Wednesday, February 18, 2009
A Long Rant - a week in Sydney
The flight over was expectedly long and tiring. The air was dry and I kept having to reapply chapstick and having to get up and get some water whenever i had the chance. The thing that sucked was that the moniters weren't logded in the seat in front of you, rather they were along the hall and there was a huge one right in front. and movies and tvs shows were shown the entire freaking time. i regret not bringing my eyemask...it was really hard to sleep cause of the flashing lights up in your face that whole time. =( wen we landed in sydney, we called the hostel and asked them to pick us up. they told us where to wait for them. and so we waited...and waited.... and then i called again an hour later, pissed off. they said they dispatched someone to get us and blah blah blah. turned out that there was this old guy walking around the area the whole time asking people if they needed a shuttle. he never asked us, but just smiled and walked past. so i was like...ok... thinking well we dont need a shuttle cause one is coming for us. i went up to him and he was actually the guy rounding everyone up to get you on that shuttle. god dammit. i was so mad and even yelled at him. so *sigh* we got to the hostel more than 3 hours after we landed in sydney. sooo frustrating! oh yea and the turkey jerky sean brought as a snack got confiscated by quarantine. =(
the airport is located far from downtown sydney and i heard from my roommate later that if you took a taxi from the airport to the hotel we were staying at, it costed $40! anyway. we got to the hostel at 11:30am and we were pretty hungry so we dropped off all our luggage and headed down to go grab something, anything to eat. oh yea, another thing, the hostel we were staying at was pretty small and didn't have elevators so we had to pull our 3 luggage up 2 flights of narrow stairs. i think at that point, i was so exhausted, i just ran on adrenaline... we went down the road and ate at a thai place.
that's one of the first things you notice, beside the humidity and that people drive on the left side of the road (its scary cause the cars are coming at you from the other way), is that there's so many thai restaurants! the orientation book from eap said that there's no mexican places in australia. i decided to test that and asked ben, the manager at the backpacker's headquarters hostel (where we stayed) where the mexican places are around here. he told us of TWO. count em, TWO mexican restaurants. we later ate at one of them and it was pretty decent. i think the people cooking were actually speaking spanish! anyway, the rest of the day was spent napping. lol well at least sean did. i couldn't. our room then, was shared with 2 others, there was a total of 3 bunk beds and some tables, and oh, a locker in the corner if you want to stow then away. pretty sparsely furnished. the window was aways propped up with a huge bottle of coke, filled with water. i still didnt get that.. after sean's nap, we walked around and ben pointed us in the direction of the hotel we would be relocated to in a couple of days. we walked over there, it wasn't very far and rushcutter's bay was right there so we walked around in the park. it was really nice, sunny and breezy and the sailboats and yachts floating around. i thought the hostel was pretty ok. there was a place to eat, and even a kitchen and places to stash your food. there was a big screen tv with couches and books, basically their lounging area. the rooftop was accesible, it was another lounging spot and clotheslines were there with peoples boxers drying lol. the laundry room was up there too. the bathrooms were really small tho, it wasn't co-ed, but there was only one sink and one toilet and two showers stalls. the water for them was unpredicatable at times. i think circle k event accomodations prepared me for living at a hostel. lol.
