How I Spent My Vacations – Part 2: Australia

12375013_10207389936362264_7555653706750916922_oAfter an amazing time spent in Las Vegas at the Miss Universe Pageant, it’s time for part 2. If you haven’t already read the first part, make sure to read that before going ahead with this one: “How I spent my Vacations – Part 1: Miss Universe”. Reason for writing a part 2: well clearly, I wasn’t able to summarize my amazing two-and-a-half weeks of adventure into one post. I promise there won’t be any part 3 after this one, as I don’t want to brag too much.

December 23rd, 2015, after hastily packing away my belongings, I caught the Pacific Coast Lines bus to Vancouver International Airport. I didn’t have a hard time packing because my suitcase was filled with tank tops and shorts. The only warm clothes I had were the ones I was wearing.

I reached the airport a bit early, as I didn’t want to jeopardize my chance of not making it to the airport on time as a result of bad weather and the delayed BC Ferries schedule. I had some time to kill so I decided to finish my online course for good. I didn’t want to take any baggage (academic) with me in addition to the suitcase that was already checked in.

I was going to Australia. It was my first time travelling to Down Under and I was pretty stoked for it. I was more excited about being finally able to feel the warmth of the sun after almost a month.

Cathy Pacific is a great airline. I left Vancouver on the 23rd and after 13 hours of flying, reached Hong Kong on the 25th. On realizing that Perth was in the same time zone as Hong Kong, I decided to say bye-bye to sleep. Things you do to stay away from jet lag.

After a rather long 921452_10207408484905966_9054061359744035014_olayover in Hong Kong, I was finally on my flight to Perth. I was extremely tired and just wanted to sleep but thank God for the guy sitting next to me, who kept me entertained by telling me all about his adventures in Taiwan and China.

After 7.5 hours, I was in Perth at around 11:30 pm. After getting my passport stamped, I was finally in Australia. My sister was at the arrival gate to meet me. It had been exactly a year since I’d last seen her in New Delhi. After having dinner at midnight, which by the way is a normal thing for me (if you don’t believe me… ask my roommate), I slept like a baby.

10256848_10207416072215644_7003344703900025554_oI was up the next morning for Boxing Day; this was my way of triumphing over jet lag. Thank God for the triumph, because my sister had the next couple of days planned with many Down Under excursions.

My brother-in-law took me to watch a live cricket match, which was also a first for me. We went to Busselton the next day, took a train ride to the 1.8 km long jetty (I think it’s the longest jetty in the world) and saw the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park and white sand dunes in Lancelin on Dec 29th. Western Australia is hot. The temperature ranged from 36-41 degree Celsius.

886216_10207430746422490_4228098499447179717_oIt was soon December 30th and I once again had to pack my luggage to visit the most populous city in Australia. I was going to Sydney for New Years’ Eve.

I distinctly remember having this conversation with my brother-in-law on our way to the airport. I told him I shouldn’t have booked my stay in Sydney for three days because I had no clue what I would be doing all by myself. It would be my first time in a new place all alone. My main reason for going to Sydney was to see the fireworks on New Years’ Eve.

12402128_10207453124181920_8444649514260047592_oI reached Sydney at around six in the morning and soon reached the place where I was staying. I wanted to stay in a hostel but everything was booked and the places that had accommodation required a minimum seven-night stay. Weird!!! Finally, Airbnb came to my rescue and I found a place. My first thought of Sydney was man, the transit is expensive compared to all the other places I have been to.

To my surprise, I ended up not being alone. I met amazing people on who were either locals or fellow backpackers just like me. The local showed me around and the backpacker became my friend, probably for life.

The fireworks were amazing. I couldn’t believe it when someone told me that the fireworks cost around eight million dollars. What an incredible start to 2016.

12469431_10207448500506331_5694536619003356143_oIt was busy and crowded but definitely worth every penny. I have never in my life seen that many people. It’s funny that this is coming from me because I come from India, one of the most populous countries in the world. It took me almost two hours to get back to my room from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In comparison, I covered the same distance in 20 minutes on my way to see the fireworks.

The next day was mostly spent seeing downtown, the Sydney Opera house, Torango Zoo and many more places. January 2nd it was time to hit the beach. Sydney’s famous Bondi beach was crowded but great. I accidentally got hit on my nose when trying to resist the waves, but I didn’t care as it was so much fun.

12469468_10207458263470399_507241559338329871_oThen Nathan, the fellow backpacker (who, by the way, was also an engineering student from the US) and I did the Bondi to Congee beach walk. The beach walk certainly was the highlight of my trip. It’s a long walk but so worth it.

After that, it was time for me to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You can experience some breathtaking views of the city from there. Since it was my last day in Sydney I wanted to see everything. I took a nice, calm walk around the Sydney Royal Botanical Garden. I hate to admit it but it was a lot better than New York’s Central Park.

1053422_10207416045054965_1876080824608480329_oI was back in my room and tired but Chris, a local, wanted to show me Sydney’s nightlife. We couldn’t go inside anywhere as Sydney has a lock out law after 1:30 am, meaning no new people can enter clubs after that time. It was still a lot of fun. I came back around 3:00 am and was back in the airport for Perth at 7:00 am. I was a little sad to leave Sydney. It was one of the most enthralling experiences of my life, mostly because I met random people on my way. I was carefree; street-smart but carefree.

I was back in Perth and it was a grueling 41 degrees. The next couple of days involved a lot of expensive lunches and dinners. On one of the less hot days, we took the ferry to a small island called Rottnest. It’s a beautiful island, with some great views. I got a chance to see quokkas. They are so cute, I almost wanted to take one with me. If I were to describe them, I would say they are a hybrid of 12495171_10207499621104314_2005099346869276789_nkangaroos and rats.

On January 8th, I surprisingly bumped into my UVic CL/RA (Community Leader/Resident Advisor) from my first year, who just arrived in Perth a day before. It was great catching up with her and we kept discussing how incredible it is to just randomly meet someone you know from years ago on a different continent, among different people.

January 10th it was time to go back to Canada to begin my last term of school. My sister and brother-in-law were so kind to have me. Kudos to my sister, who out of her busy doctor schedule, did everything possible to show me as many places as she could.

The trip was just fantastic. If this was an essay or a report, I probably would have taken weeks to finish it but I only needed an hour to write this blog. My experience in this country was blissfully bizarre. Australia, I am going to visit you again soon.

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