Tonight, I went out to eat sushi on one of those conveyor belt type things. I was quite excited because of their creative creations–which I haven’t seen much of since leaving San Francisco. We ate, and ate, and continued to eat, until we had about 10 plates stacked up. The way these places work is the plates are colour coded and priced accordingly. Since we were seated at a table, we kept going back and forth to the conveyor belt to see other plates. However, during our last time up, we were chatting and trying to figure out which thing we actually wanted as our last pieces. During our time up at the conveyor belt, the waitress thought we had left and cleaned our table off. When we got back, it was like we started over. The waitress came by and looked confused, as we did back to her. She said did you pay already, and we said, no we just got up to get more sushi. (Cue free food). So she said, well, I guess you guys can just start over.. Sorry about that. So our $100+ meal went for about $20 total. Guess I’ll go there again!
I remember when Clinton was in office, there was so much attention to the budget, about how much of a surplus we were able to gain with the fiscally responsible plans of the administration. I just came across the US National Debt Clock which calculates the amount of debt the country has gone into. What’s interesting is not only is it soaring past $8 Trillion, but also, how is it possible that Congress continues to pass bills requested by Bush for his new endeavors. And with ratings as low as they are for succeeding at his job as President, all we can do is sit and endure what amazingly, more than half of the voting population felt was the best option. Absolutely incredible, and frightening.
Since I moved to Australia, you tend to keep your ears open about things that you know you have to do, but are yet ready to do it. Such as, going to the dentist. I had heard from other people what a terrible experience they have had before, so I wanted to make sure that I didn’t go through the same thing–especially since I’ve been lucky to have amazingly healthy teeth despite all the timtam intake I’ve had :). So, when my friend Leandro had mentioned how he liked his dentist, I made sure to get the details. So I too made an appointment. It HAS been 7 months since I’ve been in Australia–hard to believe! So, I called and made the appointment, and asked how much it would be. I really get annoyed when I ask such a simple question, and the receptionist, who I’m sure handles the bill pay at the end of the appointment, can only answer by saying, we cannot quote anything. All I want to know is it $6 or $600, and she still wouldn’t tell me.
When the day came of my appointment today, I made sure to ask what the method of everything was. She still wouldn’t tell me how much, and with that frustration, I went in not sure what to expect. Of course, they tried to upsell everything in the office, I was surprised he didn’t even offer me the little water fountain next to the chair. After a 30 minute cleaning and a ‘You’ve got pretty good teeth’ I was sent out with a bill of $225. After gasping and asking for a repeat, she said it again. I couldn’t believe it. I felt robbed, cheated and moreover, shocked. I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t warn me beforehand of such an expense, and as Australians have been quite famous in my book for not knowing how anything works or goes on here, I was unable to be advised properly by any of my friends. For some reason, no one knows how much things cost, or where to find things etc. It’s been quite an experience. So needless to say, I will not be going to the dentist again during my stay in Australia.
Happy Australia Day! Today I went down to the Quay to meet up with Janneke my friend from uni. We met up and had lunch around the rocks looking the festivities. Which, surprisingly weren’t that amazing. There were some booths, and some music and such, but not as big as I thought it would be. Hiromi then joined up with us and walked around for a while trying to find the ‘real activities’. However, nothing was really to be found. So we got our Aussie Flag tattoos, and started to head home.
Happy Australia Day everyone!
Today, I headed down to the Quay to meet up with Paula, Sarah and Ben to drive down to Garrie Beach in a national park. It was great to see some scenery as we headed off for the beach. After winding through some back roads, we finally hit the beach and carried the surf boards out to our spot on the sand. The wind was pretty strong, and sand whipped across us at times, but the sun was warm. The water down south was absolutely cold, and I just didn’t even want to be completely submerged, so trying out surfing took a back seat today. Apparently the surf board was mad, because while I was standing, a gust of wind picked up the surfboard from the ground and slammed it into my thigh as it was going to blow onwards — if I hadn’t been standing there, Paula and Sarah would have been completely knocked by it! Anyhow, the day was spent relaxing and enjoying the sun. Thanks guys for a great day!
