I have been anticipating this day for quite some time! Going to New Zealand had been on my bucket list for as long as I've known what a bucket list is. So, in January, I decided to book a trip there to celebrate passing the bar exam. This booking was likely premature as I hadn't even taken the bar yet and was due to get my bar exam results right around the time I was set to head to the Southern Hemisphere.
I'm happy to report I did indeed pass the bar exam! Thankfully, this trip can now be celebratory (vs. it turning into a me-crying-on-the-plane fest).
Since I was heading so far anyway, I decided to swing by Australia, too, and started my trip in Sydney.
I spent my departure day taking my mom out to Mother's Day at Seva restaurant. I feel so lucky to have been able to spend the day with her (and even luckier that I got her for a mom).
Plus, she understands that when you have vegan brunch, you can never order just one thing!
After brunch, she dropped me off at the airport. I was hoping the food coma I was currently entering would help me fall asleep on my flights.
The first leg of my flight (Detroit to Los Angeles) was really smooth. Although I don't think my neighbors enjoyed it too much, I was able to watch a Naked and Afraid marathon (much to my seemingly 80-year-old row-mate's chagrin).
My lay-over in LA was super easy. My arrival gate was right across the hall from my departure gate (score for not having to drag carry-on bags through the terminal!). Another score for the flight not being full. I thought I was going to have my own row for the LA to Sydney leg, but right before we pushed back, I got a row-mate who took the window seat. Drat. Luckily, the middle seat between was still open. Unluckily, he snored the entire flight. There weren't strong enough earplugs in the world to drown out his mouth-breathing and sleep apnea.
I am now convinced that if I ever own an airline (likely), I will ban passengers who snore.
I also had the coughiest neighbors I've ever had the joy of sitting near. Between the woman behind me and the woman to my right, the flight was pretty much 15 hours straight of coughing. I thought for sure that eventually they'd fall asleep and stop the assault of everyone else's sleep. Nope! The one woman, who literally sounded like a cat puking up a hair ball, kept at it the whole flight. Points to her for consistency, I suppose. And points to them both for syncing up their coughs so I got the sounds of cats vomiting in stereo.
I don't think I've ever wanted to douse myself in echinacea so badly.
I did manage to score some frequent flyer miles. I had called ahead (twice) to ask Delta for a vegan meal. Well, when dinner time rolled around, turns out they had forgotten it. So, to make up for it, they gave me enough frequent flyer miles for a domestic flight. Hey, I'll take being hungry for free travel any day of the week. Good thing I packed nearly my weight in Clif bars just in case something like this happened.
I also got to watch indie foreign films. I didn't watch nearly as many as I would've liked as I wanted to spend some time sleeping, too. But, I did catch "I, Daniel Blake," a U.K. drama about poverty and the fight for dignity, and "The Murdered Memory," a Dutch psychological thriller that reminded me a bit of "Girl on the Train."
Along for the trip was my good buddy (and fellow comedian), Keith Lenart. However, since Keith and I couldn't get on the same flight, we met up at the Sydney airport. While I was waiting for him, apparently, I saw a famous actress exit the airport since there were a ton of paparazzi there. Immediately upon her departure from the customs area, they snapped pictures like mad. I'm not sure who the actress was, and when I asked the elderly man next to me, he simply replied with a smile and a wink, "that's our prime minister."
Not long after PM Hollywood made her exit, I saw Keith. We both agreed we weren't feeling too tired and or jet-lagged, so we made our way into the city, found our hostel, dropped our bags there, and then got tickets to the Hop On Hop Off bus. Keith even talked us into a $10 discount. Score!
Unfortunately, the tour didn't have much commentary, but we did get to see a lot of gorgeous sites. Sydney reminds me a bit of Seattle in that it's a newer city, and it seems fairly green with a lot of parks and trees. You can definitely feel the British influence (especially when you see signs for the "lift") with little English-looking pubs and quaint, old-style buildings.
Some pictures from the bus:
Our first stop: the world famous Sydney Opera House.
The building is pretty spectacular up close, and we both enjoyed looking at the architecture. We also reminisced about our time at the Oslo Opera House.
Some views looking out from the Opera House:
After the Opera House, we decided to head back to our hostel to "take a nap."
7 hours later, we finally woke up! Eventually, unable to sleep more, at 1 am, we decided to walk around Chinatown, which is close to our hostel. We're currently staying in Thai Town, so we explored there, too. We explored for a few hours before eventually trying to get to bed at 4 am.
Hopefully, by tomorrow, we'll be caught up on sleep so we can see more of Sydney!