Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sydney Day 3

SO
NOW FOR DAY 3---lets see what i can remember...

(and yes i do realize saying that is going to get everyone mad at me for not writing it down when it was all fresh in my mind. but WHATEVER its still relatively fresh. i mean if it were milk id be somewhat hesitant about pouring it over my cereal but whatever.)

so day 3 began with waking up early and doing boring uc stuff. some of which i already knew but then we got to go to manly island. which has really nice beaches and a cute little downtown area and a totally awesome name. according to my mom's guide books it was named after the manly men who lived there. i wasnt particularly impressed, but i think its cause most of the men there when i was there were tourists.

anyway we had to take a half hour ferry ride to get there which left out of circular quay (pronounced key...way to be weird australia) which is like right next to the harbor, the opera house and all of the gardens. and it was totally awesome and really quite pretty. despite the overcast skies which made everything a bit grey. and it was still pretty hot too so it wasnt too bad a day to go to the beach.

anyway heres the opera house/gardens/city from the ferry...







so i don't know if this is just me or whatever but i think i always heard that there were always tons of people sailing in the sydney harbor. well there are. and i thought that was cool cause it was like seeing something you always hear about but have never actually seen, in action. like bigfoot. ok maybe not like bigfoot but whatever. there were a ton of people out sailing. i dont think this picture shows it to its full extent but it was pretty cool.



so one of the best things about manly island was the fact that everything was named manly ___. like "manly cosmetics and tanning" which i totally should have taken a picture of. or "manly souvenirs, as seen below. theyre not just any souvenirs, theyre MANLY. and then next door to that was liquorland which all the californians thought was pretty funny. the australians are very straight forward with their naming schemes. if it is a place for liquor it says it. they dont dance around the subject, they get straight to the point. so we all thought that it was pretty funny that there was a place called liquorland. and you always knew if the people you were walking near while passing liquorland were from the uc program even if you hadnt met them yet because someone was always shouting LIQUORLAND!!! yeaaaah im sure the australians loved us for that..



anyway heres manly beach. it doesnt look as pretty as some of the pictures id seen from other people of like bondi which on a nice day actually looks like it does on postcards (meaning heavily photoshopped--which it apparently isnt) because it was an overcast day. on nice days the water is supposed to be the perfect blue color and the sand is like the perfect yellow sand (which it still was as sand doesn't hinge on the weather to still look like sand...or at least as far as i know). the water was warm (like swimming pool warm not gross warm) and the sand was soft. unfortunately it had rained/stormed LIKE CRAZY the night before so there was a lot of debris in the water. well i mean there were places without seaweed and stuff but that was where all the surfers were so swimmers werent really supposed to go over there. i dont recall seeing any netting but i didnt get killed by anything so i guess it wasnt necessary.



so i guess it could be said my first australian beach trip was a success! it was pretty nice AND i didnt get killed or eaten by anything despite there having been two separate shark attacks in australia the past two days i had been there and also despite what everyone told me would kill/eat me before i left (thanks ryan, tracey, marisol, irene, paul, brittani, leo, mom, dad, trent & rhonda for your long lists of things thatd kill me and your clear confidence in my survival..... "wendy youre gonna have to work on those reflexes if youre going to outrun those sharks!" <3 jerks.)

so anyway after leaving manly and taking the ferry home my rommmate michelle (also at anu and is from berk) and i ended up meeting up with a couple guys from the program i was friends with from earlier and we walked home in the rain together.

anyway so after coming home we were all going to meet to go out to dinner at eight but then i ran into technical difficulties...

OK SO
i decided that i needed to wash my bathingsuit after the beach and everything so i was basically ready to go to dinner and everything and it was like OH I CAN DO THAT REALLY FAST. so i put my bathingsuit in the sink and pushed down the drain plug thing figuring id find the lever to pull it up later. WELLLL when i went to look for the lever THERE WASNT ONE. i looked around under the sink and around it and started pushing things and twirling things and nothing worked. so me, being the clever college student i am, tried to pry it up. well that didnt work either. so now im panicking. my roommmate and i are late to meet for dinner, neither of us can find the lever and we cant pry it up. FANTASTIC.
how many uc students does it take to figure out an australian sink, you might ask?
well, your answer would be......
4.
just when we were about to give up and call the front desk and sound like idiots, two other girls going to anu (lizzie [UCI] and sabrina [berk]) come by and are talking to us and then as clearly TACTFUL as i am, i asked them if they could work the stupid sink that was outsmarting me and michelle, Lizzie had done the same thing earlier so they totally knew and saved us from sounding pretty stupid (at least to the people at the front desk). the trick, you ask? push the stupid thing down. who would have thought? seemed a bit counter productive...

