sydney – day 6 (8/3)

the work meetings are over and a lot of our team members are making their way home. two of us stayed on to explore a little more!

we met up with our guide – Rob – at 7 am to make our trek to the Blue Mountains. they are located about 2 hours west of sydney and the drive out gave us a lot of history of the area. got experienced new south wales’ very bad infrastructure planning with 5 lane highways turning into 2 lanes in places that 4 lanes would be better to support the crush of cars. there are tolls along the main “loop” that will cost you over $30 to do the entire route, and their speed cameras come with 3 warning signs before the actual camera – yet they make a ton of money from speeders!

once we reached the blue mountains we could see why they have their name. there is a blue haze that is emitted from the millions of eucalyptus trees there. the mountains are high and flat, with sheered off cliff formations. created by nothing more than wind and water over millions of years they are spectacular.

rob also supplied us with a lot of facts about his country – the plagues, prisoners, and a major effort to boost the population back in the day by importing whores from england. there is a new effort to increase their population happening today — $5k bonus to a mother at delivery!!

the blue mountains are a must see – and I give Rob @ Sydney Great Escapes two thumbs up!! It was a rippa!!

sydney – day 2 (7/30)

sunny, beautiful 60 degree sydney was full of people going about their Monday morning activities. being back in a city brought back memories of working at Nordstrom in Seattle. I miss the bustle and smells of the city on a crisp fall morning.

we walked to a “vegas-like” mall near our hotel and shopped a bit. David Jones is a major department store that has an O.P.I counter (love). I was so excited when I found a Trenery store – this was a store I had shopped at in Capetown, and surprisingly they only have stores in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – score for me!!

we walked back to The Rocks , had some lunch at Pony (highly recommend), and walked under the bridge where my hair was stopped and asked for a photo. (i was beginning to think – what’s up with these aussies and the nat-fro?) let me explain….A man and his wife started toward me with his camera in hand. when people approach me with a camera, I have always been asked if I can take their photo. I offered immediately, and the man said – no, i was going to ask if i could take a photo of you. Huh? That never happens. He said, your hair – I love it!, would you mind?? I blushed and said of course not, and he was giddy! Now I’m feeling a little out of sorts, but think – it’s a quick photo – just stand here and smile, don’t ruin this guys moment. He snapped the photo and immediately asked if he could have his wife take a picture with me. Whoa! Definitely not used to this kind of “hair” attention, and I shyly said yes. Perfect!! He got in the shot and did some kind of pointy motion at the nat-fro, and we were done. They thanked us for stopping and he did a fist pump as they walked away. hilarious! — was i just objectified for my hair??

photos of bridge climbers descending the Harbor Bridge were captured, and my anxiety tripled thinking that I was going to be one of those people in a few days! Yikes!!

we made our way to the Apple office were we met up with our host for drinks and dinner at his home. a 20 minute cab ride to Bondi Beach. Bondi is Australia’s most famous beach, and we caught it on a beautiful evening. The swells were huge, and it was [insert a word that is more awesome than awesome].

pre-dinner drinks were at the Bondi Iceberg Club where we got to watch swimmers navigate the huge waves that crashed into the ocean side pool – brave souls! there was a pool like this in the Cape, but it was nothing in comparison to the power of these Bondi waves. the sunset form the iceberg was beautiful, and we learned that in the heart of winter, actual icebergs would crash over into the pool and people swim with them – thus how the club got it’s name.

dinner was great, homemade shrimp on the barbie, cajun chicken, salad and ricotta cheese cake. lots of great australian wine and some foos-ball and pool games! good times, good people!!