Up at sunrise. Last full day in Sydney. I was planning for bad weather from yesterday’s forecast. Suddenly out comes the sun, and it is a clear day. Yes! What to do? Go for a run.
There seems to be a path nearby according to my running app. Suit up and go. Gotta love Australians. Rugged people. The sign says “walking path”; turns out it is what we call a hiking trail at home. Everything is wet from the previous two days’ rain. Steep slippery steps, less steep, but equally slippery rocks, and then just plain slippery mud. I am asking for a broken leg. However, I love hard trails, so go at it full steam (thanks for yesterday Luci Bee). I feel confident. Great trail with beautiful views around Sirius Cove on the backside of the Taronga Zoo. Not too many people out. The sun is shining, and I manage to not fall down and break my ass. I finish three miles exhausted, unbroken and soaked. Awesome run. Days like this are finally bringing me to love running.
I have been a reluctant runner for more than 10 years (translated: I have fucking hated it since the start), and usually run 3x a week for the normal reasons that over 40 IT consultants need to exercise. I read an interesting thread recently about the sexual health and performance of men in their 40’s. Bottom line: better diet, regular cardio, and less tobacco/alcohol definitely give you an edge. I eat more vegetables than meat, don’t smoke, and stick to beer/wine (random drunken benders with old acquaintances excepted). I take no medication for anything: blood, asthma, hard on, mood, or otherwise…
Back at the flat, I decide to take advantage of the weather and also make a decision: I will to lay off the providers today. I have had a great week. Quit while you’re ahead dude. Go to Bondi, it is supposedly a must see beach for Sydney.
Quick shower, grab my pack, and I am out the door. I ponder my route: multiple ferries vs water taxi vs car. It is Easter Sunday and the weather is perfect. There will be no parking at the beach. Google the taxi: $110 AUD each way. The ferries look about $12 round trip each. No brainer. I have time to kill today….slow boat to Bondi it is.
I wander down to the Taronga Zoo wharf planning to hop on a ferry to Circular Quay, which is Sydney’s grand central station for ferries. Glad I didn’t pick the zoo for my activity today: it is overrun with families. Where and how to buy the ferry ticket is a bit confusing. One of the crew tells me to get on the ferry and buy a ticket from a machine when we get to the Quay. Cool. Get to the other side, hit a machine. The choices are a bit confusing, so I just pick one called return. One of my personal mantras for buying public transport tickets in foreign places: always make sure you have a ticket for the trip back. Once I am out of the turnstile from the wharf I have just arrived on, I head over to buy a ticket for the next ferry (Rose Bay) from a ticket window with a real person. The attendant smiles a suggestion: I should have bought a day pass. Cheerily, she refunds the return and sells me a day pass. It is $25 AUD, but also good for all three: ferry/train/bus. Everyone really is friendly here. I’m in a great mood, and it is reciprocated 🙂 .
20 minutes to kill between ferries, so I wander over to Starbucks. There is a barista in a short knit skirt, whose job station today appears to be whip cream girl. She has her back to the counter, topping all the drinks the other baristas put in front of her, and shaking the whip cream can in between each drink. Her ass bounces perfectly. Every guy in the line is hypnotized. LOL.
I order my hot latte. “want whip with that?”. Um, no…
My ‘quit while you are ahead’ resolve wanes a bit.
Get back to the wharf a few minutes late, and my ferry is full. Crap. The next Ferry to Rose Bay is 30 minutes+ away. Thankfully I have this day pass now. Quickly form plan B. I can get to Bondi Station with two trains. The Bondi train is packed with beautiful women. ‘Quit while you are ahead’ continues to wane. Next thing I notice is that King’s Cross station is on the way back from Bondi. This is Sydney’s red light district. Shit.
Get to Bondi Station. Oh look an ATM…
My wife rings me at the exact moment I am staring at this ATM. Timing is everything.
She is chatty. Getting ready for bed. Visited her folks today, and her mom is being a pain in the ass again. She asks about my week. I’ve had a great time in Sydney: hiking, the beach, eating out, etc. The people are very nice. She’s tired and ready to sleep. Tells me to enjoy the beach. “Don’t get burnt”. Exchange ‘I love you’. End call.
Rule #3: she doesn’t ever want to know anything about it.
I miss her. We get each other. Over 20 years together. Married for 18. She is just back from a two month business trip and glad to be home. I left before she got back, and won’t be home for a few more weeks. We are classic DINKS turned 40. She is also an IT consultant….a much better one than I am.
My mind resets: ‘quit while you are ahead’.
The line for the bus out to the beach from Bondi Station is long (at least 2 or 3 busloads of people). Google shows the beach is 1.7mi walk. Go for it. A little under 30 minutes later I am on the sand. Bondi is a typical beach neighborhood. Ratty surf shacks next to luxury condos. Bohemian back packers mixed with up-town girls wearing designer dresses. Definitely a place of contrasts. The water is blue. The sand is golden, and not as crowded as I expect. I find a spot, drop my towel and crash. I grew up on the beach. I am totally at home now. Fucking paradise.
Snooze a little, look up and there is a chick hula hooping a few feet from me. Beautiful. She is surrounded by 5 or 6 young guys in her thrall…all trying to flirt with her. Good luck with that boys. She is definitely enjoying herself, and is the only girl in that group of 20 somethings. I flip over, go back to sleep. Wake up a little later. The girl is being rescued from the sausage fest by a girlfriend. The guys look sullen as the girls walk off holding hands. Lo Siento dudes. ;-).
I am getting a little burnt (She knows me too well). I put my shirt back on and wander the beach for a bit. Watch the surfers, and the life-saving patrol. Very impressive, the lifeguards take it seriously…patrolling the surf in a zodiac, herding groups of swimmers into the very tiny swim area between the flags (about 20 yards wide). The rest of the water belongs to the surfers. Welcome to Bondi.
I grab a bite at a gaucho place just off the beach. Beef (a rarity for me nowadays) and Brazilian beer. Very nice. There is a couple who seem to be on a date a few tables over. I catch the woman glancing at me over the shoulder of her date (more than once). She is pretty and he is not focused on the right things. Probably she is just staring at my sunburned face. A few minutes later he gets up to go smoke with his mates and leaves her sitting alone. Dick move dude. She rolls her eyes, smiles over at me and gives me a little toast with her glass of wine. I toast back. Life is full of tiny moments.
I used to be the guy who would have had her away from that table shortly thereafter.
Anyhow, moments are moments and I am wiser now. I finish my beer, give her one last smile and head for the bus back to Bondi station.
On the way to the bus, I stop at a sidewalk seller with a table of beach trinkets. Buy a little leather bracelet that I know my wife will love and wear ragged. $6AUD.
I keep my resolve, pass on King’s Cross. I’ve had my moment today. That was all I needed.
On the train back I notice a young woman completely decked out. Black dress, heels, hair, makeup. She stands out. Everyone else is in shorts and flip flops. She seems a little nervous. There are a few disdainful faces from the other people in the train car. I wonder if she really is an escort, or just dressed to the 9’s for a date. Either way I can see several people have made up their minds as to which one they think she is.
Don’t worry girl, own who you are. Life is too short to sweat the bitches and dickheads. Again, small moments.
On the ferry back to my flat, I get an email reply from one of the requests I sent Wednesday. Oh hell, no way I am up to this now. LOL. She is just emailing to apologize for not getting back to me earlier in the week. ‘See you next time you’re in Sydney ‘ .
Get back, pack, crash. Sleep like a baby. Another day done. Tomorrow I fly to Manila.