I had a dream. I dreamed of a great beach, the waves crashing against the rocks, surfers showing off their new stunts while I jogged along a six kilometer trail as the seagulls called out my name. The jogging bit never actually happened, but going to Bondi beach sure did!
A childhood friend lives in Bondi. We’ve literally grown up together. From school to boys, make up to careers, we’ve discussed everything over the last 24 years. It was only after her constant messages to join WhatsApp did I actually take the plunge! I probably had a jogging dream because she has become such a workout-a-holic!
Having visited Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast this summer on work, I took some days off to jet set to Sydney. And it just so happens that a favourite cousin lives there with his lovely wife. So pretty much my trip was all set really!
I landed in Sydney early morning and took the subway into the main city. Now, with all its wonderful qualities, I fail to understand why authorities would go out of their way to make it tourist unfriendly. There’s nothing called a daily or weekly pass with which you can travel the city. If you buy one of those passes, you would have to specify the distance and so, your ticket would not be valid if you decide to get down at the next stop. Nevertheless, it didn’t deter me. I was in Sydney for god’s sake!
This time I transformed into a complete tourist. Atreyi (my cousin’s wife) and I went for long walks on the Harbour Bridge but not before trying to walk on the cyclists’ path first! The Opera House is so much bigger than you imagine really. And the seagulls, they somehow don’t like us much. They attacked us as we were digging into our fish and chips! Get this, just us, not anyone else eating with gusto the same fish and chips!
Then, I visited Minnie at Bondi. Oh my god, I fell in love with the beach! Well, the eye candy isn’t so bad either, just saying! The beach is gorgeous. It was still cold when I visited so a swim was out of the question. But just walking along the sand, the jogging trail, sipping coffee looking over the beach… it’s a different experience altogether. You must visit Bondi if you ever find yourself in Sydney.
Now, I visited on the weekdays. We crib in Delhi how everything shuts by 11-12 and there’s no place you can go for a late night drink, but guess what. People are asleep by 10 there so shops shut at 6! The only place which caters to ‘late eater’ would be Darling Harbour which my friend Daniel took me to. Funny story how we met – on the train to Padua from Milan. He offered to help us with the backpacks and then, we spent the day together in Venice. He’s wonderful really.
Now let me warn you dieters, Australia is not a place to be in if losing weight is your goal. I love my meat but even for vegetarians, the food is so delicious that you end up eating more than your tummy can hold! The health conscious Aussies are really big on fresh produce and quality meat. If you like cooking, you won’t leave a grocers shop while your eyes light up looking at the fresh food for sale. No wonder television producers back home have suddenly gone big on Australian cooking shows. Matt, Gary and George have become household names while Boys’ Weekend, Masterchef Australia and My Kitchen Rules have thousands of Indian viewers. (No worries, I got to cook salmon, prawns in chilli-butter and a plum tomato salad for my cousins one evening)
It’ been a few months and I still haven’t managed to lose the extra pounds I packed on there, but I can’t wait to go back. Especially since Minnie and Atreyi have bonded and keeps sending me pictures on WhatsApp to make me jealous! Don’t worry Australia, I’ll be back soon, and that’s a promise.
PS: Don’t be under the impression that Australia is cheap. It’s not. It’s one of the most expensive continents I’ve been to. To give you an average idea, a fish and chips meal would be nothing short of A$12 while a Darling Harbour dinner would come to A$50 ahead. While transport in Sydney via subs is not very expensive, commuting to the airports will pinch your pockets by an extra A$10-12 dollars over the regular fare.