Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wanted: New Friend (Must work for airline)

I feel like plane ticket prices keep going up and you get less and less for your money. 

On American Airlines to and from LAX in economy you don't even get peanuts!  That is bullshit.  That flight isn't short.  Plus, I refuse to spend $10 to get 3 Pringles.  To add insult to injury I could smell them baking cookies for the people in first class.  I nearly lost my mind.  Boyfriend witnessed me take a very big step towards madness.  I thought I was going to turn into the Hulk, bust into first class, backhand the flight attendant, then stuff every single cookie into my mouth. 

With this experience fresh in my mind I wondered how much more it would cost to fly at least business class when we go to Scotland next year.  It costs 3 times as much! There is no way I'm paying that much extra money.  They would have to do a lot more than bake cookies for that to be worth it.

My new solution is making best friends with someone that works for an airline.  Then they can give me the hook-up and I can fly in freshly baked cookie bliss.  No shirt ripping or backhanding necessary.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lucky Bastards

I'm convinced Australian school children are the luckiest kids around.  Besides getting to live in a beautiful place they are never in the classroom! 

Everywhere we went in Sydney there were kids on field trips running around.  I'm not exaggerating at all.  EVERY SINGLE PLACE!  They just muck about in their matching hats.  Tons of them all over. 

When I was in school fields trip were a rare thing, not the norm.  Lucky lucky bastards. 

Best Sydney Activities

Besides just walking around and getting a feel for the city (which is a must wherever you go) there are a few activities that I was really happy I got a chance to do.

We took a day trip to the Blue Mountains. You can go on your own but we took a tour with Boutique Tours.  I'm glad we did that.  I think we learned a lot more having an experienced guide.  Plus we saw all the best things.  If you like nature, hiking (but not serious hiking), bird watching (Boyfriend's favorite), sweeping views, and just being outside you'll like it.

I loved the Taronga Zoo.  You can walk around with Kangaroos!  Boyfriend was happy because he got to see a platypus.  It seemed like it would be easy for some animals to escape.  They weren't as caged in as other zoos I've been to. I guess that made for a better viewing experience.  I was chased by an emu which was traumatic but getting to see all the cute, lazy, fat koalas made up for that.

We went to the Hunter Valley which is 2 hours outside of Sydney to go wine tasting.  I think it's hard to not have fun drinking wine all day.  I mean, I bet tastings in France would be way better but whatever.  I'll save that for another trip.  Boyfriend is more of a wine snob than I am but he ended up having fun too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sydney Observations

I've been in Sydney for 2.5 days and I've noticed a few things. 

Sydney is amazingly beautiful.  Every harbour offers great views.  Also, the water looks clean and blue.  Definitely not like Hudson or East river make you puke water.  I would consider eating a fish from that water if I were the fish eating type.

We're staying in The Rocks neighborhood and I would recommend it.  It is right by the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.  Also there are tons of cafes, bars, and easy access to anywhere you would want to go. 

I've seen 3 black people.  It seems like Sydney is 50-50 white and asian.  To be fair I have seen a couple Indians (and I really mean 2 max).  I haven't gotten any stares though so a black person must not be that much of a novelty.  There were aboriginals at the aboriginal cultural center we went to but that is it.  Boyfriend asked me if it felt weird to be the only black person everywhere we went.  Pssh that stopped phasing me in preschool. 

The shops close around 5:30pm and restaurants around 9:30pm.  That feels really early to me.  Thankfully bars are open later.

Everyone in Australia has at least 4 weeks of vacation!  O and since they aren't taking all their vacation days the government has a campaign going to encourage everyone to use them.  Give them to me!

Boyfriend loves wine so we've been to a few wine bars and stores.  Every single one only has wines from Australia and New Zealand.  I understand having hometown pride but this seems weird to me.  I have no idea where you would go to buy wines from any other country.  We are going on a Hunter Valley wine tour tomorrow so after this trip I may be maxed out on this wine region.

Kangaroo tastes like beef. 

That is all for now.  All the running around we've been doing is making me need a nap.  At some point I'll let you know about all the activites we're doing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to Survive Traveling Across the World

Traveling to Sydney, Australia meant 2 very long plane rides and 3 very different time zones.  Somehow I made it here in one fully awake piece.  Here is how:

1.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  This is the advice Boyfriend gave me that I didn't really listen to at first.  Our first flight left JFK for LAX at 6:30am.  We got to the airport in enough time which is really important to me because I hate rushing.  We were flying Qantas so naturally we head to that terminal.  Turns out that the Qantas staff doesn't show up at the airport that early.  WTF?!  I immediately go into panic mode.  We find out that we have to go to the American Airlines terminal.  That would have been nice to know.  It all worked out and we checked our bags, got through security, and to the gate in enough time.  The 30 minutes until it worked out were filled with me cursing all airport staff under my breath.  All that stress for nothing.

2.  You must sleep!  On both flights we slept a good portion of the time.  It is so key.  If we hadn't of slept on the first flight we would have been zombies all day in L.A.  If we hadn't slept on the second flight we would have been bored for one thing, and fucking comatose our first day in Sydney.  Because we slept we were able to have a great time hanging out in Manhattan Beach in L.A. and we had enough energy to spend our first day in Sydney exploring - not sleeping. 

3.  Pack a light carry-on.  I knew this would be important because I had to lug that thing around L.A. all day.  Also, we got to Sydney a few hours before our hotel room was ready so I had to carry it around when we first started checking out the sites.  It was still heavier than I would have liked but considering I usually treat my purse like it was a Mary Poppins hand-me-down I think I did ok.

4.  Fly Qantas.  I started out hating them because they weren't at the stupid terminal when we started out trip but I got over that.  The plane, the crew, everything is awesome.  Trust me.  On a flight that long in economy it makes a big difference.  If I were on American Airlines I probably would have shot myself.

All-in-all the trip to Sydney was a lot better than I thought it would be.  The hardiest thing was figuring out what time I should be taking my birth control since the time zones were all over the place.  Getting accidently pregnant is not something I want to happen on this trip.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hell has frozen over!

In 12 hours I'll start my trip to Sydney, Australia.  Boyfriend and I are flying from JFK to LAX, spending the day in L.A., then flying to Sydney.  Basically our travels start ass early on Saturday morning and we don't reach our destination till Monday morning.

To prepare for THE LONGEST FLIGHT EVER, I bought 2 seasons of Mad Men.  When else am I going to have time to catch up on that show?  Other than that I hadn't really done anything prepared...i.e. packing.

All week I've been dreading packing for this trip.  I just knew it would be a disaster.  Ughhhh where do I even start?!  The weather is spring-like over there.  I don't even remember how to dress for spring.  That was months ago.  I don't want to be too hot or too cold.  So, I've been procrastinating...till right now.

I decided to just bring jeans and t-shirts, a blazer, a few dresses (for the wedding we are going to and if we go out to dinner), some clothes to work-out in (wishful thinking), and tons of underwear.  Worst comes to worst at least I will have clean underwear.  Also, I'm only bring 3 pairs of shoes: pumas, heels, and my work-out shoes.  I still haven't gotten together any toiletries or carry-on stuff but already this is my most successful packing experience to date (knock on wood).

If I end up with not enough or totally inappropriate clothes then I'll just have to go shopping.  This could work out in my favor....

Update: You need a visa to go to Australia.  You can get it online and it takes 30 seconds but don't wait till the very last minute to do it.  Kinda stressful.