AUSTRALIA 2001 (PART 7)
Okay I'm not coming back. Really. It's awesome here, so why would I leave. My ticket was on my frequent flier miles, so it's changeable. So I'll come back eventually.
Maybe. Someday. In the distant, distant, distant future.
I have a plan. I always have a plan. I check out of my nice hotel with my own bathroom and move into a backpackers hostel. Sure I'd be sharing a room with smelly, burping, noisy, most likely rude teenagers, but hey, it's only $17AD a night. And I could survive on one Big Mac Value Meal a day. Everyone knows it has ALL of your daily fat content in one serving. I'm sure there must be other vitamins and other stuff in it. That's $6AD. Throw in another $7AD for incidentals (trip to beach & return: $5AD, for example) and I'm looking at $30AD a day. That's only $15 US!!! With my separation check, I could make that stretch out for a long, long, long time. And I'm sure I could find work eventually. I've always joked about a promising career in the food services industry. But how's this, "Would you like fries with that, MATE?" It just sounds so much better doesn't it? It just rolls off the tongue. Sure I'd be an illegal alien, but I could work that out later. And as for my fall back plan, if ALL else fails, I could always sell my body.
Okay, maybe this won't work. Damn. It was sounding SO good.
My last days here in Sydney have been awesome. I've been doing the beach by day and the pubs & clubs by night. I've been to Bondi and Manly Beaches. And all sort of good pubs and clubs. My first trip to Bondi, which is actually closer to my hotel, was sort of disappointing. The weather was not good and the surf was out of control. I was not going swimming in that. Now, in the back of my mind, I've been thinking, okay dreading, that flight back to DC. What's the best way to enjoy an excruciatingly long airline flight? Do it with a raging sunburn! So I've been doing the sun worshipping thing. And it's working. I'm a strange color pink that is warm, but doesn't quite hurt yet. Still need to work on that. Must have more pain as I return to DC.
The next day I was off to Manly. The Hoffman’s recommended a hike from the "Spit" to Manly. Which is all good, but what exactly is the "Spit"? It's a bridge. Don't ask, I don't know. But the hotel hooked me up with bus directions and I set out early Thursday morning. It took me a bit but I made my way there. The bridge actually connects the north beach area of Sydney with the middle harbor area. Kind of hard to explain. The walk itself was quite nice, though I wouldn't want to do it at night or with dusk approaching. It was five miles of following the coastline. You pass little coves, private parks, some REALLY nice houses, and marinas as you make your way along the shoreline. The trail climbs up and down, up and down, UP and DOWN along the shore and cliffs. Lots of stairs. But it was good. Toward the last bit, you enter into a reserve that is just gorgeous and that has stunning views of the harbor. The weather was nice and warm and I was working up a good sweat. It was just an excellent hike. I made it into Manly around 1230, had some lunch, and promptly hit the beach. I am using some sunscreen, but I've downgraded my protection to SPF8, hopefully it is letting some of the sun in. As I have mentioned before, the coolest thing about Manly is that to get back to Sydney in the most efficient manner, you have to take the ferry back to Circular Quay. There is just something so cool about riding the ferry back in the late afternoon sun and seeing the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge outlined by the suns rays. Just so spectacular.
The next day, I decided to head back to Manly. The weather was excellent again and the beach was not too crowded. The waves were pretty decent and there is a good sandbar out where the waves break so I was getting some pretty good body surfing in. After a day at the beach, I made my way back to my hotel hitting some stores along the way to buy the last things I wanted to get, some souvenirs, etc. The problem with the exchange rate (see I have to complain about the good things also!) is that it is SO easy to rationalize buying something. It's only $35AD! Why that's only $17.50US. Of course I'll buy it. MUST STOP THE MADNESS!
Today I headed back to Bondi. It's cheaper and I thought I would give it another try. I'm trying to limit my spending a bit and don't want to hit the ATM again if I can avoid it. The weather this AM was fair. A few high clouds that pretty much covered the whole sky by the time I got toBondi. But I was there so I set myself up on the beach. Bondi is in a pretty large cove and has a decent size beach. But there was a surfing competition going on, so a third of the water was off limits to swimmers. Now here's the part I don't get, they have these lifeguards, and even junior lifeguards on duty, but they limit the swimming area. You are supposed to swim between the flags for safety purposes. Something I really didn't do at Manly, but the surf wasn't so bad there. Anyways, the flags are on the beach and are about 50 yards apart. So all three thousand people who come to the beach on a Saturday are supposed to swim in the zone between the flags. Hello, reality check. And swimming in that area isn't easy. There was a serious rip that pulled you down the beach to the left, so you would spend a lot of time swimming to the right to counter act the rip. The surf was excellent, but there were just too many people, so I ended up bailing.
Okay Trey's 10 random things he realized about Australia.
1. The Australian accent is so cool. But if you're not Australian, don't try it. You'll sound like a fool and a tourist. Which you are probably both.
2. Australians are psycho for sports. Cricket this, rugby that, Aussie rules football. The national swim championship, which lasts 8 days, is getting live television coverage, at night, in prime time! This afternoon I turned on the TV. 5 channels. Footy (Aussie rules football), rugby, cricket, a surfing/swimming/paddling competition, and an old, old movie.
3. Man cannot live on fish & chips alone. If I never see another chip again, it will be too soon.
4. Politics are the same everywhere. I'm already tired of seeing John Howard (Australia's Prime Minister) whine about this or that and why the Australian dollar is falling. But if he's bad, their opposition leader is worse. And I won't even go into the queen of the One Nation Party. She's a female Pat Buchanan. Nice.
5. Tell me again why beer is cheaper that Coke? Not that I'm complaining, but it is interesting. And why isn't that true in the US.
6. Can I tell you how much I crave some good Mexican food? If you want Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, etc, you are all set. Mexican? In Sydney, there are two Mexican restaurants. I went to one. Bad margaritas and a soggy (!) chimichanga.
7. Apparently heroin is the drug of choice here. Every public bathroom I've been in there was been a medical needle disposal unit. At the beach, in pubs, at the airport, you name it. Sad really, but I guess they are closer to the Golden Triangle than the cocoa fields of Columbia.
8. Why is it that Australians get four weeks of vacation time a year? And why don't we in the US? Are we working smarter or working harder? Guess.
9. Australians do love Americans. I have no idea why, but I have yet to meet someone who isn't friendly and won't make an effort to help out. 10. I've got to come back. My next trip will include the northern part of Western Australia and more of the Northern Territories. Plus Sydney of course. When? Someday when I have a job and a little bit of vacation time built up.
I have had the most awesome adventure and this is something that I will remember for a very long time.
Well it's time for our fearless traveler to return to reality. How will our hero re-adjust to the United States? Will he get a job? Will he get a
Tune in next time for those answers and more. Same bat time, same bat channel!