Australia Part 1
First Time Down Under!
I write this article sitting at a small desk in my room/ apartment in Canggu in Bali. I have been here for a couple of days and I have settled again just fine into tropical island life. Presently it is raining, it is after all that time of the year here, where that happens frequently. So, I try to make good use of my time and write a post…
I was here in Bali in January for the first time, liked it, but after the first week it rained so much that I felt, I needed to feel more sun, after all I have fled central Europe and it’s inclement winter weather. You don’t leave snow for rain, right?So in the end it was a quick decision I booked a direct flight to Sydney. As a Swiss man I felt good going to Australia. Roger Federer had just won the first grand slam of the season there. No, I don’t know him personally, but he’s a great athlete, I respect that and I also like the town he comes from; Basel…
I did some research, so I knew what to expect, but internet and book research can only prepare you so far, real on the ground experience in the country is an other thing entirely. Isn’t that the reason to travel in the first place, experience and feel a place and it’s inhabitants? I am a person with an open mind and so I traveled there with a blank slate so to speak.
The arrival was in the early hours of the day, I had seen the dawn colors on the horizon before we left our cruising altitude and dropped into the clouds and what looked to be an overcast day. After a smooth Qantas Airways, Boing 737 landing, taxing to the gate the cloud cover thinned and in the terminal through the big glass panel I saw the sun rising trough the clouds, creating quite the spectacle. First impression; nice, check!
My place to stay was somewhere between the city and the beach towns. I decided to use public transport, instead of a taxi cab, since I would be doing that on a daily bases anyway and I could save a couple of bucks. The check-in at the lodge was noonish or later, so I had plenty of time to kill.
Purchased an OPAL card, charged it up and so I was on the way, train line T8 to Central and from the a bus to Randwick, Perouse Street. It took me a little wile to find the bus stop after the train, I exited the wrong way out of the station initially. That got corrected by a friendly Aussie lady, that brought light to my confusion and steered me in the right direction. A bystander at what I hoped to be the right bus stop, confirmed; Yep your right here mate!
After I had checked into the lodge, dropped my bags, surveyed my new home for 5 nights, I felt full of energy. The place, my room was nicely decorated, flatscreen TV, large bed, small writing desk, balcony and a shower with a glass enclosed shower with a killer shower head as I would find out soon. Stylin..!
My first excursion was to Coogee Beach, the lady at the front desk insisted, it would be a short walk down Coogee Bay Road. In mid afternoon heat under the Australian sun, it did feel longer though. The beach was busy, Australian live mostly near the sea, quite a number of them seemed to frolic here this afternoon. The waves were small so swimming and duck diving ankle biters was no mayor effort. I knew it was school vacation too, and the last weekend of it, in NSW (New South Wales).
There is a natural pool on the left side at the end of the beach, as you look at it head on. From there steep cliffs progress around the headland into the next little cove, where there is probably an other small beach waiting to be explored. By now I needed a quick dip in the ocean myself, wonderful, salty and not too warm, refreshing, I would say!
There are plenty of places to eat and pubs to get a beer on the promenade and the last couple of hundred yards of Coogee Bay Road before it meets the front street head on. I was busy checking places out and getting a feel for the prices. Australia is not cheep. It’s not like Indonesia, where I just came from… Anyway, a Burger and fries would do for starters.
By the time I got back to the lodge the first day was almost gone. To get home up the hill I had taken the bus, which stopped conveniently less than a city block from where I stayed.
Here is what followed in the next few days!
Day 2: Exploring downtown Sydney, the seeing the Bay Bridge, the Sydney Opera House.
Day 3: Shooting long exposure images of the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge und the general skyline and the bay of Sydney. Meeting a North Chinese Dance Group, that rehearses and films a video nearby where I hang.
Day 4: Checking out Maroubra Beach, some surfer are out on the water, but most rides are short, drop and maybe a turn at most two.
Day 5: Meeting Germaine, who I had met 5 years earlier in the north of Brazil and done a lifestyle shooting with on a local beach there. Germaine loves to travel but she also loves Sydney and spending weekends on the beaches, many within easy reach of her home like Bondi. I almost forgot, it was my Birthday as she was showing me around, her town. Half Sri Lankan and half Irish, I believe she represents Australian people quite well. Just about everyone is or has been an immigrant here, or their parents or grandparents!
Day 6: Laundry day, moping around the lodge, taking care of things online. I booked a flight to Melbourne, to drive the Great Ocean Road, see the 12 Apostles. Option b was going to Byron Bay, but the weather forecast for Melbourne looked more promising. My sincere apologies to Byron Bay, I will be there next time.
As I am writing this post I realize that is has gotten quite long. So I will break it down into 2 parts. If you like it so far, stay tuned for part 2…