The trip itself
My trip began with me flying American Airlines out of Reagan National (DCA) to LAX; the plane was new enough, clean and comfortable and the service was good. I wasn’t thrilled about flying to LAX, considering when I was last there in 2001 (the first time I went to Australia), there was scaffolding everywhere and there was nothing worthwhile to do or eat. I did perk up when I heard about the new Tom Bradley International Terminal, and I was pleased that I’d be traveling through it. To be sure, it is very swanky as far as airport terminals go (how many can boast Gucci as a tenant?), but I was incredibly disappointed to find that only about 25% of the terminal’s tenants wouldn’t open until at least October (when will I get to try Umami Burger?!). Oh well, at least it has a wine bar.
The Qantas flight was also decent, but long and mostly sleepless, as I expected. I finally got to Sydney’s airport around 6 a.m. Monday morning, not having pre-arranged a shuttle or cab. The shuttles had mostly terrible reviews online and some didn’t come to Mosman, where I’m staying. I ended up taking a taxi, which I knew would probably be expensive–it was just a matter of how expensive. I was lucky that school was out and thus traffic was pretty light; my trip was only about half an hour long, but it cost me A$73.
What I’ve been up to
Monday I got in to my apartment (again booked via AirBNB)…and slept pretty much all day. So much for acclimating to the time. When I woke up, it was 8:40 p.m. During the few hours I was awake, I was pleased to realize I could see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge from my living room window.
Tuesday I ventured into Mosman. There’s a nice local bookstore, a place called The Burger Shed (and yes, I did get lunch there–tasty), a tiny grocery store, upscale-ish clothing stores, lots of cafes and restaurants…and a Lululemon (?!). I finally bought a few staple groceries so I could eat something other than candy, almonds and granola/”health food” bars.
The best weather so far this week was on Wednesday, so it was a great day to be outside. I realized that Taronga Zoo was super close to my apartment. I had never been before and was excited to realize it was walking distance from me. Once again, I suffered a bit of sticker shock because it was $44 to get in. (My VIP Backpackers pass did save me about $7 off of that, fortunately.) I had heard that there were astonishing views of Sydney from the zoo, and that turned out to be the case–I took more pictures of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge than I did of the animals. I did enjoy wandering through the zoo though, and not just for the great views. Walking back, I decided to take a detour and visit Clifton Gardens (actually a beach), which was lovely although a long walk from the main road. (Not so lovely: The really steep hike back up toward the main road.)
Today I made my first trip into downtown Sydney because I thought I needed to pick up something at the Apple Store. I was hesitant to take the bus because I tend to get a bit over-worried about getting lost in big public transportation systems (ferries, buses and trains, oh my!), although having sworn off driving while in Australia (on the other side of the car, on the other side of the road? no thanks), I knew I’d have to embrace public transportation sooner rather than later. I hadn’t activated my SIM card for my phone yet, so I had no Google Maps to guide me, either. It turned out that taking the bus was pretty easy. It was surprisingly expensive though: A$9.20 for a roundtrip pass for a trip that was about a half-hour each way.
Events I’m excited about
- Festival of Mosman, September 28-October 20
- International Fleet Review, October 3-11 (Even Prince Harry is coming! And there’s going to be fireworks!)
- Parramasala, October 4-7
- Craft Beer Week, October 19-26
I only found out about CBW last week, but I was really excited to hear about it. Plus, I had no idea IFR was happening until this week. Very serendipitous!
Also of Note
I just joined Instagram. I’ll try not to post too many pictures of food, but no promises. By the way, this hot chocolate was delicious.