Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Honeymoon Part 3 of 5


Tuesday, May 29

For our first full day in Sydney, we started out slow.  I woke up and started the laundry to dry.  Let me tell you a side story real quick about washer dryer combo machines.  Mostly FUCK WASHER/DRYER COMBO MACHINES.  Seriously.  SERIOUSLY.

Stolen from the AirBnB page.

Who thought this was a good idea?  While it was probably designed to be more efficient, it took me 4 DAYS to figure out how to get the fucking thing to wash and fully dry a load of clothes and that process took ~5-6 HOURS.  HOURS.  And since you could only do one load at a time and we had 5 moderately large loads of laundry.. 4 days.  Before I figured it out, the load would wash and then I would have to manually tell it to dry and it would only set to 30 minute increments, which isn't really helpful when you have a full load.

These combo machines are made for like 2 outfits MAX.  So 2 pairs of jeans and 2 long sleeve shirts and underwear/socks.  This doesn't work for me.  And the frustration with getting the clothes dry was tedious AF and I was on my honeymoon and doing laundry.  Just want to point that out for good measure.  I did laundry every day of our honeymoon, with the exception of the 4 days when we were on our dive cruise.  EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  My next vacation?  Teh German can do the fucking laundry.  I refuse.

So anyways, I started the dryer and went back to bed to search for adventures for the day.  Teh German and I agreed to go to the Zoo so I bought tickets online  My next search was for a place to have breakfast.  Teh German and I finally decided to get moving, showered, I pulled the dried clothes from the dryer and started a new load, then we headed to a place called Marlow's Way for breakfast.

I had a delightful sticky Chai tea (which was completely new to me) with my breakfast.  After breakfast, we walked to Circular Quay (CQ) to catch the ferry to the zoo.  Sydney was super hazy because of some underbrush burning that had been taking place the week prior.  Thankfully, it blew out into the ocean, clearing up the harbor.

We were mildly disappointed in the Taronga Zoo (but that didn't stop me from taking a millionty photos). Many exhibits were closed and school groups were difficult to avoid.  There were many setups for Vivid, but since it was daytime, the Vivid animals were not lit up.  Nonetheless, there were still plenty of animals to see.  After we'd walked through the entire zoo, we headed back to Sydney via the ferry.  Public transit is a real challenge for Teh German because he likes be certain of where we are going, but he was letting me purchase the tickets.. so he kept asking me if I was certain I'd bought the right tickets or certain which ferry it was... and well, I wanted to kill him.  I won't sugar coat it.

Como se llama?

Parent was NOT sharing with baby, loool

When we made it back to CQ, we had a late lunch at Pancakes on the Rocks, which was just as excellent as I had remembered.  Since we were tired, we opted to get a taxi back to our AirBnB.  I had been in contact with a former suitemate from NC State who lives in Sydney and we had agreed to meet up that evening after she got off work.  Since we had some time, I took a nap.  Diving and flying and traveling in general had worn me down, plus dealing with Teh German's 2nd guessing all my travel decisions had really taken a lot out of me.

Around 5:30, Sydney Suitie met us outside our AirBnB.  We walked back to The Rocks for drinks at the Australian Heritage Hotel.  It was awesome getting to catch up and tell stories of years between 2004, when we lived in the same suite, and current times.  I was finally able to have a White Rabbit, the first beer I had consumed and enjoyed, when I was in Australia in 2012.  It was actually still really good.  After 1 round, it was after 7, which meant that the Vivid exhibits had been turned on, so we headed to a different bar that had a rooftop bar.  We ordered drinks (gin and ginger ale for me), then wormed our way onto the balcony to see the Opera House.  We ended up getting booted from the balcony after a while since it was reserved for a private event, which was fine.  We walked to the Quay to look at the lights up close and see the Bridge and then we stopped at The Squire's Landing for another round of beers (which I ended up giving the remaining half to Teh German).  We actually went back to the Australian Heritage Hotel so we could order some dinner.

