Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you had a blast and spent a decent period of time thinking about how unfortunate we are to be spending it it sunnier climbs.
After Krabi we had a long day of travelling and waiting around airports. We were up bright and early to catch a 1 hour flight from Krabi to Bangkok, then had a 4 hour wait for our 2 hour flight from Bangkok to Singapore.
We got into Singapore and had 6.5 hours to wait for our 7.5 hour flight to Sydney. Singapore airport is huge. You could probably spend all that time just farting about the airport but as you don’t need a visa, we thought it would be fun to explore the City. Going through immigration was fun though – Milly got proper vexed at the customs official for telling her how to fill in her immigration card correctly. After I’d calmed her down, we dropped our bags off for a bit and took the long ass train ride into the centre to see if there was anything decent.
As you’ve probably heard, Singapore is very clean, warm and expensive. It reminded us very much of the uptown places in Hong Kong. It was raining the entire time we were there but it was that humid that you could stand out in it and not really get wet. From the brief time we were there we saw that the arictecure was amazing (both in the airport and in the City) and sat down to have some food in a buzzing bar/restaurant. I had these amazing sweet egg yolk buns which were a bit like warm custard filled donuts and Mills had a rather yummy chilli crab pizza. It was a shame we couldn’t explore a bit more in day light hours as I’m sure its a busy, equally eye-catching metropolis. Before we left we went to Raffles and I got a snap of it for my mum (as she couldn’t stop telling us to check it out).
Back to the airport and we mooched around for a bit – there’s a snap below of Milly in some kind of jungle-type-garden area which had a massive pond full of carp. They want to rate them for everything in the airport too. There’s touch screens everywhere! We gave our shop experience (we stopped to get some M&Ms and it took ages for them to serve us, plus the woman was a grumpy arse) a :(, but opposingly gave the toilets a 🙂 as they were very clean and a pleasant experience.
The 7.5 hour flight to Sydney was horrendous. I can’t think of a worse flight that I’ve been on – I’m not a great flyer and Milly is and even she didn’t like it. On takeoff there was an almighty bang and I literally resigned myself to the fact we were gonna die. There was turbulence pretty much all the way to Sydney, kids were screaming relentlessly AND they didn’t serve any food; ironically this made it a recipe for an awful night’s flying. On the positive side, we did survive and got to Sydney on time.
Now I’m going to dedicate this next paragraph to someone who deserves at least a paragraph (maybe even 2) to her; Hollie Woollam.
This little beaut saw our original Facebook post, when we left Manchester, and offered to bed and bath us (not literally) when we got to Sydney. I’ve not seen Hollie in what must be 6 years probably and she’s (so far) treated us like blood relations. Taking us shopping, making us food, giving us clean towels, providing us with Opal cards (Sydney’s transport card), advising us on sim cards and places to go and she’s even taken Milly’s dirty knickers to the laundrette! Something I point-blank refuse to do. She has literally been like a tour guide/best mate/mother/concierge service and its very difficult to express how thankful we are. I’m informed by Hollie that if anyone reading this is staying in Sydney, she is available for hire. Specifically if you’re a good looking single male. We also got to meet the adorable Teddy, Hollie’s dog. He’s such good fun and we’ve both developed an affection for him. Here are the girls and Teddy:
Before I go on, here’s a brief summary of what Sydney is saying so you can have it in mind whilst reading:
It’s very expensive apart from the travel which is super cheap. You can travel on public transport, which is very clean and prompt, all day on a Sunday or bank holiday and your travel will be capped at $2.50 (about £1.80) for the entire day. The trains run late even on bank holidays and the buses run 24 hours. If it’s not a Sunday or bank holiday your travel will still get capped at $12 per day or $40 for the entire week. Almost everything else is extortionate – We paid $10 (£6) for a pack of turkey and we also paid $25 (£16) for a pint and a G&T. Cigs cost about £16 for a pack of twenty too. The streets are a lot wider than back home, obvioulsy with less traffic (Australia has less than half the population of the UK but is more than 10 times the size) but weirdly, none of the houses look the same (in the suburbs anyway). You can get an amazing looking 2 or 3 story modern house with balconies and beautifully landscaped gardens directly next to a ran-down bungalow which needs a paint job or more likely condemning. We tried to get a snap to demonstrate this. People are very nice and helpful (apart from the Park Warden who I’ll tell you about tomorrow) although we haven’t really met many true Australians yet, probably because we’ve been hanging around the City centre which is quite touristy. And of course… it’s hot!
The next day, which was Christmas day, started with a trip to Toronga Zoo! We jumped the train and a ferry (which provided us with some beautiful views of the harbour, see pics) over to the zoo and like a kid at Christmas, Milly bounced into the tourist laden zoo showing no signs of the jet lag which could have easily plagued our day.
We hung out with the ‘roos, shouted at the sleepy koalas, shit-it from the aggressive emus, tried to feed the wallabies, glared at the snakes, blew raspberries at the komodo dragon, threw stuff at a crocodile and (from behind the glass) provoked the spiders. Along with all the naturally Australian inhabitants of the zoo we also came across the standard zoo dwellers – bears, elephants (my personal fave), giraffes, hippos (who we saw doing a poo (Milly’s fave)), pelicans, penguins and monkeys. We even went to see a seal show which was good fun although Mills got a bit snotty when we couldn’t sit at the front and when she wasn’t picked as a volunteer to pet Murphy the seal.
We left the zoo with beaming smiles on our faces which you can see from Milly’s pic with the cuddly koala below.
From the zoo we jumped the ferry back to central Sydney and caught a bus to Coogee beach where Hollie and a couple of her pals were spending Christmas day.
We got to the beach and it was bedlam. I’ve tried to get a pic below but I’m not sure I can do it justice – there was literally 15,000 people on a smallish, 1km beach, the majority of which were pissed young adults. It was a bit like a festival on the beach but given that we’d got there late afternoon and most of the people (who we believed were mainly British and Irish from who we spoke to/heard) were already annihilated and causing mayhem and that none of the nearby liquor stores were serving so we couldn’t catch up with them, we decided to head back to Hollie’s place to refresh.
We got on a bus back to Bondi junction – an interesting bus journey which was full of pissed up Scots either falling over or trying to cobble together the words to famous Christmas songs and ultimately failing quite outstandingly. Apparently the shenanigans at Coogee beach had infamously made the news for being a bit of a riot (my dad sent me a link to it): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-38441169
We’d had an eventful day so decided to stay in for the evening and FaceTime friends and family whilst getting pissed and playing Cranium. Ironically, a game which requires a minimum of 4 people to play which we managed to play just the 2 of us, which pretty much renders our cranium’s as substandard.
We treated ourselves to a lie-in on Boxing day (we were infact rather sloshed the previous eve) then headed out into central Sydney to see if we could snag ourselves a boxing day deal.
The shops were utterly rammed. Most shops in the Westfield shopping centre in the centre of the City had to employ a one-in-one-out policy and had security guards on the doors. It’s funny though because most of the shoppers seem to be of an East Asian origin – it seems to be a big attraction for them. Probably like Spain is to the Brits though.
We dragged our hungover selves around town to a few different shops until it was time to head over to the Bondi area (which is a lovely area) where we had booked into an open-air cinema at Centennial Park to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It was a great shout by Mill to go there. It was proper chilled out. Not even hundereds of the huge bats that frequent the park (see vid below) could bother anyone and after we’d hired a pair of beanbags we relaxed to watch the movie.