Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back To Sydney, My Home Away From Home

Day 1 (Friday)

My flight to Sydney from Melbourne was an hour delayed.  Haven't been too lucky with the flights around here, and flying is definitely not as conveneint as traveling by Greyhound.  All the transportation to and from airports,city, checking in, a bit more complicated than just hopping on a bus at the local bus station.  Anyhow, once again my passport was not checked at all, not at service desk, security check point, or before boarding.  Like the old days I guess back in the states. Also, anyone is allowed thru to the gates, meaning you can go meet your relatives or friends right after they get off the plane, like it used to be back home 10 years ago.  Anyhow, this time I flew on Virgin Blue and paid 50 bucks for my short 1 hr flight from Melbourne to Sydney.  Pretty good airline, although I always seem to have leg space problems, plus the seats did not recline at all.  Fairly uncomfortable sitting straight up the entire flight, especially when I wanted to sleep a bit.  There were tvs on the back of everyseat and started off watching Everybody loves Raymond.  Had some laughs but unfortunately after about 5 minutes in the air did it prompt to swipe my credit card to continue watching.  Unfortunate.  Anyhow, heard great things about Air Zealand, my upcoming flight. They supposedly have free tv viewing for the entire flight, comfortable seats and leg room, and FREE alcohol. I've never heard of such a thing but some kiwis I met last night brought it up.  Definitely looking forward to sippin back a few brews on my way to Lord of the Ring territory.  I've always been one to really try and get my moneys worth.

Anyhow, got off the plane around 630 I quickly got my pack and headed for the train.  This train line was the same one that I took to work everyday for 2 months.  It was a great feeling as all the memories came back.  Being back in the place I called home for 3 months put a smile on my face.  Anyhow, I then made way to the hostel, of course Home Backpackers, the hostel where I spent over a month and where I met all my great friends, many of them still there awaiting my return.

After sharing some drinks with people out on the deck, I made way back to the train station to hop on a train to go to a bbq with all my old coworkers from Gate Gourmet.  The people that were my work family for 2 months, it was great meeting up and seeing most of them again.  Lin, whose house it was held at, had prepared a massive dinner that was excellent, and supplied all the beer.  She did not want any money for the event and it was very kind of her.

At the bbq was also my long time no see German friends, Timo and Rebecca, was great seeing them.  Anyhow after the dinner was over, everyone was starting to feel pretty loose after their drinks.  Most of us, well atleast the young ones started playing drinking games.  Safe to say we all had a great time.  Happy I got to see all my old airline food packing friends.

Most of the Make and Pack GG Crew

Day 2

With my return to Sydney, I was welcomed with maybe the shittiest weather in all 4 months Ive stayed in the city.  Forecast showed rain every day, and that it has.  I have officially cancelled my trip to the nearby beautiful Blue Mountains.  Unfortunate but heard its not worth the trip if the weather is bad.  Besides I have had a pretty good share of bush walks and sightseeing the past 3 weeks and will have the best to come in New Zealand. Not very bitter at it at all, plus gives me more time to spend my last couple days here soaking in my favorite city spots and catching up with friends, and best off all save some additional money. I spent the day walking around in the pouring rain with Anda, my favorite Dutch buddy. We went to Paddys Markets and took care of some souvenir shopping.  We then headed for Darling Harbour where there was a scheduled skateboard competition, but due to the rain it had been cancelled. It was sponsored by Mountain Dew so still scored a few free Mountain Dews out of the deal.

When nighttime came around, it was still pouring rain, absolutely pouring.  With not much else to do, we started the night off with some beers and goon.  We then met up with Timo and Rebecca and headed out for the bars in the rain.  Not too great of a scene out at the bars but still had a good time with my close friends.  The rain had not let up either.  It was almost like nothing I have ever seen before. The streets were almost rivers, it was absolutely rediculous.  As I crossed the street the water literally covered halfway up my shoes, terrential downpours.  We ended the night at our favorite Kebab shop.  Timo snapped a picture of our favorite Kebab ladies.  They are great and hooked it up with a hefty amount of chicken and my favorite hot chili sauce. Will miss that late night great Kebab.

