With the sun finally shining, we packed our backpack with beach clothes and headed to Manly Beach! A thirty minute ferry ride with beautiful views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House took us over to Manly. Sean was so excited to finally get some water time and maybe surf! We arrived in Manly starving, so we grabbed some lunch directly across from the beach and . . . half way through lunch the sun disappeared, and the storm clouds started rolling in. At this point our bad luck with the weather was almost laughable, so we took a walk down the main strip and decided to get massages rather than disappointedly watch our beach day evaporate in front of our eyes. Both of our masseuses were from the states and had met there “partners” here in Australia (apparently Australians refer to their boyfriend as their “partner”). Both were wanting to head back to the U.S. soon but were tentative due to the fear that they would not be able to find jobs in the U.S. economy. Can’t really blame them . . .
We ferried back with hopes that we would eventually
get our Sydney beach day in . . . we were now staying at the Sebel Surry Hills. The hotel room was kind of hilarious because it was literally an empty room with a bed, desk, couch and TV. No pics on the walls and no dresser. Sean was convinced there was supposed to be one and even called down to the front desk to ask if there was a dresser missing from our room - “Nope, we don’t have dressers in our hotel.” Weird, right? The best part was this book in our room claiming that The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Elton John and Michael Jackson had all stayed at the hotel (There were also celebrity pictures on the wall in the dining room.). They obviously had not updated the place much since the 70’s when all these celebs flocked here. :) Needless to say, we missed the Four Points Sheraton.
That evening we had dinner with my family! Yes, I have family in Sydney. My mom’s cousin Jim Kehoe and his son (my second cousin) Thomas Kehoe. My maternal grandmother was a twin; Jim is my great Aunt Betty’s son. I have seen Jim off and on over
the years as he frequents the States. Thomas is actually quite the traveler as well but seeing that I am too, we had missed each other in NYC over the years. I really don’t think I had not seen him since he was a kid. He is getting married in about two weeks; he’s definitely not a kid anymore!
We met them at London Pub in Paddington where the guys enjoyed drinks, and we ordered pizzas. Thomas’ best man Leon also joined us. As always, my favorite part about traveling is hanging with the locals, so this was a double treat - catching up with family and getting some “towny” talk in. Some of the most entertaining topics of the evening: best man speeches, Sydney’s red-light district, Australian sports (Leon’s view of the ludicrousness of baseball) to the breakdown of Cricket to the description of Australian football (and I don’t mean soccer). Apparently, Australian football is a sport that is only played here involving men in speedos and tight shirts. It’s like some strange mix of American football, basketball and soccer. Check out this clip:
The timing of this dinner could not have been better. Thomas has
been working as a travel agent, so he helped us plan the next few weeks of our trip - a flight to Hamilton Beach followed by a drive back down the coast to Sydney. Thank you, Thomas!
Thomas, Leon and Jim were also able to give us all kinds of recommendations of where to go in Sydney - Newtown and Glebe sounded like the top choices. We put those on our agenda for our remaining days and Sydney, but naturally, we were both intrigued regarding the fact that Sydney has a legal red-light district, so after dinner, (Thomas had a plane to catch back to Melbourne where he lives.) we headed to Kings Cross. On the way, we stopped at The Comedy Garage, a comedy club we’d been wanting to try out. Of course it happened to be amateur night, so after hearing a horrible monologue followed by numerous lame jokes, we escaped and walked to Kings Cross to hopefully see some sweet prostitutes. To be honest, Kings Cross reminded me of 8th Avenue in Hells Kitchen - full of bright lights, porn shops, and strip clubs. According to the boys, when you hit Darlinghurst Road, it’s completely legal
to pick up a prostitute (as long as they take you back to their brothel). When we discussed this with our cabbie on the way home, he was shocked to hear that prostitution was not legal in NYC; he couldn’t believe we weren’t that “progressive.” Hilarious, right? Anyways, we did not see as many hookers as we hoped - a few questionables and one really old torn-up crazy looking one that was being eyed by numerous seventy year old men. Nothing beats watching creepy in action!
Our final two days in Sydney . . . were SUNNY! We ended up moving back to the Four Points Sheraton. We spent one afternoon in Glebe, a fantastic little town full of more restaurants than we think Chicago has in it’s entirety. Ended up once again at a Thai restaurant (Thai food is delicious in Sydney - that is for sure!). After lunch, we walked back to the hotel and saw a little more of Darling Harbour that we had previously missed.
For our last day in Sydney we committed to a second try at Bondi Beach . . . and it was definitely worth it. We had perfect weather. The
water, on the other hand, was colder than any ocean water we had ever stepped into. I couldn’t handle more than a dip, but Sean took some time in the water. I, instead, laid out pregnancy style (on my side) and created some sweet sunburn stripes down my neck, back and arms. After a long walk down the beach and some lunch we decided our adventures in Sydney would be continued after making some memories up and down the coast. Back to the hotel to pack our bags . . . off to Whitsunday and Hamilton Beach!
Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession in the name...more info