So, mm, my flight was delayed, and damn, they didn’t compensate me at all, no snacks or whatsoever. I was really pissed because I was charged $60 for my overweight backpack, but, ok, this and that were different. I was still in the wrong. But I really didn’t like it because it meant that I’d arrive in Sydney really late, which meant I’d disturb my friend’s sleep. I mean, I knew they’re good n kind people and they’d understand my situation. Still, I shouldn’t trouble them more than I already did. Sigh.
And yes, I arrived on July 11th at night. It’s almost midnight. I wandered around to find the bus stop. I got lost once. I must’ve read the direction wrong. Then I went back to find the right bus stop. Alas, it was the last bus I was waiting for, if I missed it, I would have to take Uber, and it’s gonna be damn pricey. But, thankfully, the last bus came, and I got on board just fine. I got off the bus stop near my friend’s house. And, this might be funny, I felt like I’ve known all the roads, I knew where I was going, which direction I had to go, which turn I should take, etc. Dang, I must’ve stayed for too long. Haha But, that’s one kind of feelings that I love, i.e. to finally be able to “control” myself and not feel lost. I love that. I knew I also had this feeling when I was in Hobart. But, anyway, my friend didn’t immediately open the door when I knocked. They must’ve been asleep. I felt so bad. But thankfully they finally opened the door for me so I could get in because, ugh, it was cold outside. And you know, I don’t really cold 😀 Once I got in, I forgot whether I just cleaned myself or if I immediately went to sleep to have some rest, but I guess it didn’t matter since I was already “home” 😊
Day 1: I originally planned to go to Blue Mountain actually, since I didn’t get to go to Brisbane ☹ But, well, because of one and another, I ended up spending the morning and half of my day lazing around. So, well, I decided to just explore nearby places that I didn’t get to explore before. I’ve got a friend to join me, too, so I could get some better photos of me taken 😀 I went to NSW State Library, where one of the currently famous people from my country went. I went back to The Rocks, crossed the Sydney Harbor bridge on foot, got on the tram to get to Darling Harbor, prayed at a Malaysian Halal Restaurant, took the train to the central and went back by bus. But before going back home, I finally got the chance to try some Indonesian food at Shalom, Kingsford. Dang, it felt really like Indonesia! They even played Indonesian music/songs. Mostly nostalgic ones. I loved it. The food was good too. I bought some fried chicken skin and some chicken with rice. The price was, well, standard? I mean, of course it’s cheaper in Indonesia, but I guess it wasn’t that expensive in Australia if compared to the ones in the states. Hhe
Day 2: It’s weekend, so my friends took me to Auburn. They said that the train ticketed was usually discounted so we might as well go to a bit far place, and Auburn became our choice because of its uniqueness (?). My friends said that the place “didn’t feel like Australia” because there were hardly White people there. Almost everyone around this area were people of color such as Asians and Middle-Easterns. We went to the Mosque. It’s really beautiful. Then, we went to Japanese Garden. It wasn’t free but my friend paid for me. They were too kind ☹❤The garden was so-so for me but I was really happy since I could finally see some Kangaroos and Wallabies. Honestly I couldn’t tell which is Wallaby and which is Kangaroo. For me they were just the same, pardon my ignorance. However, it seems that Kangaroo is usually bigger and darker/more brownish, while Wallaby is smaller and has lighter colorings. So, I take it, Wallaby is the small and lighter version of Kangaroo? Well, sorry, I am just trying to make it easy. Hhe But anyway, after that we had dinner at some restaurant, bought some gelato/yoghurt/ice cream, prayed at the Mosque again, and went back home. My friends paid all of it since they were celebrating their birthdays. This is so wrong, the ones celebrating the birthday should be the ones getting the treat. Sigh. But, well, I love free stuff, so I’ll just be thankful for their kindness ^^
Day 3: It’s still weekend. My friend in Sydney suggested that I go to Wollongong, but my friend in Melbourne told me that she loved New Castle better. I was torn in between. I hated it that I had to choose, but well, I had to. So, I just chose to go to Wollongong. Reasons? Well, I don’t know. Maybe because the name was unique? Maybe because it sounded more feasible? But, well, to Wollongong I went for the day. And when I first arrived, it was so quiet. I looked up Google for directions, but, alas, in the weekend, the transport was just, ugh. I mean, it seemed that I couldn’t rely on it. So, after waiting for some time and the bus just didn’t come, I decided to just take a walk to Wollongong Head Lighthouse. I went down to the beach. I took some pictures. And off I went to the next destination: Fo Guang Shan Nan Tien Temple. The temple was really beautiful. It was great. I took some hike to ring the gratitude bell (and to send good wishes for my beloved ones). I also hiked up to the peak of the hill, where I could see the city below. Man, that’s gorgeous. And the hill felt like the hill in Doraemon series. If you watch/read Doraemon, you can imagine the hill behind Nobita’s school, and that’s how I felt when I was going up there. It’s the best, except that the wind was so strong.
