Where women glow (obviously) and men plunder (but then later, "chunder," which is not really brag-worthy, so there's that).
Adam is rolling his eyes and denying any type of relationship with me based on the title of this entry, but I stand by Men at Work and their craft.
Anyway, this entry, if you cannot tell already from my awesome 80's music reference, is about our short and sweet time in Sydney, Australia. Too short, probably - or - definitely too short, as the horrified Australian man sitting next to me on the plane there insisted ("you spent a MONTH in New Zealand and you only give US a week?!").
Sorry, Australia Man, next time.
And of course, this was like, eh, 2 weeks ago. I'm now* writing this on the balcony of our Sapa hotel in the northwest mountains of Vietnam, overlooking some sweet terraced rice paddies, interrupted by a deluge of haphazard hotels and a bit of trash thrown in for good measure. Beauty with a bit of chaos. Sitting here uncomfortably, I might add, with a sore butt from yesterdays hike because I fell (apparently directly on my tailbone, whoops), because I am super graceful and elegant. You're welcome for that completely unnecessary information.
* as is the theme of this blog, I WAS writing this in Sapa...then Cat Ba Island, and now I am finishing this on our last day in Vietnam, in the Hanoi Airport. Where, thank you very much, my ass STILL hurts.
So where was I? Australia! Sorry Sydney, we only had three full days in this beautiful city but it was pretty great. Sure, the sights are pretty cool, but what really made these three days were the people.
First and foremost, a cousin I never knew I had agreed to meet up with us AND let us stay at her house AND picked us up from the airport AND gave us topped off subway cards AND had us to family dinners AND took us on cool beach walks AND AND AND. She even folded our laundry and I don't even do that for Adam.
Brooke and Geoff and their three daughters Caitlin, Rebecca, and Claire, totally welcomed us into their home and it was pretty cool (sorry, Claire, again, for taking your bedroom. But it was great).
Brooke is my first step-cousin, once removed. Right? Figure that one out. Or, i'll just tell you. Her grandmother married my great grandfather; second marriages for both. She is first (step) cousins with my dad. So we're not technically blood related, but hey, we dont need blood to really be family. Over the three days we were there we had such a fun time just chatting about how she met up with her husband Geoff, their adventures together traveling, their life in Australia, and anything else. Was great getting to know Brooke, Geoff and the family, and their generosity to two practically strangers is what makes this trip so cool.
And if you're in Sydney and need your house (and life) organized and/or cleaned out, Brooke is your woman - she recently started her own business called ReFind Spaces (love me some word play). Shameless plug!
Also! We met up with Bernie, brother of our good friend Jo, who is Australian and we know from DC. We had never met Bernie before and no one could remember how or why we missed his DC visits, but word on the street was that Bernie was the man. And that's probably true.
First of all, Bernie met up with us wearing a Feel the Bern hat ("us Bernies have to stick together"), and second, he had a whole pub crawl mapped out for us. He knew us without even knowing us. We later met up with his girlfriend Indra, and the four of us had a great time going to a bunch of spots in Surry Hills. Could not tell you where or which bars we went to, but my memory says they were awesome.
Was a really fun night, and I may have started a rumor about Jo and Keith moving back to Australia soon, based on literally, nothing. Because, hey, "we might only have 3 full days here now, but when Keith and Jo move here we'll be back to visit!" You're welcome, Jo! (Also, please dont leave us, stay in DC, we'll all go visit Australia together instead).
Hmmm. I'm realizing now my rumor was a bit self destructive and not to my own advantage at all.
Sights wise, we did a lot of wandering...
We saw the Opera House, of course (pretty fantastic to see something so iconic in person), walked around The Rocks, checked out the botanical gardens, and saw a ton of these birds...
..weird looking birds for which I dont have any sort of "scientific" or "factual" information, but according to my data, all of these guys played a huge role in Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal.
We also walked across the harbour bridge, which gives you some great views of the (duh) harbor and the Opera House.
There is also a tour that takes you out on the very top of the bridge, and it looked awesome initially - but we didnt do it because it was an insane amount of money for a walk. Something like $250 for a 3 hour tour, and they don't let you take your camera (probably because 1- dummies dropping cameras by accident constantly - and 2-because they spend the 3 hours taking photos of you for you to purchase at the end...said all the sad TripAdvisor reviews, anyway). And if I'm being honest, I didn't feel like putting on the onesie suit they make you wear.
However! Let's be real, if the price had been lower, I can guarantee those hesitations would have flown out the window and there would have a million shots of us in those dumb suits, posted all over this page. So no epic bridge walk, but we did climb one of the pylon towers for a whole $13, and just watch people in the funny suits. And take photos of them, knowing they had no cameras to take photos back of us. Suckas.
We also took the ferry to Manly beach, which is a couple bays/coves away from the main harbour and a pretty gorgeous spot.
We did a lot of nothing there, and then took a lucky and well-timed ferry back at sunset (because while I'd love to say we planned it that way, we all know that would be a lie), just in time for some pretty postcard-worthy views of the harbour.
We missed out on the Sydney Zoo, and I'm sure a ton of other stuff, but hey, we'll catch it all next time, when we visit (with) Keith and Jo. ha.
Then we flew to Vietnam where we haven't stopped sweating for two weeks. The end.
ON TO JAPAN TODAY, which means in about 4 weeks we'll have more info on Vietnam.