I haven’t posted anything for a while because since I got back from New Zealand, it’s been relatively quiet with just getting back into the swing of things. I’ve taken some nice pictures lately, and tonight, I headed for Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, the little peninsula that faces the harbour bridge and opera house for some night shots of the New Year’s heart. Every New Year’s, there is a new icon that they place on the bridge which they leave lit for several days after.
Anyhow, after my photoshoot, I was walking back towards Woolloomooloo when I approached some branches, a bat flew out and hit me on the head. Most people I think probably haven’t even seen a bat before, much less feel the fur of one rub across their forehead and head. The bats here are quite big too, and when he flew off the tree at me, it was like someone had thrown a cat at my head–they’re THAT big. Obviously it scared me to death, but since I had seen them flying around all night, I figured that’s what it had been.
After I arrived back into Sydney in the evening, I rushed back to the house to my flatmates having a barbecue. It was perfect because I was starving and tired! We watched some fireworks from our balcony, ate a great barbie, and then headed to the streets for the midnight show. The bridge had a pumping heart on it, and from the top they shot all the fireworks which was foreshadowed by the Opera House. It was really pretty, tons of people, and a nice hot evening. The day of New Year’s was the hottest day on record, climbing up to 41C/111F! It was almost piercingly hot, so I went to the pool and cooled off and enjoyed the sun. That night, we had such a huge wind storm followed by a down pour of rain, which luckily cooled the city off.
I hope everyone had a nice New Year’s, and I’m looking forward to a successful, eventful year!
Tonight, my flatmates and I had our Christmas Dinner together with some friends. Whenever we do a party, we DO a party. Chris had found some sticks out in Potts Point to spray paint white, and he strung lights on them and hung ornaments. The tables were brought out to our back balcony and set with white and silvertable coverings, along with place settings. We had a bonbon (a popper with a surprise in it) on each of the plates. We had the speakers out playing Christmas music, and around 7, the guests started to come in. Our first course was an amazing crab salad that Stephen had prepared, along with Mango champagne and wines. We then opened our bonbons to reveal the little surprises — playing cards, mirrors, and odd knickknacks. Then, someone from the building next to us called down from his 14th floor apartment and told us to pose for a zoom picture he would take of us. He then said he’d bring down the film and give us the pictures. We then had the main meal which included roast potatoes, salad, roast beef, and green beans. After everyone finished dinner, Chris brought out the dessert cake with 3 sparklers in it. It was an amazing strawberry cream cake from the restaurant he works in– Yellow. We then enjoyed the evening listening to music and enjoying the views. So nice to have warm weather to do these nice activities for Christmas!
Tonight I started working at a Japanese restaurant right at my doorstep called Himizu. I was a little concerned about eating (as I was to start at 4pm and no idea when I’d be done with training), and Chris my flatmate said that he doesn’t get fed at his restaurant, so I ate a snack before I left. Well, when I got there, we all cleaned for about an hour, then everyone sat down for a dinner together before we opened at 6. The best thing about the Japanese restaurant is that there was only one non-speaker of Japanese there! So I chitchatted away the entire night in Japanese with our staff and Japanese customers. It was great! I really had a good time, and think I’ll be a great server–I love to schmooze! Plus this will give me a little extra income to help out with my travels!
This morning, Toby and I decided to go to Manly as the day was absolutely gorgeous. After taking the train to Circular Quay, we boarded the ferry for a short ride to Manly Beach. We grabbed some lunch and met up with Paula. The sun was so hot it felt so nice. It’s so strange to see Christmas decorations and such when you’re out on the beach sunbathing. We spent the afternoon enjoying the sun, playing frisbee and playing in the ocean (just a little bit–it was still a little too cold for me!). Anyhow, Paula is heading to the states in a few days, and bid her farewell in the afternoon. Toby and I then continued on walking around Manly to different areas taking in the gorgeous views of the endless sea in front of it. It was great. We then headed back to Potts Point for some pizza for a nice ending to a perfect summer day.