Sunday, March 6, 2011

Post Sixteen: Manly Procrastination (haha haha 'mainly procrastination' get it?....yeah)

So, paper writing is terrible pretty much everywhere one goes on the globe. I have to write two this weekend, I would like to get rough drafts of each done by Monday night. Not excited, it also does not help that I think the yogurt at breakfast was a little to warm and now my stomach is not too happy with me.

However, got to skype with the parents so that helps cheer me a little! and now I am procrastinating writing papers by writing on this blog! How wonderful is that! No, I promise I will get everything done so that I can have a rough draft of at least one of them done tonight...

Anyways, MANLY!

Let me preface by saying that Manly is a part of Sydney that is across and sort of around the harbor from the main area (Sydney Centre), and is home to Australia's second most famous beach, Manly beach (clever). Manly is pretty much its own town though and as a huge tourist destination it has the usual suspects of shops, foodstuffs, and attractions.

Don't count Manly out though, since it was a little gloomy the day began with, instead of heading to the beach, going to the Park Reserve and walking around in some wilderness on the various coastal points of Manly. The trail was not very well marked and it was clear that people often forsook it for the more interesting views etc. However, being the good environmentally conscious person that I am, I stayed to the path since the views and wilderness experience was quite adequate from there. It was very quiet, and though there was no 'wildlife' to be seen (except the giant goldenweb spiders everywhere) it was still a pleasant way to spend the morning.

Manly Beach from the Park

A WWII...thing? nont sure what it is there were a few of them along with a "command post" that looked pretty much the same as this thing...but I took this photo just for you Sam :)

Lunch was a kangaroo steak!!! This was at the Manly Grill (another creatively named location) which is located with outdoor seating right on the edge of the beach and yes, I was 'that tourist' long enough to sneak a discreet photo of my meal. How could I not?

The verdict is that kangaroo tastes pretty much the same as cow (though I am not a steak connoisseur [is that how you spell that?] so I am not really a good judge) but a little milder in flavor, and the flavor doesn't last as long. It also tastes a bit 'wilder' though perhaps this was purely placebo effect.

After lunch it was still rainish but a walk along the beach was in store anyway, it was fun to see the rather large waves. Due to the weather there weren't alot of tourists out and about but there were some local real surfers and it was great to watch them show off for awhile.
The South end (that bit of green is very near where I took the photo of the beach from the park)

there were also alot of sailboats out since it was windy

After this, with the clouds and on and off rain still not letting up I went to Oceanworld since I had a free pass. nothing to see there that cannot be seen (and indeed was already seen) at the Sydney Aquarium (fair warning future tourists, Oceanworld is really nothing do NOT spend your money there). That day though they did have a 'touch me' day so I elbowed through the crowd of 5-10 year olds and got to pet a stingray the size of myself, some starfish, and a seaurchin.

15 minutes later I was on my way walking down a beautiful little walkpath around another bay of Manly trying to get to the Nature preserve on a different point. There are some Aboriginal Rock Carvings there that I was interested to see. However, after having walked 45 minutes and only reaching the halfway point to the park (much less the rock carvings) I decided that I would instead try to see the ones near Bronti later instead and I cut through some lovely neighborhoods on the return to the main area of Manly near the main beach. To remember from this is that Manly is really not part of the City, it is more like its own little town or village suburb.

I really enjoyed the walk, it was lovely to just gaze at the quaint buildings with tended teeny tiny front yards and pretty flowers, all throughout the very hilly landscape of Manly.

some pretty flowers near a house named "La Bella Luna"
I caught a bus back to Uni for a quick dinner and to drop off stuff (before heading out, see later in the post) and since I was pretty much the only one on it I struck up conversation with the bussdriver. He told me that if I visit nowhere else I MUST visit the Reef and Uluru (Ayers Rock). Hooray! these are the places I had decided I MUST visit already. Nice to have a local confirm my desires. He also instructed me that hitchhiking in Australia is a nono, there are some 'yahoos' around. Well, there goes that idea, oh well.

Another tip for the future tourist. Chocolate from Australia IS NOT CHOCOLATE. Do not be fooled. No matter how fudgey, how gooey, how brown and yummy it looks it is plastic with chocolate hints of flavoring. Even the cookies or muffins taste more like flour with chocolate hint, even the ice cream, even the hot chocolate, even the cocoa cereal, everything. If you want something chocolate go for the Belgium stuff, the Cadburys, the Lindts, even the M&Ms, but do NOT eat the Aussie chocolate if you want anything even remotely similar to a cocoa experience.

Mardi Gras:

Evening involved another bustrip to Sydney to experience the second largest Mardi Gras in the world. For this I have two words. No and No. that is not to say that I doubt this claim, I am merely expressing how I feel about this particular festival, again, not the message, just, I shall explain.
My bus was boarded by some drunk highschoolers...correction, highschool girlygirls who proceeded to shout as loud as possible and scream and chant etc. all the way to the city. On this busride I got communication from the group I was to meet up with in the city that I should head back IMMEDIATELY. Why is this? Well,

I was to find out in the morning that they had been in the only entry area to the parade street and people had been literally crawling on top of each other to get in.

Needless to say I did not know this at the time, and my bus ended at Hyde Park anyway so I thought "well I can't go and not see anything" and I was already on the bus I couldn't really turn around, so, planning to find my group upon arrival at Hyde park, I joined the mass of people in trying to find a way to the parade street. Since it was closed off even to pedestrians from pretty much every entrypoint. After getting stepped on, shoved, and doing my share of elbowing and bumping into people...hard...I am not a mean person, this was just necessary otherwise one would get squished. I finally glimpsed through a crack in the fence what looked like the tailend of the parade. This was enough for me and I quickly made my way to the bustop where I was to board the bus home.

Conclusion: I am glad I can say that I went. but. Never. ever. do I ever in my life ever again want to go to a that I am not particularly familiar night...where there are a bunch of, correction, tens of thousands of drunk and smoking people...especially when I am by myself...especially when I have forgotten my map on my bed at my dorm in my haste to leave...especially when the only bus that I know to get home leaves from a station that I had to run to to make it on time...This was not cool.

For those who may be concerned for my safety, I was at no time in any danger, I knew where I was it just would have been nice to have a map so that I could have met up with my group, and/or find a better bus station, I was at no time afraid of the people around me, they were docile enough and there were police everywhere and I am a strong and belligerent person. It was just not any fun. A good learning experience, but one that I am happy to never replicate again.

Not wishing to end on that note I will say this.

I have decided that maps are indeed useful. For those of you who know me this may come as a shock. I say though that I have learned. Even if it takes one forever to orient oneself on them, they do help out significantly. While there are posted maps in the touristy areas (and these areas are small enough to navigate without them), having a map on ones person gives a good sense of security to the holder and are a good 'just in case'. Personally I find that it is they that provide me with a sense of direction and where things are relative to my position. Even when I am familiar with my surroundings already, since I am a visual person, picturing a map really helps. This is not to say that I cannot find my way without one, but at least having one in ones mind is really nice. Hence maps = good.

And finally, lastly but not leastly...
"LJHooker: Nobody does it better"...'Nough said

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