G'day mate! I'm working my hardest to pick up an Australian accent while i'm down under.. I'm failing miserably, but having a blast trying.. After getting stuck on layover for 5 hours with a delayed flight in LA, and then a 14 hour flight to Sydney, I finally touched down at 12:30pm on Valentines day.. It was a breath of fresh air to be single this Valentines day although everyone blowing up my phone with text messages about it cost .20 each! We are a day ahead out here, so it's like I had to hear about it for 2 days instead of one! But I digress...
I arrived to the fight hotel and attempted to check into my room. Well, bank of america decided at that moment to shut off my debit card due to suspicious activity. This was after using my card in the airport to withdraw money using my PIN number! That should have been indication enough! So after a huge hassle, I was able to check in and then met up with Joe daddy and Aaron riley who were hanging out in their room. They had an amazing view of the harbour and the Sydney Opera House out their window.
They took off to work out and I went to my room to grab a shower and get settled. We were going to go check out some of the Chinese New Year festvities going on so I wandered a bit as they took showers and got ready.. The air was extremely humid but it wasn't raining as it had been for the previous few days. I ran into Cain Velasquez, Dave Camarillo, and Javier Mendes in search of some food. I suggested China Town as I had heard it was close and that's where we were headed shortly. I grabbed Joe and Aaron at the hotel and we jumped in cab to Belmore Park.
The Chinese New Year festivities last the entire time we are in Sydney culminating with the Twilight Parade next Sunday evening after the fight. Sunday they had a festival in the park with Karaoke performances on stage and tons of vendors selling all types of goodies and food stuffs. We stopped to grab Joe Daddy some coffee (he drinks the stuff like it's going out of style) and then Aaron and I dove into dim sum while wandering the festival.
We continued on to King's Cross and stopped to eat at a place called Brown Rice Sushi. I hadn't heard of a place doing brown rice in their sushi before, but I was so full, I didn't even get a chance to try it. Aaron grabbed a teriyaki chicken while Joe snacked on 25 raw almonds that he had purchased at the festival earlier.
We then hit Cole's supermarket (they had been there the day before) to stock up on some supplies.. I can't believe how much fruit costs out here!! I grabbed some crumpets to try out, and watched as Joe Daddy purchased three tubes (yes, tubes) of Vegemite. I had yet to try it out, but was very interested in doing so because of Men at Work's song, A Land Down Under.. There was no rhyme or reason to how the store was set up so we just wandered up and down every single aisle out of neccessity as well as curiosity.
When we went to check out, the line was insanely long, but the check out stands were small and there were a ton of them open so it went rather quickly. It was pouring down rain when we got outside so we flagged a cab quickly and jumped inside. It was back to the telly where I decided to call it an early night; I was asleep by 9pm.
I woke up at 6am and met up with Aaron and Joe for breakfast at 7. The hotel boasted an all you can eat breakfast buffet (my fave!) and I dug into a made to order omlette, some oatmeal and a ton of fresh fruit. I even went as far as to try Vegemite, which wasn't that bad but wasn't the first thing I would ever order! I ordered 10 hard boiled eggs, that we snuck up to the room for Joe Daddy to eat (five for now, the rest for later). I took off to the gym to get a workout in and was rather impressed with the facilities the hotel had to offer. The weather had been rainy all morning, but was starting to clear
I quickly showered with the intention of spending the day siteseeing on Joe's only day from training. He gracefully backed out of the intended trip but I still went with Aaron, Alex Schoenaur, and Stephan Bonner. Joe stuck around the hotel and got errands done all day. The rest of us walked around the corner and spent $40 for all day siteseeing pass on the Sydney Explorer. It gave access to the entire bus system including the narrated tours around Sydney.
Our first stop we jumped off at St Mary's Cathedral and wandered in to check out the structure. We continued across the street to the Australian Museum but decided against paying to get in and instead walked a couple blocks to catch the bus out to Bondi Beach. There was a bus that traveled straight across Sydney to Bondi Beach called the 333, so we got on that and was at our destination within 30 minutes.
I was thankful that I had grabbed my bathing suit JUST in case we hit the beach and I ducked into a restroom to quickly change. We dumped all our stuff in a locker except for my cell phone and camera which I phone blogged from all day, and caught many cool photos of our beach trip. We walked out onto the fairly busy beach and the guys went swimming while I dipped my feet into the cold water. We were surprised; we thought that the water temperature would be warmer than it was.
In this time, a lifeguard vehicle pulled up and started shouting at the swimmers in the water. I am embarrassed to admit that I couldn't understand what the lifeguard was saying because his accent was so thick. Apparently we weren't in a swimming area, instead an area where the undertow was quite strong and only surfers were allowed to be. We decided to leave that spot, and go on a journey to a rocky point we saw in the distance.
This was one of the best decisions we made all day as we explored the tidepools and climbed the rocks for the next couple hours. There was a place that the waves hit the rocks so hard that the spray went 20 feet above our heads. Alex had the bright idea to sit in what he called his "hot tub" as the water filled up. It wasn't such a good idea as the powerful current tried to drag him out to sea as it receded from his nesting place. He came back from his whirlpool a little bloody stating to us, "Never do that!" lol, I wasn't planning on it!
It was late in the afternoon as we made our way back to the beach area and grabbed a bite to eat from one of the beachside cafes. Alex and I dove into a plate of fish and chips, Stephan a chicken burger and Aaron a tuna wrap. The birds (pigeons and seagulls) were extremely brave and were going as far as to climb over our feet in search of crumbs. The minute we stood up from the table, they all attacked our leftovers!!
We happened to walk up right as the bus we had arrived on was leaving so we jumped on board to take in back into the city. Aaron and I weren't done siteseeing so we got off on Market st to continue our journey. We checked out the pricing to go to the top of the Sydney Tower but it was close to $30 so we declined and instead walked to the Queen Victoria Building or QVB. This was an old structure that had been renovated into a 5 story mall. On the otherside was the Town Hall as well as Sydney's oldest church, St Andrews.
The Sydney Explorer bus happened to stop right where we were standing so we jumped on and took it into China Town where it dropped us off right outside of the gates. We of course grabbed some more dim sum as we walked through the two block area and continued on to Darling Harbour which was right across the way.
This must have been a site for the Olympic Games in 2000 with it's gardens, playgrounds and structures. Many of the things we walked through were closed until we got to the area where the restaurants were that had an awesome view of the city. It was close to 7 by this time and our tanks were on empty so we called it a day and headed back to the hotel.
I hadn't realized how much sun I had gotten till I got back to take a shower and saw how sun burnt I was. The weather was in the 80s all day and rather humid, but pleasant so I didn't realize I was getting burnt!! By the time I was cleaned up it was 8pm and I wasn't ready to sleep so I went down in the lobby for a bit. Saw Wanderlei coming back from dinner, and ran into CB and Ryan Bader as well. Nogueira and walked to the corner store and by the time we got back I called it a night. Can't wait to see what Tuesday brings!