Tag Archives: run australia

Life as a Sydneysider

Since leaving Spot X I’ve been living in Sydney like a proper Sydneysider (flat, job, train to work, the whole shibang). I’ve found a few really great spots and had some lovely experiences…so much so that It’s been almost two weeks since I last posted (whoops!).

When I first got to Sydney I had Thai food with a friend I met in Coolangatta for 8 dollars…EIGHT…and it was amazing. Just outside of the Westfield complex at Bondi Junction. I can’t remember the name, but I know it was about a block from commonweath bank machines and parallel to Oxford Street. My friend couldn’t taste the difference from the thai food she had in Thailand a few weeks ago and they had lunch specials for 6 bucks! The only downside with ‘authentic’ food is ‘authentic’ spice. I think I fully cleared my sinuses and GI tract of any lingering viruses I might have accumulated along the coast. There was also a 6 dollar Ramen restaurant and dollar sushi roll restaurant close by. NOTHING makes me feel like more of a legit local than finding cheap, hole in the wall food!!

Later that week I met up with my SpotX friends! A couple girls we met were from Sydney so we got to take a look at some true local eats! First we went for Sushi at Zushi in Surrey hills. I had great rolls with tuna belly, salmon, avo, cucumber, daikon…and something else–they were delicious! Because I was saving room for gelato I didn’t try any hot food, but it looked great and the staff and atmosphere were trendy and high energy. I would definitely go back again, I was very satisfied with my one order of rolls totalling less than 20 dollars.

MESSINA GELATO. Auntie Elise, this one’s for you! So everyone from work, every young person from sydney, and most sydney food blogs mention Messina…now I know why. With a collection of signature and special flavours, they have a repertoire of flavours much classier and fresher than any Ben & Jerry’s shop (YES, there is Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream shops just like there are baskin robins!!). I had Chocolate fondant and salted caramel flavours…definitely to compete with the earl grey gelato had in Vancouver earlier this year! They had a greeter and plenty of staff that made the small space (with view of gelato being freshly made) a buzzing but comfortable place to be. There are locations in Darlinghurst and Surrey hills…perhaps elsewhere as well..but screw tim tams and UGGS, if I could ship anything back it would be Messina Gelato!

We polished off the night at Pocket Bar a small, trendy (maybe a little hipster) lounge unsuspectingly a couple blocks off of oxford. We had some Cider and called it a night…well they did.

I proceeded on to a Drag Christmas show on Oxford where I got a free [half] big mac and then to King’s Cross…Don’t go to King’s Cross….

Continuing on, I’ve gotten a job in Sydney at lululemon based on my experience back home which has been good to make some money and plant my feet a little deeper in Sydney’s vibrant culture. It’s been a really different experience working for a Canadian company in Australia, especially one that has such a strong company culture and brand power at home. To get to work is a bit of a trek, but honestly 33 bucks a week for unlimited train between Bondi Junction and Chatswood chase is pretty cheap and it includes hop-on-hop off to any locations I need to go to in the city (If you buy a weekly train pass in syd after 3pm you get the day you’re buying it on as a bonus)! ALSO I get to see the opera house as the train crosses the harbour bridge EVERY day…HOW COOL!

I also have a quick awesome holiday story. So I was an idiot and put my train pass through the wash the DAY I bought it :(. I got to the train early this morning to beg for a new one with my reciept and the supervisor basically said that my mild dew (hyperhydrosis) of nervousness combined with my foreign accent (Still getting used to being ‘foreign’) amounted to enough charm and gave me a new one!!!! I’m not by any means saying you should try and con City Rail….but I just think based on my experiences in Australia lately that maybe us North American folk could benefit from bending the rules a little more often, because the leniency here has honestly made my time tenfold better.

Proceeeeeeding on. My knee is almost better…that means MOJO SURF Round 2!! Super excited and terrified. After running form Bondi Junction to Bronte Beach and back…and 3 days later still not being able to properly flex my left leg, 3 days of surf could be excruciating for the arms/core.