so anyway by the time we got downstairs after that debacle everyone had already left so we just decided to walk down to darling harbor the 4 of us. well actually originally we were going to go to this greek restaurant that was supposed to be moderately priced and was listed online as the 8th best place to eat in sydney. so we walked over there and it wasnt that moderate but they were booked full anyway so THEN we went to darling. which is a pretty cute name for a harbor.

and it was pretty beautiful. and when we were over there the chinese new year fireworks were going off in the distance and we could see them. it was pretty awesome. it was raining but it was still gorgeous anyway...


and we ate at a chinese restaurant with a GIANT buddha. you think im kidding about how giant it was but it was HUGE id have taken a picture if i wouldnt have felt like an jerk doing it (there were a lot of valentines day people there and i would have felt lame ruining their night to get a picture of a huge buddha) but was like in the center of the room and was at least like 20 feet tall and probably like 20 feet wide too. it was awesome. anyway the food was really good and it was a pretty nice night.

there was like a 3 story club in darling that we were talking about going to but we figured we had better grab all the other uc kids if we were going to go. and then by the time we got home none of us wanted to go back out again. so then my roommate and i watched a very strange ryan gosling movie and were boring until the next day.

end of day 3

Sydney! day 2

So now we begin day 2. Day 2 was the day I made friends (FRIENDDD!)! haha. They were all uc students too and we all met at the front desk with our tons of luggage and then went out to check out the opera house which id already done but whatever and the botanical gardens which I had also already done but apparently there were TONS of fruit bats in there which I did not see because im oblivious? Ordinarily, yes. But this time at least they were a bit off the regular path. So I didn’t feel that dumb.
It was a GORGEOUS DAY
But it was RIDICULOUSLY HOT
Like seriously. It was sooo humid. And it kind of made you think you were dying of heat stroke which was AWESOME. NOT.
Nonetheless, it was gorgeous. So heres the most gorgeous pictures I took of/with the opera house/the harbor bridge.





In the botanical gardens there were also cockatoos walking around. Those are the white ones with the yellow on their heads that you always see in pet stores right? Well they were in the botanical gardens which was totally cool. Its not like its something you never see cause I mean you walk into a pet shop and theyre totally there but seeing then outside in their like natural setting was a trip. I wasn’t gonna post any pictures cause I figured everyone knew what they were and wouldn’t want to see it but I think I will anyway cause it was kinda weird seeing them not in a petshop…



And here’s some really gorgeous pictures of the botanical gardens cause they were really pretty…




So then there were the fruitbats. EVERYONE was talking about them. Everyone who’d been to the gardens the day before….which technically included me but I totally never saw them. Its not like they posted signs. And c’mon. walk around alone through the middle of a wooded part of a garden at sunset….in america we call that A BAD IDEA. So I mean I didn’t exactly dawdle in the gardens. (apparently in Australia it isn’t. theyre so nice here!! I love it!) but then I felt pretty stupid the next day when everyone was talking about them and I had no idea. But whatever. There were THOUSANDS of bats in there. I mean when you looked up there looked like there were a lot but when I saw them flying (later) there were literally thousands. It was CRAZY. they were all fluttering their wings to keep themselves cooler. At that moment I was very envious.



but not as envious as i was of the ducks. the water may have looked a bit icky but it was still water and we were all still dying of thirst. anyway they were so cute! they had their little babies and everything! everyone was pretty stoked to see ducklings. haha. and they were totally of a different variety than we get in the states...as you can see...




And then there was this obelisk in the middle of the duck pond. Which was kinda cool until you read the dedication on it. Then it was sort of debatable as to whether or not it was kinda cool or kinda creepy. In it is some naturalist or something. Which I guess its cool that his remains are among nature and whatnot but it was almost a little creepy being that close to a long dead guy. But I guess I cant complain. Better to be close to a long dead guy than a newly dead guy…probably…or at least in that heat…eww.



ANYWAY
after we all got back from our hike around Sydney (all of us very much willing to crash and very burnt) we had to get ready for the meet and greet with the other uc students and stuff that night. Which wasn’t too bad. It was up on the 25th floor which gave us an awesome view of the city but also gave us a view of the literally millions of bats flooding the skies. At first we all thought they were birds. NOPE. They were bats! It was very cool.



So then after the meet and greet was done we all went to get hamburgers at some burger place over in kings cross (where my cab driver had previously warned me there were prostitutes…I guess theyre not illegal so I guess theyre not as sketchy as I first thought/as he made it sound. I guess its always kinda sketch when you’ve got something like that. I dunno. It wasn’t bad up there as far as I could tell. Well I wasn’t all that much INTO kings cross but from what I saw. And nobody else had any complaints. But all the native aussies ive since talked to have warned me about it. Im guessing its not actually that sketch but its sketchier than any other places here where everyone’s not sketchy at all.

