Australia – no man’s land.
I visited Sydney on business in August. I was there for 2 weeks. It was not my type of place but that will not stop from sharing my experiences there.
I landed in Sydney at around 9.30 pm and it was my first time of solo international travel. I was both nervous & excited on the way from airport to hotel. As soon as I reached the hotel, I was just excited when I look at the view from my room – Darling Harbour view (Novotel).
People there are pretty chilled out. On my first day, I was surprised to see people running around during afternoon. Apparently, they take an hour off – run, shower & go back to work. I know a lady in our office who runs to office from her home everyday. There are running trails along the beaches and I saw kids to elderly running all possible times of day. One more image that stick is a man in a dock sitting in a yoga pose, eyes closed, undisturbed by the chaos around him.
During my stay, I tried Malay, Korean, Thai & Indian cuisines – Sydney has really good Asian cuisines. And visited the common fast food joints – Hungry Jacks, Opporto & Ben & Jerry’s. There is a place called Zumbo in The Star, just opposite our office. It is owned by one of the judges of Master Chef Australia. It has the world’s best macaroons! I went there for 6/14 days of my stay.
The most memorable dinner I had was in a place called Opera Kitchen. I was an outside sitting right on the shore where birds are flying right on top of your head and the wind is right in your face. On your left, you can see the Sydney Harbour bridge and immediately on our right is Opera house – both well lit up. We went to Baxter’s Inn which did not match upto the hype.
This post cannot be complete without mentioning the amazing beach walking trails. I did Manly to Spit & Bondi to Coogee trails, which were super fantastic. On the second trail, we can see the houses having infinity pools extended into the sea. People surfing on the beaches is a common sight. My favorite beach was Wollongong in New South Wales. It was very lively. I went there on a Sunday morning. People were sprawled on the grass, leisurely reading books. Parents walking around with their kids in strollers, taking their pets on walks, kids as young as 2 trying to ride on scooters, dogs as big as buffaloes and the restaurants with a beach view & awesome pastries are the reasons for my former statement.
In Taronga zoo, I saw Kangaroos and Koala bear, dolphin shows, penguins, Komodo dragons, platypus & the most beautiful, colorful coral reef. The aquarium was walk-through and I saw huge scary sharks that come right at your face when you are staring into the aquarium. In the Taronga zoo, I saw really cute monkey soft toy for my friend in office. He named that monkey after me and made it do silly feats just to annoy me. Apart from learning my lesson of not gifting people animal soft-toys, I had so much fun by knowing so many interesting species.
I did skydiving in Wollongong beach & climbed the famous Sydney harbour bridge. The bridge was a 4 hour climb – ascent & descent. If you look at the bridge climbers from a ferry on the sea, they look just like ants. I saw my first live proposal when a guy proposed a girl for marriage on top of the bridge. It was also the most beautiful sunset that I have ever seen in my life!
Having gone there after my Ireland trip, the lack of strong cultural identity was a constant reminder, especially when I was walking through the central business district. The trees have been compressed from 3D to 2D, all you see are creepers on the wall. The buildings are so high that I could not even see the sun, except for the reflection on glass windows. Everything was so robotic, except for the wedding shoot of the Asian couple who just got married.
That was my whirlwind tour of Sydney. When I look back at my Sydney trip, though I visited all the places, I never really felt the connect. But you know what the saving grace was?