Today, I finally had the time and dedication to write about my trip to #Sydney. This entry will be on Days 1 and 2, around a month later, so you know how strong my post-vacation trauma was. Sydney is a good place to visit. All though the goods are roughly double the price of those in Hong Kong and all though the weather was super dry, the eight days and six nights generally felt very comfortable and memorable.
Now, our travel group consisted of one child, three in their 30’s or 40’s, and three retirees, so Australia seemed like the ideal place for a laid-back vacation. Given the difficulty in agreeing on the logistics, we decided to only stick with Sydney and the neighboring Blue Mountain for a more hassel-free trip.
With my Winnie the Pooh tsum tsum, we had an evening flight on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, aboard flight CX161 on an A330-300, a regular wide-body twin-jet. Normally, the plane ride is my favorite part of any vacation, but this wasn’t one of them. As our group consisted of 7 travel mates, I was the one to sit next to strangers as I’m a guy and my English is okay. But this time I was seated next to a coughing male, so it wasn’t all that pleasant.
Now onto Day 2. After more than 9 hours of flight time, I was more than happy to arrive at Sydney Airport’s Terminal 1. Before we left the building, my brother arranged for minibus transport to our hotel via the Redy2Go system. This also included our return trip on Wednesday, August 12, 2015. After leaving the airport and stepping on the soil of the southern hemisphere and a third continent for the first time, we went in the minibus that could hold at least 13 passengers. The driver pressed on his iPad or tablet to access traffic conditions and to confirm the shortest possible route to our hotel and to the other two before us.
Arriving in the morning sure took its toll as we were struggling to stay awake after the usual sleepless flight. Napping in the day would call for some serious two-hour jet lag down the road. This task was made harder after putting our baggage down and heading over to the Sydney Fish Market to meet up with our relatives in Sydney. It seemed like the local seagulls had a taste for brazilian lobster tails too and we had to fend them off while simultaneously struggling to eat and stay awake.
Now the fish market was within walking distance of our currently-renovating Four Points by Sheraton hotel. So why four of our traveling members took the taxi back was beyond my interpretation. The rest of us made a wise decision of strolling along Sydney streets and the Pyrmont Bridge, stopping only to eat the salted caramel and white chocolate ice cream at Star City’s Gelato Messina.
While some of us were lazily sleeping in the hotel room, others were diligent enough to go to the Sea Life Sydney aquarium to collect our internet-booked tickets for five attractions: the aquarium, Wildlife Sydney zoo, Madame Tussauds wax museum, Sydney Tower Eye, and Manly beach. I, on the other hand, had to exercise to burn off the excess calories from the salt & pepper lobster tails and the ice-cream.
While walking over to the aquarium, I didn’t feel that the city was much bigger than Hong Kong, certainly not bigger than Toronto, even though many places reminded me of it. Australia was like the southern version of Canada, only with weirder accents and milder winters. The night view of Darling Harbour towards the Australian National Maritime Museum was quite nice, the starfish in the aquarium felt quite spiky, and the sea cucumbers were quite mushy.
I can’t really remember if we had sea cucumbers for dinner that night at Jade Dumpling Bar on Sussex Street, but I do remember the food being quite good, despite being a bit oily. The spicy diced chicken tasted really good and is well-worth a visit if you already had both a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch that day. Before retiring for a true night sleep, we stopped into a weirdly spacious convenience store to buy some food for the third day’s early Blue Mountain adventure.