Anyway when we walked into the burger shop (10 california kids) Dani California (red hot chilli peppers) was playing. it was pretty funny. and was also the first of 3 times so far ive heard that song in a public place. its pretty funny actually. i never hear it back home but apparently they love it here. and i remember hearing it once in europe too. but its like they see us coming from a mile away and want us to feel welcome or something. it was pretty funny though.

I thought the names of some of the burgers were pretty awesome. The greedy bastard was one of my favorites. They had interesting ingredients in them. Or maybe they weren’t “interesting” perse but they were names for ingredients maybe I knew but just didn’t know those names. But anyway it was still really good. I have to admit, I was afraid to try a burger with beets in it. So I didn’t. I knowww. Im so lame. But I wasn’t really all that hungry and id used up all my adventure on earlier that day! So i got a bambina. which was good. i asked for it with cheese and on the reciept it said it was free so i was like SWEET THEY TOTALLY CHARGE YOU FOR THAT IN THE US.

and then when i got it there was no cheese. so no wonder it was free. hahaha but the guy who took my order was really nice. cause i was still getting used to the australian money and he was really patient and said "australian money is a real bitch." it was awesome. he was also shocked that our money is paper (well technically cloth but everyone calls it paper so whatever). i dunno if that means that the australian money is plastic? i mean they have little clear plastic bits which is pretty awesome but i dunno. anyway heres the menu.




and then i totally thought this was awesome. its a garbage bin. but it says RUBBISH!! so i totally had to take a picture because. i mean. cmon. RUBBISH!!! hahahahaha



i love it.

and then we went back to the hotel and just hung out cause all of us were tired/jetlagged.

end of day 2

SYDNEY! Day 1

So I got to Sydney on Thursday (the 11th) which would have still been Wednesday in California but I lost a day on the flight so it was about 830 am when I landed.

The flight wasn't actually all that bad despite being 14 hours. Qantas was pretty amazing. I highly recommend it. I had a sweet personal TV on the back of the chair in front of me and watched Inglourious Basterds and Zombieland when I wasnt sleeping or pestering my asleep aislemate to let me get out and go to the bathroom (which I do/did feel quite bad about). The food wasn't bad either considering it was airline food and all.

Flying in to Sydney was GORGEOUS. The sun was only just finishing rising and they were giving us breakfast so for once I was actually awake to see the sunrise. Here's what it looked like...



So I definitely though that was really pretty and DEFINITELY worth getting the window seat/pestering the aisle guy for.

After we started our descent we flew over Sydney and then a bit out into the hills I guess to get low enough to land? Or maybe just to show off. Either way it was BEAUTIFUL. I was totally on the right side of the plane so I saw the opera house and everything. I would have taken pictures but they said that all electronics had to be off and I didn't want to crash the plane after already surviving 14 hours in it.

Now that I'm typing this I don't think anyone would really care about anything I'm saying but maybe I'll eventually look back on this and I guess I'd like to remember (at least not to pack so much luggage!!) so...uh...sorry. You can skip to the pictures now if you want?!

Anyway, after landing stuff wasn't too bad. I did start regretting how much luggage I brought after trudging through the airport with it. The smart carts were free but it was still really heavy. And then it took FOREVER to get through customs.

It was stupid. All because I declared that I had food (2 bags of m&ms). They didn't appear to care at all that I had medicine but GOD FORBID I get m&ms into the country without standing in a GIANT customs line FOREVER. You think I'm kidding but I'm totally not. The place was PACKED. The line was like queuing outside of the little things to mark the lines because there were so many people. But anyway at least they eventually let me bring my m&ms into the country. And the workers were really nice...which seems a bit different from America where I feel like usually they're just annoyed you exist.

So then I needed a cab which getting one also had a surprisingly long line, which at least didn't take long (but honestly it was like disneyland. they had rails set up and everything it was kind of surprising...and it probably took 20 minutes).

And then my cabdriver was a nice chinese man whose accent actually wasn't bad but it was a bit funny to hear a chinese accent with an australian one as opposed to the usual american one. so that was cool actually and he was really nice. he told me to avoid kings cross (which i actually did get food at a little later [pictures to come]) which is apparently where all the prostitutes are (it is legal here though so i dont know if that makes it less sketchy? probably not).

Here are the obligatory pictures of my hotel room:





and here's the view from my 12th floor room (i moved to the 18th on day 2 [it's a composite of two photos so it's not terribly well photoshopped but i figured itd be better than two separate pictures]).



so then i checked into my hotel and after buying 24 hours of internet for 25 dollars (which is a huge ripoff by the way, but not as big of a ripoff as what happens when you want to watch shows on ABC, NBC, CBS, CW [Supernatural okay. I'm not normally inclined to watch anything on the CW...except that.] and Hulu. They tell you "Thank you for the interest in network of choice, but you're not in the us so you cant watch this neener neener neener...love, whichever network you were trying to watch." So that was pretty lame. And I think megavideo is okay here but considering they have kinda weird censorship laws I didn't want to risk it till I talked to some more knowledgeable people), told my parents I was still alive and they told me to go out into Sydney. So i did.