Sydney Suitie ordered a pizza with emu and crocodile, which she offered to let us sample, so we could try emu and crocodile, and Teh German and I split a kangaroo burger since it was kinda late and we didn't really need any leftovers.  IT WAS ALL DELICIOUS.  And before you get upset, "OMG I can't believe you ate kangaroo, they are soooo cute!  Poor kangaroos!"  No.  Kangaroos in Australia are like deer in America.  Many states have regulated hunting seasons to cull kangaroo populations.  When I was in Perth in 2012, wild kangaroo would come right up to you and they are dicks, so it caused me some anxiety.  I'm ok with being approached by kangaroos in wildlife preservations which are used to humans, but the ones in the wild?  No thanks, bra.

After dinner, we summoned an Uber to drop us off at the AirBnB and to take Sydney Suite home.  When we got back, of course, it was more laundry for me, but then it was bedtime.


Wednesday, May 30

Wednesday was "wing it" day.  I woke up around 7 to check/do the laundry.  After laying in bed for a bit, we finally decided to get tickets for a hop on/hop off bus and tour Sydney.  We got motivated and headed out to a cafe for breakfast.  After breakfast, we walked to Darling Harbor to catch the bus, but then I got distracted because we were close to Paddy's Market and I needed some genuine Australian souvenirs from China.

So much WTF happening right here.

After finally finding kangaroo testicle bottle openers for a reasonable price, we walked through part of Chinatown to catch the hop on/hop off bus.  We waited for, what seemed like, forever.  When the bus came, we loaded up and sat up front.  We rode the bus through most of downtown and got off at the stop for St. Mary's Cathedral.

After walking through the Cathedral, Teh German endured walking through the Botanical Gardens so I could take flower pics.  It didn't hurt that there was free wifi at the Gardens.  As we made our way out of the Gardens, we decided to head to the Opera House.

Having been to the Opera House before, I was excited to be with someone who had never seen it before.  Teh German said he wanted to do an Opera House tour, so we did.  I didn't realize there were so many concert halls inside the Opera House.  There are actually 6 venues within the Opera House, used for different purposes, and not all of them are opera!  After our tour, we decided to share a snack since we were kind of hungry, but knew we'd be eating A LOT for dinner.

Shhh, don't tell on me for snapping a quick photo of someone doing their sound check..

While we were snacking, I was texting with Erin about ghost tour information, which we had been considering as an evening activity after we met with Erin and her husband for dinner.  We were trying to coordinate dinner and ferry schedules and a ghost tour.  Thhhheeennn, Teh German was like, "How cool would it be if we went to one of the Vivid Concerts tonight?"

He was actually saying, "How cool would it be to go to a concert at the Sydney Opera Hall?"  I could actually think of nothing more cool than that.

So I told Erin to scratch the plans for the ghost tour, we were going to see a Vivid Concert instead.  She was super pumped for us.  After buying the concert tickets, it was POURING, so we thought we'd be smart and jump on the hop on/off bus to take us to the area near the German restaurant Erin had picked out for dinner.  We waited for probably 15 minutes and then loaded onto the bus, standing downstairs where it was dry, when the driver announced that everyone had to be in a seat, no standing was allowed.  There were a LOT of pissed off people that got of the bus at that point, including us.

We walked up the street a bit and the library that I had discovered earlier while we were walking from the Gardens to the Opera House was still open.  There was a free exhibit and I suggested we go inside, where it wasn't raining, to kill some time before meeting Erin and Neil for dinner.  The exhibit was actually World Press Photos and they were awesome and horrible and tragic and awesome.  We were able to view almost the entire exhibit.  So we'd be on time and not have to deal with the rain, we summoned an Uber while we still had free wifi from the library.

When we arrived at Una's, Erin and Neil were already there.  I've known Erin for years on the internet (woah) and I was confident the person she was online was exactly what she'd be like in-person.  I wasn't wrong.  If you also of the mindset that Erin is awesome, you are correct, she is.  Erin gave me the most colorful gift I've ever received in my life, a bag of awesome goodies from Smiggle.  In lieu of a wedding present, since we were on our honeymoon, she gave me sooo many awesome school supplies!  Everything smelled fruity and delicious and my repressed 8-year-old inner self was squealing with delight.  She even made sure to include Teh German and he got a T keychain that smells like cinnamon.