That being said, being with lululemon means YOGA AGAIN. SO excited to get started into my sweat routine again, and will definitely keep you posted on any great studio finds. On the hit list: Barre and skipping classes!!

Chrissy at Bondi…the typical backpackers/orphan christmas. Good thing that Christmas and boxing day (my only days off) were probably the only bad weather days that Bondi has seen since I arrived almost 2 weeeks ago. As we do, we rallied up some goon and trekked to the beach anyway. With our portable bbq’s (YES, amazing right!! What looks like a lasagna tray and has coles, a grill, and matches ready to smoke away) burgers and condiments we had a great day. We had the security guards tell us many times not to drink on the beach…then the police came, told us we could get cheap tickets to the beach party, Sunburnt, and left without a problem. Our theory, the security guards were just jealous of our fun.

Also, Chatswood chase: Upscale mall….Chatswood (the street its on) is basically mini china town. I’m seriously struggling passing by all the asian dollar stores and cheap restaurants on the way to and from work every day. For the first week of work they actually had street vendors as well-big love (There’s ALWAYS free samples:P).

Upcoming, we have 10 days left in our rental flat (WHICH IS LUXURIOUS)….then I will be moving to a double room in Wake Up Sydney to ease the transition back to hostels and live in the heart of the action of Sydney’s CBD…then Wollongong….then Melbourne…then NEW COUNTRY: New Zealand. And before that all happens, New years in Sydney!! Apparently the biggest most epic fireworks in the world–keep you posted!

Airlie Beach

B E A UTIFUL. For some reason this beach is a lot nicer than the others. With the exception of today’s overcast it is super sunny, breezy not windy, and the water is full of sail boats ready to emerge on the Whitsundays. It seems that most people are brief in their time here as most only book a pre/post Whitsundays night but we are staying for a week and I’m glad we are. Definitely too small a town to live in, but the hills of beach homes and paths around the coast line are a great scenic run! There’s an esplanade like in Cairns, but there’s actual beach as well. It’s tourist central not just for backpackers but for Australians as well. Tons of ‘everything under 20’ stores and souvenir shops including the community market we visited today. I will post more after we’ve visited Whitsundays but I figured after the Maggie Island update a more positive note was in order!

Also-before I forget-you can do stand by tours for the Whitsundays that are like half price. If you’re travelling alone I definitely recommend it. AND There’s a fish and chip place right by airlie beach backpackers that is AMAZING.

Oh! and also…beware of stairwells on Friday nights after the bar closes. I was using internet when I started hearing a couple hooking up a floor below. Then they walked passed me to go to the upstairs loft (probably to get a condom), they came back down and said “should we go elsewhere? / No its fine she wont know what we’re doing/ she looks american, she won’t understand us.” Too bad they were speaking French, I’m Canadian, and anybody could have decoded her audition to be Kelly Preston in a Jerry Maguire remake.

