Cape Town Recap: Better late than never

Yep, it’s June. And, we are just getting around to completing our Cape Town blog. We have thoroughly enjoyed reliving our trip but I’m sure that we’re going to miss some fun details.

One Last Night Down Under

We had one more night in Sydney before we left Oz for South Africa. As Chris mentioned in an earlier post, I had been looking forward to staying at the Park Hyatt in Sydney which they were renovating. We had originally planned to stay there during our entire Sydney trip but they didn’t quite finish the renovations in time. They did, however, finish enough of the construction that they were able to open in time for us to spend our last night there – in luxury. We had one more meal at Pancakes on the Rocks (Chris’s pick, of course). Our best meal was at the hotel for dinner. Scrumptious.

**Chris Note**  Krystal was so eager to stay in this hotel, that when we checked in, there was a note on our reservation to contact the manager immediately, so that she could come and greet us.  And, Krystal had corresponded with her so many times that she greeted Krystal with a hug.  Not common in luxury hotels!  Another perk to being a “special guest” is that we received a complementary bottle of great champagne before dinner.  And, then after dinner, the same manager had arranged for us to have a “dessert tasting menu”.  That’s right.  EVERY DESSERT ON THE MENU!!    It was sooooo decadent.   **/Chris Note**

The view of the Sydney Opera House from our hotel room – complete with fireworks and a full moon. So sickeningly romantic.

Gotham Sydney….another view from our room.

Cape Town!!!

We flew Qantas from Sydney to South Africa. If you ever get the chance to spend some time in the Qantas First Class lounge, DO IT. You can get FREE SPA TREATMENTS. Of course, I didn’t find this out until 30 minutes before we had to leave. My big regret of the trip. I’m still pissed about this. Oh well. Next time!

Qantas flight was great. Not Cathay Pacific great but probably in the top four of first class travel on this trip. Our experience at the Johannesburg airport was…interesting. Total culture shock.  It was just large and hectic.  And, every person who approached offering “help” was just trying to get some cash money from you.

We finally made it to Cape Town after a long, exhausting day of travel. Luckily, we were upgraded to a suite but this Hilton hotel wasn’t the best in the world. But, it was free so I won’t complain much.

**Chris Note**  It was actually a very nice suite in a very nice Hilton, with what we would later discover was a fantastic view of Table Mountain.  When we arrived, we discovered that there was a wet spot on the mattress.  After being incredibly confused and disgusted, we determined that they may have spilled a vase of water on the bed when they were covering it in rose petals. It was after midnight, so housekeeping came and flipped the mattress and got us dry bedding.  The next day, they replaced the mattress.**/Chris Note**

Day One:

Our first view in the morning was of Table Mountain. It was a beautiful sight.

The view from our hotel suite!

The hotel is located in the city center about 15 minutes away from the famous Waterfront. The hotel provided a free shuttle so we hopped on to check out the Waterfront.

The Waterfront is a great place to hang out. Lots of shopping and restaurants on the water. My friend, Jan Richards, recommended a place to have a beer called Den Anker. We had lunch there and enjoyed some delicious (and STRONG!) Belgian Trappist beers.

Robben Island is the location where they kept prisoners during apartheid. Pre-Apartheid, the island was used as a leper colony and then later a maximum security prison for violent criminals.  But, from the time of Apartheid, it was primarily used to house political prisoners.  This is where Nelson Mandela was held. It was quite the sobering, moving experience.

**Chris Note**  This was a HEAVY experience.  Our guide was a former political prisoner.  His eyes were damaged from working in the quarries in the sun, with no shade and no protective clothing.  Even in this political prison, there was an added layer of discrimination against blacks.  There were two classes of prisoner:  Coloreds and Blacks.  Coloreds were typically of mixed and/or Asian heritage.  Coloreds received long pants, jackets, hats, and gloves.  Blacks worked in the quarries (digging by hand, no tools) in shorts, t-shirts, no shoes, and no gloves.  They were ALL crippled by the experience.  The chart below indicates the different diet considerations for the two classes of prisoner.  As you can see, blacks were even denied access to healthy food and were fed significantly less than other prisoners.

