Saturday, October 17, 2009

Diary of Two Wombats

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Sydney, Australia

Diary of Two Wombats

It's wintertime in Sydney, Australia but coming from Montreal where winter means heaps of snows for more than six months of the year, we figure Sydney (by comparison) can’t really be that bad. In Montreal in fact, Sydney’s moderate "winter" temperatures would signal springtime and would have an abundance of city dwellers basking outside in the sun in an attempt to return their vitamin D levels to a healthy state (after being locked indoors by the warm fire with a large mug of cider wine). However, upon stepping off the plane in Sydney to grey skies and brrrrrrrr temps, we realize we might have been a little too confident in our winter-enduring capabilities; even in Sydney, our flip-flops and thin sweatshirts are not going to be enough (especially now that we’ve acclimatized to humid, South East Asian weather). A wintry shopping trip is in order and until we buy our new wardrobe, we hole ourselves up in the beautiful Kirribilli apartment with a much-craved bottle of Auzzie Wine (read: Wirra Wirra Vineyards, Church Block 2007) and a plethora of trashy American flicks (don’t want to get too behind in Jennifer Aniston’s latest romantic comedy).

Getting to Australia was a bit rough as Sydney’s ban on airport activity during the wee hours of the morning means that flights from Bali are almost all overnight adventures. Our journey was further “complicated” by the abundance of airport security and checkpoints en route to our departure gate at the Denpasar airport (Indonesia). In lieu of recent acts of terrorism and airport sabotage, I’m a supporter of increased security measures – however, is it really necessary to search my bag three times in the span of 20 feet? I mean, we haven’t been traveling that long nor do we look that haggard (I hope). Did I mention that we’d just passed through security screening and a metal detector? I supposed it’s understandable given we’re traveling to the land of convicts, where the British sent their society’s outcasts (read: convicts, hard-drinkers, and degenerates) in the early 1800s. This fact also explains why girls go googolly-eyed over Australian men for not only do they have an enticing foreign accent, but being the descendants of some of Britain’s biggest “badasses” – everyone knows that girls love the bad boys.

Our first day in Aussie-land we layer, wrap and drape ourselves in our warmest clothing for our sprint across the harbor to the shopping center. Looking like country bumpkins dressed in athletic pants, keens and sporty sweatshirts amid an array of chic, trendy sophisticates, we stroll down Pitt Street (oblivious to the stares) and walk right into the Australian version of Garage: a “classy” one-stop-shop for cheap clothing. With its bins of assorted sweaters and scarves, wall-mounted racks of inexpensive shoes and rows upon rows of lightweight coats, we almost feel as though we’re in a market (only we can’t negotiate the price). After two-hours of digging, sifting and modeling overtop our clothes for one another, we exit the store laden with bags containing our entirely new, winter-appropriate wardrobe. Now that we have the clothes, it’s time to change into them; indeed our feet are turning a strange shade of blue from braving open-toed shoes. Heading back to Tristan’s beautiful apartment seems like an unnecessarily long venture given that there is a public bathroom in the food court across the street (read: dirty change room). Five minutes later, we emerge from the women’s restroom in our new outfits, much more suitable and fitting for a day of sightseeing in this fashionable hub. After a beautiful stroll through the Botanical Gardens, we walk back to Circular Quay Wharf passing the techno didgeridoo player/busker, and board the ferry back to Kirribilli Neighborhood.

To be continued…

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