A Travellerspoint blog

Sydney

sunny

So I'm obviously even further behind than usual, as I was in Sydney almost a month ago. Here's me harassing you to subscribe to this blog already: SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG ALREADY! I can't believe there's only a month from tomorrow until I will be on my way back to Boston.
Anyway, Sydney. So, we arrived in Sydney with the wonderful luxury of free accommodation from my friend from high school, Chris. He has an amazing job with amazing perks such as his amazing apartment in this amazing city. He met up with us on his lunch break, so we were on our own to tour the town while he finished up for the day. We spent what was left of it wandering China Town and looking at a beautiful bombardment of trinkets in various shops. Here's Alex, Coree, and myself on the way into China Town.
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And here's me, Coree, and Lindsay outside a store with a very strange product offering. Lindsay was really into the big ugly bear in the window.
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That night, Coree, Chris, Matt (who was also in Sydney staying in a local hostel with some other "Bondies"), and myself had tickets for the opera. Yes, THE Sydney Opera House opera... to see Carmen, one of the only operas I am even remotely familiar with, and also one of the most famous. Here's me, outside Chris's apartment, on our way to the Opera House.
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Chris was still at work at this point, and through a number of miscommunications, misunderstandings, and delays, we ended up not being able to meet him before the show, running to Matt's hostel, sprinting to meet a cab, and begging him to drive faster as the minutes ticked by. Poor Chris was waiting for us with the tickets (which were $100 a piece-- all fronted by him), helplessly watching the time go by. When the cab driver finally dropped us off I ran in to meet him while Coree and Matt paid. We made it to our seats literally SECONDS before they dimmed the lights-- lucky, since there is absolutely NO late seating. They are VERY strict.
Needless to say, the opera was amazing even in spite of my atrocious French and nearly all of the jokes going over my head. The music was phenomenal, although "sing snob" that I am, I wasn't in love with Carmen's voice-- everyone else was incredible. There was even a live horse and donkey making various appearances on stage...
Here's the flyer for the show:
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As you can see, they're also performing La Boheme (which is the story upon which RENT is loosely based)-- too bad I can't see them all!!! I took an illegal photo of the theater where the opera was performed:
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It's small because there are actually a number of theaters in the Opera House. The pit was beneath the stage, which was cool, but sad because I couldn't see the percussion section. *sigh.* Here's a shot of Coree and I in the foyer area after the show:
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The view of the park and Sydney from the steps of the Opera House:
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The Opera House from the steps:
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The harbor, where Nemo's daddy is only moments from finding little Nemo! There happened to be a gigantic boat that night, which was so pretty...
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The bridge, beneath which you can still see the lights from the fair grounds.
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Afterward, Chris had almost forgiven us for being so absurdly late, and we were ready to go out on the town. Coree had a bizarre obsession with going to a bar called "Minus 5," which was an ice bar not far from the Opera House. It ended up being $30 for half an hour in the bar and one cocktail. Here we are in our Minus 5 gear...
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We took some illegal photos inside after downing our $30 cocktails (which had about one droplet of alcohol each, but were delicious).
La Tour Eiffel:
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The Sydney Opera House:
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Seahorse!
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As you can see, most of the sculptures were actually melting in spite of the temperature. They didn't even put music on until we had already spent ten minutes inside. We decided that we had pretty much paid $30 to be cold for half an hour and drink non-alcoholic beverages from cups made of ice. Here I am freezing my tush off:
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Me, Matt, and Coree dancing, after they finally turned the music on:
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This picture actually makes the place look way cooler than it was. When you were inside you could see that it was actually low-budget and other than ice, the ugliest room in the world. I'm pretty sure we ended up leaving before the half hour was up because we were the only ones there and we were freezing. We went to the bar downstairs, which was super swank, and ended up getting a pretty little table area. Coree took this picture of Matt, me, and Chris:
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Coree and I had a silly little photo shoot. Here are some highlights:
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Afterward, we met up with some of the other Bondies at a night club in Darling Harbor. There were a significant number of us that weekend because of the Gay Mardi Gras festivities that Saturday. Here's Matt, Coree, me, Matt and Chris on the deck, which was heated for some ridiculous reason, but had a great view of the harbor.
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You can see a bit of the harbor in this picture of Chris and I, catching up (we hadn't seen each other since my 21st birthday, over a year before!):
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Afterward, we had an extremely silly photo shoot in the totally random king and queen chairs in one part of the club:
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Chris had a bizarre fascination with this statue:
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Which Coree and I later imitated, prolonging the silliness:
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We ended up taking a late-night McDonald's run, to what was apparently the fanciest McDonald's in the world.
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The next morning Chris had to work again, so Coree, Alex, Lindsay and I went off on our own again. We got breakfast at this delicious cafe, which was mere steps from Chris's apartment. Coree took this beautiful picture of their beautiful yogurt:
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We wandered off to find somewhere to eat, and stumbled upon this park, where Coree took this silly picture of us, which apparently the men on the other bench thought was extremely silly, too:
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We decided to go to this building, the name of which I can't remember, to get a view of Sydney from above:
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Coree took this picture of the monorail tracks on the way. We never took the monorail, but it was pretty sweet looking, nevertheless.
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We met up with the Matts, and bought our tickets for the OzTrek, which was a silly little box ride hosted by a man with the most Outback accent you ever heard in your life. Here we are, waiting to go inside:
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Me, being ridiculous, on the way in:
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After the stupid ride was finally over, we got to go to the top of the _____ *insert title here* building...
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We took a ton of pictures from the top, so many that these are in absolutely no order, and I'm not sure if I know what they all are, but I'm going to take a stab at it. This one is the Opera House from above/behind. You can see the Sydney Harbor just beyond it through the buildings:
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Slightly clockwise around the building, harbor more visible;
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Continuing clockwise, another shot of the harbor:
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Counterclockwise from the first shot of the Opera House, here is a view of the bridge that crosses the harbor:
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This is where it gets fuzzy. I think this is Darling Harbor, where we spent the previous night at the night club, and I think it is a bit further counterclockwise from the shot of the bridge:
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Continuing counter-clockwise around the building:
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Downtown Sydney:
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The park:
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A couple more shots of the harbor:
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The Olympic stadium:
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Another shot of the park, with a view of the beautiful church which overlooks it:
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Posted by mintleaf37 02:31 Archived in Australia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Cairns

