First of all, oops. This post is embarrassingly late. So I will lie on the published date and put when it was actually meant to have been posted (the delay mostly due to waiting for pictures – photo creds to Kiwi for this post).
Sydney’s good. I’ll refrain from complaining about the cooling weather, as I did enough boasting about the summer heat when most of the people I know were freezing somewhere a long way north of the Equator. Onward past the weather and on to the updates!
Work is work. With the current mix of almost equal parts of screaming children and drunken Aussies (which are really not that different, when it comes down to it), I am beginning the slow search-for-a-job process. Again. The appeal of having evenings and weekends off to spend time with most of the people I know who have evenings and weekends off is huge, so that’s the goal. As with the hospitality industry anywhere in the world, hours are never guaranteed and my two jobs that left me shattered after a 55 hour week around the time of the last post barely managed to scrape together 35 hours last week, so cash flow is something of a concern as well. As much of a creature of routine I am not, consistent income is a nice thing.
Speaking of cash, I recently plunked a rather reasonable amount down (think a one-way flight from Calgary to Toronto) on round-trip tickets to Auckland to visit Kiwi’s homeland and entire family for a weekend. All of the normal meet-the-parents feelings are going into this, not lessened much by the fact that we’re still pretty new at this as well. But an exciting weekend is sure to be had north of Auckland at a favourite family spot called Taupo Bay, where I’m assured boating and diving and fun things will occur.
In the meantime, fun things have been occurring here. In our limited coinciding hours off from work, we have managed a couple of excellent activities. These seem to have left me covered in scrapes and bruises, but are fun nonetheless. I had my first indoor rock climbing experience about a week and a half ago, which was actually much more enjoyable than I was expecting. While upper-body strength has never been something I’ve possessed, the key to climbing is to actually use your legs more than anything (which is a bit tricky to do in the beginning, as you want to pull yourself up to where you are looking), but I definitely got better the more I did and am keen to go again soon. I think it may become a regular Monday night activity. We also had a housemate outing to the concrete Esplanade that goes from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay in the city. One of us (well, to be honest, not me) would ride a bike with a strap attached to the back of it while another of us (this time, including me) would hold on to the strap and get pulled along on a skateboard behind the bike. I don’t skateboard. In fact, I somewhat recently crashed into a woman near the Opera House on this exact skateboard. However, practice makes perfect, so off I went. After a reasonably successful couple of rides, the speed of this game increased, and with it came me crashing headlong into a fence. With any sort of skills I could have avoided this fence and/or stopped, but it was like watching an accident in slow motion: I saw it happening, but there was nothing I could do about it. I probably should have just jumped off of the board, but didn’t manage to make that happen, so the board hit the massive concrete base of the fence first, then my body hit the fence at full tilt, then I fell and rolled onto the ground, and somehow managed all of this with only a minor bruise on my elbow. Back on the board, and first things first: stopping lessons. I thought I had learnt the lesson about learning to stop after my last incident, but apparently not.
The best adventure has definitely been a trip to the Blue Mountains. I visited them on my first go-around in Sydney, and spent about three days in Katoomba and the surrounding area. This time we had the luxury of a car and sort-of locals who knew that the area around Katoomba, though beautiful, is full of tourists and other fun-killers such as fences, so we headed off to a spot close to Blackheath called Hanging Rock. Aptly named.
Our thoughtful roommate had brought along a few beer and we had a lovely, if slightly terrifying, moment hanging out (ha!) on the end of the rock, drink in hand. With only another couple for company in the entire area (who were nice enough to snap a few shots of us on the rock), this was definitely a much different experience than the tourist stops of The Three Sisters and surrounding sights around Katoomba. And by different, I essentially mean better. Being in a place with such incredible views and general senerity is definitely enhanced when you are not in the company of 45 shutter-clicking buddies.