Day 3

Woke up after a pretty good sleep in. Was feeling pretty refreshed.  Headed to BreadTop, a cheap chinese bakery and picked up an apple roll, cinnamon donut twist, and a ham and cheese roll.  Paired with a chocolate milk from Coles and I had myself a pretty good morning-after breakfast.  Rain was off and on today, went to the library and tried to do some New Zealand planning but failed.  I have a good "idea" of my trip and think I will take each stop at a time. Gonna let this trip be a bit more spontaneous.

Since I was starting to realize it was my last few days in Sydney, I started attenting my favorite eatieries and places I liked the most around the Sydney.  For dinner I went to Shark Hotel for their fabulous 7 dollar all you can eat buffet with a drink included.  You may recall I had XMAS Eve dinner there.  It was once again excellent.  In the night, the hostel was putting on a movie night, watched the movie Couples Retreat with all my friends, pretty good movie, but not too hilarious.

Day 4

Today marked my first Superbowl Monday.  The Superbowl started at 1030am Australia time.  I had originally planned to get a group of friends and make way to the nearby sport pubs.  But after heavy consideration, ended up staying at the hostel.  The Tvs at the hostel are large flat screens and ended up saving heaps of money on beer.  Also picked up some chips and salsa and made myself a mini superbowl party.  Watched the game with all foreigners.  Had fun explaining them the rules as this was for most of them, their first time watching American football. Most of them found it pretty entertaining. I did miss out on a huge part of the Superbowl, the commercials.  Obviously, there were no American commercials, all australian ads.  Wasn't exactly the same without the great commercials.  Thought the halftime show with The Who was pretty great tho, they still got it and definitely enjoy their big hit songs. The game itself was pretty entertaining. Would have liked for Peyton to not throw that vital interception but congrats to the Saints.

The Superbowl took up most of the day. Was raining again today. In the night I met up with my old roomate Nigel and made way to the IMAX Theatre in Darling Harbour to see the highest grossing film in history, Avatar.  The most expensive movie ticket to date ($22), boy was it worth it.  Great movie, thouroughly enjoyed it and it definitely lives up to all the hype. But then again I saw it in supposedly the best movie theatre in the world. The Sydney Imax not only has the largest screen in the world but supposedly the best and most advance sound system to date. I sat there in front of this large screen with my dorky 3-D glasses, my 7 dollar popcorn and my coke that I snuck in, it made for quite the movie experience.

This is not even 1/2 of the screen size

After the movie, I said goodby to my old roomate and trekked for the iconic Sydney Harbour, just to soak in its beauty for one last time. I am not one to really enjoy the over populated tourist spots, but when nighttime comes and they have all cleared out, just sitting harbourside at one of the most recognizable views in the world, it is all so majestic.  I think it was then and there were I knew I was going to miss Australia, and especially Sydney.  It was the perfect place to spend my last hours in Australia.

Day 5

Plane left at 6 today so only had a half day to do some things. I woke up a little rain in the morning but cleared out by noon and actually got quite hot. I spent the day doing some last minute things. I closed out my Australian bank account and prepared my tax return.  I made around 6000 dollars working at Gate Gourmet but got heavily taxed at 29%.  Got taxed around 1900 dollars and will maybe get around 1200 of it back.  Will be great, but need to wait till June.  I then had to print out all my new zealand travel info and book some hostels for the upcoming days.

I ate my final lunch at my favorite harbour side fish n chips spot.  However, today i went for the calamari n chips combo and it was just as good.  Darling Harbour was looking beautiful as always today and took in the great harbor one last time.  

Well it was that time to head out. I made way back to Home Backpackers and said goodbye to all my friends there.  From there I headed to the train station and boarded my train to the Internation Airport.  Yep, on that great train line that I took to work everyday.  Thought it was a pretty fitting way to go out.

Final Thoughts on Sydney:

Wish I had made it to the Botanical Gardens one last time but the weather really wouldn't have allowed for a relaxing escape.

Truly love Sydney, the city I thought I hated the first 3 days I was there. Think its right to say it grew on me.

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