Monday, September 22, 2008

Life is Good

I finally made it to the parts of the city for which Sydney is famous. Thursday after class, Casey Winn (fellow Anderson student), Antonio Ortega (on exchange from IE in Madrid) and I went to Circular Quay in the afternoon. After an overpriced lunch at the Opera Bar, which does boast stellar cocktails and an unbelievable view of the bridge and the opera house, we wandered around one of the oldest areas of Sydney, called The Rocks.

We met up with Rick Jashnani and Joyce Thomas, two Anderson students who were visiting from Melbourne. We sat and had a beer, and I dug into the red velvet cupcake that Joyce impressively managed to find in this city that loves desserts, but has yet to embrace the cupcake. Admittedly, few cities have quite as much as LA. Then we wandered back to Opera Bar to meet students from AGSM for some socializing, followed by dinner and more drinks at Lowenbrau, which is one of the 3 or 4 pubs claiming to be the oldest pub in Sydney. In an effort to save money, we were buying bottles of wine instead of glasses, but I think I took that idea a little too literally.

I woke up Friday with feeling the effects of a bit too much red wine, but Sydney took pity on me and sent me a gorgeous day. Rick and Joyce took the bus into Coogee, and after a very yummy breakfast,

we started the walk from Coogee to Bondi. It’s about 3 miles, and winds along the coast past gorgeous houses, and smaller bays and beaches. It was a great way to spend my birthday – wandering along, shooting photos and watching the surfers and boogie boarders. Turns out the latter are a lot less choosy about their waves, and therefore a lot more interesting to watch.

Bondi beach itself is gorgeous. I can understand why it’s so famous. The break happens really far out, so if you catch the right wave you get a nice long ride are reward for your efforts. Probably a hundred yards or a bit more? I’m trying to sound like a know what I’m talking about. Mostly it’s just fun to watch the surfers wipe out.

Because we had a lazy day, we were on track for a late dinner, so I decided to take a chance and try eating at Longrain. The restaurant came highly recommended in a couple of my guidebooks, and had been on my list from before I arrived. However, they don’t take reservations to sit at their big communal table, so I was worried about bringing a big group. But by the time we arrived and had a few very yummy cocktails, it was so late that we were seated pretty quickly. And damn was it worth it! If you ever get a chance to go, be sure to order the green papaya salad, the silken tofu, and the caramelized ham hock. Food here is pretty ridiculously expensive, so I’ve been frustrated by having to spend more than I wanted on something I thought wasn’t very good. It was nice have the restaurant live up to (and surpass) expectations.

And the group who went was a lot of fun. To introduce the cast of characters: Casey Wyin is from Anderson, as is Matt Craig, who is here with his wife Courtney. Antonio is from Madrid, Jose from Chile, and Anne from Copenhagen, all on exchange here at AGSM. Rick and Joyce are Anderson students who are studying in Melbourne the quarter. And Kacy Qua is on the last leg of her epic Australian journey, and made it here in time to make sure none of us took ourselves too seriously. I believe a significant portion of the dinner conversation centered around an explanation of the term ‘tool’. As it, “he’s such a tool”, or “don’t be a tool”. Watching the faces of the non-Americans during the conversation gave me a little insight into just how ridiculous we appear to the rest of the world.

So that’s been the focus of the last couple days. It’s gorgeous here again today, so I think I’ll head to meet Kacy at Bondi beach soon, and take advantage of this window of time when the beach is nice but the weather isn’t brutally hot. Although I had a wonderful phone call from the States this morning, I’m feeling homesick, and thinking of you all a ton. So I’ll go and watch the waves and remember that the world is round, and the love I’m sending on the waves will soon wash up on your shores (assuming it doesn’t get stuck in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on the way).

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