Sydney, oh Sydney! I love you so! This was my 3rd time visiting Sydney and once again, the time I spent there was simply not enough. I’ve been to several cities around the world already and have always thought “I like this place, but I wouldn’t be able to live here” because of the high living standards in New Zealand, but I can actually see myself permanently residing in Sydney. FOR REAL. I did not want to leave at all. I’m currently suffering post-Sydney depression. I woke up the morning after I got back and my heart literally sunk right down to my toes when I realised I was in Auckland. The gloomy, cold weather didn’t help the Monday blues either. I don’t know how to describe what I’m feeling- homesick? I was missing Vietnam dearly a month after I left there, and Sydney was just like a taste of Vietnam again (albeit more sanitary and safe!). It felt like home.
The weather was perfect, it was like New Zealand’s autumn- sunny and warm, but a little crisp (sweater weather!). I cannot stand the cold, I turn into a shivering, miserable ball of depression (I’d like to think of it as my Viet genes coming into play here but that’s probably just a personal preference thing) so Sydney was paradise from the moment I stepped foot outside the airport. The food was divine (except for yum char, I’ll get to that part later) because it’s my type of cuisine (Asian.. and lot’s of desserts hehe), and also because my aunty knew all the best places to eat at. I was spoilt so much by her too, it felt like it was my birthday every day.
I flew on Lan Chile and it was a nice flight, but also the first time I experienced bad airline food. We were given sad looking ham and cheese between two pieces of dry bread and a fruit salad. Oh, and jam and butter which I had no idea what to do with. Do I add it to the ham and cheese? Dip my fruit into it?
Regardless, I arrived safe and sound at 8:40am, got picked up and whisked off for some early morning shopping with my cousin. On a side note, Sydney’s transport system is top notch. The trains will take you everywhere. Even to the airport, and I mean directly into the airport, not a 5-10 min walk away from your destination.
The architecture in Sydney is beautiful! Most of the photos are from my phone because… I got lazy… It became a hassle hauling my camera out of my bag every time I wanted a photo, and I also felt extremely self concious slinging it around my neck (it was like holding a TOURIST ALERT sign over my head). I think at some point during my last holiday in Melbourne/ Vietnam/ Korea, I got tired and just wanted to relax and enjoy experiencing things without hastening to haul out the camera, changing to the right settings all the time and having to make everyone wait for me to take the perfect shot.
At around noon, we went to drop my things off at my aunty’s place and met up with everyone in Cabramatta. Last time I was in Sydney, we went to Cabramatta almost everyday. This time did not change either. My aunty lives quite close so we were blessed with a daily supply of Sugarcane juice and Banh Mi.
Like I said, my aunty knows where the best of the best are (for our taste buds anyway, variation may occur amongst humans). The stall of sugarcane juice above was perfect- even better than Vietnam (it tastes cleaner). I bought some more from a different stall and Bankstown (another Asian community area) but they were not as good. Same applies for the Banh Mi. I refuse to have Banh Mi anywhere else (including in NZ). By the way, that was only $3.50! Sugarcane juice is $2 so DRINK UP! :D
On the second day, we went to Bankstown which pretty much resembles Cabramatta. We parked at this very fancy casino place which is exclusive for Club members and my dear aunty forgot which level she had parked her car at. After wandering the parking lot for about 20 minutes, we got offered a ride on those golf buggies by one of the security guards and cruised through the different levels looking for the car hahah. An experience of a lifetime! It didn’t really help that my aunty forgot her own number plate, so the search was… extensive. One thing I like about staying with relatives is that you get to eat out in the daytime, but still get to eat local fruit and produce for dinner at home. It made me realise that all my favourite foods are in Sydney and I’m now at a loss for what to eat in Auckland..
Skipping onward to the third day, we did tourist-y things! We purchased the public transport day pass which cost about $20ish per person and gives you access to buses, ferries, trains and light rails. I also recommend you get an Australian SIM card with access to the internet (I paid $2 per day for 500MB data, texts and calling, the SIM was free). Google Maps saved my life. It tells you which stop to get on, when the buses/trains will come and where to transfer. Hail Google Maps!
First stop was Sydney Fish Markets. If you’re a fan of seafood, you’re going to love this place. There were fresh oysters, live crabs, crayfish, sashimi and even octopus. The King Crabs were Herculean sized, as though they had been fished out from the ocean during the fossil era. Their bodies alone without the claws was larger than the size of my hand with all my fingers stretched out. They were $99.99 per kg, so each crab would have been at least $300! Cha-ching, cha-ching, that must be a very special lunch indeed.
After the Fish Markets, we went down to the harbour to catch a ferry to Manly Beach. This is another must see! It’s not just another beach (which was stunning and spectacularly clean by the way), it’s a whole new town. Great shopping to do there too, and not just those mediocre touristy shops- there are actual restaurants and clothes shops you’d find in a mall. And more nice buildings.
Found Yogurtland! Yogurtland was the first American Frozen Yoghurt store in America and I was keen on trying it when I was in L.A about 4 years back, but didn’t have time. Yes, it’s empty, I was too eager to eat it. My self serve frozen yoghurts always look like bad splodges because I’m so indecisive, I plop a small amount of every flavour into my cup haha! Very un-photogenic.
Above photo is clearly the dslr photo.. Wow. I regret that I didn’t use it more during the trip now. Well, not really. Okay, somewhat. Maybe a little. No, no I don’t regret it at all. Somebody slap me.
P.S. I found this at Woolworths. Why are we not funding this?
That’s all for now, Part II with Chinatown, Queen Victoria Building, Laduree and Adriano Zumbo is coming right up!