Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sydney and my last week in Australia!

July 10, 2011

It was windy and cold in Sydney. I arrived from Cairns, and Mariana picked me up at the airport, making my life soooo nice. She is like a bundle of energy, an instant pick-me-up! Her infectious smile and hearty laugh make me feel right at home. I’m so glad I got this chance to know her better, she’s a soul sister, from the other side of the world.

I had a really great time staying with Randwick with Mariana and her flat mates, Sammy and Jiri.

I was lucky to have Mariana the entire week, as she was supposed to have left for Brasil on the 23rd, but her flight was delayed due to volcanic ash from Chile.

What a great week! Sammy is Turkish, and also an amazing chef.

This is her stand at the Rozelle market.

She makes Turkish gozleme for the Rozelle market on Sundays. There is always a line. She's been doing this for 14 years... In her own words, she works enough for 4 days in one day, but on that one day, wow, she makes enough not to have to work the rest of the days of the week. She’s like a garden hose turned on at full blast, she’s got so much energy, and it goes in all directions, whizzling around and getting everything wet.

She made delicious soup for us this week, three different kinds. So nourishing and comforting in the fierce wind that howls at the windows all night. We ate raw turnip with the soup, it was amazing. She eats yogurt in the mornings, yogurt with almonds, fresh dill, chopped red onion, lemon and olive oil. She soaks raw almonds in water in the fridge and they swell up and take on an irresistible crunch.

She made a salad last night for dinner, with celery, leek, pomegranate, mint, dill, those almonds, and apples.

Me and Jiri went to the market today to try her gozleme. We met up with Martin, a friend of his, and we went for coffee. Martin and Jiri are from Czech, and they are also amazing. They are talkers, these two, as are Sammy and Mariana. I had a great time, talking with all of them!

Everybody that I meet in Sydney is in a transition phase in their lives, and maybe that’s why we can be so open with each other. One of my goals on this trip is to connect and learn from people as I travel. Friendships and even quick connections are the best souvenirs. Without connections I get bored very easily. That’s why I have no interest in packaged tours and rushed “experiences.”

On Friday Bali took me around Newtown, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst.

We went to Westpac and closed my bank account, we had a sausage roll at Bourke Bakery, had mulled wine at the Lounge, and pizza at Mario’s. Then we did a little disco dancing at the Columbian Hotel, and met up with his flat mate. Later, due to the wonders of facebook, I reconnected with a friend from high school who also knew Bali, what a small world!

Thursday I met up with Dulan, a mate of mine from school in Adelaide, and we took the ferry from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay, then walked around the Botanic Gardens.

The birds were so friendly- I love the birds in Australia, they are so unusual and make the most amazing sounds. It’s like being at a bird exhibit every day. Or inside the Angry Birds app.

It was a beautiful day.

On Tuesday Mariana and Sammy took me out to see Coogee Beach, and we walked along a path that bordered the ocean.

There are swimming pools constructed at the side of most beaches, where you can lap swim in the ocean. Sydney really is a great city, I know I would love the lifestyle there. Laid-back, sporty and lots of beach and sun.

We went out salsa dancing one night. Another day Mariana took me to her capoeira class, it was really fun. Her students were great, I got into the zone and remembered more of why I love capoeira. One of her students got me to pose for a video demonstrating the correct posture for picking up a baby- stabilizing the shoulder girdle and using the legs to lift… Check it out at

Last night Mariana’s flat mates held a goodbye dinner- that delicious salad I mentioned earlier, chicken soup, a bean dish and an okra dish, plus a few bottles of red and much talking and laughing!

Jiri took me to the airport, as he really likes planes. We went out to the observation deck and he pointed out the Airbus 380- the largest plane in the world. It turned out to be the very same plane that I flew in to Australia on, as I had a photo of it from when I first landed in Sydney, way back in February. It had the same identifying numbers on the side. What a trip, to see the same plane. And now, thinking back to when I first arrived, and all that has happened... It has been a humbling and eye-opening experience. First, I’ve studied the western way, in terms of modern physiotherapy. Now, I’m going to study the eastern way, with a Thai massage course in Thailand, a yoga instructor training course in India, and a temple stay in Japan. And the entire way, trying to keep my eyes and mind open, challenging my beliefs about people and the way I think the world works. It’s wonderful, the world we live in. I’m so excited for this next phase of my journey!

Next stop: Singapore

Singapore (11-14 Jul)
Kuala Lumpor (14-17 Jul)
Cambodia (17-24 Jul)
Laos (overland via Thailand) (24-13 Aug)
Chiang Mai Thailand (for Thai massage course, 14-28 Aug)
Indore, India (for yoga instructor course, 1-28 Sept)
Japan (1-10 Oct)


Anonymous said...

Akemi, love your post about Sydney! It's so interesting to see what visitors think of our city, especially when they like it as much as you do!

Your words about discovering how the world works are so inspiring. I look forward to following your travels through Asia.

Boa Viagem!

Akemi Rico said...

Hi Parentcollective! I finally looked into comments and saw your comment... 3 years later??? Crazy I know. Thank you for your support. I loved being a part of your blog as well! Your baby must be so big by now! xoxo