After pressies (as the Aussies call them), we ordered beverages and jager schnitzels and chatted while we waited on our food.  Neil and Teh German hit it off, as we had expected, while Erin and I chatted about all the things.  Teh German said that his jager schnitzel was legit, so a German's approval on German food not in Germany always seems like an A++ to me.  I'm a sucker for dessert, so I ordered the apple strudel.  It did not disappoint.  We were all so full we could barely finish it, but I managed.

After dinner, Erin and Neil were kind enough to drop us off at the Opera House for our concert instead of us having to take an Uber.  We went inside and grabbed drinks, where the bartenders made fun of me for not really being sure about the drink I was ordering.  Turns out, Smirnoff Red in Australia is the same as Smirnoff Ice.  Although the Red came in a can instead of a glass bottle, which was fine.

We saw Dreams perform... and if you've never heard of them, that's fine.  Lead singers from Silverchair and Empire of the Sun got together and created some weird electronica type of music.  I won't lie, I'm well aware that it's not everyone's thing, but for us, it was an awesome concert.  Teh German and I both like the EDM genre, so we weren't disappointed by the weirdness.  The were 2 older ladies beside us who also really enjoying themselves, dancing and jammin' with us.  I did make sure to take a few moments to just sit back and let it sink in that I was on my honeymoon with Husband at a concert at the Sydney Opera House.  It was kind of a surreal feeling.


After the concert, we summoned an Uber and headed back to flat.  I, of course, did more laundry, then it was bedtime.


Thursday, May 31

For our last day in Australia, we opted to do something outside of the city.  Erin had suggested a trip to the Blue Mountains and we agreed it was a good idea.  It was a good last day adventure since we got to ride a bus around to different viewpoints of the Blue Mountains and my calves were over all the walking around they'd been forced to do.

We were up early (me extra early to check the stupid laundry), but it was fine.  We grabbed breakfast on the way to the pick up point and I grabbed Starbucks while we waited at the pick up location, since it was next door.  A man named Aaron was our driver.  He was very chatty and pretty funny.  There was an issue with some of our group and they were at a different pick up location, so we had to go fetch them, then we headed on our adventure.

Our first stop was a wildlife preserve where Teh German got to pet his first kangaroo and wallaby.  We also got to see some pretty birds, a Tasmanian devil, and all the adorable koalas.  After the wildlife park, we loaded back up and headed into the mountains.  We stopped at a few lookouts, then it was lunch time. 

Teh German and I opted to do a sit down lunch, which was stttuuupppiiiddddd.  It ended up taking waaayy too long and our food arrived around the time we were supposed to be back on the bus.  I told Teh German to go back to the bus so we wouldn't get left and I'd have them box the food up and pay and run back with the food.  Teh German was disgruntled, but it worked out fine.  I ran the half mile back to the bus, but it was fine, I'd trained for that.

Dingo puppy!

Just a little bat dick hanging out for you.

A Tasmanian devil with a KONG!

After eating lunch on the bus, we hit up one last lookout, then we headed to Scenic World.  Scenic World has a cable way, skyway, and railway for visitors to ride.  We did each one.  The railway at a 50° angle UP the mountain though?  That was the stuff of nightmares.  I mean we did it in 2018 and we were in "safe" conditions.  I can't imagine how miners of the 21st century could ride the mine carts up the mountain.  I guess the alternative would have been walking up the mountain, but it would be a toss up for me.

Teh German and I both napped on the way back to Sydney.  It was a very busy honeymoon and we knew that Friday was going to be a realllllllllllly long day.  Instead of dropping us off at the meeting point, the driver drove us around Olympic Park (where the Sydney Olympics were held) and then dropped us off at the ferry station so we could catch the ferry to Darling Harbor.  After 20+ minutes waiting for the ferry, the ferry finally arrived.  We spent the 50 minute ride chatting with 2 ladies who had asked to share the table with us that we had plopped down at.  They were from Anaheim, CA (a school superintendent and her friend who were in town for an education convention at the Harbor) and we talked about Disneyland and education and stuff.