Nelson Mandela’s cell

Our guide. This was one of the large common cells where many men would spend their time when they weren’t working in the quarries. The windows had bars but no glass. They were exposed to the extremes of the weather. Rain, wind, cold…

It was really heartbreaking to be so face-to-face with the worst of human indecency.  My heart hurt so badly for what those men must’ve gone through.  What’s remarkable is that these prisoners, led by the example of Nelson Mandala, worked side-by-side with their former prison guards (who they also saw as “victims” of Apartheid) to end Apartheid and begin the unified healing of their nation.   Again, this was HEAVY SHIT.  **/Chris Note**

Day Two:

We took a private tour down the peninsula to Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.   It was a lot of fun.  Our German tour guide, Helmut, was quite knowledgeable about Cape Town and the S. African peninsula.  Our first stop was for a ferry ride to Seal Island.  This isn’t the Seal Island that’s famous for the flying Great White Sharks, though we would see that Island from shore later in the tour.   This was another island where seals gathered.  It was a pretty cool sight!  From there, we set out for the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, which are both in a protected National Park.  It was hard not to imagine the tacky resort hotels and other commercial development that would exist here if not for the protections.  Not to mention the wildlife and other resources that would be plundered.  It’s nice that reasonable people still see value in protecting these things.   The Cape of Good Hope is not actually the southernmost tip of the African continent.  That’s a point several hundred Kilometers away.  The Cape of Good Hope is the southEASTERNmost tip of Africa.  We climbed a steep path up the side of a mountain to the light house.  The views were incredible!

Shark food!

Beautiful views!

While we were in the national park, we saw a couple of families of baboons.  These animals are supposed to be pretty dangerous if you’ve got food.  It’s best to not bring food out in the open.  And, if you do, and a baboon approaches, your best bet is to give up your food.  We saw these baboon families from the car.  But, it was really cool to see them approach us.  They were quite curious.  And, they had baboon babies!  We also saw cormorants.  Previously, the only cormorants we had seen were the flightless variety in Galapagos that had evolved to have no use for flying.  These S. African cormorants flew quite gracefully!  Score another one for Darwin and evolution!

Can’t get this monkey off my back!

Lots of baboons!

On the drive back up the coast on the other side of the peninsula, we stopped at a penguin colony.  Penguins are pretty much Chris’s favorite animal.  So, this was quite exciting.  We had swam with penguins in Galapagos.  But, this would be our first opportunity to witness a large colony on land.  And, there were TONS OF THEM!!!  They were so cute!

How could anyone possibly resist the temptation to follow this sign?!?!

Chris is pretty happy to be hangin’ with PENGUINS!!

Well, hello!

So many penguins!!

Day Three:

We spent more time on the Waterfront to do some shopping. Then, before dusk, we took the tram to the top of Table Mountain and did a little hiking. We thought we could make it all the way to the highest peak before it got dark.  We didn’t quite make it.  It’s a little scary being out of screaming range of other humans, on top of a mountain, when it’s getting dark.  So, we turned back, leaving us enough time to get back to the populated area before it got dark.   We saw lots of cool stuff.  We saw some birds who were so comfortable with humans that it seemed that they were posing for photos.  We also saw a cloud come over the top of the mountain and then spill down the side of a cliff.  It was so cool!  Obviously the views were spectacular.  And, we saw another beautiful sunset.  We’ve had opportunities to see some of the most beautiful sunsets the world has to offer.  And, this one did not disappoint.

Clouds spilling down the side of a cliff.

On top of the world!

Hiking on top of Table Mountain.

Great view of Cape Town from Table Mountain.

The sunset!

Day Four:

Wineries!  We did a private winery tour.  Our guide, (can’t remember her name), was quite knowledgeable about the region and the different wineries.  We visited two of them and sampled some fantastic wines and cheeses.  Our guide also gave us a tour of a very nice little college town and schooled us on racial identity in South Africa.  We had a really good time on this wine tour.

 

Left Cape Town and spent one day/night in J-Burg. We didn’t really have time to leave the hotel and explore Johannesburg. But, it was alright.  We were so ready to get home after seven fun-filled weeks of travel.  We got a good night’s rest and prepared for the trip back to Norman.

– KB + CH collaboration

Journey Back to Reality

Four flights. Three connections. Twenty-three and a half hours of airplane time. Seven and a half hours of layover time. Thirty-one total travel hours. Then, HOME SWEEET HOME!

First thing that I’m going to do is cuddle Hermes on the couch. Second thing that I’m going to do is sleep in my own bed with Hermes.

These are some things that I haven’t done in the past seven weeks:

  • Drive
  • Pet a cat
  • Laundry
  • Wash dishes/load dishwasher
  • Make a bed
  • Shop for groceries
  • Cook a meal
  • Eat a home-cooked meal
  • Send/receive text messages
  • Check my voicemail
  • Count calories
  • Pilates, Turbo-Kick, Zumba, work out more than 45 minutes (only hit the gym twice!)

