You know when you're younger you always get asked the same question. Besides, "what do you want to be when you grow up?", or "when was the last time you changed your underwear?", it seems like everyone is always interested in, "if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?". Australia. Always and forever it has been Australia. Except for a short stint in third grade where I thought an African safari would be pretty rad. And then I figured I would probably get eaten by a lion. So it was back to Australia by default. And then Finding Nemo came out and it sealed the deal. So pretty much that first step off the plane was when all of my wildest childhood dreams came true (except the dream where we won the Disneyland contest we entered in at Hardees). And Sydney sure did not disappoint. With her endless blue skies, golden sand beaches, New York City vibe and the ever photogenic Opera House. I love my kids, but I loved the chance to just wander the streets without complaints of tired legs, or searching for a potty, or lugging around a pantry full of food in my purse. Melissa and I just drank up the sights, inhaled the smells and ate our way through the city. We pounded that pavement until our feet were blistered and bleeding and then fell exhausted at the end of the day into the crisp white sheets or our luxury downtown hotel in the heart of it all. It was fabulous. Every single bit of it. Except there were no wild kangaroos hopping around like they did in my childhood fantasies. I guess you just can't win 'em all.
We took the ferry over to Manly Beach. It was a gorgeous ride through the harbor, admiring the coastal mansions and nudist beaches. Thankfully those were just out of eyesight. We just so happened to be there during the big Gay Pride festival and met some new friends on the ferry boat who assumed we were there together celebrating the festival. We got asked that a lot. We also saw some people parasailing and considered it for a hot second until our friends casually commented on Manly harbor being one of the most popular shark hang outs. Instead we opted to just lay out and soak up the sun then lazily stroll through the charming streets before grabbing some lunch at a streetside cafe. If that sounds perfect, it's because it was.
See that middle climber. He looks like he's about to kill over. That would have been me.
We strolled (because "strolled" sounds much more fabulous than "walked") through the Rocks district. It had me at hello with it's cobblestone streets, brightly painted doors and charming cafes.
We hit the Chinese night market. I was all guns blazing ready to see some scorpions on a stick and fried spiders, just like one would expect a decent Chinese night market to have. Instead it was all bejeweled iphone cases, Hello Kitty footwear and knock off designer sunglasses. La-aaame. But there was a cool vibe and a warm glow in the air.
And then we (meaning me) had our (my) heart set on this homemade noodle shop that I was certain would be just like THE best homemade noodle shop in New York's chinatown with it's hand pulled and hand shaved noodles that we craved all day errry day while we were there. We spent more time than I'd like to admit weaving through dark alleys and keeping our heads down while speed walking past the drunk lunatics, but we eventually found it. We were immediately ushered into the closet sized restaurant and seated at the same table next to strangers. We ordered our food then waited while we went through our second set of tablemates who got served long after we had ordered our food. I finally went up to the register a little annoyed to ask about our order, which she said was the next one up. Only then did I see the sign saying "cash only". Which we didn't have cash. And so we hid our tails between our legs as we did the scurry of shame out of there with a trail of Chinese curse words following closely behind. Ahhhh....such fond memories. And the party was only beginning.