It’s Sydney, bitch! (Day 1)

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After months of living in Australia, I have finally managed to move my ass to Sydney! (and for all of those of you pop culture ignoramuses, the post is obviously inspired by Britney Spears). So prepare for an adventure of food, more food, art, walking, everything that you could think of and makes you click to read my blog.

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The flight was short – in the “comfy” embrace of JetStar chairs, with an overzealous flight attendant that tried to make everyone feel as good as they can. Once in Sydney, you can just hop onto a train to get to the Central station (in this regard it’s quite easy and accessible to get to/from the airport).DSC_0023

Certainly, my trip involved a first visit to Edgecliff (to get my visa for Vietnam), which was pleasant enough for the total 5 minutes I was there to drop off the documents. Then, it being quite early, I was wondering around the center and came across this great little place that is a coffee shop… in a bike shop! I really needed to be a part of this grand experience.

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The place was well kept and, disconsidering the fact that I don’t actually like coffee, seemed to be quite tasty (I did think my espresso was slightly burned but maybe that’s how they taste. I wouldn’t know). Some bread and butter and jelly was all I needed to kick-start a day of power-walking.

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Impressions of Sydney: it actually reminded me a lot of London, architecture wise and also the general feeling. I must say it seems more modern than Melbourne (certainly, I cannot compare the two, because one I visit as a tourist for a few days and one I live in), and it made me think that there is still some hope for Australia as a nation. Other than that, it’s very expensive. Especially public transport. What am I made of gold or something? Fuckers.

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Now, I keep telling people for some reason that when I travel I like to relax, and enjoy the city peacefully. LIES! I am such a power (bottom?) traveler. Honestly. I saw the Louvre in about 3 hours. And as you shall see in this post, I just kept walking from one side of the city to the other.

Another short impression of Sydney: everyone seemed obsessed with fitness. People running everywhere, their faces contorted in pain and flooded with sweat. Certainly, many of them were probably just busy, but the parks were filled with joggers and people training in some sort of wussy martial art.

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Going back in time (as the parks only happened after lunch), the actual reason I was exploring other parts of Sydney and stumbled upon the bike cafe was that the place I wanted to have lunch at only seemed to start serving lunch at 12 (shockingly enough. I think it was my earliest lunch ever).

Menya Mappen on Urbanspoon
I had read about it in the 30 minutes preparation I had the day before Sydney (yes, it seems I’m quite bad at making an itinerary), and, well, everyone knows I’m obsessed with Japan so obviously when I saw a Ramen place I just jumped at it! Very short review (As this is a travel post – I do like my categories): the place was certainly bustling with activity. Filled with what seemed to be corporate jobs on lunch break, there was a rush to everything that did indeed seem very Japanese. The food was alright (and quite cheap, with about 10$ per menu), tho nothing great.

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Then it was time to go onwards on my great adventure on foot (credits to Daniel W. for his map and excellent drawing skills). And, as I most definitely enchant you with all the great pictures my amazing photography skills have provided, I wish to make several observations.

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Now it seems that urbanism works the following way: people get together, generally around a river or a bay, and build a hut. Then they build a well, cause they get thirsty and it’s easier that way, then plant some crops, another hut. A brothel. Then they feel bad about too much sex so they build a temple. And slowly, but steadily, man builds up.

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Off course, up only goes so much so they start building right, left and down. Like little monkeys tempted with the promise of bananas, they just keep going. Chopping forests, building bridges, violating the sky with huge phallic shaped buildings. Industrialized, mankind enters an obsession with expansion.

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Now here comes the funny part – after all the building and raping the land in every possible way, people suddenly decide they want something healthy. Like lettuce for breakfast, jogging, gym, and parks. After all the building up, they decide to tear things down and revert to nature. Humanity is entering a new zen mode in which they all want to go to the gym, eat well and maybe not pour that much oil in the oceans anymore.

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Maybe. Or maybe too much sun managed to cook my brain enough to start thinking about all sorts of crap.

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Luckily, Sydney, as magnanimous as it is, sprinkled a few water taps around so that people could refresh themselves. (I must really have my brain baked if I started talking about water fountains).

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Also in a slightly more exotic fashion than Melbourne, Sydney parks were filled with ibis birds that would just casually strut their legs and munch on grass. Didn’t see many parrots like here, but plenty of these creatures.

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After all that walking (and yes, by this point my inspiration seems to be waning), I did need to stop and rest my feet for a while. You know, I think seagulls are like babies: if they shut up and just sit there, they’re quite cute. Look at them resting in the shadow (which was the place I took the picture of the Opera House. So many pictures of the Opera House).

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Talking of the Opera House, it was much smaller than I would have expected. Yet that seems to happen with almost all renowned buildings: many friends have recounted how Picadilly Circus seemed so much more grand in the books. It must simply be that we associate their popularity and title with something that has to be grand – in size. But it seems it’s not size that matters.

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I also managed to visit not one, but two galleries! The first one was in the park (the New South Wales Gallery which had a Francis Bacon exhibition which didn’t really interest me that much) and the Museum of Contemporary Art which had an Anish Kapoor gallery – which I did visit (courtesy of Daniel D. too many Daniels). The first gallery was filled with people taking pictures of every single painting. Cameras, phones, there was no sanctity to it. I stood there, watching, and wondered what the purpose of it was. If they really want, they can probably find a print on the internet of that painting (in much better quality). I took no pictures – it seemed profane to even do such a thing.

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Off course, I had no such respect to contemporary art. In all honesty, contemporary art generally has one of 3 feelings generated deep within my soul: I just don’t get it, it’s just freaking weird or it’s simply vulgar. However, I did like some of the Kapoor works (not all of them; some were just boring for me). Which is why I took a photo. Now… the camera doesn’t seem to be able to take a photo of what was actually there – which is even more fascinating. But I did enjoy this series of work that focused on the perception of space and made it seem as if the wall was just painted a certain colour, but on a more detailed look you can see it’s not painted… there is a wall in it. But you can’t see the end so then it becomes almost endless.

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I would probably love to go on and on about this day – but it’s almost 2 AM and I have to sleep because I have so much to do before I go to Japan (I know, the things I complain about). So I will just put some more pictures for now and solemnly swear to write the ending of this day as soon as I have time (which might be after I post about my other days).

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This is part of a three days series of me mucking about in Sydney:

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