Tuesday 26/12/2006 22:45 pm
Yesterday was Christmas Day. My family is Jewish, so for us this doesn’t mean that much, making it a nice day for a holiday in Australia. Mel and I had a lovely breakfast at the Hilton’s restaurant, the Glass Brasserie. And it was all you can eat, so we helped ourselves and snitched some food for lunch as well!
We had heard that Bondi Beach was the place to go on Christmas, so off to Bondi went Mel, Mom, and myself. We took the bus, and it was pretty easy. Sydney has good public transportation. We’d heard that the majority of the Christmas beachgoers are British tourists, and we found that to be true when we were joined at the bus stop by a British couple, and again when we were joined by an Indian-British family of about 20 at the next stop. We passed through Oxford St, the gay community of Sydney, and Waverly, which had some cute little condos and houses.
Bondi Beach on Christmas day is supposedly crazy and jam-packed, but when we got there it didn’t seem that busy. Rather, it was a little quiet. A very lovely beach though! We stretched out and did the normal beach things: read, napped, sun-bathed, people watched. What a great way to spend Christmas.
The weather started to get better around midday, and more people started showing up. Honestly, the British tourist thing is so true though. There were so many of them, most of them young and wearing Santa hats with their bathing suits, or even costumes. There were 3 groups of them directly alongside us that multiplied as the day wore on. Mel and I took a beach walk, and walked on the boardwalk overlooking the beach. The party seemed to be going strongest at the cafes there, especially the ones with balconies, where one could have a drink and survey the action below.
We headed back to Sydney around 2, and discovered that we were all sunburned! Mel’s the worst. I’m really not that bad, though I did get burned on the backs of my legs, so I feel it every time I sit down. We then showered off and went the cinema to see Casino Royale (back in 2006 this was the new James Bond flick, and my family is really into James Bond so we had to see it together). I’d seen it once before, but it was just as good the second time.
In the hotel package we received one complimentary dinner at the Glass Brasserie, so that was where we ate. It’s a nice restaurant, and is so modern and swanky that it went very well with Casino Royale. It was also so hoity-toity and bloody expensive that I doubt we would have eaten there on our own. Mel and I got cosmopolitans because the whole thing just felt so “Sex and the City”. I think they were made with grapefruit juice, as they were so bright pink and pulpy. Dinner was good enough, but the piece de resistance was the dessert, vanilla creme brulee. I am obsessed with creme brulee, and this was a divine one.
Today was Boxing Day, a national holiday for Australia. I’m not sure of the history behind Boxing Day, but it is celebrated with yacht races, horse races, cricket matches, and huge sales in every shop. Boxing Day began the same for Mel and I, with breakfast at the Hilton restaurant again, and about half of what we took went into Mel’s purse for lunch.
We drove out to The Featherdale Wildlife Reserve in Blacktown, known for having a large variety of species native to Australia. Featherdale is also known for having areas where you can feed and pet koalas and kangaroos. We had to do it! Kangaroos are really cute, but are feisty and will knock food out of your hands to get it. It’s not that they are unfriendly, they are just blunt. We also saw wombats, dingoes, many varieties of cockatoos, a sleeping Tazmanian devil, and albino walaroos, which is a cross between a wallaby and a kangaroo. My favorite were the fruit bats. I’ve always been fascinated by bats. I think it’s so cool the way they move and the fruit bats are very cute, with little foxy faces.
From Featherdale we went back to Sydney to hit up the sales. It was a fucking madhouse. Many places we gave up on because there was a line out the door just to get in. And many other places had nice things, but were too nice and outside my price range. Mel and I went to Hungry Jack’s for a snack. The Hungry Jack logo looks exactly like the one for Burger King, and I had to find out if both Whoppers tasted the same. They do!
We finally found a shop where everything was $14.95 AUS and under, and I just couldn’t help myself. I bought 3 shirts and a dress. In every great city, there is great shopping to be done, and I’m pleased to say that I did some.
I even wore one of my new shirts to dinner, which was at Shiki’s, in The Rocks neighborhood. A very cute place with great Japanese food. As always, I was curious to see what would be different about their food, and they did their California roll differently than how you find it in California. Instead of crab, avocado, and cucumber, they used prawn, avocado, cucumber and fish roe. It was yummy.
Since this is vacation, we felt we were entitled to some dessert, and went back to Gellatissimo again. All in all, a great day. Oh, and I forgot to mention, but the big news in Sydney today was that a well known cricket player is retiring soon, and made his record of 700 wickets at the match today. I have no idea what this means or why it is significant, but Australians take their cricket very seriously and this was big stuff. Cricket, it seems, is religion to some.
Good Luck and Happy Travels,