And so I arrived in Sydney, "the most beautiful city on the planet", the pilot kept saying. Guess where he was from?!
I had arrived in Sydney at 5 o'clock in the morning. By the time I made it to my hostel it was 7am. I was whacked after trying to squeeze so much in in China, Hong Kong and having no sleep on the two flights to get here. Unfortunately, my bed wasn't available until mid-day, so I packed my sleepiness into my rucksack, unpacked my stamina and took myself for a walk through Sydney.
My tiredness and the contrasts to Asia give my memories of Sydney a slightly dream-like quality. A few days before I arrived, George W Bush was there and the weather was dark and rainy. I arrived and brought spring with me. It was fab! After the stifling greyness and pollution of China's cities I was amazed by the fresh air, cool breeze and the blossom and tulips of the Botanical gardens. I said (in my head, I hope) lots of "oooh look at that"s like mum. It was gorgeous. As I walked through, I saw my first glimpses of the Bridge and Opera House. After walking around the wishing tree backwards three times and almost skipping through the winter gardens, I found myself on the water front across from Sydney's most famous two landmarks. The view of Hong Kong's harbour took my breath away, the view of Sydney's harbour made me grin. It was more compact than I had expected- all just 'there'. I must have been grinning like a cheshire cat, a guy walked past me and said "It's Sydney at it's best eh?". Another wow! moment
After using up a film reel taking pictures I decided to tick off a major 'things you should do in Sydney' box and caught the ferry to Manly. The boat trip offered me more views of the harbour, bridge and Opera House and delivered me in Manly - a little place with a gorgeous beach. A proper beach! Wow! I went to a gallery / museum and then treated myself to fish and chips for lunch - the first time in over 6 months. Fwoooooargh. I took myself on a walk up a hill and generally had a jolly nice time.
I slept very well that night. For about 14 hours. Iin a dorm that was a converted railway carriage on an actual railway platform. And didn't really wake up properly the next day! But did enough to venture to a supermarket… Avocadoes! Proper Bread! Cheese! The kind of stuff I dreamt of in the school office in Shenyang!
I met up with Sarah who we met during the CELTA course. It was fab to catch up and hear about her life in Sydney and her adventures in Asia. She was wearing a suit and everything!!!
My other major box to tick in Sydney was the walk from Bondi to Coogee. Bondi beach itself was smaller than I imagined. The coastal path takes you through lots of other little bays and beaches. The sun shined all the way.
On my final night in Sydney I went to the Opera House to see the Symphony Orchestra play. They played Britten's "A young person's guide to the orchestra" (but they still let me in hahaha). I was sat on the cheap seats high up behind the orchestra, in line with the conductor. I felt a bit self conscious as I was sat in the middle of a row with no-one sat around me. The people sat in the main auditorium had not problems spotting Billy No Mates! The orchestra also played a modern piano piece and another symphony. I really enjoyed some live performance and the nice warm sound from the orchestra. The only downer was not having enough aussie dollars to pay for a glass of fizz in the interval. Next time…
I left early the next morning to catch a train to the airport and then head off to the Auckland to start my Kiwi adventures….