Saturday, March 9, 2013

Aussie Adventure, Part Two

It's been an adventurous couple days for me and LSF here in the Land Down Under.  When I left off, we'd been doing a pretty good job of both exploring Sydney and drinking wine.  No changes there.  Fun fact:  when you have 8 trillion Starwood points (still an official figure), the hotels seem happy to either: 1) give you bottles of wine; or 2) give you access to Executive Centers that have many bottles of wine.  Still not complaining.

Anyway, I have lots of pictures and I'm only halfway through my first cup of coffee, which is code for "I am essentially brain dead," so I'll just let the pictures from the last few days in Sydney take the lead here.
We took a ferry to the zoo.  I'm ordinarily not really all that into zoos, but we did want to make sure we saw some Aussie animals, so we made the trek, hurdled over small children and strollers and happy families and what not, hightailed it to Aussie Animal section, and saw what we were looking for, roos and koalas:

 To add to the list of things that I'm not impressed with:  the activity level of Australian animals.   Kanagaroos lay around all day.  And there was clearly some mistake in the evolutionary process with koalas, as they derive 100% of their nutrition from.....a plant that has just about zero nutritional value.  So they munch on eucalyptus for about 4 hours a day, just to derive enough energy to allow them to maintain a minimum level of life, and sleep the rest of the time.   That the little guy above was awake at all, and actually moving, seemed to be a big deal.   Cute as a button, though, huh?

My new motto

Later that day, we took another ferry to Manly Beach, where we laid in the sun until LSF got ridiculously, blisteringly sunburnt (an occurrence that has happened every single time we have vacationed in a warm weather location), and then headed to a local pub to drink beers and relive our glory days from law school by playing trivia.

I can't speak for LSF, but being on a pub trivia team in law school that was nothing short of a dynasty was indeed the pinnacle of my achievements at the time, so when we got through two rounds of Australian pub trivia and realized we were losing badly because all the flipping questions were about Aussie things, we decided not to tarnish our heretofore flawless record and, instead, quit and went home.

In the spirit of re-living the law school glory days (or at least the law school friend wedding circuit glory days), we devoted the next day to a wine tasting tour in the Hunter Valley.

 The views were spectactular, our tasting friends were quite entertaining, and the wineries were all very welcoming, but I will say that Hunter Valley wine is not my favorite.  Semillon and Shiraz are the "stars" of the region, and neither excite me, but they had alcohol in them and so I drank them happily. 

As you can see here, I started the day trying to be all sophisticated wine-drinker extraordinaire.  Hey, I was in the Wine Club at Harvard, so as you can imagine, I have been exposed to the most pretentious of pretentious wine drinkers ever ("the nose has a floral overtone, with hints of tobacco and a bit of barnyard.  So complex.  So intriguing.")   First wine, I tried that tactic a little, but quickly diverted into my own scale of assessing wine-- smells good, smells bad, tastes good, tastes bad, but unless it tastes really bad, I'm still more than happy to drink it.

The Situation was Deteriorating (hi PStas)

The next day we took a long, scenic walk from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach, snapping pictures along the way.  It's good for me to have LSF here.  She just came from real winter, and is so excited to see the beach and the sun and all of that.  I've been in summer mode for a while now, so I forget sometimes how awesome it is to be outside without a coat in March.

Aussies just really love playing at the beach

Swam in this pool, which is pretty much a life highlight

And with that, our Sydney time was over.  We're now in the Gold Coast region--- much more touristy, a little hotter, a little more intense, sun-wise.  I am literally having a hard time keeping my eyes open due to the glare of the sun.  Which is bad, since I'm the one doing the driving. 

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