Apr 30, 2015

Brisbane -> Adelaide: Part 2

Sydney (and the drive down the coast):

Picking up our rental car, Nick and I sized it up immediately for sleeping comfort. As sleeping in cars goes, I was wishing for our great little New Zealand camper, but this one seemed decent enough. We slept in it that night just off a beach on our way down to Byron Bay. The sky was still dark, but a grey instead of black when Nick gently shook me awake. "The sun rises is 8 minutes, do you want to go to the beach and watch it?!" I groggily declined. I have seen sunsets plenty, but sun rise has never really been a draw for me. Nick seemed happy to have gone out there for it though, and even went for a run along the beach after. (I also declined that invitation.)

Byron Bay was great, we met lots of people, went to the beach, ate conveyor belt sushi, and visited a lighthouse at the eastern most point of Australia.

There was a nice beach, cool restaurants and bars, and the window shopping was fun too in such a vibrant town (although everything was cost prohibitive).

Hanging out on the sandbar.

But my favorite memory was walking around the town one night, eating gelato and wandering vaguely toward the beach when we came across a man who had set up a telescope by the sidewalk. As Nick peered through the eyepiece, the man pointed up and with my naked eye saw a very bright point. It seemed too bright to be a star, so I asked him if it was a planet, Venus, maybe. He smiled, "Jupiter, with all 4 moons visible!" I took my turn at the telescope and sure enough, all 4 moons were there around the large planet. It was amazing. I was transported back to my childhood when my dad would set up his telescope and we would stargaze together. My emotions were quite fragile from that surge of memory, and I almost cried, but the night moved on and I got a hold of myself before we got back to the backpackers to hang out with our roommates.

One of our roommates, Ash, was kind enough to help me with a collection that I've been making here in Australia. I present: "The Signs You See in Australia" - a work in progress.

We see this one all the time!

Lots of signs for them, haven't seen one yet, though.

This horse looks like a Dressage horse to me.


Courtesy of Ash, our Byron Bay roommate. Haven't seen this sign myself (yet.)

After Byron bay we had a couple more days with the car to get down to Sydney. We puttered our way down there, staying another night in the car and then at a hotel which had the most haunted feel of anywhere I've ever stayed.

I guess they agree, because this was their picture on a poster for a ghost tour.

Sydney was fantastic! We had an appointment with the Australian office of World Education, known here primarily as Good Return. We were able to be in town for their monthly progress meeting, and were kindly invited to join them as they gave updates and showed photographs from their current projects. Everyone at the office was kind and encouraging, and it was a pleasure to meet all of them. The program director there who is actually based in Melbourne even offered us a place to stay in our next city!!

The Good Return team :)

We stayed most of the time in Sydney with Sage, a woman we had met in the Sunshine Coast. She was a wonderful hostess, and a pleasure to spend time with in Sydney. We went to a few beaches, wandered around the city, and of course saw the Sydney Opera House.

I think the premier of the new season of Game of Thrones was happening that night, because the opera house was being guarded by a fearsome dragon. I want to make some sort of connection with House Targaryen and Sydney Opera House, but Nick said people might not get it.

Because we will have a wedding to go to in Melbourne, Nick and I went to a Salvation Army here and kitted ourselves out with some nice clothes to wear. We got to wear them out in Sydney as well, and for the first time in a while I actually felt well dressed.

An absinthe bar in Sydney with a friend of Nick's from grad school.

One evening as I was preparing to go to bed, I pushed back my chair from a table and stood up, forgetting that I had moved our laptop out of the way by putting it under my chair. I stood up and felt a crunch under my foot, and immediately knew what had happened. I was pretty upset at myself, but Nick was very understanding. We've ordered a new screen and he'll try his hand at replacing this when we get to Darwin.

Stay tuned for next time, in which Nick and Elizabeth attend a wedding!

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