I’ve just returned from a weeklong trip on the other side of the world. (Well, I actually returned last week, but the jet lag hit me so hard on Monday that it wasn’t until yesterday, Saturday, that I felt normal again).
C* and I took off for a glorious 24 hours in L.A. full of glitz, glamour, fame and Sprinkles cupcakes. Then we hopped aboard the largest plane I have ever seen (double-decker A-380) for a 15-hour jaunt over open ocean. You can get through anything with enough Xanax and Sauvignon Blanc, I tell you. Truth said, it was an easy flight – we watched movies, ate every three hours and actually slept. Bravo, Qantas!
Landed in Sydney at 6:30 am and picked up our rental car for a harrowing 5+ hour drive (it should take 2) through Sydney at rush hour, with a confused GPS director (Karen, later Susan) and then curvy mountain driving – all on the wrong side of the road, of course. We made it to the Hunter Valley, got a little tipsy and bought souvenir wine within 15 min. The Hunter Valley is beautiful … reminded me of Napa … but this is winter so it was a little deserted. I was proud that we actually lasted until about 8 pm, then CRASH!
Winery tour and shopping the next morning … was exposed for the first time to chocolate-covered honeycomb. “Oh em gee,” as they say. Stopped at a cheese shop on our way out of town and fell in love with a marinated fetta in oil. Another omg. That $15 jar of cheese came home with us to Sydney. Listen kids, cheese scooping and driving (on the other side of the road) can be tricky.
The next four days were spent in Sydney – beautiful weather, and beautiful town. It’s frighteningly American … streets are wide and clean like Chicago, many skyline buildings carry the KPMG, Aon, Ernst & Young, PWC logos, and one block contained a GNC, Florsheim, Krispy Kreme, Citibank and a 7-Eleven. No kidding. It was unnerving almost, because you can’t place where you are. Could be the U.S., but it’s also tropical and foreign. The harbour is gorgeous – like a water planet, C said. So many nooks in the harbour and water as far as you can see. Houses are layered up the sides of the cliffs, much like Laguna or San Francisco. I can see why Californians enjoy Australia and vice versa. Lends credence to the continental drift theory, no?
All in all, was a perfect trip. I climbed the harbor bridge, we walked on Bondi beach and touched the Pacific, strolled Darling Harbour, ate dim sum in Chinatown, ventured out to Darlinghurst for breakfast at Bill’s, toured the Opera House (from the outside at least), filled ourselves with fancy sushi and enjoyed more wine. Lovely vacation.
Sydney also highlighted my general discontent with Charlotte. Moving was absolutely the right decision, but I’m bored. It’s so blah here. I’m clearly a city person, as I discovered Down Under. Walking the city streets just makes me feel alive. I also appreciated the globalism of travel – that’s what I loved about New York too. People are from everywhere and have something interesting to say. They care about what’s happening outside of their own little enclave … not so in the CLT. Time will tell, I suppose.
*Names concealed to protect the innocent