Beautiful & Busy (Sydney)

A few weeks back i found out that I had won a 3 night trip to Sydney with 5 star accomodation, a dinner river cruise and 2 days at the cricket. Like most people I am one of those folks who ‘never wins anything’ so this caught us by surprise and also meant that at very short notice we had to find babysitters and juggle work. Thanks to our good friends Andrew & Simone for looking after the kids and giving them what they would describe as one of the best weeks of their life! And even bigger thanks from us for a great time away.

NSW is one of my favourite places and I really like Sydney for its iconic beauty. The Sydney harbour is one of those ‘icons’ and really quite spectacular. This time we got to do a harbour cruise with a 7 course dinner which was sensational. At a cost of $500.00 there is no way we’d be doing one out of our own pocket, but it was a great experience for someone else to pay for.

I sold the first day tickets to the cricket on eBay and then we went to the second day after spending Tuesday walking around the city, relaxing and eating out. The SCG has to be another great Sydney icon. We had gold tickets to the Trumper stand which gave us excellent viewing of the big day when Ponting and Clarke dominated. While it was great to see them in action, it was as much fun just to be part of the crowd and the hijinx that go on there – the inflatable beach balls that get batted around until they hit the field and get confiscated by security, the Mexican waves – that break with a ‘boo’ as they pass the uncooperative members area, the ‘Benauds’ (a group of blokes all dressed in Richie Benaud gear), the friendly sledging and taunts between Indian and Aussie fans and of course the cameo appearance by Bob Hawke complete with the sculling of a pint of beer. The way he was greeted you’d think be was Australia’s greatest ever PM – amazing what a bit of distance can do for people’s feelings…

When we left the cricket we decided to head for the beach and with Bondi just down the road it was an opportunity to take in another Oz icon on a steamy afternoon. Like the rest of Sydney, Bondi was busy – people everywhere from the cafe strip, the grass, the sand to the water and what stood out to us was how culturally diverse the place was. I reckon (white) Aussies made up about 30% of the crew there and the rest were from all over – quite different to home. But being so busy and unpleasantly humid we went for a walk and then quickly headed for the comfort of the hotel. The Westin, where we were staying is a fantastic hotel and again well out of our price range if we were paying our own way, but beds, breakfasts and the whole vibe made us go ‘hmmmm nice.’

After getting home from Bondi we had a short peaceful break in the room and then headed out for dinner but the hustle and bustle of the city left us heading back home for room service. A quiet night in was more appealing than sitting in another noisy cafe by a busy road. I don’t mind big cities but on this evening we were well over it, so it was some pretty classy room service, a bottle of red and an overpriced in house movie.

We finished with a final buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant before beginning the long jaunt home. I was becoming absorbed in Steve Job’s bio but then noticed that we could watch ‘Warrior’ on our entertainment sets on the plane, so Jobs got ditched in favour of a pretty hard hitting movie – no pun intended. I was enjoying the movie until the pilot decided to reboot the entire plane’s entertainment system with 5 mins left to run on the movie… I also got to watch the first half of Burning Man which is a really interesting look at grief and loss. Hopefully I’ll get to watch the rest soon.

Anyway, after a decent drive home we are back in the not so busy Yanchep. I still like Sydney, but if it wasn’t for free I don’t think I’d be doing it again for a holiday!

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