Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Days #40 & 41. Sydney.

Turns out there was more than one Irish boy in the house that night.  There were two.  And thanks to their little snoring duet, I slept fitfully all through the night.  If that wasn't enough, the one below me was having a ibt of a flatulence issue.  The sounds I heard in the wee hours of the morning… not to mention the smells… well, that was just too much even for me.

Does it surprise you that I didn't sleep in that morning???  I got on that bus to Bondi as soon as I possibly could.  Met Sarah at the bus stop and headed to the beach.  What a gorgeous sunny morning!  We laid out for about an hour, talking about our favorite Tennessee hang-out spots and laughing over ridiculous stories from back home.  Watched people surfing on the beach break.  They were a'ight.  But those Aussies got nothin' on my West Coast boys!!! ;)  OB REPRESENT!  I didn't have a wetsuit or a board… of course if I did I would have gone out and shredded it up. J/K.  Well, the beautiful weather suddenly turned into overcast nasty cold weather.  Sarah and I decided to check out the shopping.  Found this killer 2nd-hand store and ended up buying two fantastic tops for $20.  Everything in the store was 50% off.  Almost bought a pair of black peep-toe stilettos, but I figured I already had way too many shoes at home as it was.  Got some souvenirs, you know, like those cutesy shirts that say "Bondi 1967" or whatever.  And a purple hoody.  Checked out Sarah's apartment which was killer.  Right in the heart of town.  Then we got hungry so what else were we gonna eat but wedges?!?!  Brown bagged some cider and had a picnic at the park.  Us, wedges, and seagulls.  Freaking annoying birds.  The weather that day was nuts.  As we were scraping the last smear of sweet chili sauce with the last wedge, the sun came back out again!  We headed back down to the beach to continue our sunning and hopefully catch a glimpse of "Bondi Rescue".  

I had always heard people talking about that show, usually followed by snickers and comments like, "Yea, it's soooo lame."  Lame or not, I had my heart set on seeing them.  As our afternoon came to a close and we were getting up to leave, Bondi Rescue appeared out of nowhere in their little doon-buggy cars and starting filming their heroic rescue of a stranded seal!  OMG!!  I had to run over there with my camera as fast as my legs would take me and start snapping pics!  They were absolutely hilarious to watch.  I was laughing so hard I could barely hold the camera steady.  After the seal was happily rescued, the Bondi Rescue crew hopped back into their ridiculous looking buggies and started driving back toward the lifeguard tower.  I was still standing there laughing and shaking my head like, "Are these guys for real???  This is actually a show that people… ummm… watch?"  Then one of the buggies whipped around in a 360 and came driving back toward me.  Two very (spray)tanned, (bleach)white toothed guards hung their heads out and grinned.  "Wanna get a picture with us?" they asked.  Hecks YEA!!!  Then I could show off to my friends my pic with Aussie celebs :)  I got my photo, then a flock of Asian woman landed on them and I took ones for all the ladies.  Then the guards invited me to come up and get a tour of the lifeguard tower.  Long story short, I ended up chilling in the tower with the Bondi Rescue staff, talking, beach-watching, and drinking grape power-ade.  These guys were freaking hilarious.  I really don't know how anyone ever gets rescued around there, they absolutely do NOT pay attention.  One was on Facebook, another was scarfing food down, and yet another was checking out his reflection and making sure his spray tan looked good.  The only time binoculars were used was for important moments like this one: "Brazilians on the beach unrobing! Brazilians on the beach unrobing!"  Then four pairs of binoculars would instantly appear and start scanning like mad for the damsels in distress.  One guy insisted that he saw Shaun White out surfing.  So a crew of guards charged down to the beach to get his autograph.  It wasn't Shaun White.  Just someone unfortunate enough to look like him.  After a while, I said goodbye to the boys, thanked them for the tour, and headed back to the Blue Parrot.

