I’m afraid I told you a lie. Well, I wasn’t lying as much as I was trying to impress you. In my last post, I said I wasn’t jet-lagged.
It turns out I am. After falling asleep at 9:00 last night, waking up at 1:30, and falling asleep again at 2:30 this morning. I didn’t wake up until 12:05 this afternoon. It’s like I’m a teenager again. Australia just gets under your eyelids somehow.
Anyway, off I went into the day — a bit delayed — to explore Sydney.
I headed to Bondi Beach. I’d heard it was an unbelievable beach with powerful rip currents and lots of surfers. To be clear, I’m a fan of neither rip currents nor surfers. I just wanted to see them.
What I wasn’t prepared for were the scores upon scores of people. But these weren’t just ordinary people like you and me. No, they were beautiful people. Stunning people. Off-puttingly gorgeous people. They were the people I previously thought were myths propagated by magazines with digital cameras and photoshop. Friends, these people were very real. I would have taken a photo of these people, but my hands were too busy just trying to keep the bottom of my jaw in touch with the top.
I stuck out like a sore thumb. More like a sore thumb that was also grossly and horrendously infected.
While I was there, I noticed this unfortunate Canadian couple (their combined weight was about 380 with the majority belonging to the Mrs.). They made me feel slightly less infected, which was a good thing. Until they asked me to take a picture of them. Before I share the rest of the story, some blog readers might say to me, they might say something like, “You aren’t taking enough pictures.” A valid criticism that I accept. However, my critics have never seen true tourists. They take pictures of everything. Everything! I’ve seen people get their pictures taken in front of (by way of example and not limitation)…
- Other tourists
First, I’m proud to call myself a tourist, but I try to avoid obnoxious behavior. Here’s an example: One tourist jumps in front of whatever stellar object they want to capture while the other one clicks away. Then, they rapidly trade places. On occasion, they decide they should both appear in the picture. Most often, they ask me to take the picture of them. “You want a picture? Sure!” I say, before whispering under my breath, “You sorry sack of…” Solo travel has its drawbacks.
Anyway, that’s precisely what happened at Bondi Beach this afternoon. Here I was trying to act cool and non-touristy on this beach filled with beautiful people when, all of the sudden, Mr. and Mrs. Senior Citizen Toronto rush up and want their picture taken. It was quite a struggle given that they didn’t exactly have a wide-angle lens; however, thankfully the result was acceptable.
“Oh! This is really quite good. He did such a good job. You’re quite a good photographer. Way-to-go! Thank you. At least America did something right, eh, Stan? You’ll have to make this your screensaver, Stan.” Said Mrs. Toronto.
Stan paid her no heed. I got the impression that he’d been doing that for a number of years so I followed his lead. I’m willing to bet my picture will never be Stan’s screensaver. I can’t blame him, the last thing I’d want is for that image to be bouncing around my computer screen while I’m on a conference call. Good luck, Stan. Good luck.
As you can imagine, I just wanted to get the hell out of there. But a train-wreck was approaching and I couldn’t look away. After getting her picture taken, the lady decided to dip her toe in the water. Right now, the ocean here is about 65 degrees. She didn’t notice the surfers in wet suits everywhere you looked. On contact, she flopped around like a beached whale.
“Look, Stan! I’m getting my feet wet. Ahh! Ak! Oh! That’s! Ak! So! Ak! Cold! Ak! Why didn’t you tell me Stan?! Ak!”
How can you top an encounter like that? After briefly considering a drunken escapade, I turned to food.
So, this evening, I had dinner outside at a Chinese Restaurant in Sydney Harbor. I looked at it as my final snub to Hong Kong. You know, Chinese Food served by English speakers? It was good and, as I ate, I enjoyed becoming re-acclimated to cigarette smoke (North Carolina’s gift to the world), watching a giant Cruise Ship (The Carnival Spirit) pull away, and observing hundreds of people head to watch the ballet at the Opera House. I also, incidentally, had to fight a seagull for one of my spring rolls. I’m pleased to report that, in my first encounter with dangerous Australian wildlife, I won.
By the way, what’s happening back home? What do you think of the blog? I’d love to get your feedback and comments (below) or your messages (click “About”).