the next day we woke up naturally at 7:30 in the morning. theres free breakfast at the hostel, which is just cereal and toast everyday. rested somewhat, we began to explore sydney. ben gave us a map, now very much used and abused, but it was extremely helpful because most tourist maps of sydney only show downtown and doesn't go far enough to include the location of our hostel, near king's cross. we walked down the street, straight for maybe half an hour to get to hyde park. sydney in the morning was really nice because the strong noontime sun isn't as bright yet and it isnt as hot, very mild and breezy =) the park was nicely manicured and the trees were the right height, shading you as you walk down its promenade. there was alot of benches everywhere too. we just walked around downtown basically, with no destination in mind. we went past martin place which is a street and center of the financial district essentially. walking around, you can tell who is working cause they were all dressed up professionally in their business suits and women in their heels. we went into an opal showroom and museum. i had no idea that australia was famous for their opals. but now that i see opal jewelery everywhere, its hard not to miss it in shops. eventually we wandered to sydney opera house. we walked under it, where the gift shops and tickets were sold (it was nice and cool there to get out of the sun) its a good idea to bring a bottle of water with you cause everything costs alot there. i was so excited to finally see this iconic building up close! we went to circular quay a bit, but it got too hot and so we started heading back, down macquarie road. we had to go thru hyde park to get back to the hostel where we rested. it's tiring to walk so much! and so far!! it took, maybe an hour? we took lots of breaks lol cause it got really hot. then towards nighttime, we wandered around king's cross. its a really slutty place! all these adult shops and ugly whores standing outside shady doors with neon lights. lots of pubs and little restaurants tho. once walking thru is enough lol.
the next day we had to check out of the hostel to check in at the hotel, where the eap orientation was held. from the hotel, we walked to sydney tower, but not before picking up some fruit and powerade lol at the supermarket at king's cross, called cole's. reminded me a bit of smart and final. sydney tower was ok, there was one of those 3d imax screens sorta (but not 3d) with the moving chairs, where you watch a movie about australia. we got a sydney pass which paid for admission to the tower, the aquarium and the wildlife world for a discounted fee. we headed to the aquarium next, which was AWESOME. it was kinda like the monteray bay aquarium but they dont have a huge ass tank of waterthat you could walk thru filled with sharks, huge rays and turtles and fish... it was pretty spectacular. most people walk thru the tunnels but what they should do is just sit down and watch as the sharks come behind, in front and overhead you. oh and they had all the regular fish and regular things too. the next was the wildlife world which was right next door to the aquarium. they had everything that you wanted to see- right away were the platypus, then later came the kangaroos and koalas, even the alligators and insects, snakes, the majestic dugongs, lots of fish again, but skipped those cause we just went to the aquarium, all the pictures were up on facebook. yea it was pretty awesome, although very tiring cause you still have to walk thru all that and we still had to walk back. everynight we came back exhuasted with our feet hurting. =( oh and walking back that day we got lost cause i decided to take a shortcut but it just ended up leading us farther away from the hotel. yea... don't ever listen to maggie wen it comes to her "instincts" about direction. (it took a hour to get back. and that's an hour WALKING. XD) by the time we got back to our hotel, everyone from eap was hanging out in the atrium and that's cause it was 6pm, time for informal BYO (bring your own) which means you bring your own alcohol and mingle with people. it was also to retrieve your eap info packet. i checked out my room, it was occupied by a girl named natalie. shes pretty nice and what not, a foresty major (thats the shortened version of it) and doing a year in australia. down at the BYO, the nice eap ppl from the melbourne study centre passed around a tray of carckers spread with vegimite. they also gave napkins just in case you hated it and wanted to spit it out the moment you tasted it. haha it wasn't that bad, really salty and then bitter. yea....its definately an aquired taste. apparently its made from malted beer or lol something malted. they have it here at the dorms lol right next to the honey and jams. i changed and showered and then met up with sean to go eat. we didnt want to trek all the way to king's cross. (the hotel now was farther away from it than the hostel) so we just ate at a pizza place across the street called elvis' pizza where all the eap ppl went too as a large group XD and yes, it was acutally called elvis's pizza. all on the walls were elvis posters and the pizza names were titles of his songs, etc etc. later, a couple came in to eat and brought their own wine bottle! most restaurants are BYO and they provide wine glasses for you. actually, we went to eat there again and this large party of ppl showed up, and each person, it seemed, brought along a bottle of wine! lol yea...the waiter doled out lots of wine glasses then lol. near the hotel is a bottle shop and that's where we got our own (small) bottle of chardonnay lol. more on that later.