The Writer ventures Down Under (Part 1) - Sydney

Australia is a place I am all too familiar with. Since I could remember I would spend almost every summer there visiting my grandparents. They’ve been an important part of life ever since the beginning. I owed it to them to at least pay them a visit prior to starting university. That is exactly what I did. I planned to visit both Sydney and Melbourne as I would be able to visit some of my friends who are studying there as well. I had booked the one week trip to start the day after I got back from the Philippines. I had booked myself on a Scoot flight which would be leaving at around one in the morning and put me into Sydney at about eleven in the morning.

I reached terminal two and proceeded to check-in. Then I checked my luggage, cleared immigration and use my brother’s priority pass to get lounge access. I ended up using the SATS lounge which was much better than the Ambassador lounge I had used on my trip to the Philippines. I relaxed there and caught up on some blogging as it had taken me a while to finish up some of the blog posts I wrote for my America trip.

The SATS Lounge

Soon it was time for boarding where the big yellow 787 Dreamliner would carry me to the land down under.

Scoot 787

Scoot Cabin

A feature on Richard Quest who flew on Scoot as part of a round the world trip using Low Cost Carriers

The flight was quite crowded but thankfully the seat next to me was empty so I was able to have some room. However, I found myself to be in a rock-hard seat for the 7 hour red-eye to Sydney. On the flight, people were awake for the entire duration. Safe to say, I did not get much sleep on the flight.

I landed in Sydney on time and cleared immigration remarkably quickly thanks to the smart gates. I was equally surprised with how quickly I cleared customs. The customs check in Australia are usually quite stringent. Soon, I was reunited with my grandparents who promptly brought me to their home for lunch. Whenever I visited them, I would always binge on the South Indian dishes that they made. Their dishes are without a doubt the best South Indian dishes ever. Afterwards, I had a nice shower and did what most people do on a Tuesday afternoon, had a quick nap. I woke up feeling quite refreshed. As I woke up I was offered one of the many fresh fruits my grandparents had bought in anticipation of my arrival.

After feasting on one of the many fresh fruits my grandmother brought me to Costco to pick up some food items such as quinoa and almonds. My dear mother had given me an extensive grocery list for me to bring back to Singapore. It was here where I ended up picking up some rather nice dress shirts from Calvin Klein for great prices. I got them as just after this trip I would be starting my internship at Grey Advertising. I needed some suitable attire for the work environment. Afterwards, I headed back to their house to rest for dinner.

Over the next couple of days, we had developed a standard routine in the morning. I would wake up with them at the ungodly hour of five in the morning and go to the gym. I became friendly with some of the “Gym-rats” at the gym. They were actually friends of my grandparents so they were able to help me with some workouts. During the day I would help my grandparents with the chores around the house. I would also occasionally watch this remarkably hilarious Chinese dating show with my grandfather. On one of the nights, I took them out to their favourite Indian restaurant for their birthday. We celebrated both of their birthdays as they are within a week of each other. It was nice for me to treat them for a change after all these years.

On my second last day in Sydney, my grandmother took me to the city. We went to get some gifts for my brother’s birthday and to check out the light installation festival in Sydney. After shopping for gifts and a lunch stop we headed for Darling Harbour. I have fond memories of Darling Harbour when I was a kid.

City sights and our lunch

I remember this fountain which had a spiral staircase that you could run down.

Darling Harbour

When I went there on this trip, what I saw shocked me and scared my inner child. It was being levelled out. It was simply a travesty and a crime to my childhood.

The fountain

After walking around the part of Darling Harbour I used to adore, my grandmother and I headed to the Lindt Chocolate Café.

The cafe and the Lindt Hot Chocolate

We had a quick coffee before catching the ferry to Sydney harbour to catch the light show.

The ferry ride allowed us to catch a glimpse of the sunset over the bay. Before reaching Circular Quay we saw the famous landmarks such as the harbour bridge and the Opera House.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House

We soon docked at Circular Quay and waited for the sun to go down. At precisely three minutes past eight, the main lights went down and the light show began. The lights were on a myriad of objects ranging from an Audi TT convertible and the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Highlights from the Light Festival

My dear grandmother enjoying the lights

Afterwards, we headed back home for dinner before resting for the night.

The next day I woke up late and did some light exercise in my room before starting the process of packing my suitcase for the next part of my trip. My grandmother then offered to take me into the city just to look around for a bit and to purchase a Lindt Chocolate cake for my grandfather.

Exploring the city brought back many fond memories from when I was a child. After some city exploring we visited the Hobbyco store (a must see for me on any visit to Sydney)

Some of the models in the store

After the store we headed towards the Lindt cafe where we ordered their famous hot chocolate again before picking up some cake slices to bring back home to eat.

The cafe

My grandmother enjoying her hot chocolate

We headed back to enjoy some cake and I prepared for an early night.

My grandfather enjoying his birthday cake slice

Before resting, I had to pack my bag which was now ten kilos heavier than when I first landed.

My story continues the next day when I head down to Melbourne.