From there, I actually wanted to go to Kiama Blowhole as my friend suggested, but, damn, the bus was so rare in the weekends, and I didn’t want to waste time waiting for the bus. Hence, after some calculations and consideration (I didn’t want to get back home too late either. It’s winter for God’s sake, the day’s really short!), I decided to explore nearby places on foot. I found a local Mosque, Masjid As-Salam at Berkeley Road. I went there on foot following the directions from Google Map. Jeez, I felt like a lost person because there was no paving for a pedestrian actually, so I kinda walked on the edge of the road praying the drivers wouldn’t get mad when they saw me walking on the roads. But I was happy because I got to come to the mosque. It was huge. They got a soccer field too. It’s intriguing. And, at first I had some difficulties determining the direction of Qibla, because they didn’t give any sign for it, and the place for men and women were literally separate, so I had to go out and see the men’s section to see where they face for prayers before going back to my place to pray myself. It’s kinda funny since I could just check my Muslim app, but sometimes I don’t trust it, so I think it’s just better to check the mosque to make sure… But anyway, from there I continued on foot to go to Lake Illawarra (I love lakes!). When I checked Google Maps, it suggested me to take a bus/train to a certain spot around the lake. However, since I didn’t think I had the time for it, I decided to go to an edge of the lake that was closest to where I was. I spent some time in the lake. It was beautiful. I saw some birds, too. I made use of my camera self-timer since it wasn’t so crowded. Haha Well, then I decided to go home. But, gosh, the bus really sucked! I checked Google Maps and it kept changing its suggestions, so I had to walk back and forth to find the right bus stop. It was getting darker and colder and I had to wait at a bus stop, which was nowhere and with no light whatsoever; damn, I hated it. I thought, if somehow the bus didn’t come, I wouldn’t know what to do. The train station was far away, I didn’t think I’d walk there. But, thankfully, the bus finally came. After getting off, I just went straight to the station. I took the wrong road, at first, which led me to an empty parking spot. Jeez. But, that’s fine, It’s part of a fun traveling. LoL But, oh, well, I finally got to the station, waiting for the train to get me back to Sydney. I was so sad actually since I wanted to go to the Sea Cliff Bridge and Bald Hill Lookout in Wollongong, but I guess, with the little time I had, it’s possible only if I had my own car, which means “impossible.” Well, maybe someday…
Day 4: Blue Mountain Day, finally! This might be the best place I went to. I mean, I got to hike down and explore the places. Well, still nobody to take good pictures of me, but I guess that’s fine; I took lots of selfies :p But, ugh, first, I went to The Three Sisters and took the Giant Stairway. Honestly, I didn’t know where it would lead me to, but I climbed it down anyway. Little did I know it was very steep – and long. So, well, later I learned that I could follow the directions to Scenic World or just took the stairs to go up again. Well, I didn’t want to see the same view again, I mean, scratch it, I didn’t want to take the stairs to go back up, it would be too exhausting :p So I went through the woods to Scenic World. It’s gorgeous and the air was cool. It was shady and looked like it was cloudy since I was surrounded with all these trees. It wasn’t that difficult of a hike if you asked me and even though I rarely ran into people, I felt totally safe. I guess that’s what nature gave me: security and comfort. But, anyway, I then took the Cable Car to go back up. The staff asked me if I’d love to take the one-way ticket for AUD $25 or an unlimited rides for AUD $49.9. He must be joking. I mean, their marketing is so good so of course I took the last one 🙈😅✌ And off I went trying the railway, cable car again, skyway, going back and forth, up and down. Well, it’s unlimited and expensive so I’d better make the best use of it 😀 And, oh, it was kinda difficult to find the Skyway at first. I guess I didn’t see the signs really well. But I was glad I finally found it. And I found the Katoomba Falls, too. It’s such a joke, though. No offense. I was deluded by my own expectation. I mean, I have been to Niagara Falls, and I have gorgeous falls in my hometown too, so I kinda expected such magnificent falls, so when I reached Katoomba Falls and saw the water was just a little, and ugh, I didn’t know how to describe it, but for me, it was disappointingly unexpected. But, well, I guess that’s part of traveling so I wouldn’t complain more…
