My blog has been very quiet of late, but there’s a good reason for that. You see, on 13 January, after an 11 hour flight, I stepped off a Qantas aeroplane and walked through the airport and outside in the hot, humid city that is Sydney, Australia.
Since I landed, I’ve spent the past few weeks walking around and exploring the city (and taking many, many baths despite the ridiculous humidity), figuring out the public transport, self-service checkout at Coles, and coming to terms with the animals in the city (such as wild cockatoos! And a fun game called “is that sound a bird, or bat?”). As the month is drawing to a close, and now that I’m somewhat settled (I still get lost all the time, but that happens in Cape Town too…), I figured that now would be a good time to start sharing my adventures with you guys, before I leave again in April.
So, to start off our #jamiedownunder series*, I thought I’d ease you all in, and describe how I spent my first public holiday – Australia Day.
Being a Capetonian, my first instinct on a public holiday is to go to the beach. A friend of mine had suggested we take a ferry over to Manly, and I eagerly accepted. As I stay just on the other side of the harbour bridge, I decided to take a walk over to Circular Quay, from where we’d catch the ferry. It turns out everyone had the same idea, and for a good reason – the bridge provided an amazing view of the ferry race below us, as well as of the many families ‘bbq-ing’ in the park.
Manly has to be one of my favourite areas now. It’s sort of like Camps Bay, but with none of the pretentiousness and more of a Fish Hoek vibe. We took forever getting to the beach because I keep getting distracted by the amazing stores, with all kinds of souvenirs and cheap clothing! In fact, I got so caught up in the day that I ended up buying an Australia Day vest, which I changed into and proudly displayed after my swim, as displayed above. Proudly, because I finally fit in – Australians take the day very seriously – Circular Quay was awash of food trucks, and people decked out in their Australia themed regalia, waving their Australian traditional and Aboriginal flags.
But back on the beach, I was extremely content. There’s something about the ocean that soothes me, and it was like being back home, except I could actually swim in the sea, and there was no wind. Luckily it was also overcast (but still so, so, hot) because the Australian sun is not to be messed with. It made for a wonderful afternoon, sitting on the beach, eating fish, calamari and chips, watching the sunbathers and surfers go about their afternoon.
After grabbing a ferry back, we had dinner while waiting for the fireworks display and boy, was it worth it. When I landed, someone told me it was good that I was here for Australia Day, because “no one does fireworks like the Australians”. It truly was spectacular, and I was overwhelmed. But not as overwhelmed as when the announcer said “stay tuned for our Australia Day fireworks display”. I had been entranced by the warm-up fireworks, and the main event left me speechless.
After the show had ended, I made my way home, impressed by this new city I found myself staying in, and only sightly homesick. Stay tuned for the next post, about my koala breakfast experience at Wild Life Sydney Zoo!
*not the final hashtag for this blog series. Suggestions are welcome though – please leave your ideas in the comments section!