Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Goodbye Australia

Wednesday 10th November 2010

MP3 track of the day: Sunrise – Rolf Harris

Weather: Sydney was hot, sunny and humid … until 4pm when a storm came in.

Going back to last night, I did head out to the harbor and what a brilliant decision that was. As you would expect, Sydney Bridge, and the Opera House, looked fantastic at night, however it was looking back towards the city where I found the best shots. I spend around forty-five minutes taking photos before heading back to the hostel. Once back I packed my bags for tomorrows flight to Tokyo and, in the process, I managed to trip my trousers.

I couldn't believe it, all I did was pull them down a little and a great big whole appeared on my left trouser leg. I have to say that normally, back at home, I would be rather peeved at this, but whilst traveling I've mellowed and my initial reaction was that, if I could put a rip in the right leg at the same height, I might look a bit 'hip' and 'cool'. To be honest in two weeks time I'll be heading to South East Asia where I'll be wearing shorts all the time, so then they can go in the bin.

As I continued to get ready for tomorrow, I also noticed that the shirt I was wearing had a whole in the left sleeve … what is going on today? Camera, trousers and now my shirt … not a good day in terms of damaging my stuff … maybe this was a sign to say that I should have stayed in New Zealand. The only positive is that bad stuff always happens in three's, so I should be okay from now on.

After packing up I went to sleep pretty early to awake at around 7am. I was checked-out of the hostel, with luggage stored ($6 for the day!!!), by 8:30am and so I headed straight to the harbor to board the ferry to Mainly. The trip was about thirty minutes and the waters were pretty calm; the ferry ride was very pretty, however I was too busy eating my breakfast to notice a great opportunity to photograph the Opera House from the water … I will have to make sure I get that photo on the way back.

Once I arrived in Mainly I immediately headed for the north beach where I found people surfing (don't they have jobs!). To my right was a pathway that went around the shoreline towards 'cabbage beach' (called that due to the amount of cabbage trees that used to grow there). The beach was very nice and, after a couple of photographs, I head up some stairs to the cliff tops. I then spent the next couple of hours walking around the cliff tops with fantastic views of the sea, the town of Mainly and a side profile of the sheer vertical sides of the cliffs. Also along the cliffs I found old World War two gun emplacements that were erected in fear of a Japanese invasion. It was all very interesting, but the weather was boiling hot and I was getting through my final 1.5lts of coke rather quickly.

I saw signs for a tourist office where, I presumed, they might sell drinks and, if I was very lucky, an ice cream … they didn't. The tourist office didn't sell any food or drink products but they did have a very interesting aerial shot of the area. As I was getting my bearings an elderly man (who works at the tourist office and I don't think gets many visitors) began to explain all about the area including it's military background; he provided me of a map which guided me through an hour long walk … well it would be rude not to do the walk after all the effort he went through.

The walk was very pleasant however there weren't as many 'good views' as I was lead to believe. The most interesting bit was seeing an old army training ground covered by a woodland; this is where the soldiers would have trained for possible invasion.

After finishing the walk I was tired and out of liquid, but I wasn't very hungry. I decided to head to the McDonalds at the harbor front to have an iced coke (I wanted the iced fanta but I couldn't see it on the menu … more coke wasn't good), a sit down and a review of the map. I was joined by a Chinese family who asked if they could sit with me (no problem), as there was a shortage of seats, and then asked if I was going to go … not likely pal until I've finished my drink.

Eventually I did go and I headed on the Mainly trail; a 9km trail that I knew I couldn't complete but I could have a good look around. The trail followed the coastal edge of Mainly and it was all very pleasant; about half way around a guy asked if I could take a photo of him and his new fiancee. I say new because he had just asked his girlfriend to marry him (I know someone else how did this in Sydney) and he wanted a photo to remind him of the moment … no pressure then. Firstly I don't take photos of people and secondly his camera was rubbish, but I tried my best.

I continued my walk around the cost, seeing the beautiful turquoise waters and boats in the harbor; eventually I turned around and headed back to the harbor to get my ferry back to the mainland. I sat on the outside deck, camera poised, to take even more photos of the Opera House on my return journey.

This ferry trip was a lot more crowded that the one going to Mainly and I had to fight for a space to get the photo I wanted of the Opera House … but I got it. Once back on the mainland I headed, once more, to a McDonald's to purchase an ice cream (50 cents … bargain) to help with cooling me down. Once out the weather had turned and massive black clouds appeared over the business center of Sydney. I decided to head back to my hostel and, just as I got back, the heavens opened and the rain poured down. I was amazed at how lucky I had been with the weather, I had arrived at the end of a storm, had two beautiful (if a little hot) days to look around and now I'll be leaving at the start of a storm.

Once back at the hostel I had a very early tea before waiting for my pick-up to the airport (a shuttle service as it was cheaper than the train, though this does mean that I didn't get to ride on the top level of the double-decker train :( ) for my flight to Tokyo. So today marks the end of 'part one' of my second trip, which I name, my Australasian tour. I have enjoyed Fiji, New Zealand especially and Australia (for all two days that I've been here) but I am really looking forward to Japan, but also quite nervous. Most of the countries I've traveled in so far are originally from British decent so I'm looking forward to a completely different cultural experience. I shall be traveling mostly in huge cities which will be the complete opposite to New Zealand. I'm looking forward to trying the food, hopefully seeing a Karate class (maybe even take part, and I would love a proper Karate suite), taking in the city life, seeing the cultural historic side of Japan, including the Samurai, and hopefully staying a night in a monastery and a 'pod'. I am also looking forward to hopefully getting free of this 'global gossip' internet rubbish that all of Australasia use (At times it has nearly killed me). It's going to be a strange experience of the old surrounded by the new in a culture I have no idea about. Crime is very low in Japan and personnel safety isn't what I'm worried about; actually being able to travel around is something that I am worried about. I think once I have found my hostel in Tokyo, taken the train to Hiroshima and found my hostel there then I'll be okay.

Getting back to Sydney; I set myself a budget of £75.00 for the two days which would have just been about enough, if it wasn't for the fact that I forgot about internet charges. You see I withdrew £75.00 from the airport and I've pretty much spent it all (and that doesn't include accommodation because I had paid for that before I had left the UK … I told you Australia is expensive), then, once at my hostel, I realized that I had to pay for the internet online, and so I'm about £7.50 over my budget … never mind.

Tokyo here I come!

Toodle Pip!

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