After spending a week on the beaches in Noumea, we headed back to cooler weather to visit the fourth country on our 30/40 World Tour — Australia. We flew into Sydney and took the train downtown. But we weren’t the only ones visiting Sydney; Lady Gaga was also in town.
Perhaps that’s why we were awoken at 2 AM one morning to a man shouting, “Welcome to f#@*!ng Sydney, Australia,” from the
sound tunnel street ten floors below our room. I’m fairly certain that drunken outburst was not our welcome committee.
The Lady Gaga followers were quite a sight to behold. We watched them pose in their crazy outfits as multiple photographers swarmed to capture the shot. It’s not the type of thing you see every day.
Our hotel room turned out to be a suite with a full kitchen, two balconies, and a washer/dryer. I guess they ran out of standard rooms or made a mistake. Score!
It was awesome to have a free washer/dryer in our room. This was a single front-load machine that washed and dried. It seemed like a pretty neat concept… until Mr. HalfFull washed my jeans. Now remember that I only had 1.5 pairs of pants for 10 weeks. Plus, those jeans were my warmest pants and it was winter. We soon learned that the all in one washer/dryer uses extreme heat for the drying cycle. It was so hot that it melted the leather tab on the waist of the back of my jeans. That made the pants way too snug and I certainly wasn’t losing weight on the trip (although Mr. HalfFull was).
We were only in Sydney for a couple of days, so we mostly explored on foot. Our hotel was across the street from Hyde Park, which had a huge canopy of trees above an oversized walkway with fountains and monuments throughout. It was a fun place to people watch and stroll. We noticed that pinstripe suits are very popular in Sydney. It was quite a departure from the less formal attire we generally saw in Fiji and New Zealand.
The Royal Botanic Gardens was another green area near our hotel. Despite being winter, it was still beautiful. But I think I was most surprised by the colorful birds we spotted flying free.
Our second day in town was unseasonably warm and sunny. I was quite congested and didn’t feel very good, but I decided to be a trooper and take a short ferry ride to Manly Beach. I was apprehensive about another ferry ride, but I hoped I would fare better than last time. I knew it was a much shorter ride, not on open waters, with great weather conditions; so I took my chances. Fortunately, the ride was uneventful.
When we arrived in Manly Beach, we headed to the drugstore to find a decongestant for me. I read a pamphlet at my doctor’s office a while ago that said the cold medicines you find on the shelves are ineffective as decongestants and you should buy the type with pseudoephedrine behind the counter. Those are also sold behind the counter in Australia. So I spoke with the pharmacist to see which ones they had in stock. She asked me if I wanted codeine! I didn’t take her up on her offer, but I was certainly surprised that you don’t need a prescription for narcotics in Australia. Anyway, I took my decongestant pills and felt better.
We spent a few hours walking along the beach and watching the surfers. Even this half empty girl could realize that it was a glorious day!
In the afternoon, we went back to Sydney and walked A LOT. We were on a quest to find the best meat pie after reading a review. We never did find that restaurant. I was disappointed because I fell in love with meat pies in New Zealand. Those pies were so delicate, flaky and delicious. But in Australia, the pies I tried in Sydney were rather disappointing. Maybe it’s because I was sick, but I don’t think so.
In fact, I didn’t like much Australian food. We always try to sample the local cuisine in each country, but we were generally disappointed with Australian restaurants. We soon learned that the Asian restaurants were delicious. I guess that makes sense with the close proximity and number of the immigrants. So we ended up sticking to Thai and Japanese with great success.
During that long walk, we found the perfect place for me — a coffee school! Was it a sign?
That evening I took another decongestant pill before we walked to the Sydney Opera House to see a play. It was our 5th play of the 30/40 World Tour… and the worst. It was such a strange play. But perhaps this was once again clouded by my sickness, although I doubt it. On the walk to the play, my heart was racing, my legs were tingling, and I started shaking. Then I was no longer able to flex my feet as I stepped off sidewalk curbs. It was such a strange feeling. When we got to the theater, Mr. HalfFull got me some juice. After a few sips, I promptly ran to the bathroom to vomit. Yes, I defiled the Sydney Opera House; it was an accident.
But don’t worry, even though I’m Ms. HalfEmpty, I got better.
- Would you dress up for Lady Gaga?
- Have you ruined clothes in the dryer?
- Have you preferred non-native food to local cuisine while traveling?
- Have you gotten sick while traveling? Did you notice differences in the availability of medications?