Tuesday, April 29

Day 2: Bondi Beach, Bronte Beach and a bit of Aussie culture

After taking a sleeping pill, I found myself completely rested yesterday morning, ready for whatever the day would hold. Since we did not have any major plans, we decided to take one of the bus tours (Bondi Express and the Sydney Express) which is one of those jump-on, jump-off things. But instead of waiting for the first bus, we decided to walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens that were near the Quay.

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 a host of normal seafood-based food. Let me tell you, the Emu was terrific. Everything else - well, I leave it for you to try [the kangaroo tasted between beef and venison IMHO]. The true even happened afterward where we got to meet the animals, where I got to pet (as well as the other people) a wallaby (a baby kanga), a bearded dragon (a lizard essentially), a python (who loved your pockets) and a koala bear (who actually allowed us to pet it). It was exceptionally nice to see the animals, but i was astounded how they handled themselves in the throng of people.

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.

1 comment:

Tassiegal said...

Sweetie - its KOALA bear.