

    Ta-daaaaaa! There it is!  We walked through the Botanical Gardens to get this view, and it was so so so pretty. There were people running throughout the park, and tons of families, and the sun was shining and it was amazing. Though I do have to ask myself, as always, WHY DON'T THESE PEOPLE WORK.  I don't know why everyone else seems to have figured out life's secret.

    Downtown Sydney next to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge

    Best (transplanted) city host ever!

    Then we walked along the harbor to the Opera House. There's adorbs little cafes (all with insane prices, of course) all long the waterfront.

    And here we are! It looks super weird and 70's up close.

    Mainly because of this super retro tile the entire building is covered with.

    The cafes along the water had tons of SUPER aggressive seagulls just waiting to steal food. These things were seriously out of control. They hopped onto plates while people were still eating and such. (IT REALLY IS JUST LIKE FINDING NEMO)

    Pretty cafes. Would come here every lunchtime if I worked downtown

    Then we hit up the Modern Art Museum, where they had this weird outdoor installation that looked like an igloo. And inside was this lady with a head thing on making shapes in the sand. Modern art is so weird. But I love it.

    I seriously, seriously love modern art museums. Especially when they're free

    I loved this painting. The Korean artist fused a bunch of old-school Korean paintings with modern day insignias and brands - like, all the people dancing have Barbie heads or Lady Gaga heads and such.

    This was some kind of bubble with the artist's fat and cells inside it, and it would grind it all together like a blender every so often. Ew. Ew. Art is weird.

    Neon books! The titles would change every couple minutes

    View of the other side of the Opera House from the rooftop cafe in the Modern Art Museum.

    We then headed to a historic neighborhood called The Rocks, which is one of the oldest parts of the city (from the late 1700's) and has a bunch of cute boutiques and cafes and such

    It's called The Rocks because there are still lots of rocks/ruins of the former neighborhood here (it was a pretty poor/rough working class neighborhood), which were demolished over time.

    The Opera House at night! Really I'm just trying to see how many photos of the Opera House I can cram into this blog post.

    Sarah and I ended the night with dinner near our hostels, and then we went to karaoke night with a bunch of her hostel friends. This is a terrible photo of nothing, but we closed my last night in Sydney belting out a Taylor Swift song on stage. Obviously. Appropriate.

    • Bye, Sydney! Bye, Australia!  I'm really glad I got a chance to visit, especially because I kind of never expected to. It really reminded me of being at home, what with the Western conveniences and way of life and feel and culture and how things operated.  It really is just like the USA, except they throw some weird made-up words into their lingo.  I am officially dubbing Australia "the poor man's America."  Just kidding. This is why they love us.

    Fun Facts of the Day:
    • Sydney's metro system has double-decker trains! Like the Long Island Railroad!  My fave activity is to make that decision whether to go up or down upon entering the train.

    • Australians love these kinds of cars. They're everywhere. They're apparently called Utes. They're hideous. I don't know why these exist:


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