To prepare for going to Australia, we watched Crocodile Dundee and Crocodile Dundee II. TBH, neither movie really a) has a plot, b) makes a ton of sense and c) there are some cringe worthy stereotypical homophobic and racist moments in both. However, I enjoyed reading about Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski. Did you know they got married? And (spoiler alert) they divorced in 2014.
(Kris wanted me to insert something here about how we watched the Simpsons episode where they go to Australia. I can report back that Australians don’t actually call their money ‘dollaridoos’…but we did.)
Okay, now that we’ve covered pop culture, I feel like we can move on.
Australia is…how shall I put it…very far away from America. It was a ridiculously long flight. We flew China Eastern and the food, while plentiful, was not very good. They also give you like two thimblefuls of any beverage. I’m an American! I need big hydration! We read, we watched movies, we played games on the iPad…but ultimately what we both wanted was to sleep in a bed. Unless you’re some rich person (if you are, can I have some?) you fly coach like all the other peasants and you sleep sitting up. The most degrading part of flying is walking past the first class passengers on your way to coach purgatory. Those millionaires in first class sit there smugly and are already eating snacks and drinking beverages (they got full sized waters) in their seats that FOLD INTO BEDS.
Here was the best movie on the plane. Loved the Chinese translation. I didn’t miss it, you can be sure!
Anyway. Once we un-accordianed ourselves and got off the plane in Sydney, I was promptly yelled at by Australian security for waiting for Kris in a non-waiting area because he f-ed up getting his photo taken by their automated system. This led to our first heated argument in Australia! Traveling brings out the best in us as a couple. I was impressed that we didn’t even wait to set foot outside of the airport before arguing on a new continent. #goals
One of the best things about Sydney was their clean and easy to understand public transportation. We used their metro system to get from downtown from the airport by purchasing Opal cards, which got us on the bus system, too. Kris is a pro at navigating public transportation in any country, and I usually let him do his thing unless I feel like second guessing him at the last minute, which he enjoys (okay, not really). He was also very impressed with the way the seats on the train cars folded and unfolded.
Here’s a fun video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxDrPeb2mxs
We stayed at 57 Hotel for three nights. It was centrally located and had free breakfast and coffee, but it took me about six tries to figure out their coffee machines. For downtown Sydney, it was well priced and we didn’t spend all that much time there anyway. Recommended.
We also stayed at the Shangri-la Hotel on our last night. It was fancy and had a view of the Sydney Opera House. Shout out to Lo at the front desk who snagged us the last room available for early check in before the people checking in next to us could take it.
Now that’s a view! The Rocks, Sydney.
Pro-tip: Australia has different outlets than Europe. I have no idea why we didn’t look into this before we left. We ended up being surprised and had to keep handing the one adapter we bought back and forth. I assumed that there would be USB ports a plenty, but not so much.
We took in the Sydney Opera House, of course.
We attended a performance of Antony & Cleopatra and pretended we were cultured people. We are not. We agreed that Enobarbus was the best actor, but maybe that’s because his name is the most fun to say. Tickets were on the pricey side but not outrageous. I think $60/each got us good seats, and there were cheaper options.
The Botanical Gardens were a pleasant morning walk.
Minus the giant spider.
We took the ferry to Manly Beach and enjoyed an afternoon bumming around Manly. Pro tip: when traveling look for regular water taxis and ferries if you want to get out on the water vs. private cruises. It’s way cheaper, not as touristy, and we got great views of Sydney from the water.
One morning we took a train to a bus to get over to the eastern side of Sydney in order to get to Sydney’s most famous beach: Bondi Beach (it’s bond-eye, not bond-ee like I assumed). It was fun/weird to be on a bus with school-aged Australian children who were in their uniforms.
As long as we were headed that way, we made time for a graveyard (#gothlife) first. Waverly Cemetery overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
Seriously, the best view if you have to be dead.
We walked from Waverly to Bondi, a pleasant hour long walk with beaches and swimming pools in between.
We rented chairs and an umbrella at Bondi and jumped in the ocean for a while. The waves were brutal (Kris enjoyed them despite almost losing his swim trunks a few times) but the water was nice and the sand was perfect. Australia has its shizz so together that were was free wi-fi even on the beaches!
One of the things that stood out in Sydney was all the hot bodies. Everyone was so fit! In the mornings, it seemed like there was some mandatory law that Australians had to go for a run. (side bar: our first night in Australia involved a walk in a local park where a runner was yelling out “Yes!” and “Of course I can!” as he ran. He was apparently big into motivating himself. I’m going to steal this trick and make it big in America. Run shouting!) The hot bodies were very confusing because it seemed like Australians liked their beer and burgers as much as Americans. I took a picture of these disgusting hot bods showing off their acrobatic skills at Bondi.
Of course, if there is a cat cafe within a 50 mile radius of wherever we travel, I have to stop. Kris indulged me with a stop at the Catmosphere. The black cat’s back legs were paralyzed. Poor kitty.
As for food, overall we didn’t have any food that really rocked our world, but we did have a good meal at Fortune of War, Sydney’s oldest pub. Most of the Australian food we saw was derived from British cuisine, so…not terribly memorable. But still, tasty.
Sydney is like visiting the pretty, intelligent cousin of a big American city. Beautiful beaches, hot bodies, free WiFi all over, clean bathrooms, decent food and plentiful beer, and cheap, safe public transportation. While we were there, the biggest scandal that dominated the news was this cricket ball scandal. It was a depressing contrast to American news.
A very pretty city.