A Happy Birthday Down Under

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, October 31, 2011

So I recently turned 25... a quarter of a century... nearing 30... over the hill. Fortunately all my friends and family helped to remind me of these lovely descriptions and Katy very proudly stated that she was "Still only a sprightly 23 years old." BUT, it was an awesome birthday.

After work on the Tuesday before my birthday Katy surprised me with dinner at Cafe Sydney which is an amazing restaurant overlooking the harbour. We enjoyed a very non-backpacker(y) meal in the sunshine, being entertained by our bizarre waiter. He was Australian but was putting on an accent like a stereotypical English Butler, I really couldn't take him seriously. We then went to the Sydney Opera house to see our first ever Opera (courtesy of Katy's parents). It was called "la Boheme" and was an Italian Opera so there were surtitles in English. After about 30 seconds two men started prancing about and singing in Italian, and my initial thought was "This is going to be a long couple of hours." However, once you got into it, the show was amazing and the singing along with a full orchestra sounded unbelievable.(although occasionally I felt some of the drama was lost in the translation on the little screen). Although, I can't see us listening to Opera FM from now on, we really enjoyed it and felt very cultured going to the Opera. It was also great to see a show at the Opera house having previously been on the tour and learned all about the building. It's pretty awesome to be drinking wine inside the Opera house with amazing views of the harbour bridge. All in all, I felt very spoiled and we had a fantastic evening.

On the weekend of my birthday we headed to Port Stephens with my Dad and Berry. We were staying in Berry's neighbour's holiday flat in Nelson Bay which is about 3 hours north of Sydney. It's claimed that if the first settlers had found Port Stephens first they would have setup their colony there as the harbour is even bigger and more beautiful than port Jackson. Our flat was situated right in the middle of two beautiful sandy beaches and the weather in the day was about 30C which was absolutely perfect. Over the weekend we sunbathed on the beach, ate a ridiculous amount of delicious food and went snorkeling (for about 10 minutes because the water was ice cold). While we were sat on the beach a couple of dolphins came right up to where we were sat, and we would have missed them had it not been for an Italian man in a speedo shouting "Uhhh Dol-a-phin!" I had previously been disapproving of his stretching in front of us, but as he spotted the dolphin I guess he can be forgiven this time. We didn't see any koala's unfortunately although apparently they could be heard growling in the trees outside the flat the night before we arrived. The lack of koala's was made up for by seeing an absolutely massive lizard. We were on a walk up to a viewpoint on Tomaree hill overlooking the harbour and heard something crashing about in front of us. Then I spotted him, he must have been a good 2 metres long and was charging his way down to the bottom of the hill. Katy was pretty quick off the mark and got a few photos before he disappeared into the bush. After another 100 steps or so there was another lizard which was about a tenth of the size of the one we saw, everyone was very excited about seeing him and we just wandered past all arrogantly, "You think that's a lizard? You don't know what a real lizard is" 

The following week was my last week at Vertel before Katy and I head back to South East Asia for November. The owner of Vertel (where I've been working) asked me if Katy and I were free the next day as he was heading to Centrepoint tower and could take us up to the roof to get a few photos. They own the lease for the Centrepoint tower roof where they keep their radio equipment so we were able to go 4 floors higher than the tourists go, and most importantly, for FREE. The view from the roof was amazing and we could see all the way over to Manly, Botany Bay, and even the Blue Mountains. Sydney really is a beautiful city and you can definitely see why Sydney-siders are so proud of their harbour. It felt like it was a once in a lifetime opportunity so we jumped at the chance to go up.

I am actually writing this blog entry from the Sydney international airport as we are soon catching a flight to Vietnam. One of our friends from back home who's been traveling Australia for the last 9 months also had her birthday this week and so we all went out to Darling harbour for food and drinks. The afternoon quickly turned into the evening and we headed to the Rocks for some live music and more beer. The reason for telling you this is purely so that I can tell this story. I was chatting to this American guy at the bar, he was due to catch a connecting flight to Perth but due to the Qantas strikes he was stuck in Sydney. Katy saw I was speaking to him and came over to say hello, just as he was explaining to me that he was going for an interview to work in a mine in Perth. Katy's very first response (following a couple of glasses of wine I might add) was...
"You work in a mine, so do you have a Budgie?"
"Uhhh, what?"
"A budgie? If you don't have a budgie, how will you know if you're gonna die in the mine?"
"Do you mean a Canary?"
"Yeah, well whatever do you have one?"
"No, mining's moved on a bit since then..."

 It was amazing, so funny! 

Anyway, our gate is now open so we better be off. Vietnam here we come! 

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Ann on

You can tell Katy that they have also stopped using pit ponies as wel.... ha ha! x

charlene on

Katy!!! I'm ashamed of you!! A budgie??? :-) Glad you had such a good time on your birthday my Seanus - you guys are making some amazing memories xxxxx

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