I am about to head to the airport, as this adventure has come to an end. I am starting to wrap my mind around jumping back into reality, and looking for what’s next on the job front back in Portland. All the great experiences and people I have met in New Zealand and Australia have been priceless and this has been an incredible and fun adventure! I have added some highlights below from NZ and Oz.
The last part of my time down under was in New South Wales. I spent a few days in Sydney visiting the downtown area, walking around quaint neighborhoods, filled with restaurants, shops and parks, checking out the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, and spent an afternoon at Bondi Beach. I even went all out and spent $25 AUD on a movie to flee from the heat. Thankfully the US dollar is still strong!
I researched several places I really wanted to see, and one was the pool built into the sea at Bondi Beach. I first walked to one side of the beach to watch several people impressively walking over rocks, with some good-sized waves smacking into them. It looked a bit sketch to me, but they seemed to know what they were getting into and managed just fine. Some even had their dogs in tow. Also, there are swimming pools with sand on the bottom, where the waves would rush in every few moments, and unlike anything I have ever seen. See if you can spot the walking path in the pics below.
There were tons of surfers in the water and I watched to see them dodge each other as they tried catching a wave. No wonder there was a bright yellow helicopter flying above, which is search and rescue, and hopefully not used on a regular basis, given the waves and amount of surfers in such a small area.
In true Aussie form, the sun was hot. And I don’t mean your usual hot, I mean CRAZY HOT! If you read my post about New Zealand being under the hole in the ozone layer, the same goes for Oz. You have to layer on the sunscreen non-stop and from what I hear, they have a very high percentage of skin cancer, which is far off from what you get in Portland.
It is not my common practice to wear sunscreen, mostly because you don’t need it much in Portland. Let’s just say I am out of practice applying it. I started to really feel the heat on my neck, so I took out my spray-on sunscreen and shot it onto the back of my neck. Nothing. I looked to see if I opened the nozzle, which I had. Took aim and sprayed a second time, for much longer, still nothing. Hmm… I looked at where my finger was on the nozzle and saw I had it in the right place. Let’s try this one more time, shall we? After the third time of feeling nothing on my neck, I decided to feel my neck, which was covered by my ponytail, and of course, my ponytail was sopping wet. Good grief, that’s one for the books!
Pro-tip, move your hair off your neck before applying spray sunscreen by yourself.
I left Sydney and headed by train to Mereweather to see my friend Ceci, who I have not seen in 25 years. We had great conversations, delicious meals, a lot of laughter, and I had the opportunity to meet many of their fabulous friends. Ceci hosted a “Learn how to make ceviche” class during a BBQ. I got some serious R & R at their stunning home with a view over-looking the beach. Their home is like being at a spa retreat, so relaxing, and such a great way to end my time in Oz. I even managed a few long walks along the beach, when my body begged me to get off my butt. For exercise, besides those few walks, I also catapulted myself off the couch when Ceci noted a Huntsman spider inside the house. This time, I got the broom to sweep it outside. Handled it like a pro!
Their dog Bella was a great hang out buddy and kept me entertained. Whenever the TV had an animal on the screen, she would run up to it and start giving it the business. Also, she would howl endlessly when she would hear sirens in the distance. She is also the family vacuum cleaner and kept with the 5-second rule for anything that might fall to the floor, which needless to say was always spotless.
Mereweather is a beautiful town that borders New Castle, which is a fairly good size. There are cute little neighborhoods with numerous restaurants and shops. I got a kick out of the tag line for this one store, which is like a Ross or Marshall’s in the states.
After all my previous travels, I was happy to finally be visiting an English speaking country. Easier using transportation, asking for assistance, finding what I need, etc. Of course, although Australia is an English speaking country, some of their words are so different, I found myself asking just as many, if not more questions on what a word meant. I have included a brief list of words I found amusing, and possibly helpful to others. Thanks to Aiuyen, Gavin, Ceci and Tobias for setting me straight on correct Aussie word meaning!
|Straight Away||Right Away|
|Greasy||Staring at someone in a nasty fashion|
|I got stuffed||I had a rough time, and it did not end well for me|
|NOT drinking two drinks at once||Double-fisting|
|NOT asking what team you want to win||Who are you routing for|
|Wranger||Person with red hair|
|Thong = Flip-flops||Thong = Underwear|
|Wallet = Man’s wallet||Wallet=no gender|
|Purse = Women’s wallet||Purse|
|Singlet = sleeveless cotton undershirt||Tank top = Wife beater|
And, here’s more Aussie vocab.
Just for fun, but useless Aussie information: The Kangaroo and Emu are on the Aussie Coat of Arms. Neither animal supposedly cannot or has not tried walking backwards. These two animals represent Australia always moving forward as a country.
When the young ones are starting to drive, it is much different than in the states. They go through a fairly rigorous way to learn, having to put in a lot of hours. Tobias, just turning 16 just got his learners permit. So other drivers are well aware of new drivers, you first get a bright yellow “L” that you must attach to your car in several places. This also lists the speed they cannot go over, which is 90 km. Then, you move onto a “P”for Provisional, which lasts for six months. I think this is a great idea and wish the US would pick up something like this.
I mentioned in my recent posts, that I was hoping to avoid insects and animals while in Australia, and I am proud to report that after seeing three Huntsman spiders, two alive and one dead, none crawled on me, BONUS! Tons of Kangaroos, Wallabies, Wombats, Koalas and colorful birds of all species, which were all amazing to see in the wild and in protected sanctuaries. I saw no snakes, at all… gotta love that! There were heaps of March Flies, but I managed not to get eaten alive. Australian cities are not what many say, which is that there are animals and insects running around all over, at least not from my experience. Well, okay… there is this video of a Goanna lizard that I saw on the news a few days ago in an Aussie restaurant… If you want to experience the big-time animals, insects, snakes, etc.… you gotta head deep into the bush. And, good luck with that!
Pro Tip: Below are two types of Aussie spiders… the ones that can kill you, and the other that just looks like it can! I would avoid them both, unless you can tell the difference!
Thank you to my incredibly fun and generous hosts in Mereweather, Ceci and Jorge & Tobias!
Instead of a complete shock to my system by jumping right back into reality, I will spend a couple weeks in my old stomping grounds in California. I am unsure what my next adventure will be, but when I do, you will too. Thanks to those who have followed along, and hopefully I have brought you some useful information and some cool places for your future travels! If you have not already, add Australia and New Zealand to your bucket list!
Until next time!