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February 12th 2007
Published: February 18th 2007
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Santiago to Sydney

23 celsius, at 22.30, as we stepped of the plane in Sydney, after 38 hours of continuous travel from Santiago, Chile, via Lima, Peru, and Los Angeles, US, was just the start of a great fortnight Down Under.

Swiftly taken to our hostel in Kings Cross (a slightly less seedy version of the London namesake) by the airport shuttle, we landed a room with panoramic views of what must be one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Waking up a bit later than usual, at 11 (due to a tiny jet-lag), we set out to explore Sydney by foot. Soon we discovered that all the places had very familiar names. Wait a second, they've just stolen all of them from London - Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Paddington, Kings Cross, etc. Couldn't they've been a little more more imaginative? After all, Sydney and London seem to have so little in common. One's clean and sunny and the other grey and dull (we spent our last seven years there, so we are allowed to say that). We finished the first day with Mad Monday with the gang at our hostel - an AUS$15 night including dinner and more drinks than we needed.

Still a bit jet-lagged (or was it because of that last beer?), we started late with a typical tourist bus around town. The Sydney Opera House (with a roof full of Swedish tiles) and Harbour Bridge were just some of the scenic attractions. Later in the afternoon we wandered back to Kings Cross through the botanic garden, more or less by accident. In the "rainforest" part of it we saw a couple of flying foxes, or fruit bats. Wait, there's another one, and another, and... a whole tree full of them, and another tree. As we arrived at the botanic garden late in the afternoon they just started to wake up, flexing their wings, yawning, doing the morning (night?) toilet... D went crazy with the big zoom and the camcorder. Back to Kings X when the memory cards were full. The next day we set off on a week's trip up the New South Wales coast (Slip, Slap & Slop).

Back from the road trip we spent a day visiting the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and the Maritime Museum. Whilst the former was very rewarding, the latter was a bit disappointing. H had read about an exhibition
...and when we woke up the following morning...and when we woke up the following morning...and when we woke up the following morning

Harbour Bridge and Sydney Operahuse - niiice!
about surf culture. Unfortunately it was nowhere to be found and the AUS$18 fee they wanted to step onboard a submarine seemed a bit steep, so we stuck to the free part of the museum, which was OK. Now, let's go surfing.

We took the clean and efficient metro/train from Kings X to Circular Quay and then the 30 min ferry to Manly (which supposedly got its name from the very *manly* natives greeting the Brits on the beach a long time ago) just north-east of the city. Installed at the Manly Beach House (which isn't really at the beach, but a short 5 min walk from it) we set off to the beach the next morning.

The waves were a bit too big for us, so we spent the day working on getting a sun burn and studying the pros instead. The next couple of days brought slightly smaller sets, but still big. Despite being spoiled with 27 celcius in the water from Byron Bay (Slip, Slap & Slop) we couldn't resist the slightly cooler water. Trying a 6"10 mini-mal the first day taught us that we still have a couple of things to learn when it comes to surfing. However, encouraged by our first shortboard experience, we had a lot of fun on a 7"3 mini-mal and a very fun 7"4 thruster the following two days.

A qick trip to Narrabeen and Dee Why (why what?) the last day got us aquainted with Bluebottles (see picture below), a blueish jelly creature that littered the beach in Narrabeen. Later on both D & H got to know them really well, in the surf at Manly. They burn pretty badly when you get them wrapped around your legs. Not so nice at all.

Manly is one of those places where you come to stay for a couple of days at the beach and end up stying much longer, especially if you like surfing. There is something very relaxing about the place. The locals arrive by ferry in the afternoon, from work in the city, quickly change the suit for boardies and head for a couple of hours at the beach or for a run along the boardwalk. Nice lifestyle - and as a tourist you just skip the work bit. Very nice.

When it's now time to leave the Aussies alone and move on to Singapore we have
Cockatoos having a feastCockatoos having a feastCockatoos having a feast

Notice the cookies they're chewing on.
a couple of thoughts on Australia. The place is a giant zoo. There's wildlife everywhere, and it's noisy! White Cockatoos by the dozens flying around central Sydney eating crackers! Loads of other birds everywhere and none with their slippers on. Oh, and that wallaby that sounded like a platoon coming through the woods in Dorrigo (Slip, Slap & Slop). The conclusion must be that they can't have a lot of natural enemies or they are just plain stupid. We go with the first.