AND NOW...THE FUN PART

Here's what I saw on day one. It was pretty overcast but it was still really hot and humid. I decided to walk to the opera house which was only about a half hour walk away so here was my journey.

The first cool things I saw were these fountains with people walking their kids around on the rim of them. I didn't realize till I was walking back that there's this pool/aquatic center that's underground underneath them! so I thought that was pretty awesome. here it is!







And then there was this crazy church called St. Mary's Cathedral. It was huge and there were people getting married in it which was cute (as seen in the pictures).




so back when i was in europe my mom made me take about a thousand pictures of doors. they were always out of context so you could never tell when one was really cool or really huge or small or anything but my mom loved them so we have a lot of pictures of random european doors. well this one was on the cathedral and i thought it was kinda cool. so mom, this one's for you...



and then there was the Sydney Tower which apparently (or at least according to my mom) the Australians have a love hate relationship with. Some hate it cause it's an eyesore and others love it cause its a tower and that's awesome. you can make up your own mind...



so the us and australia have the same roots in Britain and everything but back in america youd never (or at least very rarely) see statues or monuments or anything to any british monarch. Australia apparently DOES NOT harbor the same disdain the us has for british monarchs...these statues were sort of everywhere. it was cool, but just very different...as seen in the next couple pictures.





All the architecture in Sydney was pretty cool. Including the hospital. Im not really sure why theres a hog boar pig thing out front of it (i may have been told the significance at some point but now i dont remember) but its pretty awesome. the building in general was just pretty cool. with or without the hog boar pig thing.



there were these sweet ibis things everywhere too. it was pretty awesome. i mean they were like something youd see in a zoo but they were just walking around and were unafraid of people. much like pigeons. i actually saw one the next day begging at these people's table. he was just sort of standing right next to them waiting for scraps. it was kinda funny. they sort of drove everyone crazy though cause everyone wanted a picture of them cause, well, theyre awesome, and for the most part the birds would turn away EVERY SINGLE TIME someone pulled out a camera. and the second you put your camera away they would turn back towards you. it was like they knew and were just toying with you and thinking "stupid human." I managed to get a picture. Not sure at this second how blurry it is, but i guess it will be apparent shortly.



and now the moment youve all been waiting for (er at least presumably since youre still reading this). WITHOUT FURTHER ADO...

THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE...and the harbor bridge.






so i guess its all downhill from here.
but anyway when i was at the opera house there were tons of tourists around but i couldnt find someone to take my picture. there were people who looked ok but then would walk away before i could get to them. and then there were sketchy people so i had to choose wisely cause i really do like my camera. so anyway i did. but shortly before that i took this picture of this dock. im not really sure why. i guess i thought it was cool that there was someone just sitting on it and its right next to the opera house so it was kinda cool someone could just sit there next to the opera house but still out on the ocean. well a few minutes after i take this picture, the girl in the picture comes up and panhandles me. the worst bit, though, is....
I THINK SHE WAS AMERICAN
hahahahahaahahahaha
EPIC AMERICA FAIL.



the botanical gardens that i walked through on my way back were GORGEOUS. and there was all this cool architecture. there was like what was once the governors house but is now like a museum or something....



and like a crazy art school which was totally sweet. like it had crazy european castle turret things but then like the asian thingys on top. it was awesome. very ARTSY some might say. god im a lame.




There were also these super awesome statues like inset into buildings. The building’d be like 3 stories and on each story thered be a statue. I didn’t really know who most of them were so I just took a picture of Athena cause well, she’s pretty awesome. And I thought it was a cool statue thing.



And then I was just walking along the street and usually the have normal cabs and everything. But I just thought this was funny cause it looked like they attached the top of a hearse to like a station wagon. And then used it as a taxi. So that was pretty weird so I figured I needed to get a picture of the hearsetaximobile because it was so weird.



MEANWHILE
There was this sweet fountain. It had a naked man (who I assumed was perseus) wrangling a minotaur, a statue of what I presumed was artemis and a naked man with goats (I could really make about 50 dumbledores brother jokes right now but ill abstain…for the first time in my life) who aside from the harry potter reference I don’t actually know who he is. But whatever. It was a cool fountain. And all these people were surrounded by turtles. Definitely don’t know the significance of the statue turtles but whatever. They were cool




And that ends my first day in Sydney tour. It took a very long time to do partly because im easily distracted and partly because the internet in Australia hates me. But whatever.