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  • Writer's pictureTroy Ericson

Honeymoon Leg 3.1

I'm finally back from my honeymoon. I managed to share a couple other stories over the past month from Hawaii & Bora Bora. And I'm gonna share two more about Australia today & tomorrow. After that I'll be back on my regular schedule. Hope you enjoyed my COO Dom's takeover while I was away. Leg 3.1 was the least honeymoon-like... But it's still a fun story to if you've never been to Australia or haven't left the US often (I've included a photo link at the bottom as well): I used to think that people were being soft when they said their stomach hurt from eating foods in different countries. Well, turns out I was naive & those people are right LOL... Because we had some stomach issues in Tahiti (I’ll leave it at that). And waking up early to catch a flight to Australia when you’re feeling terrible doesn’t always go well. We showed up at the Tahiti airport a bit late & were directed to the wrong terminal. So we ran over to the International Terminal. There was no check-in desk. The arrows were pointing outside. I saw an AirTahiti employee & flagged her down. She told us we missed our flight. But, we’re entrepreneurial & we know that rules are made to be broken. So we petitioned her to let us on. She brought us into an office where another woman told us the same thing because we hadn’t filled out some sort of C-19 Visa required by New Zealand… even though we were only laying over there. So we managed to get her to do it for us AND check our bags AND let us on the flight lolol… So that was fun. But at least we made it. 6 hours later, we landed in New Zealand & missed the next flight since our first flight ended up being late anyway. To make matters even more complicated, the tickets we booked were split between 2 airlines, so no one at the airport knew what was going on. We had to wait for the gate to open about 30min before the flight and then ask someone what to do. Turns out, we ran into the same C-19 Visa issue for Australia too and had to ask 5 times to get the correct app to download to "get approved" (I’m fully convinced it’s just a clever way to collect an extra $20 per visitor). The app was more broken than a glass dropped from a 10 story building, but we managed to "get approved" just in the nick of time. (Btw I’m not complaining at all, I’m just writing all this to document our experiences) That flight was 4 hours. The wifi didn’t work on either. So I’ve learned to never trust airline wifi & come prepared. By the time we FINALLY got to the Sydney Airport, we had to go through a "fresh fruit check". Nothing new if you’re flying to or from other countries or islands… But this one had HARDCORE threats about not declaring that you have certain fruits with you lol. The funniest part was, the inspector found some dried bananas in our bag and said, "Are these cucumbers… No, wait, apples?" 😂 Then, came the best part of all… The rental car. We got the keys, loaded it up, and then I sat down to drive… In the wrong side. Yeah, I forgot about the whole ‘driving on the left side of the road’ thing. But it’s not just the road. It’s the steering wheel. It’s the turn signal. It’s the shifter. It’s which way you look. It’s everything you know about driving… Flipped on its head. It doesn’t sound hard at first, but once you try it, you literally feel the left side of your brain working super hard to try and remember that EVERYTHING is backwards. So night driving on the highway was fun, to say the least. It gets even better when you get off the highway, and the streets are suuuuuper crammed with people parking on both sides of the street, even if they’re blocking a lane. Over the first few days, I got in the wrong side of the car 4 times, drove on the wrong side of the road 3 times, And had 2 times where I thought I was going to hit someone. But, like in business, all that matters is the bottom line: 0 accidents. Eventually I found the 2 keys to success: 1. Follow another car whenever you can. 2. Repeat "LEFT LEFT LEFT" whenever you turn or change streets. Even funnier, it doesn’t end when driving. Turns out, you can piss a lot of people off by walking on the right side of the sidewalk lol. The next morning, we woke up in our Airbnb to an epic view of Bondi Beach, 6ft waves, and plenty of surfers. Bondi’s a nice town to walk around and hit every local shop. We got a really healthy breakfast bowl & learned that "takeout" is "take away" in Australia. Even better, trash cans are rubbish bins lol. And tipping really isn’t a thing there. In America, everyone shoves an iPad in your face after pouring you a drink. But in Australia, most of the time they don’t even give you a chance to tip, even after a 5 star meal. I also noticed that there’s virtually zero fat people. Which ironically was the opposite of Tahiti & Bora Bora. I thought the island life would be way healthier, but I guess not. Unfortunately, the fittest person of them all, Julia, wasn’t feeling good. We were still dealing with some issues from Leg 2 in Tahiti. Julia got knocked out for 2 days. The first day I pretty much ran errands to get her everything she needed. It was a lot. But it gave me a chance to just walk around town, get a ton of steps in, see everyday culture, and go to one of the nicest gyms I’d ever been to. She slept most of the day and had me go out