Day 1, Part 2: The exploration begins…

After resting and looking over travel pamphlets in my hostel room this morning, I was ready to walk around and start exploring. My only obligations at the time were to find internet to inform my family that I had arrived safely, make sure I was set to move into housing tomorrow, and start checking out the options for mobile phone service. This allowed me plenty of time to wander and get lost in the big city of Sydney.

Sydney Central YHA is located in the center of Sydney (who would have guessed!) near the central station. I knew UTS was somewhere close to this, and luckily all I had to do was look up to see the ugly Tower Building in close proxmity. I made my way over to the university carefully crossing the streets, looking RIGHT before left in this country. I wasn’t sure what side of the sidewalk I should walk on though, becuase in the US we walk on the right as well. It turns out there isn’t really a standard for this, so I made my way trying not to run into anyone.

My first impression of Sydney reminded me a lot of a US big city. There are a variety of people that look, dress, and act differently. I was told that everyone dresses up in Sydney, but I found this to be untrue from the getgo. People dress up in San Francisco, but I never did, so I assumed I could do the same here. No need to change myself for my surroundings. I may stand out as an American, but walking down the street it seemed that every nationality was represented, so I didn’t feel out of place.

After visit my future campus, I made my way to something called Paddy’s Market, where I can tell I will be large sums of money throughout the semester. It is located below Market City, a shopping center on the edge of Chinatown, and is open Thursday – Sunday. It reminds me of the San Rafael Farmer’s Market, but in Chinatown where you can buy anything you would ever need. They have cheap electronics, toiletries, fake name-brand clothes (Zoo York, H&W instead of H&M) and fruits and vegetables. I didn’t buy anything this time around, but I will definitely be heading back when I figure out what I really need.

As I left Paddy’s Market I saw a sign to Darling Harbour, a well known tourist attraction, so I headed in that direction. The sun was going down at this point, so I didn’t make it all the way to the water, but I did enjoy a pretty sunset. The temperature made it very easy to forget it was winter (65 degrees F maybe?) but the fact that it wasn’t even 5pm yet reminded me of the time of year. I eventually made my way back to the hostel before dark, after stopping at a few cell phone shops along the way (there are so many! But all too expensive for my pocket).

After getting settled back in and taking a shower, I was ready for a BBQ Kangaroo burger. But of course, it had started to sprinkle, making a BBQ an event that no one would attend. I headed to the rooftop regardless, and came across a few backpackers enjoying the view and some beers. I knew this wasn’t the trip to be shy, so I went right up to them and introduced myself, jumping right into their conversation. They were 2 Candian guys and a Scottish one (all unrelated), enjoying their last night in Sydney. We were all there for different reasons, which made it an interesting conversation about their trips so far and what was to come. They told me some good places to visit, and others to avoid, but the general belief of everyone is that you have to experience it for yourself. While it wasn’t an eventful night, so far Sydney was what I was hoping for – meeting people from all over the world and learning and sharing from each other. I can only dream of what is to come when I have enough energy to go out on the town!