Ah summer in Sydney. There are few better spots.
We arrived on Monday at 7a and began the requisite "stay up as long as you humanly can" process. I googled that sunset was at 8:07pm... we had our target. We wandered all over the city and were thankful for the warm, sunny weather.
The first visa drama has occurred. After hearing horror stories about the new company that the Indian government outsourced passport processing to in NYC (irony that they outsource isn't lost on us), we decided to try our luck in Australia. The website for the consulate in Sydney said it only took 3-5 days. So we showed up at the Indian passport processing center in Sydney. We took a number and sat in the non-air conditioned room, slowly slipping into a coma, which certainly wouldn't help our visa chances. We calculated at their current pace we'd be there for roughly 7 hours. Death. Fortunately things picked up and we got to the counter with a helpful guy. Unfortunately, it turns out that 3-5 days was for Australians, it's actually 5-10 days for foreigners. So, we figured better to be stuck in Australia without passports as opposed to Thailand, and pushed our flights back. Now we're here for an extra nine days.
The rest of the week has been spent walking all over town and showing Whitney the sights of my teenage exploits. The place I played soccer as a kid, the bar where my American ID was taken, the run I used to do in the mornings, etc. It's been a lot of fun. We're also extremely grateful to have a lovely apartment to stay in while we're here, plus access to a car. Pretty cushy.
Yesterday we went up to Palm Beach, a beautiful spot about an hour away from Sydney and had lunch with friends. We went for a swim and then headed back into town to have dinner with family friends at a spot in Woolwich overlooking the harbor. Such a beautiful scene. Whitney says that Sydney reminds her a lot of Seattle with all the water and the small-ish downtown. Plus there are tons of ferries. I never made the comparison before but I can see it.
On a side note, I have to say that one thing that stands out here is how expensive everything is. It's crazy! On my not-yet-trademarked "cocktail currency index" I never thought of NYC as the place for "cheap" but when the average here is $20+, I'd take $15 any day. It makes me yearn for the days when the exchange rate was 0.60 instead of 0.90 (at least it isn't 1.08 anymore). Somehow everyone seems to push through it here, maybe because of all the energy industry jobs. If I was to take the infamous "short the industry where all the HBS graduates are going" rule and apply it to the best and brightest of Australia... watch our mining/energy.
But wonky finance commentary aside, this place is spectacular. No wonder it's expensive, because it's gorgeous, the people are beautiful/nice, and it's safe. Oh Australia... how I've missed you.
Final comment... we realize that we've been terrible about updating the blog from SA. We have tons to say but there's a lot of pressure to write "weighty" posts when you're not doing it that often. We're attempting a shift into a more "short and sweet" approach to blogging which hopefully will work out.