We had a fantastic time. It was truly the best trip of our lives. Better than I expected. We shared so many fun experiences and memories. Seven weeks is a long time to be away from our lives, routines, and normalcy. It’s something that we probably won’t be doing again for a long time.

All good things must come to an end.

– kb

P.S. We still need to blog about Cape Town. Need a better Internet connection than what we’ve had in South Africa. To be continued…

Cairns, Australia & The Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is a small coastal city on the far north edge of the east coast of Australia.  Our flight was delayed a little so we didn’t get in until after midnight.   We arrived too late to see The Great Barrier Reef from the plane.  And, we were both pretty tired.  So, we went right to bed.

The next day, we had our complimentary breakfast at the hotel in an empty restaurant.  We then walked around and explored the city a bit on foot.  Despite it’s relative lack of beaches (there are some, but they’re not the kinds of white sand beaches you want to spend the day at), it’s a total beach town.  It’s a very laid back quality of life.  As we walked around, we were kind of surprised at how few people were out and about in town. It seemed kind of dead.  Later that evening, when we went back out to get some dinner, we realized that it was dead during the day because nearly everyone in town goes out on boats during the day.   We had a good pizza and some good beers and called it a night so that we would get rested up before our big boat trip the next day.

We had to get up really early (by vacation standards) to get to our boat for our 2 day/1 night private charter to see the Great Barrier Reef.  We made it to the restaurant at 7am for breakfast.  This time, it wasn’t empty at all.  In fact, it was quite full!  Everyone was getting fueled up for a day of boating.  So, we grabbed some fruit and headed to the pier.  On the way, we saw several HUGE boats with dozens and dozens of people waiting to board.  Thankfully, we had saved enough money by booking our airline tickets with miles and our hotel rooms with points that we were able to splurge on a private charter for our trip to the reef.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Chantelle, who would be our snorkeling guide and first mate (and girlfriend) of our captain, Matt.  They called each other Channy and Matty.  They were both very nice and made our trip a lot of fun.  The boat ordinarily sleeps up to 12 passengers and 3 crew members.  So the boat was large for just the two of us and our two crew members.  But, I also can’t imagine that it would have been very comfortable with 12 people aboard.  It would have been quite cramped and uncomfortable.  I believe the boat to have been about 40′ long.  It was a sail boat.  But, it also had a quite capable engine to get us to the reef as quickly as possible.

Leaving the city in our wake. Headed out to sea.

One of very few pictures we took that actually features the boat.

Krystal takes over the controls!

It took about 3 hours to get to the inner reef.  The sea was fairly rough.  But, it was a nice ride with the wind blowing and cooling us off from the hot sun.  On the way out, Chantelle suggested that we should at least consider diving since we had already paid for the boat and it was stocked up with plenty of air tanks and gear that we could use for no additional charge.  We told her that we’d consider it.

The scuba gear

When we got to the reef, we wanted to get right in snorkeling.  We got suited up in “stinger suits,” which are funny looking blue suits that basically cover you from head to toe and protect you against jellyfish stings.  Chantelle took us to a great spot to see some beautiful parts of the reef and some exiting marine life.  The reef was beautiful.  It was quite similar to the “Japanese garden” reef that we had seen in Thailand except that it went on and on for what seemed like forever.  After a while, Chantelle went back to the boat to prepare lunch while Krystal and I got in a few more minutes of snorkeling.  Just as we were headed back to the boat, we saw a big beautiful sea turtle and followed him for a few minutes.  Turtles are so awkward on land.  But, in the sea, they’re graceful and really fun to watch.


We got back on board the boat to have lunch.  Chantelle prepared a lot of great food for us on this trip.  And, when we sat down to eat, she asked if we had made up our minds about diving.  Honestly, after seeing what we saw snorkeling, the decision to dive was a complete no-brainer.  So, we suited back up after lunch and got a quick refresher from Chantelle on SCUBA diving basics.  These would basically be “exploratory dives” with Chantelle, no deeper than 12 meters.  So, no certification was necessary.  As she was covering the basics of breathing, taking care of your ears, and clearing water from the mask, it all came back.  I remembered everything from our first diving experience in Thailand.  It’s actually quite simple.

