From January 11th to February 3rd, I was blessed by my father’s money and my mother’s consent to spend 25 days in Sydney. It was quite a spontaneous decision since we booked the ticket in November. Normally, if we’re planning to visit Australia, we book the ticket at least five months ahead. Anyway, my dad’s younger brother lived there as a PR. So, accommodation-wise, I had nothing to worry about.
The day of my flight my parents took me to the airport. Beau tagged along, too. It was a quick exchange of goodbye and a nerve-wracking preflight jitter for me. The Soekarno-Hatta Intl. Airport is designed in a way that visitors can only drop off in front of the entrance towards the check in counters. I had to go inside, check in and drop my bags, and go out again to say goodbye and calm my mother down since she was so worried that it’s my first flight alone. Actually, she was calm, but she just wouldn’t stop saying “are you sure everything is okay?” and saying all other flight 101 advice.
After hugging mom and dad and saying byebye to beau, I went inside again and the check in line has backed up wayyy back. When I checked in earlier, there was literally nobody. The guy at the desk asked “are you studying in Sydney?” and I said “no” with no follow up answers. Sorry, guy who tried to be friendly. I asked for a seat near the aisle so I won’t have to bother anyone whenever I go to the toilet.
Time flies so much slower when you are alone. The sun finally set and mom reminded me via WhatsApp to pray Maghrib first before boarding the plane. So I did. When I got on the plane and we took off, it was already 8ishPM. I was already very hungry. I browsed the movies and saw that Scorch Trials and Paper Towns were available, so I watched those two movies. Ended up being disappointed with both.
It was quite an uncomfortable flight, mostly because the obnoxiously cold AC. The blanket wasn’t helping and I didn’t bother to bring a jacket since it’s summer in Sydney. I couldn’t sleep, my chair was not recline-able(?), and my nose started running because of the cold. I got only one to two hours of sleep.
Landed safely at around 6AM. Texted my uncle and my friend, Rifqi, who was already there not to pick me up but to give me an Australian number for the tablet I brought with me. Immigration was quiet, my luggage came out fairly quick, and customs was not a hassle. There was this cute dog that had to sniff on our suitcases to check for customs! First time I ever saw an airport dog staff.
Met my uncle, went to his home, unpacked, napped a bit, then my cousin Debby and I headed out. I was supposed to meet Rifqi for lunch and hit the Sydney Eye Tower. It was okay. I’m not that afraid of heights. The view was amazing.
I spent the following days with Rifqi since he was going back to Indonesia at the end of the week. My second day there we hit Madame Tussaud’s at his request. There were a lot of wax figures I did not recognize (they were Australian celebrities, I guess) but look who I found…
Yes, I am a fan of certain Bollywood movies and actors including Hrithik, Shah Rukh Khan, and Amitabachan (pretty sure I butchered the spelling of their names but oh well).
Wednesday was campus tour day. Rifqi is currently studying in UNSW, and I had an old AIESEC friend, Lenny, who is a USYD student. We went to both campuses and took a couple of photos. I like both campuses and had a hard time choosing which one I favored.
Can I just say that I love every campus that has a decent library? These campuses have libraries in each faculty and they are all great. I just feel like studying in all of them. Or procrastinating and doing nothing. Point is my university can probably learn from them.
Still on the same day, in the evening, my cousins took me to this open cinema near the stadium. The movie screening was…. Scorch Trials. I decided to go not for the movie but for the fun of it. It was actually pretty chilly. So much for a summer night.
It was my last day with Rifqi on Thursday (damn time why u fly so fast) and we decided to go to the Aquarium since he wasn’t such a fan of reptiles and snakes. The thing is Rifqi and I bought this package deal where we pay $70 for 5 different tourist attractions. The remaining two was WildLife Zoo and Manly Sea Life but he kindly left his tickets for my sister (who later showed up in Sydney during my last week).
Best part of the aquarium? Dugongs. I swear we spent way too much time watching the dugongs eat chunks of lettuces. We listened to the whole dugong talk, and then laughed when we saw the dugong’s menu. Breakfast: lettuce. Lunch: lettuce on lettuce. Dinner: Lettuce on lettuce with a side of lettuce.
I obviously had to get one of those dugong plushies.
Basically my 4-days with Rifqi ended there (thanks for taking me around, bruh). And I spent the weekend by myself. I did meet up with my uncle for lunch on Friday, then on Saturday went to Woolies to shop for goodies (ha).And Sunday was just me staying in with the adorable KitKat, my uncle’s family’s new kitten.
Next up on week 2: art gallery and the beach.
Stay happy and healthy!