(All supporters of cricket should skip this next paragraph.) One of the biggest news stories in Australia, whilst we've been here, has been the banning of the Mexican wave at the cricket. Apparently, people can get hurt by things being accidently thrown around during the wave. The cricket supporters' reaction to this decision has not been kind - and can you really blame them? What are the poor sods supposed to do? Sitting around watching cricket for days, they must amuse themselves best they can. Maybe if the cricket teams could finally decide on the rules and start playing a real match instead of continuing with tests, spectators would pay more attention to the game instead of having to do the wave - to stay awake 😊

Two weeks is a very short time to see Australia, and we haven't really. We've scratched the surface, at best. We've seen enough though to put it on the list for further exploration, much helped by the excellent scenery, great hospitality, friendly people and fantastic surf spots.

Oh, and if you've got a bit of a sentitive tum, and are heading back to Circular Quay from Manly when the sea is a bit rough - don't take the JetCat, like we did, stick to the ferry! H, who really likes roller coasters, loved it though.

23 grader, 22.30, nar vi klev av planet i Sydney efter 38 timmars resa fran Santiago, Chile, via Lima, Peru, och Los Angeles, USA, var bara borjan pa tva fantastiska veckor 'Down Under'.

Flygbussen tog oss snabbt till vart vandrarhem i Kings Cross (en nagot mindre sjaskig version av dess namne i London) och vi knep ett rum med panoramautsikt over vad maste vara en av plenetens vackraste stader. Efter mer sovmorgon an vanligt (lite latt jetlag) satte vi av vid 11-tiden for att upptacka Sydney till fots. Vi upptackte snart att allt hade namn vi kande igen. Vanta lite, de har helt enkelt snott namnen fran London - Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Paddington, Kings Cross, etc. Kunde de inte ha varit lite mer fantasifulla? Sydney och London verkar ju ha sa pass lite gemensamt. Den ena ar solig och ren och den andra gra och trist (vi tillbringade de senaste sju aren dar sa vi far saga sa). Vi avslutade den forsta dagen med Mad Monday (galen mandag) ihop med ganget pa vandrarhemmet - en helkvall inklusive middag och mer drinkar an vi behovde for AUS$15.

Fortfarande med lite jetlag (eller var det den dar sista olen?), blev det en sen start med en typisk turistbuss runt stan. Sydney Opera House (med taket fullt av svenska klinkers) och Harbour Bridge var bara nagra av attraktionerna. Senare pa eftermiddagen, pa vagen tillbaka till Kings Cross, gick vi nastan av misstag genom den botaniska tradgarden. I regnskogsdelen sag vi nagra flygande ravar (en sorts fladdermus). Vanta, dar ar en till, och en till, och... ett helt trad fullt av dem, och ett trad till. Nar vi kom till tradgarden var det sen eftermiddag, och de hade precis borjat vanka till liv, strackte pa vingarna, gaspade, och gjorde morgon-(kvalls?)-toalett. D lekte hej vilt med det stora kameraobjektivet och videokameran. Tillbaka till Kings cross nar minneskorten var fulla. Nasta dag satte vi av pa en veckas resa upp langs New South Wales kust (Slip, Slap & Slop).

Tillbaka fran bilturen spenderade vi en dag pa fotoutstallning (Wildlife Photographer of the Year) och Marinmuseet. Det forra var valdigt givande, medan det senare var lite av en besvikelse. H hade last att de skulle ha en surfutstallning. Den fanns tyvarr inte att hitta och AUS$18 for intrade pa en ubat tyckte vi var lite val haftigt, sa vi holl oss till gratisdelen av museet. Men nu vill vi surfa!

Vi tog det rena och effektiva tunnelbanetaget fran Kings Cross till Circular Quay och sen den 30 minuter langa farjeturen till Manly (vilket enligt uppgift fatt sitt namn efter den *manliga* valkomstkommitten som britterna traffade pa for lange sedan) nordost om centrum. Installerade pa Manly Beach House (som inte ligger vid stranden, utan 5 minuter darifran) begav vi oss till stranden nasta morgon.