With that, we were in the water and doing basic skills just below water, holding onto a rope, to demonstrate to Chantelle that we were ready to dive.  Krystal had a little trouble with getting water in her mask when clearing her ears.  But, after a few minutes, we were all fixed up and descending intro a beautiful undersea world that I couldn’t have possibly imagined.

We had mostly only ever snorkeled.  We did one discovery dive in Thailand.  But, it was short and we didn’t venture much deeper than snorkeling allows.  So, I had mostly only seen reefs from directly above and never in very deep water.  These reefs were like gorgeous underwater mountains!  There were “caves” and pass-throughs that were awe inspiring.  We swam through them and around every corner was another amazing surprise.  It was breathtaking.  I can only imagine that the only more exciting sensation might be floating in space!  We saw lots of interesting fish.  But, really, the star of the show is the reef itself.


We ended up doing two dives that afternoon.  By this point, I was more than hooked and already considering where we might go to complete our SCUBA certification.  We had a great dinner on the boat and were completely worn out and ready for bed by around 9:30.  Sleeping on the boat was easier than I assumed it would be.  The complete exhaustion probably helped.  The boat rocked around a bit.  But, it was actually kind of comforting to be rocked to sleep.

This little guy flew onto the boat that afternoon looking quite exhausted, or possibly wounded. Matt put him in a box with a couple of towels. I honestly didn't think he would survive the night. But, this pic was taken just before he was released the next morning. He flew away with no problem. I guess he just needed a rest!

Sunset on the Great Barrier Reef

The next morning, we got up and around pretty early.  We had some breakfast before getting into our dives for the day.  We had time to do two dives before stopping for lunch.  As we were finishing our second dive, two other divers surfaced at the back of our boat.  They were tired and out of air.  They were also lost and a pretty good distance from their boat.  It’s very lucky for them that we were there.  It would have been an emergency situation had they surfaced anywhere else.  Matt helped them aboard and got them out of their gear.  Then, he loaded them and their gear into our dinghy and took them back to their boat.  While he was gone and Chantelle was cooking lunch, Krystal and I saw some large grey flashes swim by under the boat.  Krystal grabbed a mask and jumped right in to investigate.  She surfaced and said that they were some big fish, similar to some that we had seen earlier.  I thought it would be interesting to see.  So, I grabbed a mask and jumped in.  As I surfaced, I saw that Krystal was swimming really fast for the ladder at the back of the boat.  I took a quick look and realized that I had jumped in directly on a decent sized jellyfish.  This was the first time I had been in the water without the stinger suit and I just happened to jump directly on a jellyfish.  Ooof.  I swam quickly for the boat.  I thought I had made it out without being stung.  But, after being on the boat for a few minutes, I realized that I had indeed been stung on my ankle.  It was a very small irritation.  The pain was tolerable and it healed fairly quickly in a few days.

I had been pretty terrified of sharks.  But, after realizing that there were no Great White sharks around the reef and that the only sharks we were likely to see were reef sharks, I ended up being actually a little disappointed that we didn’t see any.  But, knowing my luck (as proven by mr. jellyfish), if we had seen any, I would have probably lost some fingers or toes.  So, it’s probably better that we didn’t.

One of the only photos that exist of Chris scuba diving

Krystal waving for the camera

Krystal getting comfortable in the water before being released to swim on her own

underwater bonzai

One of the more sunny spots where the reef photos came in a little more clearly

Heading back to Cairns, we were able to turn the engine off and just sail on wind power most of the way.  I’m fascinated by sailing.  I love the mechanics of it all.   So, it was a fun and interesting trip home.  I got just a tiny bit of sunburn on the way back.  But, it was only in a small area on the top of my arm, and it healed up in a few days.

On the boat, headed back to Cairns

Krystal tans while Chris burns.

Returning to Cairns on wind power.

This was an amazing adventure, and a real highlight of the trip for me.  And, I’m absolutely hooked on diving.  I’m not gonna become one of “those guys”.  You won’t find the red SCUBA flag sticker on my van or anything.  And, honestly, it does a number on my ears.  It takes a day or two for my hearing to feel “normal” again.  So, I could only do it a couple of times a year.  But, since we often travel to the Caribbean for our anniversary trip, I can see a lot of cool dives in our future!

-CH

Brisbane in a flash

I admit. There was only one reason that I wanted to go to Brisbane. I wanted to cuddle a koala. In New South Wales, you can pet koalas but you can’t hold them. Brisbane is in Queensland where it’s still legal to hold a koala. I figured that the laws would catch up in Queensland eventually and this might be my only chance. I still got flack from Chris and others about making a special trip just to Brisbane for this reason.