I was actually kind of exhausted believe it or not, so I climbed up into my bunk bed and started surfing the web.  It was peaceful and quiet for once... for about 15 minutes.  My blissful solitude was broken by those two Irish boys bursting through the door.  "You wanna go out and play drinking games with us?!" they asked excitedly.  "Ohhh, ummmm….. you know, I think I'm good. But thanks." I replied.  The next thing I knew I was practically being fumigated out of my own freaking room!  They were standing there spraying deodorant all over themselves!!!  In between coughing fits, I managed to sputter "Why are you spraying that on your entire body???"  They looked up with these dumb looks on their faces.  "Where is it supposed to go?"  "On your pitts!" I exclaimed.  "Oh, but we sweat everywhere" they said.  DEEEE-SGUSTING!!!  Unfortunately, their drinking games commenced on the patio right below the dorm room window which we all shared.  So then I had to listen to those shenanigans.

Woke up at 5 am and could't go back to sleep.  Decided to get an early start on my 2nd tour of Sydney harbor.  Stopped by a bakery and bought a fresh spinach, feta, and tomato quiche that was to die for.  Walked the 45 minutes to the Opera House and thoroughly enjoyed seeing other parts of the city.  When I got to the Opera House, there was barely anyone there.  I had the entire place to myself.  Great photo opp :)  Took way too many pictures as usual.  Just in time too!  A bus load of tourists came charging toward me as I made my final descent down those snow white stairs.

Then I went and sat out in front of the Museum of Modern Art waiting for it to open.  I had my heart set on seeing the Annie Lebovitz exhibit.  While waiting I met a sweet old lady who was meeting up with her "walking group."  Every week they congregate with their New Balance laced up and fanny packs (yes, I said fanny packs) in tow, and they walk around the city together.  So adorable!  I love it!  Anyways, the exhibit finally opened and I was definitely not disappointed.  Annie is famous for her portraits of famous people.  There are the well known ones.  Like Brad Pitt wearing leopard skin pants in Vegas.  Demi Moore, naked, pregnant.  Nicole Kidman in a sweeping white dress.  There are the not so well known ones.  Bon Jovi in a tanning bed - pretty funny.  Jack Nicholson donning a pink bathrobe hitting golfballs.  And then there are the personal portraits.  Ones of her mother and father who were so in love their entire marriage, and it really showed in the photos.  Tons of pictures of Annie's mother, dancing or singing in her swimsuit.  She seemed to love running around half naked!  And she was flexible too.  There are the pictures of Annie's three children.  Her friend (partner) Susan.  There were even some really sad ones.  Susan dying of cancer.  The portrait of Susan sitting in a bathtub with her half mastectomy painfully visible.  Her father dying, crumpled on the couch, oxygen tubing coiled around him and his wife lying next to him with her feet propped up on his lap.  Bloody footprints of murdered Tootsie children on a Rwanda schoolroom wall.  The saddest one of them all… a boy was riding his bike in front of Annie's car in Sarajevo where she was doing a photo documentary on the war there.  A mortar hit the boy and killed him instantly.  Annie's photo shows his bike, lying on it's side next to smears of blood on the pavement.  That one did it for me.  I couldn't help but cry a little.

Annie portrayed what she liked to call "Life Through a Lens."  In all it's craziness, sadness, elations, extreme pain, triumphs, simple joys.  Ultimately, just life.  I walked away from that exhibit inspired.  Then I realized I was gonna be late catching my shuttle to the Sydney Airport, so I really got inspired and hustled back to the Blue Parrot.

What an amazing trip.  'Nuff said. :)


Sydney #2 - $38 room, $4 metro ticket, $4 bus ticket, $8 fruit and yogurt, $100 Bondi Beach souvenirs (one is for YOU Melly! :), $15 cider & wedges, $10 Greek salad & garlic naan dinner
Sydney #3 - $10 late check-out fee, $4 quiche, $2.50 metro, $15 Annie Libovitz ticket, $2 water, $6 fruit salad & muesli, $14 shuttle to AP, $12 Greek food