"I come from a land down under....."

Trip Start Nov 16, 2008
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Trip End Feb 07, 2009


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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, January 11, 2009

"I come from a land down under...."   (by Men at Work) - song reminds me of Oz!!

Arrived into Sydney under a bright blue sky but one of the most uncomfortable flights we have experienced so far!  Singapore Airlines thought it would be cool to put in some metal foot rests which, when raised, dig into your shins, and when lowered, fit only one foot!!  How dumb!!  Plus I had a fat bloke sitting in front of me which meant when he put his seat back I could almost see up his nostrils!! 

We were both curious to see what all the hype was about people coming to Australia to work and live as we both just didn't feel the same prior to arriving here.  Our feelings were cemented a little further when we received a grilling from the Customs officer about our reasons for coming to the country for our honeymoon and more so when they picked up on the Bakshi name!  One of the strictest customs we have come across so far and this isn't even a communist country!

Eventually we did get through customs and headed into the CBD area for our hotel.  Our original plan was to come to Sydney for a day and then get a flight up to Townsville or Cairns to then go out diving to the Great Barrier Reef.  More specifically the Yongala wreck (SS Yongala was a Navy boat that sank in 1911 near the Great Barrier Reef) which is one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.  However, as mother nature interevened and threw a cyclone into the area along with monsoon rains, the dive companies weren't running the trips so we stayed put in Sydney and decided to make the most of it.

Then.... slowly but surely.... the Australian hype started to do it's work on both of us.....   First day we took it easy as the Swenson's meal back in Singapore took it's toll on both of us with dodgy stomachs and frequent trips to the who know what!! 

The 2nd day however we had lunch on Darling Harbour with spectacular views and also visited the Sydney Aquarium, which is supposed to be the best in the world.  As you can see from the pictures they have absolutely everything on display, including one very rare flying Misha fish..... which likes waving at people!!   Strange I know!

We met up with Robin and Naomi (who recently got engaged.... congrats guys) and went to some cool bars, one near the Opera House and the other in the Rocks area, and heard stories of the life they are leading which seems to be based all around the Beach, BBQ, parties and the laid back and varied life they now live.   Even just walking around the central business district (CBD) during business hours, people seemed to be smiling, strolling not rushing from A to B, and very friendly.  Maybe it's just because the sun is out.   In fact, the sun is out a lot!!  Where we struggle back home for a couple of days in a row for some sunshine, Sydney seems to have months in a row of the stuff.....  Makes a big difference to what you can do when you're not working....

The next day Rob and Naomi gave us some tickets for the Thunder boat which takes people on a high speed boat ride of the harbour area with quick turns and jumps all in the aid of getting you soaked.  The guide said that we didn't need to wear the waterproofs as the ride before came back dry and the conditions didn't warrant them.   What a loser...... we came back absolutely drenched!!  Luckily it was another hot and sunny day in Sydney so we soon dried up.  That afternoon we went to Taronga Zoo which again is ten times better than any other Zoo that we have been too..... wallabies, koala's, Emu's.... you name it we saw it.   Seems a strange thing for me to say this but the bird show was unbelievable....  can't explain but you just have to see it for yourselves..... and yes I do mean real birds!!!

Then came the debate over which is the best beach between Bondi and Manly, so we visited them both and decided to give the verdict to Emily (prefers Bondi), Robin (lives in Manly) and Sam (lives near Bondi).   Bondi is definitely the better Beach but a little prentious but Manly is a much cooler area to live!  But the fact that it absolutely tipped it down with rain when we are at Manly probably influenced our choice towards Bondi.   The ferry ride from Sydney to Manly is also worth the trip as the views you get of the Opera house and Harbour bridge are stunning.  Nonetheless..... both beaches you would not find back in Blighty and the fact that you can live about 10 mins away from them is most appealling!!

Another thing about Syndey you can't appreciate until you come here is the food!  Not once did we have a bad meal and the choices you have in terms of what to eat are endless.  We met up with Scott and Indra (another recently engaged couple... congrats!) to have a scrummy meal at China Doll's  and could have eaten like horses.  Misha is still having dreams about the Wagu Beef!!

The funniest thing we were told about Australia (comments by a Mr R. D. Clarke, address supplied) whilst we were here was about their competitive spirit!  When England's Rugby team beat the Wallabies the press just wrote the reports to defend their team but never published the score....  In fact any time their National teams lose at any sport they never seem to publish the scores.  Must send over some copies of the Sun to them when we whoop their asses in the Ashes!!! 

5 days here in Syndey absolutely flew by and we were sad to leave.  Again, another place to definitely come back to for some adventure and relaxation.  Australia definitely has some pull factor in terms of places in the world you could live and is probably the only country so far on our travels that has managed to influence us.  Consider our minds changed about Australia!

Next stop.... The Cook Islands.
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