So I rented a car today and drove to the Blue Mountains national park with a guy from Puerto Rico who looks like Dominic Monaghan who played Merriadock TOok in Lord of the Rings. The car was so good on gas we thought the gas guage was broken because for the entire trip it did not budge, 170 miles. When we were back in the city at the end of the day it finally dropped a smidge and we were so surprised to that it wasn't actually broken. Gas for the whole trip cost $12 total; and it was an automatic. It was one car class higher than their smallest, but I got it for the cheapest fare since they were out of the 2 doors, only $40 for the day. I figure we got over 60 miles to the gallon. It was a 5 door Toyota Corolla hatchback, a model non existent in the U.S. [Insert picture of "Merry" here]
When we got back in the city we found the Avis place and had about 20 minutes to spare but we were on the wrong side of the divided boulevard. So we drove down the street and turned right at the next available place to see if we couldn't get going the other way down the street to return the car. It took us under a long tunnel and way out of the city. Several very illegal u-turns later we find our way back to the boulevard again going the wrong way again and for the life of us we cannot see how to get going the other way down the boulevard. We pass the turn that took us under the tunnel and the the next turn goes over a bridge; not much better. So right before the bridge I pull another U-turn where the median ends briefly before the big intersection and I end up having to do a 3 point turn in the middle of the street, luckily before the traffic came. The little car's maneuvarability is great, though. Drove up to Avis to find out it's closed. We're about 15 minutes late. No way to return the car after hours. So we find a parking place on a side street not too terribly far from Avis. I'm so tired and stressed from driving all day and not being able to go the right way down that boulevard that it takes me three tries to parallel park and the cars collecting behind me never even beeped. In fact I didn't hear one beep the whole time in the city. People are very well mannered for such a full on city. And Sydney is a real thriving metropolis. Sort of a cross between New York and LA. I really like it and early in the evening (8:30pm) on a Friday night it is teaming with talent as it were -- eye candy galore. Beautiful people, beauitful buildings, beautiful parks and beautiful harbor. That is Sydney Australia for you.
Yesterday went to the Operah House which was pretty cool and then the beach was was really cool. The water was perfect temperature. Right after I entered the water I found myself body surfing a sizeable wave in and then three more waves one after another. That was really cool because I hadn't been in the ocean in a long time and never found body surfing very easy and then to just catch wave after wave like that was great, although I swallowed a bunch of salt water again being that I tried to catch my breath while I was still riding the wave in. I need to stop doing that. Couple Irish guys lent me their boogie board for awhile, too, and not to brag even more but I seemed to be the only one who was actually riding the waves all the way in proper like, beaching on the sand, although I saw one guy ride a wave diagonally like surfers do which I wasn't able to figure out how to do.
[insert picture of surfers at Bondi Beach here] [insert picture of Operah House here]
I wish I was staying in Sydney longer. It just seems like a great place to hang out for a good chunk of time. The weather has been terrific except for a brief spate of thunder and rain this afternoon at the Three Sisters but it was a welcomed summer feature which I had been missing in New Zealand. [Insert picture of Three Sisters here]
I saw more birds today. Some really cool birds. Big birds and dramatic flight pattern birds and brightly colored birds. Dunno why New Zealand is known for its birds. Much more cool birds to be seen in Sydney and environs in two days than in all of New Zealand for seven weeks. Oh, I know why, because New Zealand has nothing else going for it except pretty scenery. There are no land mammals to be enrigued by. I sorta feel like New Zealand is overrated but I think that's mostly because I went there with such lofty excpectations of what it would be like. I actually have no perspective on my travels and the places I've been to right now as far as how my experience of New Zealand and now my experience of Sydney and Australia go. It's kinda weird; I'm curious to what I'm gonna think of all this in a few months or a year. It's been such a whirlwind of varied sights, sounds and people. I think if I was travelling with a friend it would be much different. Definiately glad I went solo. I think it allows for a much richer experience.
Sorry for the lack of pix - hopefully soon I'll be able to upload.