The return bus trip from Gold Coast was longer than our first. The driver took a different inland route (with lots of gravel roads and turns) and that prolonged our ride by another 2 hours. Surprisingly, the 17-hour ride was much more comfortable than I expected. Perhaps we were better prepared (and equipped) this time. Elkan and I slept uninterrupted throughout the bumpy night.
Daybreak - We drew our curtains and saw a golden vast land – meadows, farms and lakes. Dawn is exceptionally beautiful in Australia. A spectrum of colours lighted up at the horizon. Cottons of low clouds changed colours from violet to pink. Silhouettes of trees swayed gently in the morning breeze with threads of sparkling golden light illuminating its intricate forms. It felt like watching the creation of a beautiful embroidery on a silky canvas. We were witnessing the best art show from Mother Nature.
Sydney was all sunny and blue sky. No rain, no gloomy sky and certainly no more volcanic ash clouds. We parked ourselves in a backpacker’s hotel right in the city centre. Due to the strong Australian dollars (AUD$1 = HKD8.45), everything seemed so expensive. Despite the high prices, food came in big and generous portions. To my amaze, the Chinese, Korean and Japanese food were “genuinely” tasty!
After a delicious Japanese lunch, we decided to take a long 45-minute walk to Paddington Saturday Markets to check out the stalls. There were a lot of shops selling handicrafts, paintings, photographs, fragrant oils, clothes, bags and palm-reading services. There were even stalls that were just selling sliced bread-with-homemade jams. That simple and tasty!
The markets closed at 4pm and we headed to another world’s famous attraction. Known as one of the world’s greatest beaches, Bondi offers big white powdery beaches and great swelling waves for surfing. There weren’t a lot of people in winter, mainly tourists like us. There were a lot of shops and restaurants by the beach. By 5pm, the sky turned dark and shops were closing. We didn’t have enough time to check out the Bondi Markets and the Bondi Openair Cinema.
We went back to drop our bags at the hotel. The ladies and kid continued shopping around Chinatown and George Street. Meijie and I planned a boys’ night-out to check out Sydney’s notorious (legalised) red-light district, Kings Cross Road. We told the ladies that we might be back late.
Honestly, I was a little disappointed. I was expecting to see a raunchier and dodgy street. Most joints were small and looked less vibrant than our very own Joo Chiat street. Two of us felt kinda out-of-place here. We decided to end our long day and headed back to our hotel. (Ha… The ladies weren’t back from their shopping yet,)