January 31, 2012

Bondi Bummer

I don't know if its the fact that I am avoiding applying for jobs while still pretending I'm being productive or if its the fact that Luke and I have actually started doing some interesting things again, but I have been a super blogger this week! (its definitely more the former).

Yesterday after spending the morning doing our usual stint at the library applying for jobs, we decided to head to the beach. My least favorite option which is obviously the cheapest option, was to head to Bondi Beach. Don't get me wrong its a nice beach, but everyone visiting Sydney agrees. Mostly because of its popularity, the city has deemed it a 'zone 1' which means its a cheaper bus ride than going to any of the better and quieter beaches. If we weren't so lazy we could take the bus to Bondi and walk to Bronte which is a beautiful beach just south along a windy cliff hike walk. Anyway to cut a short story (that I turn into a long story) short, we ended up laying on Bondi Beach. The sun of course went behind a cloud and the wind was whipping us from all directions, but we would not be defeated. With my atrocious tank top tan and Luke's even more offensive t-shirt tan, we needed to spend a little time tanning up that area in the middle.

Eventually we gave into the devil of the sand and headed up to higher ground to rest our towels on the beach. If it wasn't for the fact that Bondi is a really over-rated beach town that's actually pretty run down and dingy looking, I might say that I enjoy going there. I'm being harsh. The beach is beautiful. The sand is super fine and so comfy to lay my bath towel on and the water is crystal clear. The surfers there are incredible to watch (for several reason ;)). I just think there are much better beaches in Sydney, and I also hate when things are super hyped up and end up being just that, hype (like fergburger). So when I can unclench my hand from my wallet and hit up 'zone 2' beach, I will report back.

Until then, life here isn't so bad.

Sunset from our balcony last night

January 30, 2012

Happy New Year!

Chinese New Year that is. Last night Luke and I headed into Chinatown to watch the New Years Parade. It was a pretty great parade until it carried on for two hours. But the dancers were great, the dragons were bright and funny, and the floats were really cool. My advice? Don't stand at the end of the parade route. Everyone was pretty exhausted by the time they made it to us. I would have liked to see everything at it's peak at the beginning probably. But still a really great parade and there were fireworks afterwards!

Happy Year of the Dragon (which also happens to be the year Luke and I were born!)

Some kids looking less than Chinese

January 27, 2012

Australia Day

First of all I would like to apologise for how ugly the blog has been lately. Unfortunately, I have been using the library computers which only have internet explorer, and blogger doesn't really like internet explorer so it does funny things. Once we get a new laptop (and internet for that matter) I will be back to using an internet browser that was created and updated in the last decade so until then you will have to suffer through the massive gaps, funny indentations, and sometimes lack of photos.

Yesterday was Australia Day. It's sort of like the 4th of July, except for Australians. They, like us, have conveniently placed their national holiday in the middle of summer so as to optimize your love for your country. Luke and I decided to take advantage of all of the free things going on in the city and head down to the harbor. The cloud was a scary shade of grey, but we desperately wanted to get down to the waterfront before the ferrython started. Basically they 'dress up' the Sydney ferries and they race through the harbor. After standing under a tree waiting for the downpour to pass, we were slightly underwhelmed by many of the 'dressed up' boats.

There was free music playing at a few different venues all day and it was surprisingly great. There were all different genres from folk to jazz to alternative pop/rock. It was a great day once the torrential downpour came and went. The sun was beating down on us for the rest of the afternoon. After we'd had enough sun as if on cue the rain was back. We took that opportunity to pop into Hart's Pub, a local brewery in Sydney.

In the evening we were sitting on our balcony umming and ahhing about whether or not to make the 2 minute walk to Darling Harbour to see the fireworks, but we finally decided to take one more walk on our aching feet down the hills to the harbor. I'm so glad we did because the fireworks were incredible. When we first walked down I was reminded so much of heading down to the fireworks at our local harbor on the 4th of July. There were candy stalls everywhere and kids begging their parents to buy them glowstick necklaces. The fireworks display that they harbor put on were some of the most impressive I've ever seen. They had music playing in the background with the fireworks exploding in-sync with the beats. There was a light show in between the fireworks leading you to believe they were over only to send an exploding sizzler up into the air to let you know the show was still going on.

