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Published: August 7th 2007
Well it's finally happened - today is my last day in Sydney!! Whilst I've had a great 6 months here it's not for me in the long term so, figuring I should probably see something other than Sydney's CBD whilst I'm in the country, tomorrow morning I head off up to Cairns for a 3 week road trip down to Brisbane. After that who knows... at the moment I'm having trouble planning past tomorrow!! Anyway here's how my last month in Sydney panned out....
I'd hired a car with my flatmates for a few days over Easter in a bid to see some more of the local area... well, that and the fact that none of us had actually been organised enough to go away anywhere ;0) The first day was rather overcast and saw us up in the Blue Mountains, but the second day we had glorious sunshine and opted to head south. Less than an hour later we were driving though the Royal National Park - established in 1879 it's apparently the worlds second oldest national park after Yellowstone. We parked up at Curracurrang and spent an hour or so walking along the cliff top towards Curracurrong and
beyond - stunning coastal views, fishermen perched on precarious looking rocky outcrops with waves crashing in below and lush green heathland broken up by the bright flowers of the Banksia plant. The track was part of a longer 2 day 26km coastal route that you can follow through the park... and we did see a few people walking with their backpacks. A few hours stroll was enough for us though so back in the car we headed round to Garie Beach, grabbed a coffee and sat being entertained by the beach life...surfers, life guards 'practising' in the surf (looked like far to much fun to me) and fishermen gutting and lopping the heads off the catch they'd literally just plucked out of the ocean. Back on the road again we continued south out of the park, eventually breaking out of the Eucalyptus forest to stop at Stanwell Park... just in time to see some paragliders jump!!
After Easter it was back to work and a few more socials - heading to the pub with Jo to watch one of her friends in a band (who were much better than the main act!), the ballet at the Opera house with
Tracey and Pam (two shows there in a month - I almost felt like a regular ;0)), a trip back to Palm Beach with more requisite photo's in front of the Summer Bay Surf Club..... and of course then there was the surfing weekend. My going on the trip was all a bit random really.... my friend Tracey had been keen to go on a learn to surf course so she'd done all the research and then invited me along when she went to book it! Well I was free that weekend and I suppose surfing is something you have to try in OZ..... and I really didn't need any convincing ;0) So that Friday afternoon saw me heading down towards the station for our 5.30pm pick up.... and a six hour drive north to Crescent Head. I have to say the drive was worth it just for the scenery the next day - miles of empty beautiful beach and the weather was fantastic - blue sky and sun and so much better than the week of rain we'd just had in Sydney. There can't be many better places to learn to surf! And I would sooooo love to say
I was good at it.... but well, I pretty much sucked ;0) Flexibility and balance seem to be pretty key attributes to be a cool surfer type and alas it seems I lack both!! Had heaps of fun trying though - the group we were with were all pretty cool, then the Oz Experience bus rocked up on the Saturday night... needless to say much gossip was shared over brekky the next day! And to top it all off on the drive back to town on the Sunday afternoon I saw six kangaroo's in the surrounding fields!
The week after the surf camp my friend Ann from London was in town on holiday.... much catching up was had over many drinks and dinners out! The Wednesday that she was here was ANZAC day - a memorial day in honour of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey early on the morning of 25 April 1915 during the First World War. At work the day before I'd asked some Australian colleagues what a typical Aussie ANZAC day involved... the answer it seemed was going to the pub :0) Fortunately I'd planned
to go on a pub crawl in Balmain with Ann and her friend Tamzin so at least we were being traditional! This was the first time I'd really been to Balmain and I think it's somewhere I might like to live if I did it all over again - lots of cute shops and pubs. As it turned out there wasn't too much crawl in our pub crawl - after lunch in one pub we headed to another and pretty much stayed there chatting and drinking for the rest of the afternoon before someone finally decided we probably should head off and find one where we could play two up...a game played by Australia's soldiers during World War I and which became a regular part of ANZAC Day celebrations for returned soldiers. Essentially it seems to be a game of luck.. two coins are tossed in the air from a paddle known as a kip and you either bet heads or tails... the twist is that the game is only legal in pubs on ANZAC day when they get round the gambling license issues by the fact that the house doesn't directly take any money. Basically it's up to you
if you look carefully there's a guy standing just above where the wave's breaking.... fishing... not really for me!
to find someone else to take your bet.... picture a beer fueled crowd waving their arms in their air and shouting things like, $10 heads, $5 tails whilst looking round for someone else to take their bet. Mayhem but great fun to watch! OK so there's more rules to it than that if you play it properly I guess, not to mention all the terminology and hand signals... but this was a pub of people who'd been drinking all day, and to be honest I suspect most of them were expats.... ;0) I think just about the only Aussie I spoke all day was a guy on the bus home.... who highly recommended our choice of pub to play two up at I might add... ;0)
And that's pretty much it - I managed to squeeze in a bit of last minute shopping down at Bondi Junction this morning, met Tracey for coffee, tonight I'm off out for few final farewell drinks and dinner with Jo and Andy and then tomorrow the adventure starts all over again!! Think I could quite get used to this traveling lifestyle ;0)
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