It was an astounding experience - think of what a park should really be - complete with the opening sign "Please walk on the grass. Smell the roses. Hug the trees." The kin of sense of humor I have always appreciated in my Aussie friends. We saw incredible fauna and even caught up with a pride of Flying Foxes - essentially bats that are the size of small foxes with faces to match. One of the spaces was a homage to the Aboriginal People - those who won their independence and right to be counted as people (in the Aussie census). It reminded me of a number of stories in America's past, but unique to the culture of Australia and the colony that took over the land.
We then ended up in the Eastern Suburbs walking about the city - essentially seeing more of the city from a Sydneysider's point-of-view (I am personally not a fan of tourist attractions), and walked a great deal though Oxford Circus (my suggestion for others - not really worth the walk). We then headed to "world-famous" Bondi Beach, where I found myself face-to-face with a combination of the Jersey Shore and what Fort Lauderdale Beach used to be like back in the 80s (before the renovations). The surf was terrific, but the beach was not that exciting.
So, following @behomeny's suggestion, I headed to Bronte Beach (the next stop on the Bondi Express tour) where we had a nice lunch aside a quiet, but eminently enjoyable surf set - watching the water and enjoying a good cup of expresso was a nice break from the walk.
Once we finished, we headed back to the hotel and prepped for the Welcome Dinner. I should explain that my friend is part of American Express and won one of the Amex B2B President's Club Awards. So last night was the start o the official festivities where we got introduced to Australia by a Aussie character who taught us to say "G'day Mate" and "No worries".
The food was intriguing - I got to sample:
- Emu Carpaccio
- Orange juice-infused crocodile
- Kangaroo on a stick
And, since the dragon had no name, I convinced Matt (the wrangler) to name it Clover, in honor of Cloverfield, the Movie.
Today, I am getting ready for a brisk walk up the Sydney Harbor Bridge - seems they allow people to walk up the outside of the bridge and look over the city from there.