on my own for a bit. So I stopped at a ‘National Park’… Which is more like a state park compared to America. The cliffs were cool, but not that much better than San Diego. And it got super confusing because there was some sort of military base that I almost drove into like I did at Pearl Harbor on Leg 1 lol. But I managed my way on foot around this whole park and over to the Hornsby Lighthouse at the top of Sydney that I’d wanted to go to. The hike was actually really cool at sunset, was right along the entire Sydney Harbor into the ocean, and even had some views of the city. On Day 2 of my solo adventures after picking up some more stuff for Julia & tucking her in for the day (haha)… I headed downtown. I’ll reiterate this one more time too: Be thankful if you live & drive in America. The streets are way clearer, the rules are more obvious, and there’s actually parking. Like, Sydney’s parking scene is worse than NYC. No joke. Eventually I parked at a hotel valet for $100 AUD and made my way down to the Sydney Aquarium. After I got there I realized it wasn’t just an aquarium. They also had a zoo, a wax museum, and a trip to the top of the Sydney Eye Tower (think Seattle Needle). Not gonna lie, I’m a sucker for attractions. And at the top of the list? SEEING A KANGAROO. That’s all. I can confirm, they are real, hoppy, and pretty cute. Koalas too. And let me tell you… You haven’t seen a zoo until you’re in Australia. I don’t know if the people view these animals as ‘normal’… But they have a lot of sh*t you don’t see in America 😂 Same goes for the aquarium. It was cool. But I’d never been to a wax museum. I’ll let the pics speak for themselves, but I had the time of my life sending pictures & videos to Julia of me & it’s-so-real-it’s-creepy wax figures of celebrities, world leaders, and athletes. After that, I found my way into the main shopping district, found (what might be) the largest mall in the world. This whole mall area took up an entire DISTRICT… Plus up to 5 floors in a lot of places. So I treated myself a bit & got some more goodies for Julia so we could have a ‘homecooked’ meal from the local organic grocery store. The next day Julia was a trooper & made it downtown with me. It took awhile to get up-to-speed… But she did it. The Royal Botanic Garden was… Royal. But not very botanic. But I guess it’s a free public garden, so that’s that. The Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge were cool to see. Then we went back to the mega mall area. Julia actually shocked me. She didn’t think the place was very cool… But hey, I guess that saves us some money lol. Then we got some soup & went for a walk and finally settled upon a pizza place that had gluten-free, hardly any oils, and made me thankful that so many places in the world are realizing how important food is to feeling good & living long. All in all, the Bondi Beach area was less of a ‘vacation’ vibe and felt more like we lived there. Mainly because we had to get healthy. But it was fun for what it was. And it made me thankful for the mainland. The island life was cool, but I can’t handle it more than a week. The next day we headed to the other Sydney Zoo (I guess they have so many weird animals they don’t all fit in 1 zoo)… And we had a picnic. Again, I love attractions, so I was all about it even though I never thought I’d hit 2 zoos in 3 days. Pics below. Then we headed to Manly Beach, similar to Bondi Beach, but had less cliffs and more trees & beaches. But still similar to San Diego. We shopped around a bit & then headed to our new high-rise airbnb. Best of all, Julia was feeling good enough to head back up the Sydney Eye Tower with me & get an international high-end buffet while spinning around the entire city. We’ve done 3 or 4 of these now & I really really enjoy them. On the last day, we didn’t have much planned, so we hit the gym, which was in a weird little room on the top floor. The gym was 4/10 but the views were 10/10. Odd combo, but it got the job done. You could even see the bridge & opera house. After that, we got another bomb breakfast (we might be the first couple ever to not gain weight on our honeymoon lol)… and headed to a market. Then I got a text… Our flight got cancelled. Probably a good thing given that it was on an airline I never heard of (shoutout to Jetstar)… So we found a sooner flight on Virgin Airlines & frantically rushed to the airport and somehow found the hidden rental car return while Julia booked the flight. It felt like an episode of The Amazing Race, doing 5 things at once… Turns out, domestic flights in Australia are wayyyy more laxed than domestic US flights with security, boarding times, rules, etc. So it wasn’t actually that hard to make it on time. And thankfully we did, because we didn’t want to spend another day in Sydney. Overall Takeaway: Sydney was a tad disappointing. We thought it would feel more like Australia. Maybe that’s our inexperience showing. But it is a nice city if you can find a parking spot. It’s smaller than New York, but cleaner. And not quite as much to do, but you can still find enough for a few days if you're in the area. But don't go down under just for Sydney. However... do NOT worry. I'll be sharing Leg 3.2 tomorrow, which was MUCH more exciting & honeymoon-like (; - Troy & Julia ps You can see photos of our trip here.

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