Vagorna var lite for stora for oss, sa vi tillbringade dagen med att branna oss i solen och titta pa proffsen istallet. De foljande dagarna
D made new friendsD made new friendsD made new friends

in the botanic garden
minskade vaghojden nagot, men inte sa mycket. Trots att vi blivit bortskamda med 27 grader i vattnet i Byron Bay (Slip, Slap & Slop) kunde vi inte motsta det nagot kallare vattnet. Efter att ha provat en 6"10 mini-mal forsta dagen insag vi att vi hade en del kvar att lara vad galler surf. Men uppiggade av var forsta tur pa en "shortboard" hade vi skoj med en 7"3 mini-mal och en 7"4 thruster de foljande tva dagarna.

En snabbtripp till Narrabeen och Dee Why den sista dagen gjorde oss bekanta med Bluebottles (se bild nedan), en blaaktig gelefigur som lag har och var langs hela stranden i Narrabeen. Bade D & H fick traffa dem pa nara hall senare i vattnet i Manly. De branns ratt ordentligt nar de slingrar sig runt benen. Inte trevligt alls.

Manly ar ett av de dar stallena man aker till for att tillbringa ett par dagar pa stranden och det slutar med att man stannar mycket langre, speciellt om man gillar att surfa. Det ar nagot valdigt avslappnande over stallet. Lokalbefolkningen anlander med farjan pa eftermiddagen, byter snabbt kostymen mot badisar for ett par timmar pa stranden eller for att springa langs strandpromenaden. Mysig livsstil - och som turist skippar man helt enkelt jobbdelen. Trevligt!

Nu nar det ar dags att lamna australiensarna ifred och aka vidare till Singapore har vi nagra tankar om Australien. Stallet ar en enorm djurpark. Det finns djurliv overallt, och hogljutt sadant! Dussintals vita kakaduor flyger runt i centrala Sydney och ater kex! Massor av andra faglar overallt och inga ar sarskilt tysta av sig. Och den dar wallabyn i Dorrigo (Slip, Slap & Slop) som lat som en hel pluton pa vag genom djungeln. Slutsatsen maste vara att de inte har sa manga naturliga fiender, eller sa ar de inte sa listiga. Vi gissar pa det forstnamnda.

(Alla cricketfans bor skippa nasta stycke.) En av de storsta nyheterna medan vi varit i Australien har varit att man inte langre for gora vagen pa cricketmatcher. Folk kan tydligen bli skadade av saker som kastas omkring av misstag medan vagen drar over laktaren. Supportrarnas reaktion pa detta har inte varit snall - men man maste ju forsta dem, vad ska de annars roa sig med? Titta pa cricket i flera dagar ar ju inte roligt. Kanske om de borjar spela riktiga matcher istallet for "test", da kanske publiken kan halla sig ifran att gora vagen for att halla sig vakna 😊

Tva veckor ar en valdigt kort tid for att se nagot av Australien, och vi har knappast gjort det. Vi har mojligen skrapat pa ytan. Vi har sett nog for att satta upp det pa listan over framtida upptacksresor, mycket hjaplt av fantastiska miljoer, gastfrihet, vanliga manniskor och utmarkta surfstallen.

Ah, om du har lite kanslig mage och ska aka till Circular Quay fran Manly och det gar lite sjogang - ak inte med en JetCat som vi gjorde, hall dig till farjan! H, som verkligen gillar bergochdalbanor, tyckte dock det var kul.

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21


Narrabeen was closing out...Narrabeen was closing out...
Narrabeen was closing out...

and full of Bluebottles, so we gave it a miss.
This is as close as you want to be to a BluebottleThis is as close as you want to be to a Bluebottle
This is as close as you want to be to a Bluebottle

Both D & H came a lot closer later this day, and can report it hurts.
Dee Why (don't ask) was slightly betterDee Why (don't ask) was slightly better
Dee Why (don't ask) was slightly better

but we continued to the familiar waters of Manly

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