When we finally made it back to Sydney, we walked from the Darling Harbor to a place near our AirBnB for ramen (yay for me, boo for Teh German).  The ramen was the stuff of my dreams, and I'm not sure I'll ever find ramen that delicious, outside of Japan, ever again.  After dinner, we headed back to the flat.  I wanted to go out and grab grocery store souvenirs but Teh German wasn't interested, so I went by myself.

I just have to tell you, if you're buying fancy souvineers for people, you're doing it wrong.  Local foods/candies are where it's at.  I managed to find cookies (Tim Tams and Arnolds) and wine and I didn't have to spend a mabillionty dollhairs, which was nice.  I also did a good job at not buying 50 bags of caramel koalas for myself, but it was hard, as they are my FAAAVVVEEE.

When I got back to the flat, I started the FINAL load of laundry and prayed to the laundry gods that I could make the stupid all in one machine successfully wash AND DRY clothes without having to intervene.  Then, it was last bedtime in Sydney.


Friday, June 01

I woke up early, of course/again, to ensure the laundry was completely dry AND IT WAS!  A fucking miracle!  I was able to go back to bed and relax for 20 more minutes before I HAD to get up and function.  Eventually, I got back up to fold the laundry and pack our bags.  We both showered and I had Teh German set out a spare set of clothes for the carry on.  I knew we'd have to pack clothes into it anyways, so I figured we should pack something we could use in case we actually needed to.  Teh German argued with me about it, but eventually, he complied.

After everything was weighed (seriously, buy one of those luggage scales and take out all the pre-airport guessing games!) and packed and repacked, we summoned an Uber to get us to the airport and headed downstairs.  Since we didn't have internet service on the street, we'd had to summon the Uber from the room.  This meant that by the time we got downstairs, the Uber was already waiting.  While Teh German and the driver loaded up the car, I went to search for the lockbox, which was missing!  I wasn't sure what to do, and without much option (and no way to contact the owner), I left the key with the security guy at the building's front desk and hoped it would work itself out.

We headed to the airport and checked in with minimal issues (minimal say compared to having no entry visa and also not being sure which airline you're flying on).  I thought we were flying Quantas, and they said no, then United, and they said no, and it ended up being Latam, which I'd never heard of before, grand.  When we checked in, we received our boarding passes for our flight to Auckland, where we had a layover, but not from Auckland to San Fransisco.  It was weird, but I told Teh German that we'd get our next boarding passes in Auckland.  We made it through security and waited on our flight.

A rainbow on the way to the airport

When we arrived in Auckland, we started hunting for the place to get our boarding passes.  After traipsing through the entire airport, we finally found the Air New Zealand desk to have our passes printed.  We listened and watched while the lady struggled with something about our luggage in the computer.  Eventually, she said it was all straightened out, so we headed to our gate to wait.

While waiting, we opted to split a fish and chips, not knowing when our next meal would be.  While we ate, we chatted with a lady who was sitting at our table.  She was on her way to Hawaii for her own diving adventure.

We headed to our gate right in time to board for our transpacific flight.  Of course, there were 2 children behind us.  BUUUUTTT Air New Zealand has seats that have foot rests that you can actually lift to 90° and make a bed of the row of seats. Since they were little, they shared 2 seats made into a bed.

Teh German and I barely slept.  This was disappointing for me because I knew that once we arrived, we'd still have an entire day to get through before it was bedtime.  I watched Pitch Perfect 1, 2, AND 3.  3 was for those people who couldn't let it go at 1 and 2 and it was the most disappointing.   I was often dancing in my seat and I told Timo he was lucky I wasn't singing along with the movie... this only happened because 95% of people on the plane were sleeping.

Around 12:45 we landed in San Francisco and started the 2nd half of our 48 hour day.

Honeymoon Adventures

Part 1: SC to MD, MD to Cairns
Part 2: Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef
Part 3: Sydney Touristing
Part 4: California (San Francisco and Sacramento)
Part 5: MD to SC

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