View from hotel room. Another Hilton. Ugh.

We arrived in Brisbane on a Wednesday afternoon and left late on Thursday night. Very short trip. We didn’t have much time to do much. The first day/night we walked around the area surrounding our hotel (Hilton) and had dinner at Italian restaurant at the Eagle Pier which overlooks their famous bridge. Dinner was meh.

Brisbane's Story Bridge

Thursday morning, we headed to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for the koala cuddle! I was excited. Chris was appeasing me. But, we saw more than just koalas.

Me and Otto. He's so cute!! But, he's not as soft as you'd think. He felt like a wiry-haired dog. His claws look way more menacing than they really are.

Preparing for the cuddle. The trainer had to stand on her tiptoes to position Otto on Chris.

Chris thought Otto smelled bad. I think he smelled like eucalyptus.

Wombat! I wish I could cuddle him.

Super cool 'roo

Red kangaroo with her joey. Cuteness factor is off the charts.

I'm no kangaroo expert but this joey was a little too big for the pouch. I know a momma's boy when I see one.

Koalas are kinda boring animals. They just sit in trees and sleep. They're no pandas, I can tell you that.

Boring but adorable!

Largest Australian lizard: Perentie.

After the koala cuddles, we ate some burgers and fries. Walked around a mall. Went to an Australian Target at said mall (it was like a JCPenny in that they only had clothes, shoes, and bedding – no food, no pharmacy, no toiletries, etc.). Ate some ice cream. Hung out at the Hilton Executive Lounge. Left for the airport around 5:30 pm.

-kb

Random Security Checks?

I have been called out “randomly” by security at every Australian airport I’ve visited.  Chris – only checked once. I’m not getting a pat-down but they do the little wand-swipe to check for dangerous materials on my body and bag. I’ve been checked ONCE in my life in the United State and I travel EVERY WEEK.

I don’t call 3-for-3 very random, Australia. You are living up to your racist reputation.

-kb

Helloi (Aussie Pronounciation) from Australia!

Krystal finally slacked off for a bit, and she’s napping, so I can get a blog in edgewise.  I’m pretty sure when she left off, it was the day before Valentine’s Day, and we were planning to visit the Sydney Opera House.  We were lucky enough to score great seats for the first performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Ode To Joy.  To start the day, we were scheduled to check out of our room at The Four Seasons and check into a new room at Hotel Shangri-La, only 2 blocks away.  We were originally scheduled to move from The Four Seasons to the newly renovated Park Hyatt on the harbor.  But, construction delays meant that the Park Hyatt wouldn’t be ready in time.  Krystal was gutted, because The Park Hyatt Sydney is supposed to be one of the nicest Hyatt properties in the world, and she’s been dying to stay there for years.  The Hyatt attempted to make it right by paying for our two nights at Shangri-La.  But, Krystal was still quite disappointed.  We did, however find out that The Park Hyatt will be open by the time we pass back through Sydney for one night before leaving Australia for Cape Town, South Africa.  So, we’ll get to stay there for one night.

So, we got up early, dropped off our laundry at Wash On The Rocks.  And, headed back to check out of the Four Seasons.  We were able to arrange a late checkout so that we could watch the Grammy Awards, which aired on Monday at noon because of the time difference.  We had to leave before it was over though, and missed a couple of performances, including Nikki Minaj (who I was dying to see) and Paul McCartney.   When we went outside to catch a cab around the block to the Shangri-La, the doorman we asked to get us a cab looked at us quite judgmentally and said, “You know it’s just around the block, yeah?”  I looked down at our three pieces of luggage, and two backpacks, and said, “I’d rather not roll this luggage uphill for two blocks, yeah?”  So, he hailed us a cab.

When we checked into the Shangri-La, we spent a few hours relaxing and exploring the hotel.

The view from our room at the Shangri-La

In most of the hotels where we’re staying, they have some kind of “executive lounge”, where those guests who have access to the lounge can have a breakfast in the morning, and drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the evening.  The executive privileges also typically include private check in/out at the executive lounge, complimentary wifi service, and complimentary pressing service.   It’s really a fantastic additional perk, that though a little costly, more than pays for itself if you take advantage of all of the amenities, especially the complimentary drinks in the lounge!