And, ugh, when I went around the Scenic World, I ran into these two grannies. At firs I was impressed and adored them because they still went hiking despite their old bodies, but then I asked them to take my pictures and their comment got me appalled. Well, you know, I loved to make this pose with my two fingers forming a V shape as a peace sign, right? I mean, it’s popular, no? And, maybe not everyone knew what it meant, but we do it anyway. So, long story short, I made that pose/sign when one of them was about to take my pic but she suddenly yelled sounded really upset, “Don’t do that!” I was perplexed since I didn’t know what I did wrong. All I wanted was for my pic to be taken, but okay, I was the one asking for their favor so I just complied. And you know what? After she was done taking my pics, she asked, “What does it mean anyway? I know it’s popular, people making this pose (she mimicked the V sign with a tongue in cheek in a mocking and underestimating way), but I don’t like it.” I be like, “WHAT? YOU DIDN’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE MAD AT, YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT MEANT AND STILL YOU GOT MAD AND MOCKED US THINKING IT WAS RIDICULOUS?!”
I mean, I didn’t even have my tongue in cheek. I was just smiling with the V-sign ☹ But, oh, well, I was too tired to deal with them, so of course I didn’t say it. I just explained what it meant to them, about its meaning peace, at least that’s what I knew and thought. And, she ended up saying, “Oh, that’s okay then if it meant good.” But I was too exhausted to have some arguments. I was really upset with them. I was furious. These white people. Jeez. Sorry, I don’t mean to be racist, but, ugh, you don’t want to know how the pictures they took were. Really, really bad! Sigh, but ok, again, it’s part of the journey. It’s part of traveling. Besides, still in Blue Mountain. I asked this guy to take my pics. I handed my camera to him. And after he left, I checked, and guess what? The pics were not taken. Sigh. What a day! Hence, I treated myself to some Nasi Goreng at Shalom. I mean, the hike was gorgeous, the encounter with people sucked. But, ugh, I met nice people, though. It’s a family. I offered if they would love to take their pictures taken together. At first they refused but finally agreed so I took their pictures. They also took mine, but they were so nice with all the smiles and non-judgmental comments and thank-you. I loved them 😊 I guess we can feel it when people respect us or just look down on us, no?
Day 5: It’s my last day! My flight was at night. So, in the morning I was just packing my bag and continued to go to places I hadn’t visited before. I went to Queen Victoria Building. It was close to the Towns Hall. My friend said that the building was beautiful and it was a must visit place. I went. And it was indeed beautiful. Just for a stroll, though, because, apparently, it was just a mall or a building to shop famous-and-expensive branded products. Not my thing. But, really, the interior design or the architecture (?) was really great! I love it. I took some pictures ^^ I then went to Chinese Garden of Friendship. I remembered previously my friend asked if I went to this place and I said yes, but obviously, I hadn’t. I took the wrong place. So this time I went to the real garden. It wasn’t free, and I couldn’t get student price because I wasn’t studying in Aussie. Sigh. And it’s difficult to get someone to take my pictures here I ended up taking too many selfies of me and my shadow ☹ I then went to University of Sydney. It’s huge! I went to Leichardt. To be honest, I didn’t know what’s so special here 😐 But, well, I got to top up my Opal card somewhere there. Then I went to Sydney Park. My friend said that we could see the planes fly really low from that park. And, well, I went home to take my backpack and went straight to the airport, because, well, I didn’t want to miss my flight. And, thankfully, they didn’t check my backpack’s weight. But I guess, even if they checked it, I’d be fine, since the limit was different.
And, I guess that’s all for my Aussie trip. I wish I could visit this country again someday. Maybe after I’m done with my dissertation? Goss, vacationing while having something on your mind wasn’t really vacationing. It was just temporarily distracting us from the problem we had to face and it was just delaying – as well as adding to – the stress after the vacation. But, well. That’s life. I had fun. Thank you, Aussie 😊