We walked back home buzzing wondering how we could ever have considered not going to see such a great show (and free!)

As usual my attempt to add photos has failed. Sorry!!!

January 21, 2012

Fourth and Final!

Like most things we've tried to do in Sydney, finding a place to live here has been a struggle. We have seen some absolute dives. Upon our arrival as I mentioned here we stayed with Luke's friend Ross. While we were there we attempted to find a place in the city. We looked at "studios" which apparently mean bedrooms with sinks, mini fridges, lofted beds, and shared bathrooms (just like college!) Some places were filthy, others overcrowded with bunk beds in every room (including the living room), but eventually we settled for a place that was good enough. We would have our own bathroom and bedroom in a house with some other roommates, but at least it was clean. The biggest downside was that it was pretty far out of the city and there was nothing in the town, so we had to take the bus everywhere. We spent a week there and quickly found a gem of a place in one of the inner suburbs called Ultimo. From our very own balcony we could lean over, crane our necks to the right and actually see the city! It was a mere 15 minute walk into the city center from there as well so we were as happy as could be. We only signed on for two weeks though because we knew our friend's Alex and Patrick were looking for a place to live in Sydney as well and were excited to move in with them while we're here.

Our place in Ultimo (#3)

Our Balcony

Leaning over the side of the balcony

and looking into the city!

So yesterday we FINALLY moved into our last place. It is pretty exciting because it is an unfurnished place which is something we haven't experience before while travelling. So we've had to get our own bed and things, but it's so exciting to look into our room and know for once that everything in it is ours.

Our new bathroom!


And our bedroom already filled with our stuff!

January 18, 2012

Finding My Love for Sydney

Last week Luke and I decided to take the afternoon off from job searching and reward our lack of job finding with a day at the Botanic Gardens. It was a beautiful day as most days have been this summer so we walked into the city and over to the eastern side of the harbor. It was nice to enjoy seeing and smelling all of the flowers in bloom so when we got to the rose garden we decide to sit down and soak in the sun for a little while. As soon as I sat down I felt a horribly sharp pain in my wrist. It quickly felt itchy, got red and swelled slightly. Obviously, I panicked and scratched and whined about it for about 10 minutes until the pain finally went away and I completely forgot about it.

I always wonder how those tiny little stings can cause so much pain....

After we got up and I stopped being a drama queen (for the moment), we carried on walking through the gardens until we got to the edge of the park overlooking the harbor. This view never ceases to amaze me. It reminds me that although I don't always love Sydney, it is a beautifully magical place. The sun was sparkling off of the water and against the blue skies the arches of the opera house are spectacular. We sat and enjoyed the view for quite a while before walking back through the park and over to the steps of the opera house. It was the first time I have seen it up close and it did not disappoint. It is nearly as incredible 2 feet away as it is 2 miles away. Seems Sydney's not so bad after all.

January 03, 2012

Happy Holidays

Christmas and New Year have been a complete whirlwind! Is it really 2012? Allow me to give you a recap of the last 2 weeks:

My older brother Dan came to visit for Christmas which was incredibly exciting. So Luke, Dan and I headed down to Nowra to catch up with a long lost friend from when Luke and I were on exchange 3 years ago. It was incredible to catch up and reminisce about our semester in Switzerland and what we've all been up to since. We packed a lot of hikes and beaches into our week while Dan was here. We also packed a lot of turkey, ham, chocolate, beer and wine into our week. So obviously we were full and tired when we finally dropped Dan at the airport on the 27th. It was a quick visit, but so much fun!!

After the Christmas dust settled, we had to quickly recover for our New Years extravaganza. We have been lucky enough to stay with one of Luke's friends that he grew up with, Ross, while we've been in Sydney, so we made some great plans for ringing in the new year out on a boat on Sydney harbor. The fireworks were incredible and we counted them down with out new friends from Atlanta, Georgia. The weather has been amazing as well. We spent the last day of 2011 laying on Bondi Beach getting a sunglass tan and started the new year laying on the couch looking at the sun from behind the sliding glass door. Oh come on, isn't that how everyone starts the year?

our new friends from atlanta

Anyway, we are now off to hunt for apartments today and hopefully move into one tomorrow. It's that easy isn't it?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and rang in the new year with loved ones! Maybe I'll actually get to see some of you in 2012?