Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Leaving New Zealand…Welcome to Australia!

I flew from Auckland to Sydney yesterday and it was magical. More on that shortly, but I finally got the tattoo I have been working on designing for the past couple of months. It came out better than I expected thanks to Jeff, Kenny, Murray, Geoff and tattoo artist Victor. It is the shape of New Zealand with the symbol of Aotearoa in the center. Aotearoa is Moari for New Zealand, or “Land of the Long White Cloud.” I had Victor put in a few blue highlights, because it is not only my favorite color but also a reminder of the country. I hope everyone that sees it will like it as much as I do. And don’t worry, it wasn’t that painful and I am not too sore today.

My flight to Sydney was AMAZING. I think I have flown on about 300 flights in the past few years and this one was memorable. I didn’t get upgraded to business class on the Boeing 767-300, but I was in what Air New Zealand calls Space+ which is like United’s Premium Economy with more legroom. I was sitting on then window of seat 13A, with nobody next to me. The 767 is configured with a 2-3-2 seating arrangement. The airplane was equipped with small in seat TV’s that each person has control over. I watched heaps of episodes of “The Simpson,” “Big Bang Theory,” and “Two and a Half Men.” Then there was dinner, Chicken Kiev and a rice pilaf. It was so amazing. I love Air New Zealand even more!

This is my first time back in Sydney since living here six years ago. I spent the evening walking up Pitt Street, where I used to live down to the harbor and then back up George Street where I used to work.

Walking up Pitt Street made me think about the past. The backpackers I lived in for a few months was still there, but with a paint job completed. Some of the old restaurants, sex clubs, bars, high rises, and souvenir shops were still in their places. But, there seemed to be new life on the street. The World Tower, which was being constructed when I was living here has been completed, it is such a bright spot on the way down to the harbor. There also seem to be a few unfamiliar buildings and hotels. There were more eating spots, which were very posh. I am proud of what the street has become.

When I arrived at the harbor, much was the same. The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Harbor Bridge, and the Opera House were still in their spots. Although it was pouring rain, it was amazing to see the Opera House full of color as someone was projecting lights on it and the museum. It seemed to give it new life.

Then I walked past the Fours Seasons, which is still wonderful down George Street, past old stomping grounds like Jackson’s on George, Scruffy Murphy’s, amongst others. I went near the huge cinema complex. There was a premiere of something going at the State Theater; there were heaps of media there.

Much is the same, but so much is different. I am glad to be revisiting my old home.

I am staying at a very unique and spotless backpackers. The Sydney YHA Railway Square is literally at the main train station. It is a converted old train building and even has rooms in old railcars. It is fairly new, and wonderfully spotless. If you are coming to Sydney, check it out!

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