So, before we headed to the Opera House, we hit the lounge for some snacks and several glasses of champagne.  We arrived at the Opera House early, and had a chance to walk around a bit before they opened the theater for us to take our seats.  Unfortunately, i was stuck sitting beside a man with HORRIBLE body odor, and a respiratory problem of some sort that made his breathing very loud.  My hearing is very senstive, and once I hear a sound that doesn’t belong, I have a hard time ignoring it.  But, once the symphony started, there were so many audio treats, I was able to ignore the breathing and enjoy the show.  At intermission, I discovered that if I kept a couple of very strong breath mints in my mouth, it did a pretty fair job of masking the odor.

Inside the Concert Hall at the Opera House

The orchestra warms up

View of the seats behind us

So excited!

Chris inside the Opera House

Krystal during intermission. Can't get enough of that bridge!

I thoroughly enjoyed the symphony!  Beethoven’s 9th is a remarkable symphony.  At the time it was composed, it was the longest symphony ever, and the first to include human voice in additional to the symphonic instruments.  The acoustics in the room were fantastic.  And, though I saw microphones on and around the stage, for the most part, it sounded like we were just hearing the instruments with little to no sound reinforcement from the P.A. system.  And, it sounded gorgeous.  My first symphony.  And, it was a great experience.  I often leave concerts saying that I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had a nice comfortable seat from which to enjoy the show.  I guess that the answer might be classical music and symphonies.

View of the Harbour Bridge from the Opera House

After the show, we went to a Thai restaurant that we had been eyeing, called Sailors Thai.  Once we were seated, we realized that the menu was much more limited than what we had seen on the menu online.  But, it still looked fantastic.  For starters, we had dumplings filled with garlic and spinach, and minced prawn with quail eggs wrapped with rice noodles and fried.  Both were pretty great.  For mains, Krystal had some fried rice, and I had a green curry with beef.  My curry came with rice and also some bread that was very similar to Indian naan bread.  Krystal’s fried rice was a little bland.  But, my curry and beef were fantastic!

Fried patty with greens, garlic, and ginger

We attempted to make a dinner reservation for the next night at the hotel’s restaurant for Valentine’s Day.  The concierge just looked at us, unsympathetically, and said, “Ma’am, it’s Valentine’s Day.  We’ve been booked for weeks.”  It’s not a big deal for us to have big plans for Valentine’s Day, since the entire trip has been one long celebration of our love.  So, we spent the day at Bondi Beach.  It’s the most famous beach in Australia.  We did some walking along the coastline.  We watched some surfers, including what was obviously a tourist on a rental board, struggling laughably to even paddle out past the breaks.  We decided to refer to him as, “Wisconsin”….   Wisconsin seemed to be one of those guys who watches surfers and thinks, “I can do that!”   He couldn’t.  And, after being beaten by the waves for about 30 minutes, he gave up and called it a day.  Krystal got her feet wet.  But, the currents were strong, and swimming was discouraged.  We watched some kids at the cool, concrete, beachside skatepark.  We had the misfortune of watching some 8 or 9 year old, unsupervised kid showing off to his friends and the older kids by shouting “fuck this” and “fuck that” and “fuck you!”  He was obviously trying to be cool.  But, it was a sad thing to witness.  Even more sad was when he asked the older kids if they had any weed.  So, we split and went off looking for some quality fish & chips.  It wasn’t hard to find.  We overloaded on fried food, including said fish & chips, some calamari, and potato cakes.  It was all quite delicious!

Bondi Beach

Reppin' the Thunder down under!

Bondi Beach skate park

Loved the graffiti art

The best fish & chips ever

The best!

The calamari was fresh and meaty.

After, we headed back to the hotel for some rest.  Hiking in the sun really wore us out.  So, we took a nap.  When we woke up, we decided to hit up the Executive Club lounge for some free hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  We figured if we couldn’t get in to buy a nice dinner at the restaurant, we’d get one anyway for free at the lounge!  We had some snacks.  But, we also had several glasses of champagne and many trips to fill our plates with the tasty desserts!

The next day, we would check out of our hotel in Sydney, for a one night stop in Brisbane, so that we could feed kangaroos and hold a koala.  More on that soon!

-CH

Vegemite…vege-puke is more like it

I tried Vegemite at breakfast yesterday. I gagged. Almost puked.

According to Wikipedia, this is what Vegemite is:

Vegemite is made from used brewers’ yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, various vegetables, wheat and spice additives. It is salty, slightly bitter, and umami or malty.

I’d rather eat pigs’ ears again.

-kb