This post should probably be called half way to Asia because it’s all about doing things cheaply and eating Asian food BUT it is still more technically the chronicles of my last few weeks in Sydney. It’s only dawned on me recently (like the past few days) that I’ve ‘lived’ in Sydney for a month as opposed to ‘been’ to Sydney.
I took my last train ride home from work at Chatswood on the harbour bridge this afternoon. Which is probably good because that train ride home started including tim tam garnished froyo a little too often. That being said, it was quite the cathartic ride as I realized how many things or ‘isms’ I’ve caught on to over the past few weeks. This coming especially after I met up with the lovely Katie again last night who said when I arrived, and I quote, “You’re not going to pick up an accent, Ani…you have such a strong Canadian accent”, whose first comment was “YOUR ACCENT CHANGED”…and at work this week nobody asked me where I was from. In fact one lady was genuinely surprised I wasn’t Australian. (I mean…I’ve adopted some weird ‘o’s but…you can tell I’m not Australian…If anything I probably sound English with an Australian twang). Something as lame as adopting the accent and words: bin, reckon, heaps, how ya going, dickhead has made me realize how even though Australian culture isn’t that different I`ve still molded to the differences and made them familiar. As much as it was sad to think I`m leaving something that is now its own pseudo version of home, I also realized that in just a couple months I managed to be resourceful enough to create a productive lifestyle for myself 17 time zones and an opposite hemisphere away from home. For that, I`m more than a little proud of myself and a lot more confident about the travels to come.
Back to the point of the post…ultimately to talk about food…
First though, I must say I’ve hit a new low. I can’t remember if I spoke about my ‘scam’ in my previous Sydney post but I doubt it seeing as how I’ve only recently returned to backpacker mode. Oddly even though I got paid this week I’ve been frugal as ever. The reason: I have carried my backpack within the last 7 days and have just paid my flights to New Zealand and Bali. Being in the flat was amazing!….but I felt as rich as the flat falsely represented me as….No, I do not need a $40 diary from kikki.k to organize which beach I plan on laying on tomorrow, nor do I want to carry it. Additionally, just because I have a kitchen to myself doesn’t mean that I must eat smoked salmon and steak every day…. ANYWAY I’m back on the budgeting track and enjoyed the ‘high life’ while I lived it [in denial]. Back to my new low…It’s Australians’ fault really for not having drip coffee…when you can only get lattes that are minimum 3 dollars and only have one shot and come in a cup smaller than a Starbucks tall what do you expect me to do?! Basically, 7-11 has $1 coffee…$2large and it’s self serve. SO what you do is go to a store that’s busy enough that they won’t catch on, press long black, get the shot, remove the cup while water is pouring and repeat until you have an amount of caffeine that will actually keep you awake. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been scamming a self-serve latte machine into giving me triple Americanos for a dollar for the past 3 weeks…and I don’t really care. I also chose to walk 2km uphill home in 43 degree heat because it was $1.10 cheaper to get off 2 stops earlier. I also go to Asian food fairs right before they close to stock up on 3 for 10 meals and 2 for 3 sushi rolls. I also go to coles/woolworths early in the morning or late at night to get reduced to clear dairy, bread, and rotisserie chickens. I also price shopped Asian dollar stores to find the cheapest toothpaste…I saved 20 cents. For a while I had an excuse, as payroll took longer than expected at work and I legitimately had no money…but since I’ve been paid I’ve gotten worse. Potentially because I booked flights and feel like I got a terrible deal, but probably because I find way too much satisfaction in finding a deal. The goal: 230 bucks and 10 days in Oz….make it last.
Anyway, as cheap as I’ve been, I’ve also been eating out a lot. I made the mistake of discovering that Urbanspoon exists in Australia…and therefore have been compelled to try the top cheap eats which are all in Chinatown which is literally a 4 minute walk from my door at Wake Up! Sydney. Perfect location for a hostel—right by all the coach buses (how ALL oz backpackers travel on the coast), right by the cheapest food ever, and walkable to circular quay. Unfortunately for my waistline, there are a solid 20 places with over 90%…So far I’ve tried authentic Ramen…and now I get why it’s a fad in Vancouver….it’s definitely not 2 minute noodles. I’ve been to a couple Malaysian restaurants, I’ve gotten sell off dim sum. I’ve had a tons of sushi rolls, a couple bubble teas, and lots….and lots of froyo. I could list a bunch of places but honestly…just hit up urban spoon. Sydney’s selection of Asian restaurants is extensive and Chinatown is unreal. They actually have people from the proper countries running the restaurants unlike Calgary where everything is owned by Chinese whether its Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, etc. (YES, I know that’s a generalization, BUT to an extent it’s very true)
I also found –what I initially thought was an independent place—Max Brenner’s which is basically chocolate made with chocolate on chocolate with chocolate in drinkable, edible, any form consumable. Sadly it’s an American chain…but it’s not in Canada, so I’m still going to be excited about it. Although I’m praying the positive skin effects of the collagen in ramen will counteract the breakout I deserve for how much chocolate I consumed in the 3 day period after I discovered it. Katie and I went to the George St location before going to Morisson’s for a bottle of wine. Yes, a BOTTLE…not a 4L carton that ‘may contain dairy, gluten, and fish eggs’.
I have figured out my ‘places’ though, and that Sydney doesn’t have to be as crazy expensive as people say it is. On the opposite note of that I met up with my relative in Double Bay… That wasn’t a bargain end of town. (It did however have much nicer shampoo brands at ALDI –the discount grocer—including fake Moroccan Oil….guess what ani’s carting over to NZ) SO beautiful! She described it as Noosa in the city and I couldn’t agree more….and we all know how much I loved Noosa! There were trendy shops, beautiful cafes, big trees, and right on the harbour. Life goal: Work in double bay, live close enough by (Bondi would do), and be comfortable enough that I can afford to shop and eat EVERYWHERE.
I should also mention NYE in Sydney! Truly amazing fireworks off of the harbour bridge. There were shows at 9 and midnight, after the 9pm I was a bit afraid I’d be underwhelmed but the midnight show didn’t fail to impress. Our group of friends went to Birchgrove park on the West side of the Bridge. We had a great view but weren’t close enough to hear the countdown or music that was apparently playing at the opera house. There were a million and one parks to go to, many you could drink at, and many that were selling food/drinks. They city of Sydney webpage had everything well mapped out so you could chose which location you wanted to go to to best suit your wants/needs. We got to Birchgrove at noon which was WAY too early…there was a capacity for 5,000 people…based on that I’d say probably 800 were actually ever there. We stole some toilet paper early on to take to the bush later in the night when the porta pottie lines were too long…other than that a true delight. We played soccer/football all day while drinking and barbequing. I would say our location was mostly travellers seeing as how most sydneysiders know friends who live close by or have ins to the closer more enviable places. I liked being with our group though, being with the new family and a group of people that had never seen the fireworks before was just the way to spend the new year. The only issue after was the infinite ride home…it probably took us 3 hours to get back to Bondi…BUT it was free public transport which was good and responsible as far as eliminating drunk driving.
Anywayyy that was a very sporadic post, but that’s kind of how my time in Sydney has been. I’m currently compiling my OZ playlist and greatest memories to do a final post, but first I will be doing 2 more days of MOJO surf, heading to Wollongong, Melbourne, and going to Great Ocean Road! The rest of the plan includes a flight to Christchurch late on Jan 22, and a flight from Auckland to Bali on the 25th of February! I could not be more excited to continue my journey even though I’m actually realizing I’ve created a lot to miss in Sydney.