20 December 2010

Australia: An Exercise in Time Travel

I'm now in New Zealand after 4 whirlwind days in Australia.  What a crazy place!  Here's a quick run down of my activities, before I get into some musings about the land Down Under.

I arrived around 10am in Sydney after a 14+ hour flight and a ridiculously heinous 10 hour layover in LAX.  NEVER again will I do that.  Luckily my Facebook friends helped me to navigate to an In N' Out burger, which made my life significantly better.  Sydney was nice, warmish and muggy, but not overly warm and the flight in was gorgeous, as you can see.
I hopped a train to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, a range just outside of Sydney with Eucalyptus trees, which apparently emit an oil which makes the mountains appear blue.  In only two hours I found my hostel amid the tiny Katoomba streets, showered, and was off to explore near the 3 Sisters, a famous rock outcropping.  I chose to walk through the forest to get there and the waterfalls were stunning.
 Made it just in time to see the sunset on the 3 Sisters.  I guess it's because I'm a climber, but I didn't find these that impressive....sorry Katoomba...
 Sunset over blue mountains.
A nice walk put me back in the city centre, where I enjoyed some very tasty CROCODILE pizza!  Yeah, you read that right, crocodile.  And it was delicious.  I would totally eat it again!

On Saturday, I went on a grand Canyoneering adventure and did the Serendipity canyon.  I don't have any pictures, but it was really amazing.  It consisted of 4 abseils (rappel's to those climbers) adn then swims through slot canyons and lunch on a hot rock.  Or it would have been hot had the sun been out.  The weather has not been kind to me.

I then hopped a train back to Sydney.  Check out my passport!  Another stamp! (And look, my shiner is almost gone too!)
Back in Sydney, my walk too me past Hyde Park, home to this beautiful church!
For dinner, there's nothing more tasty than a Kebab!
 Extreme eating picture!  Oh baby!
 After the Duner, I of course found a monument to do some bouldering on.  I mean, why not?
 So let me digress here a moment to address the issue of fashion in Australia.  I always like to observe the local fashion when I travel, and I am not kidding when I say there is plenty of amusing people watching to be had here.  I said that Sydney is like an exercise in time travel.  Not only am I literally writing this blog from the future since it's yesterday for most of you, but I also feel like I've gone back in time 6-months to this summer, when the fashion was gladiator sandals and ridiculously high-waisted unflattering skirts.  Australians have adopted this ill-advised 'fashion', only their skirts are shorter and their gladiator sandals are equipped with high heels.  It's bad people, like really bad.  See below.
 I was walking down the street and saw a girl that I was pretty sure would become spontaneously naked at any moment.  Her skirt was that short and her top was that small.  And that is common.  I felt very out of place in my full length shirt, thats for sure.

Did you all know that Opera was here a few weeks ago?  Apparently she was, and there are banners!
They drive on the wrong side of the street here.  Good thing they have street signs to remind you!
 On Sunday, I set about exploring Sydney.  I took a trip up to The Rocks district and checked out a street fair, that reminded me a lot of the Ballard and Fremont markets.  Then a walk through the botanical gardens took me past trees full of bats!  Fruit bats I guess.  I've never seen a bat before.  Very cool!  The gardens were very beautiful, and full of pretty and unique looking flowers.
 Finally, the opera house and harbour bridge.  Too bad the weather wasn't nicer.
 This statue was asking for it!
 In the evening I took a ferry to Manly beach, where it was POURING rain.  Good thing about rainy beaches is they make for good photo-ops.
 My chaco tan from one day in Sydney.  They are not kidding about the sun down here, it's ferouch!
 Sunday evening was nice, riding the ferry back to see Sydney in lights (my camera didn't get good pictures though) and then checking out an Irish Bar in the eve.  They quickly digressed into covers of the Cranberries, so I went on my merry way.

Monday was predicted to be nice weather all week, but apparently Mother Nature had other plans.  It rained.  On the Beach.  Again.  What is a 'Surfcraft' anyway?
 Where's my sunshine???  Good thing I have this bottle to keep me company....
 Yes!  The Sun finally came out!
So that's it for pictures!  Now I'm in Christchurch borrowing a computer and planning the rest of my trip.

Some final thoughts on Australia:  I felt like I was just hemmoraging money there.  Seriously everything was SO expensive!  From the trains to the food to just walking down the street, it felt like everything cost a ridiculous amount of money.  

The bus system there is very good though.  If you can remember the whole drive on the left thing, you're already one step ahead.  However, do NOT get on the back door, because they will yell at you then you'll have to apologize for being a stupid american (sorry Australia).  The busses are actually really nice and come equipped with survelynce cameras, which display your picture on a handy tv screen for all to see.  they also show advertisements.  It's kind of genius.  Oh, and the busses have their only 24/7 designated driving lane, which comes in handy for the bad Sydney traffic, and in some cases they even have their own roads that are completely separate from the rest of the drivers.  IT makes it feel like you are on a carnival ride!  I liked it!

Another thing of note...they spell Aussie 'Ozzie'...we made up the 'au' spelling.

So that's it!  Overall I didn't love Sydney.  The opera house is pretty, but lets just say it's very 70's and photographs realy well.  The city was just too frantic for me.  I'm looking forward to kicking back a little now that i'm in New Zealand.  


Kate said...

Great update on the trip, and love the pictures. xoxo

emma said...

Very cool Kristina! Love your blog! Great pictures!

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Allison said...

hemorrhaging money. haha

Anonymous said...

Woot woot! Awesome pics, keep em coming! We're pretty jealous, looks B-E-A-utiful!