Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 1: Oppan Sydney Style

Day 1: 01/03/2013:

Good morning from 8 hours back and one day forward! After 20 hours of travel from Seattle and no vegetarian option on the plane, we arrive to 75 degree sunny skies, ever so slight humidity and wild, unfamiliar birdsong out our bedroom window. We take a 20 minute cab ride to our place that we will be living at for the next three weeks before heading to Hobart, Tasmania to do physio for the national underwater hockey tournament. More on that to follow.

The flat has 6 bedrooms with 10 people all together. There are several travelers, a French couple that doesn't speak English and a couple of long term residents that are rarely here. Two super cute pit bulls live in the backyard and the train station is a 2 minute walk away. To live in a studio or 1 bedroom apartment in Sydney starts at around $1800 for an unfurnished place. Most people we have met live in a flatshare or share rooms. Another student lives right downtown in a 3 bedroom house with 12 guys. He pays $150/wk. Suddenly Seattle rent looks cheap!

We find ourselves hungry after settling in and decide to get some 'brekkie' in Newtown, a funky mile long strip near the university with Seattle-like cafes, pie shops, used book and clothes stores, natural health food co-ops, an animal adoption facility, asian cuisine to satisfy even me, and even vegan/vegetarian restaurants! There are cafes with long hammock-esque chairs overlooking the street and many a people walking barefoot. Alissa is transfixed on all the used and vintage clothing stores as I read every Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai menus. Vietnamese food it is! Coupled with strong Vietnamese iced coffee, it hits the spot!

Cell phones are next on the agenda as my sad iPhone is now a wifi device (however, if you can iMessage, we can text for free!). We settle on the cheapest world phone they offer, a purple Samsung flip phone that doesn't even have snake. It makes Paddy Downey's phone look trendy.

We wander through Sydney University, spot Ibis and make our way to Darling Harbor, which is just west of the Opera House. Although it's pretty touristy, it's still pretty. Located right next to the aquarium, there are ferrys to and from other harbors, abandoned navy ships, fro-yo stands and commuters on their push-bikes (Aussie for commuter bike). Bike commuters use the pedestrian bridge in darling harbor to commute as main arteries are not friendly to cyclists. At least there's a helmet law! The water in the bay is crystal clear and you can spot thousands of jellyfish hanging out by the boats.

A market lies just south in Chinatown where tomatoes are only $2/kilo! Normally everything is about 1-2x more expensive here in Sydney as compared to DC (i.e. a lunch entree is $14 and a smoothie is $7). We stop for a minute to grab some bubble tea and realize that both of us, having been in Seattle for the last week with our translucent lack-of-any-sunshine skin, are burned.

We catch the train back to our neighborhood, make a spinach salad with a PB&J sandwich for dessert and call it a night.

Pictures to follow shortly!

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