Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Christina isn't allowed to pick the bars anymore...this one smells like vomit."

You know those old school video games where the heavily pixeled man climbs up stairs then goes off screen and then reappears at the bottom of the same screen to then do it all over again? It appears as if the guy is going somewhere, but in reality, he's doing the same thing over and over again and not really going anywhere.

Okay, now envision myself, Mike, and Jim (Christmas gift exchange friends from Queenstown) frantically walking through seven levels of a Sydney Westfield Mall at the bottom of Sydney Tower (yes, another space needle thing) after closing time in search of an exit. We took elevators, escalators, went up and down, ended up exactly where we started and made little progress. At one point, there were no other people around and the walls seemed to be moving closer in, squeezing the life out of us. Dramatic, I know. But seriously, we spent 30 minutes trying to find our way out of that place!

We had this great idea that we would walk up to the 360 Restaurant at the top of Sydney Tower without a reservation during peak summer hours and eat a scenic last meal in town. Good thought, bad execution. After we discovered there was no way we were eating dinner in the Tower, we attempted to make our way out of the mall. It wasn't until Jim found a way to sneak through a security gate and followed other foreigners that we finally saw the beautiful night sky and breathed Sydney air again.

Just before we went to Sydney Tower, we went to a rooftop bar in Sydney where a vomit smell permeated throughout the dodgy-looking establishment. The boys pointed the finger at me for leading all of us astray, but it's all a part of the experience right?! It was their last night in town before heading back to NYC in the morning. Knowing we couldn't let a dodgy bar and getting lost in a mall be their last impression of Australia, we hopped in a cab and went to The Rocks for dinner and drinks.

We found some outdoor (and significantly slanted) seating outside at the Australian Hotel. Our Australian-inspired meal consisted of crocodile pizza with Thai spices, kangaroo burgers, barramundi, and locally brewed beers. All that was missing was some Vegemite! Ha. And as we ate our dinner, a high school acquaintance of Mike's recognized him...yup, nearly 10,000 miles from home and still bumping into people we know. Kinda cool how small this world is! The more I travel, the more I realize that fact...

Not ready to call it a night after a late dinner, we made our way to a week-old bar called Bulletin Place in the CBD near Circular Quay. With a list of five drinks written with a Sharpie on a scroll, we sat up at the bar and picked our first fresh ingredients creation of the night. I opted for the Mango Swizzle with tequila, ginger, mango, and lime. From that point forward, I just had the bartender make other drinks of his choice based on what ingredients struck my fancy at the moment.

Even after our huge feast at Australian Hotel, we picked at the chicken salt almonds at the bar and talked to the owners about their new business venture. Both Adi and Tim were fantastic. Props to Mike for a great find! (p.s. check out Mike and Jim's amazingly funny blog here). Me being me, I had an allergic reaction to something and spent the rest of the night chugging water to counteract the rash forming on my face and chest. Not quite sure why my body rejects so many things. Not cool.

I ended up staying over at Mike and Jim's place last night so I didn't have to trek back up to the Northern Beaches where I'm staying with my friend Susan. As we said our goodbyes this morning when the boys left for the airport, I couldn't help but feel a mini wave of sadness. Between leaving Ashley and Diana yesterday and the boys today, I had said wayyyy too many goodbyes for my liking. I think I am at goodbye capacity for the year and it's only January 3rd. Good thing for a reunion in March! In the meanwhile, I know Mike and Jim will think of Diana and me every time they play a CD in our boom box that we regifted to them. If anyone deserved the Friday Funday boom box, it's them.

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