Welcome to Australia

The sounds of an airport never change it seems no matter where you are: The people rushing, the luggage rolling, the babies crying, the attendants announcing. They’re the sound track to the start of a good vacation.

Kirsten and I had woken up at four only to arrive at the airport and discover that our flight was four hours late. They wouldn’t say why but they gave us a $15 food voucher to apologize. So we were forced to sleep and eat and wait as others rush to their on-time flights.

We didn’t care as much as we could’ve though. Hiccups like this are part of the experience, right? Plus, we had two weeks to spend in two cities: Sydney and Melbourne. We had enough time, and I was looking forward to taking it slow for once.

 

I was listening to The Shins as the plane finally landed in Sydney. As I looked out the window, watching the horizon bumped into place, I noticed that the sunlight was different. Brighter, golden…

“Welcome to Australia.”

After checking in at the hostel, we took one double-decker subway train and one normal bus to the famous Bondi Beach. I don’t know what drove us to go their first. The sun, the promise of a market, who knows, but I can understand why that place is a top destination.

The soft, clean sand seeped through my toes as the sea steadily pounded the beach like a heartbeat. Dozens of bundled tourists laughed and chatted around us, lying in the dying light, taking selfies with the murals, and shrinking away if the cold waves got too close. Only a handful of surfers peppered the water and I could only imagine how many of them would be out during the summer.

We lingered on the beach before deciding to walk around the area. A good chunk of stores were intended for the tourists but not in an overt way. They breathed with a relaxed reality instead of painting themselves into something they think people would want. It was refreshing. We feasted on fish and chips and extravagant doughnuts from Doughnut Time (basically the Australian version of Voodoo Doughnuts) and stayed in the area until long after sunset. The beach sat dark and empty as the bars began to light up the night. We sat at the Ray O’Keefe Reserve watching the lights of the condos reflect against the shifting sea, relieved and happy that we were finally in Australia.

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