White Water, Blue Water, Falling Water

The time has finally come where I have found a viable excuse for the huge lapses in time between my experiences and my postings-- midterms. Yesterday I took my Drugs and Behavior test and today I took my Love, Sex, and Relationships test. It feels great to finally be able to relax, especially since Tuesday is like Friday in Australia. If you've been regularly reading my blog, you should definitely consider subscribing to it so you can find out when I post new stuff and also so that I feel cool.
Anyway, Cairns. After two buses and a plane, I found myself in the warmest and most humid weather imaginable, on my way to the hostel with a few other Bond Uni kids, only one of whom I knew. The hostel was really cool- the girls on the trip apparently had extremely unrealistic expectations about hostel stays and complained constantly, but loved it! It was called the "Calypso" and was tiki themed, complete with torches and palm trees. I took way too many pictures in Cairns, so I'm going to do less explaining and more showing on this entry since I've already spent a solid two hours uploading the pictures. Please note that they are of an extremely reduced quality on this blog thinger-- I'll try to get them on Facebook soon. Here's our fabulous hostel:
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and our room, complete with Pocahontas sheets:
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and the path outside our room, complete with palm trees:
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Not that we did any laundry, but I thought the laundry area was cool. I obviously took WAY too many pictures in Cairns.
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The path to the other Bond kid's rooms. I ended up switching later on in the week to one of these rooms:
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The Zanzibar, where we actually did hang out and meet some English, Swedish, Australian, and German kids, despite our fatigue after intense daily activities:
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A pretty hydrangea-esque bush outside the hostel:
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A crazy looking bug we found outside the hostel!
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After the first night, we woke up early to take a bus to the Tully river for some white water rafting. Here's a shot of the river from one of our stops along the way:
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Danyell and I, suited up for some serious rafting:
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We stopped on the bank for lunch, and one of the raft guides told us to hold a hot dog over this one area and this disgusting eel came out!
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Later, our friends the snapping turtles came to have a bite:
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Afterward, they convinced us to spend wayyyy too much on a picture cd. I've included my favorite shots from it:
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backwards...
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This next sequence is hilarious:
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Mauricio, our hilarious Chilean raft guide, making sure we got wet enough:
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On day two we took a boat out onto the Great Barrier Reef for some snorkeling. Here's a shot of our boat:
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And a couple of nice views from the boat:
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Danielle and I relaxing on the front of the boat:
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I bought a cheap underwater disposable to take pictures of the reef. I also bought an underwater camera, but managed to ruin all the film from that one, so this is all I got! The reef is the most beautiful piece of art I have ever seen. These photos don't even remotely do it justice- the colors are all wrong. In real life they are much more neon and bright pastels, and the shapes are more vivid. Regardless, I'm glad I have these to remind me. Here's a shot of a reef shark, that scared me a bit when I first saw it!
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Rainbow fish!
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I found Nemo!
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Crazy corals:
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A school of bright fish...
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The coral is so beautiful, I can't even explain.
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Cool fishie:
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More stunning corals:
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Another bright fishie I followed around for a bit:
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SO PRETTY!
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Another cool school that came to see me:
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Crazy bulbous coral things:
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Some neon purple corals and the brainy guys:
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Ahhh... it was the most beautiful thing ever.
The next day was out rain forest and waterfall tour. Before heading into the jungle, we stopped at a beautiful overpass to get a view of the countryside.
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We stopped outside a rain forest trail to a famous gigantic fig tree. On the trail, Don revealed that he had some unkind assistance with his sunscreen:
