15 March 2013

Beautiful ...

I love these photos.  Absolute and pure joy for them both.

And then there's this guy.  Clearly, not a fan of the bubbles.  Or maybe the children.

I like this strange looking bird... that clearly needs a bath.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be looking forward to Sydney.  I had heard that it’s a lovely city but very much a “city”.  After a place like Byron Bay, it’s sometimes difficult for me to swing from being out in nature to being in a big city.  But at the same time, I heard that it was a beautiful city with a lot of things to see and do. 

After an overnight bus, I arrive in Sydney where I proceeded to my friend Mike's place that I was staying with.  Upon arrival, he gives me a tour of the house and let’s me know that I get to have his bedroom while I stay as he understands how tough traveling can be when you have no sense of home anymore and wanted me to be comfortable, and he stayed on the couch.  Already, he is being far too generous to me.  I would have been fine with the couch but Mike is a gentleman and trying to make me feel at home.  And let me tell you, it was so nice to have that space after all of the smelly, uncomfortable dorms that I had been staying in during my travels. 

What I didn’t know until the day prior was that we were going to a rugby championship celebration where the team gets dressed up and goes to some pubs.  And what I didn’t understand was that “dressing up” actually meant costume party.  In broad daylight.   In public.  Typically, backpackers don’t travel with costumes, so I was able to go as myself (yes, that can be frightening too, possibly considered a costume unto itself!).  We arrived at our first pub and whoa!!!  These guys really got into the festivities!  We’re talking guys dressed up as big babies wearing Depends, Fred Flinstone, Teletubbies, the Hulk, guys in leopard print outfits, some dressed as women, etc.  And these guys were soooooo much fun to hang out with!  They (ok, we) were drinking a ton as it was a celebration of them winning their championship the day before and drinking out of their trophy cup.  Though this was day two of their celebration.  Finally a guitar comes out and everyone starts singing for the rest of the day.  In broad daylight.  In public.  Yes, we were those people in the bar that had gotten obnoxiously drunk. So for pretty much the entire day into closing, the group got plenty drunk in true Aussie-style. I’m so glad I was able to bear witness to and be a part of a time revered celebration of a rugby championship with some pretty amazing Aussies and a few Irish (naturally). 

The unfortunate part of my time there in Sydney was me getting a small case of tonsillitis.  Which totally threw a monkey wrench in my plans.  I wanted to go to all these different places, beaches, landmarks, and instead, I really only had time to take care of business (visa for Thailand), banking stuff, and see the Sydney Opera House (which is such a lovely architectural gem and amazing at night time), walk around the city, take a short little cruise around the bay, and meet up with some friends of mine that I met in Thailand who were (and are) living in Sydney for dinner.  I wish I had more time there as I was seeing so many parts of Sydney by bus and wanted to stop and walk around more, admire the architecture, window shop, go to the parks and museums, do some hiking, go out to the beaches, and spend more time with Mike, but I had to get going to my next destination.  The one thing I can say about Sydney is that it reminded me of Boston and San Francisco rolled into one with it's little hidden neighborhoods with different styles of traditional architecture in each area and small communities in each.  I could see myself really enjoying Sydney if given more time.

Since I had such limited time there, I went walking around the city to get to know it along the waterfront, through the Quay, and wandered into a park that had this guy entertaining children with bubbles.  I sat and watched this huge group of children with their parents just absolutely crazy excited about these massive bubbles floating in the air.  I loved their over the top excitement that I found myself so happy watching them.  It was the highlight of my day.  So thought I would share a few pix of what I was witnessing… along with a guy who clearly was not excited about the bubbles.  Enjoy!

It’s crazy to think that I met Mike all the way on the other side of the world!  I remember when I first met him on the subway in Barcelona as a big group of us were on the subway on our way to go to a bar on the beach.  He just starts chatting up my friend and I and to be perfectly honest, I could barely understand a word he was saying with all the people on the subway and with his thick Irish accent – my ear hadn’t been trained to listen to a thick accent like that yet! (But after all my travels with Irish people, it is now!)  At some point, my friend leans over to me all giddy because she LOVES Irish men and was pretty excited to have met Mike.  After we all were walking the streets of Barcelona together and talking the night away, sharing travel plans, etc., thus began Mike and I keeping in touch as I was going to Ireland during that trip and he had some recommendations of places for me to go.  I love the power of Facebook!  It kept us in touch, with me following his travels as he lived in different countries abroad until he settled in Australia.  And because of that one night of hanging out and wandering around Barcelona, he offered to let me crash with him in his home in Sydney.  Mike is an incredible guy and I would have loved to spend more time getting to know him better (unfortunately, he had to work while I was there too).  He’s not only a handsome Irishman with a cute accent (yes, ladies, I do believe he may be single if you’re living in Sydney), and is an incredibly decent man, has a big heart, is very intelligent, well-read (he loves the Game of Thrones series too!), funny, athletic, gracious, well traveled, has lived in several countries all over the world, and has a great sense of personal style (yes, that matters to me).  Seeing him again in Australia after my travels confirmed that the world is indeed small and people really are generous.  I have no doubt that I will see Mike again.  He’s just one of those people that I just know we’re going to run into each other in some other part of the world because that's just how we are and I will then hopefully have the opportunity to host him in my new city as he did for me.  


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