Day 3: Roos to the Blues

25 May

I have been in Sydney for 3 days and I feel like I have done 3 weeks worth of sightseeing, exploring and drugs (kidding, calm down everyone). But in all seriousness, these three days have been absolutely incredible. CAPA, the organization that we are here with, has done a tremendous job of keeping us busy these first three days. Perhaps the busiest and best day of the three came occurred today.

My day began bright and early at the café around the corner. I’m making a habit of this. The free wifi is the main draw but the coffee isn’t too bad either. At 8:00 a.m. myself and the other Purdue Internet addicts headed from the café back to our apartment complex to board a coach bus that would take us all over Sydney for the day.

First stop: Olympic park. Sydney hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics. I remember this fondly because I was sick during them and did nothing but lie on the couch and watch the Olympics while my awesome mom took care of me. I tried “milking” that bug for all it was worth (sorry mom). Anyway, being the sport junkie (understatement) that I am, I absolutely loved the place and wanted to spend more time there, which I think I might do. According to our tour guide (his name was Bob but since he’s an Aussie, it is pronounced Bub) there is a huge “footie” game there coming up at the end of May. Apparently, it is the biggest game of the year and you can still get tickets since the stadium is so big. I know what you’re thinking – what’s footie? So am I. I’ll figure it out when I get there. I’m assuming it’s soccer, rugby or Aussie rules football. I just hope it’s footie and not footsie – that’d be disappointing.

Second Stop: Featherdale Wildlife Park. This place was crazy. Essentially, it was a zoo. The twist is, only a few of the animals are caged (read crocodile). There were wallabees, kangaroos, emus and other random animals running around all over the place.  Made for some cool and funny photos. Needless to say we had a great time and it was really cool to actually get up close with some of Australia’s icons (see the photos below).

Third Stop: Lunch. Fish and Chips – ‘nuff said.

Fourth Stop: Blue Mountains. This was the highlight of the day. The Blue Mountains aren’t blue and aren’t mountains – those silly blokes. It’s actually a plateau that has eroded over time to create a canyon according to Bub (I trust him, he has an accent). I have been fortunate enough to visit the Grand Canyon and this place gave me a lot of the same feelings. Pictures don’t do it justice and you can’t quite describe it to anyone who hasn’t been there.  It’s breath-taking and awe inspiring. Just looking wasn’t enough. Bub decided it was a good idea to hike down into the canyon and then back up. So off he went – myself and the rest of the group followed him (again, he has an accent). Approximately 2.5 hours and 2500 stairs later we were back where we started. It was exhausting but worth every step. The views were incredible. Truly unlike anything else I will ever see or do.

Our day wasn’t done. When we got back, I actually cooked my own dinner. Made some wheat pasta with some grilled chicken, pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese (be proud mom). As I was eating that, a group of like 6 or 7 came down the stairs into the kitchen and said c’mon we’re going to the jazz festival. I was planning on going but not that instant. Scarfed down the rest of my meal and off I went. So we made it to Darling Harbor, home of the Jazz festival, to find nothing but empty stages. We missed the music but it was still an awesome atmosphere and we will go back tomorrow and actually catch some music. Mom and Dad, you can stop reading now.

So we decided as a group we wanted to go find a Pub or Club and spend our first night “out” in Sydney. There were lots to choose from but finally we settled on the Shark Hotel or something like that. Anyway, it’s not much different than America. They play American music and the atmosphere is much the same. The only difference – 18-year olds. It’s kind of weird but oh well. I had my first Australian beer. It was called Toohey’s and tasted just like crappy American light beer. Oh well.

There is absolutely nothing planned tomorrow and I am looking forward to it after these first three days. I think I am going to try to find my workplace and then probably hit the jazz fest. Until then…

Cheers!

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