Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back home and it feels so good

Well, I'm back from Australia, with all kinds of stories to tell!

OK maybe not that many stories to tell, but better than normal weekdays. The flights to Sydney were super-smooth: we weren't delayed at all, and we made it through Customs and our 6 hour layover in Vancouver no biggie. We met all kinds of fun people in the Vancouver airport and I had TONS of fun asking people what they thought of Americans and the US in general. The consensus: that we're a little misguided and in deep, but that they have faith that we'll find our footing again. I thought that was pretty interesting.

We left Vancouver at midnight on Saturday night and arrived after a 16 hour flight at 9:30 AM on Monday morning. I only slept for about 4 hours total, so I was feeling like major death warmed over on Monday. However, we had all kinds of stuff to do and needed to stay awake until at least 9 or so to adjust my body to the time change, so we headed to the Sydney harbor for lunch and a zoo outing.
The Sydney Opera House

The Taronga zoo is across the Sydney harbor from downtown, so we took a ferry over there. The zoo is located on a hillside, so we took an air gondola up the hillside to the top of the zoo. Then we walked down the hill, working our way through the zoo. It was so great, seeing all kinds of crazy animals! Mike teased me, saying that they probably had animals that they thought were crazy, like North American bears and cows and such, but they did have a whole area called "Wild Australia" that we spent most of our time in. There was even a kangaroo walkabout where you could walk around and feed kangaroos and such. So cool!! Except for the kangaroo that jumped right at me. It was just a baby little guy, but I still screamed bloody murder like a little girl and got the heck of its way!

I just loved the Koalas. They were so cute that I wanted to cuddle them. I've heard they can be kind of vicious, but whatevs!
Giraffes, with Sydney in the background

That night we headed to the Opera House bar to have a few cocktails, then hit up dinner in an area called "the Rocks". Our ferry tour guide told us that there are a lot of weddings in that area, because you can take pics there on the harbor with Sydney in the background. He also said that Australians joke, "Look, another marriage on the rocks!" haha.... the area was super cute with all kinds of nice restaurants and shops and such. After dinner we were pooped, so we headed home to the hotel to cash out for the night.

The next night we headed down to Darling Harbor (a pretty happening area right near our hotel) for some dinner and fun. We landed at a restaurant called Kobe Jones for sushi. The sushi was super-good, and my one co-worker ordered the "dynamite roll." You could customize the spiciness level by telling the waiter 1-5, and we settled on 3 since we liked spicy but not too spicy. The stuff was so spicy, it got all of our noses running and was like a little explosion in your mouth. I got two chews into my one piece of the roll and then it suddenly felt like some liquidy spiciness exploded in my mouth. I almost spit it out, it was so surprising. After that, we ended up at a swanky bowling alley that played mostly old-school Christina Aguilera and Beyonce. There, my boss almost broke a 200 game before the Christina Aguilera video "Dirrrrty" started up on the video monitors right above the bowling lanes.

The bowling shoes reminded me of Marty McFly from "Back to the Future" Wednesday night, we all headed out to a team dinner at the restraurant Wildfire. It was not a part of the Wildfire chain here in North America, but it was a seafood and steakhouse.

Thursday night the guys headed out to see smashing pumpkins and my coworker and myself hit up an italian dinner in Bondi Beach

Friday was the happy hour that never ended.... well, you can see how that went:
The boss and I throw down IT gang signs
Let's just say it was fun.... I liked Australia!