Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sydney 2011

G'day everyone and 你好!

It's been a busy couple of weeks, but taking some time to write and let you know about my time in Sydney last weekend. Be sure to check out the video blog at the end for all the latest!

We decided to head to Sydney for the March 4th weekend because we had heard it was Mardi Gras. So Max, Thomas, Henriette, Hanne and myself got our tix and flew off to Sydney. We flew via Jetstar and I can easily see why the airline is so cheap and disgusted by locals. They boast low airfares, but reason they do is because they charge for every little thing you want to do. Want snacks on the plane? Have to pay, want a window seat? Have to pay. Want to check even one piece of luggage? Have to pay. So it's pretty stupid. Not to mention on the flight there AND back, the flight staff was EXTREMELY rude. I assume Jetstar doesn't value in customer service as that would be another burden of costs on them. Furthermore, Hanne and Erin (who we met up with down there) had their flight canceled and someone had mentioned if Jetstar doesn't fully book flights, they cancel them and bump people onto the next flight for a full flight. So really cheap and shady, but that's beside the purpose of this blog. Point being, don't fly Jetstar unless you don't have luggage to check and are just going a short distance. I recommend Qantas by far.

We got up at 5am to leave from the 6:05am bus for the airport. Max was upset that he had to wake up so early and take the bus, but it was far cheaper than paying for a cab ($10 each compared to the $1.80 for bus). However, once we got to Pacific Fair, Thomas had forgotten his passport, so Max and Thomas went home to grab it and Henriette, Hanne and I continued on via bus. The only reason they had to go back and grab it was because Thomas and Max were heading to New Zealand for the week after Sydney.

We got to the airport about 7:30am and checked in and relaxed before boarding the flight at 8:30am for the 9am takeoff. The flight was relatively short, only an hour and I slept most of it since I had gone to bed at 2am only to get up at 5am. Once we landed Thomas and Max grabbed their luggage and we headed out to our hotel in China Town.

You could easily tell you were getting closer to China Town as the signs on the buildings changed, the culture began to become dominantly Chinese and you could see the dead ducks hanging in the window (nomnomnom). We stayed at Aaron's Hotel next to Market Square mall and just a 5 minute walk from Central Station. It was the only place available as it was Mardi Gras and everyone else was booked. The room boasted a king bed and two bunks beds for 6 people, but we had checked in as 4 people so that it was cheaper for us to split.

After checking in, we headed to a local pub to grab some food and get our agenda down for the next two days. We decided we would do the obvious being the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, Bondi Beach and Manly beach. So after eating we headed to the Opera House to take some touristy pics. We prob spent a good 3 hours heading and hanging out there and taking a TON of pics. My iPhone battery had died so I relied on using Hanne's Canon camera for pix. We originally were going to see an opera (Carmen) at the Opera House, but no one else wanted too (besides Henriette and I), so we opted against it.

After the opera house, we decided to take the ferry to Manly that way we could get pictures on the lake of the opera house and bridge and because we had heard Manly beach was extremely nice. The ferry ride was roughly 30 mins and Manly was an amazing place. It was like Surfer's Paradise but not as many tourists, people or high rise buildings. When looking into hostels there were many open in Manly, but we decided against it since it was so far away. I think next time we head to Sydney, we will stay in Manly to see many other of the non-touristy attractions.

By the time we got home, it was already dark and we got ready to go out to Kings Cross to night club called Soho since Max's friends were there. On the way, we stopped at a pizza place to eat since we were all starving and about to drink. To say the least, Soho wasn't that great of a club as well as it was extremely crowded. We did get a free drink voucher on our way in, but I didn't use mine as I headed home soon after. Being there was annoying as I was with two groups of nationalities (Germans and Norwegians) and they were speaking to each other. So I went home as I wasn't in the mood to be there nor drinking (I think I am over the club scene).

The next morning, we headed to the YHA for breakfast which was really good. We were dressed for Bondi Beach but found out it was raining, so went home to change into proper rain attire. We ended up taking the ferry to Darling Harbour as we heard there was a great pancake place we HAD to go too. Now that I think about it, we never even bothered looking for the pancake place... We tried to go into the casino there, but Max had left his ID at home, so we headed home.

We ended up hopping the tram only to get kicked off at the next stop because we didn't have the proper tickets for it. Max, Thomas and I got off while Hanne and Henriette paid the ticket to go the extra stop. On our way home, we stopped in China Town to eat at this Chinese lobby. Very small and ton of people but the food was cheap and we got a lot for it (as with all Chinese food). Afterwards, headed home to change and go out once again, this time to some bar called Ivy. I know of a buddy living in Cronulla that I've know for some time, so he came up to Sydney and we headed to the pub next door to the YHA to have a few drinks and get caught up on life. We ended up throwing back quite a few and by the time we were done it was already 930pm. So I had missed the Mardi Gras parade, haha.

Headed back to the hostel to change and find out where this 'Club Ivy' was at from Henriette and Hanne as I couldn't find it via Google Maps on my iPhone. Ended up not going as no one responded so walked around downtown Sydney, taking pics and enjoying the night crowd. Hanne, Henriette and Erin stumbled in the hotel wasted around midnight and then Max and Thomas soon followed at 1ish. So now we had 6 people in a room that should have had 4 people, ha.

Woke up the next morning to Erin already gone and the time showing 1030. Which was not good as checkout was at 10am. So we eventually checked out at 1105am thinking we would be charged an extra night (Max of course saying no don't worry about it, they never charge), and of course they didn't :-D. So I rushed to the airport as I had to catch a flight at 12:20pm and it was already 11:10pm. Luckily I didn't have any luggage to check and I made it to the gate right before 0pening it up to boarding. I later found out that Erin and Hanne had to spend the night at the airport due to the canceled flight, HAHA.

Overall, really good trip. If I do end up back in Sydney, I'll be staying in Cronulla and then if need be, just take the train up to Sydney if I want to see anything. Next trip though will be up to Brisbane to visit my old stomping grounds where I lived back in 2007. Woot Woot!

Miss you all!

Cheers and 再见!