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This tree is called "wait-a-while," because the long, spiky tendrils actually grab you and force you to stay:
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Here are all the girls inside the fig tree:
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It's all viney like that because the fig tree actually grows around a host tree, strangling it. Here's a shot one of the tree from beneath:
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The crazy vines that make the tree:
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I took a couple of shots with my Minolta, as well, as I'm trying to actually learn how to use the thing. I decided to get digital copies this time because they're just a bit more practical sometimes...
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The jungle:
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"The Wallaby," our bus:
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Afterward, we drove off to another location-- a jungle with a huge crater-made lake nearby. This is the gorgeous walk down to the lake:
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The lake:
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Trying to take pictures of butterflies=very difficult. You can just barely see one in the middle of the shot, but they are so vibrant green and blue that I had to try!
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Back into the jungle... Here are two gigantic trees- I can't remember the name, but they are special because they actually shed bark when something tries to invade.
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Some crazy fungus:
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Cool lizard guy!
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Another rain forest shot:
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View of the lake from the path:
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We got these ridiculously persistent leaches all over our bodies, which was great. Ask me for a video of the writhing little creeps:
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more fungus...
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cool-looking plant that, according to our tour guide, like everything else in the jungle, will probably kill you:
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More interesting plant life...
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Apparently trees with "buttress roots" (the kind that wing out like buttresses) are found only in the jungle. It helps them obtain nutrients from the surface level of the soil, where they are found.
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The path continued back to the lake...
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Where we swam and jumped off things:
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After that we went to this absolutely stunning waterfall, Milaa-Milaa.
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More Minolta attempts:
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Some Salvia on the path:
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Pretty flowers...
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The path to the falls...
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Danyell and I under the falls...
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The group, trying to rally and take pictures... in the rain. Our super eccentric tour guide is on the right.
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After that we took off in the bus to another path through the jungle. I thought these exposed roots were interesting; sad that they represent erosion due to human invasion.
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This huge gorge- I couldn't take a picture of the whole thing at once:
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And again with the Minolta:
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A waterfall along the path:
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Slow shutter speed=pretty waterfall
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Back on the path... (think I took too many pictures?)
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Me in front of the next waterfall.
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We got out for a dip in this one. The fall farthest to the left (which you can see in the picture below because I'm not standing in front of it and making a stupid face) had a cave behind it- I almost died three times trying to swim through the current and falls to get to it. I lost my contacts. It was worth it.
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Finally, we got back on "The Wallaby," and took a ride back into the countryside to return to the hostel.
That night Danyell and I went bowling and then to a house party some locals were throwing, which was a fascinating experience and a lesson in assimilation. It was probably the first time since I've arrived not hanging out with a group that wasn't half American. A group of girls showed us their skills with this flaming baton dance, which I guess is really popular at festivals here. They asked us about American politics and sports and we tried to clear up stereotypes... Somehow we managed to find our way to the airport the next morning! What a vacation!

Posted by mintleaf37 20:50 Archived in Australia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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