Woke up early, breakfast and then met up with some new and older friends for a trip to the beach. Eight of us, took two cabs to the famous Bondi Beach.
I don’t think I’ve been to such a fabulous beach before, apparently it’s supposed to be one of the 10 best beaches in the world. Not that I know how they figure that sort of thing out. About a kilometre long, 100-150 m. wide and squeaky clean, no trash floating around. The sea was also incredibly clean, especially since the beach is pretty central in a big city. They have loads of beaches in Sydney, it’s one of the things I really like about the city.
The sand was just a bit cold, air temperature was only about 17°C this early in the morning (and fairly late autumn too) but I sure prefer cold to too hot, can’t stand burning my feet on hot and dry sand.
The water was great, not very warm, maybe about the same temp as an Italian swimming pool (Icelandic swimming pools are way warmer), just a bit cold to dive in but one got used to it at once.
Anna, a local woman who had something to do with the festival (don’t quite know what) came and helped us, loaned us a couple of surfboards and taught us to ride the waves a bit. Some of us managed better than others… I didn’t get to try the big board because about an hour into our beach trip Anna had an accident – actually she was really lucky that two of our friends noticed in time that she had gotten mixed up in the ropes on the board and helped her. Who knows how it might have gone – she got a small concussion on her head and was pretty disoriented in the water. Whew! Fortunately she felt much better after a short while, but didn’t feel like going into the water again that morning. Anyway, I still haven’t tried a proper board. Later, hopefully.
a few from the group heading into the waves.
The beach got a tiny minus point for ice cream that didn’t really taste of anything, but after that we went back to the hotel in another taxi with most of the group. The others were heading back to other parts of the world but we were going to a concert. Said farewell to our friends, didn’t envy my Icelandic friend of flying home, we didn’t even know if his flights to and from London would go, our not so beloved volcano was acting up. You don’t really want to be stuck in Abu Dhabi, no you don’t! (well, I’d actually very much like to visit that part of the world but apparently it’s really expensive). Anyway, Eyjafjallajökull (Aya-fyad-la-yo-kudl) had a week to quiet down before we were supposed to fly home so we decided not to worry too much about that.
The concert bus, an old rattletrap we had been riding in all week, took off from the hotel at 13:00 in lovely weather. The temperature was by then about 23°C (74°F), quite nice and sunny. Took about an hour to drive to the Blue Mountains, there we came closest to seeing kangaroos until then (some street signs warning about kangaroo passing). No live ones though.
This was the concert I had looked forward to the most, (well, except for my own one of course), Sydney Chamber Choir, singing a very exciting programme.
Loved the organ.
I wasn’t disappointed either, a brilliant concert. Decided to try to get the music and a recording of one of the pieces, by Australian Ross Edwards. Sure I could find it in Australia’s Music Information Centre.
In the intermission we started talking to some people we hadn’t met before. They turned out to be extremely nice (as almost all the Australians we had met, actually), when we talked about wanting to visit the mountains properly they invited us to come later in the week for a tourist day up high. We’d just have to take the train there. Of course we said yes please! and got their telephone number and email address to be in touch when we got back to Sydney.
Back to the hotel, both fell asleep on the bus. They say it takes a day per hour to get rid of the jet lag. According to that, most of the festival guests didn’t manage to turn the day around at all, we not until on the Thursday in our latter week.
Out for dinner, decided to not go very far from the hotel. About 50 metres away from the hotel entrance we found a Korean restaurant with the dish Dolson Bibimbap on the menu. I just HAD to try that – had only seen that dish on the Facebook game Restaurant City and it sounded really exciting. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to photograph the dish until after it was stirred together, when it comes to the table it’s really colourful, all the meat and vegetables separate in the bowl with an egg yolk in the centre but then it’s stirred with a tablespoon or two of a red spicy sauce and looks less fancy. Excellent meal.
Jón ordered a dish called Sewoo Bokkumbap but that was much less fancy, fried rice with veggies and shrimp. Tasted very good too. We had also gotten some appetizers in small bowls but the service was so fast that we weren’t even close to be able to finish those before the main courses were on the table.
Back to hotel, relaxing after a long day. Jón went out to see if he could find a sports bar that showed Formula 1 but no go. Found a big bar with 2 gigascreens but one of them was showing bike racing and the other Australian rugby. Bought one day of hotel net instead so he could follow the race live on a site that shows statistics and Twitter-like comments on the race – and so that I could get on the net a bit, afterwards too.
Formula 1 fan in action.
I suppose most of us know the feeling to be tired but not sleepy. The other way round – sleepy but not tired feels weird, though. Rather nice actually, at least when you can allow yourself to fall asleep. Not so at some of the concerts in the week before, I really didn’t want to fall asleep but there was totally nothing I could do about it. Just like somebody pushes a button and bang – you’re asleep.