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Published: October 12th 2016
Showing up into Sydney I realized that I've become a seasoned vet at this travel thing. I rolled into the city of 5 million with no direction or plan. Before I left home if I did not have a plan for the smallest things like getting to the hockey game on time I would be border line aneurysm. Nowadays I just show up in major foreign metropolis centres with no worries. Grabbing a map at the airport information kiosk I hopped onto the train that links the city centre (Denver should really get on the ball on the transport to and from DIA) to the airport. Fifteen minutes later I was downtown. After about a five minute march down the main thoroughfare I had found a place to stay for the never bargain price of $AUD 28 for a dorm. Ouch. Man this place is expensive. My main aim in Sydney was to visit the tourist spots then arrange to get out as fast as possible.
Day one my agenda was to go to the Sydney Opera House to view this iconic building. Whenever I thought of Sydney this would be the first image to pop into my mind, so
it seemed like a reasonable first stop. What first struck me was actually how large this complex really is. Not only does it host the opera, but their are several other theatres with performances going nightly. The construction and magnitude of the engineering to build this place was an eye opener to see firsthand and the curves of the structure seem flawlessly into the city scape and Sydney Harbour. Well done. The other famous landmark is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The steel structure dominates its surroundings and is another example of what modern man is capable of building when he is at his greatest. For $AUD200 you can climb to the top of the bridge. I opted just to walk across the length of it which afforded me a bird's eye view of the city itself which was good enough for me.
Next up was to try and arrange transport out of town in the next day or so. I'm trying to meet up with a friend of a friend who lives in Brisbane about 1,000km north of Sydney. I went to the local bus office and inquired about a ticket to which I was told would cost me
$AUD185 for the 16 hour journey. My jaw hit the floor. Saying thanks but no thanks I went to the internet cafe so I could log onto my computer and I secured a plane ticket to The Gold Coast, which is about an hour south of Brisbane, for the reasonable rate of $AUD73 for the hour and a half journey. I don't know who these bus companies think they are down here or how they are even in business. After another nice leisurely stroll through the city I was done for the day pleased with my tourist accomplishments.
Day two I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Bondi Beach. No trip to Sydney would be complete without visiting this iconic stretch of sand. Visions of Great White Sharks and Box Jellyfish were rampant in my head, of course none of which I saw. I opted, on a locals advice I had met at the pub the night before, to take the local bus ($AUD9 return...ouch) to Coogee Beach some 6km south of Bondi and hike along the coast north for 2 hours or so to my destination. Man this girl hit the trip right on the head. The
walking was spectacular with views deep into the Pacific and of the little surf towns nestled up and down the coast.
The sun was shining and I had a smile on my face this day. Just a great overall walk. For all of my personal mental struggles of late (the expense of OZ and NZ, missing home, friends, and family, etc.) I can never complain about a day at the beach. Rounding the corner and getting a glimpse of Bondi was sweet! I even decided I would get in the water and not worry about sharks or jellies. The rest of the day was just a great lunch and a few beers watching the surfers ply their trade. Once the surf came up they were like locusts feeding on a harvest. I don't know how these guys don't crash into each other and I assume their are is a fair share of arguments over whose wave is whose.
Woke up this morning with two things on my plate. A plane ticket out of Sydney and a date with the U.S. Embassy here in town. It's been in the back of my mind the last month or so that
I only have one blank Visa page left in my passport. Not good and many countries won't even let you in unless you have two or more blank pages for stamps. I needed to get this done whilst in a major city before I move into Asia and this would be my last chance. So I made an appointment at 8am to get more pages added. Getting in the Embassy was like Fort Knox. I had to surrender all of my belongings and even drink my bottled water in front of the guards to be let in. Right, like I am carrying some sort of acid or explosive in my water bottle. Being an American citizen I did however get to jump in front of the line of foreigners (they did not look happy) trying to get US Visas. Chalk one up for the Yanks! After talking to my representative and forking over $82 for the privilege I now have 48 blank visa pages. It's like a super passport. That should be more than enough to finish this trip out.
So now I am just wating for my plane to take me North to The Gold Coast. I again
have no plan and don't even know what this place is about but the city I am going to is called Surfer's Paradise so I don't think I have anything to worry about. Sydney was great and I'm glad I got to see the sights I have always thought about when thinking of Sydney or Australia in general, but as any big city no one really has anytime for you and I walk to slow. It's even hard to get a smile out of people here. Everyone is to busy or has somewhere to be. Time for me to move on. Also because I'm bored waiting for a plane and I have a good internet connection time for a few more shameless photos of myself. I know Nick likes to look at them..
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