Cairns 2.0

The last few days in Cairns have been great! I must admit, Thursday after Halloween I had no idea how I’d fill the time for the week I booked at the hostel, now that I leave tomorrow I feel like I could stay for weeks (which is what most people end up doing). The only thing pushing me to go is the fact that I have 87, yes EIGHTY SEVEN bug bites (I say bug because I haven’t got a clue what bugs they are) [ALSO, apparently sunscreen or baby oil stops sand flies and most mosquitos because they can’t get through the oil] (I was told this after bite 82), and it’s about to be 45 celcius with 100% humidity.
I have gone for runs in the morning the last few days…at ‘half six’ (6:30 am) because it gets too hot by 7:30. The Cairns promenade/esplanade is 6.5km from one end to the other and back, so it’s been slightly taxing on my previously sedentary limbs, but great for getting my mind back on track. I would probably have been wasted on ‘goon’ (10 dollar box wine…only sold past 4 pm because they don’t want aboriginals drinking it earlier…supposedly) nightly and extending my time in Cairns like the others. The downfalls: legs too sore to snorkel, sweat=premature laundry, BUG BITES, additional unneeded tan lines. I also played soccer for an hour in 35 degree, breezeless heat on Saturday which was royally terrible and contributed to bruises on my legs. So my legs are now unshaved (can’t get over the 27 bites on my right lower leg), bruised, and covered in bug bites…good thing I have my rumored boyfriend to love me anyway.
What does everybody around the world love? Gossip. My friend Simon (from England) …who has a girlfriend of almost 5 years…and I have been getting along well and hanging out quite a bit… Mostly because we both don’t smoke, like $1 cheeseburgers and 30c cones, need internet, don’t want to always be wasted, and are travelling alone starting in Cairns. If Simon were a girl it would be ‘so sweet you found somebody to travel with’ but instead it’s become ‘so you too ;)’. The good part is that we both find it quite entertaining because as Brits or Aussies would say, we’re just mates. So to milk it, we enjoy cooking meals together and being back sunscreen partners. Ahhh the comfortsof home. Oh, he’s also been teaching me ‘English’…instead of ‘Canadian’.
On that note, I’ve realized the only way I can tell Americans and Canadians apart is manners and the sound of the ‘a’ in the word Pasta. Unless of course they’re from the East, Mid West, or South USA. So really, I’ve gotten less mad at people thinking I’m American based on accent…it’s when they’ve known me for a week and ask where in the states that I’m from that feelings get hurt.
Even further tangent…I don’t know anybody’s name unless I’ve spent over 5 hours with them sober…until then they are their country. So really half my friends are Holland, the other are Germany…The only people I’ve really liked have been Aussies and Brits….and I know their names. Also, if you feel awkward, just think of me on a Barrier Reef trip with people I’ve been with for the last week asking ‘what’s your name again?’ The good part about backpacking is that there is a common understanding that nobody knows names…also that laundry sucks…also that eating carrots, apples, and crackers for dinner is part of a balanced diet. Also, when you electrocute yourself trying to unplug your cellphone from the adapter in the bathroom, people have also done it (2outlets in 8bed dorms).
I’ve also met a lovely girl named (or ‘called’) Ashley from England. I only spent a few hours hanging out with her but she may have been the most influential person on the mindset of my trip thus far. She has travelled New Zealand by herself for a year, then Oz for a couple months and has now set off to South east Asia. She is the one that inspired me to get over my hangover and go for a run (she has done 2/3 of her trip dry), and also made me feel okay about being overwhelmed by travelling alone. Pretty much the entire week in Sydney (besides while having fun with people) I was contemplating when I could come home that would be the least embarrassing (seeing as how I set out for a year+. I didn’t think my TFN would ever come, I didn’t think a non-creepy job offer would make its way through, and I didn’t think I’d meet any other travellers. Since meeting her and being in Cairns with loads of others who are fruit picking, not because they’re desperate but because they want a 2nd visa, has been a great shift of mindset for me. I definitely don’t want to (at this stage) stay for a second year…but it’s making me realize a year isn’t really all that long , and that the 3 months I was considering staying is way too short. I’ve also realized that while I have a good amount of cash but wanted more, most people here came with a quarter the funds I did…so I’m feeling much better about things. I’ve also met some hard to understand and frequently wasted individuals that have had sweet jobs, so by comparison I think I’ll be fine.
Done with the deep—ish thoughts…promise. Yesterday I headed off to the Great Barrier reef with another Canadian, Simon, and 2 Dutch from our hostel. A guy approached us at the public pool in Cairns and offered us a trip out for $50 bucks…so less than half price. The reason I’m writing now is so you know I didn’t die. Basically he (Steve) is sailing around the world, currently Australia, and stops at tourist points to transport travellers for a day for extra cash. He has 6 other travellers living in the boat as he makes 6 week trips from point to point along the coast. It was very bush league, but very fun. The sail to and from Green Island was gorgeous and the food was great. The barrier reef sucked where we were as did the snorkelling equipment, although I wasn’t really that disappointed. Most people actually didn’t see great reef in Cairns so I may try from another point…or just buy a postcard. I do really need to figure out how to swim properly though…when my mask filled I thought I was going to die.
Today we’re off on a free rainforest walk and BBQ organized by Nomads (our hostel) which should be fun….then off to plan the next leg of the trip…and maybe do laundry.