Monday, March 4, 2013

Friends All Over

Part of the fun of traveling is connecting with people. Making new friends, making new memories with old friends, sometimes even running into people you haven't seen in years. The fact that you're traveling means you automatically have something in common, and somehow that seems to make everyone a little more open and friendly.

In the last few days, we've had an opportunity to see a lot of different people from various times in our lives. First, we spent those days with Ania, an old friend of mine from study abroad, and Sam, her fiance.

We left their house on Friday, when we returned to the city and met up with Sarah, a girl I went to high school with who just happened to be visiting Sydney at the same time as we are!

Sarah joined us for lunch in the Chinatown area of Sydney, called Haymarket, where we did a little shopping at the grand Paddy's Market. This market sells everything you can imagine - from clothing to massages to souvenirs. There's even a large vegetable market on one side. In the building above the market, there's a regular shopping mall, with food courts and other stores, in case you want a less crowded experience.

From Haymarket, we braved more rain to get to another indoor experience - Wildlife World! It is in the very touristy area of Darling Harbor, which tends to mean foreign crowds and high prices, but Ania told us it was worth it. We saved a few bucks by buying the tickets online before we got there, and then we just had to hand over our reservation code at the desk. Super easy!

Ania was right, we loved Wildlife World! It was small enough that it only took a couple hours, and we got to see all the animals that you would expect to see in Australia. Most of the outdoor animals were hiding from the rain, but we were still able to see them since the enclosures were pretty small.

Koalas look pathetic in the rain.

We said goodbye to Sarah and headed back to our hostel, where TJ caught a train out to Minchinbury. Remember that trip? Except this time, it was much less fun. We realized on our way back to Sydney that morning we had left our typhoid pills in Ania's refrigerator. We have to take them when we wake up every morning, so TJ offered to "run" back to pick them up before Ania and Sam headed out for the weekend. It was about 2 hours round trip, but at least we didn't have to restart our typhoid doses halfway through!

While TJ was in Minchinbury, I was meeting up with Kerry, a girl I grew up with who has the same great taste in study abroad destinations as I do. I walked into a class at my uni in Sydney back then and was shocked to find a familiar face! Kerry loved it here so much she actually lives here now, so she and her boyfriend has us over for supper Friday night. It was delicious - and vegan!

With such a busy Friday, we were exhausted when we got back to the hostel. We weren't through, though! Our friend Melissa had checked into the hostel and was waiting for us when we got there, bottle of wine ready. She's a friend of mine from college who is about to start to job in New Zealand, so she's getting a bit of travel in first. It was so great to see her again!

It's crazy to be on the other side of the world and see so many faces from home. We're setting off on this great big adventure, but we're not leaving everything familiar behind.

PS - Apparently, with the exception of that picture with Kerry, we only used this camera to take pictures of animals on Friday. Please excuse the fact that we apparently do not take pictures of our friends. At least the animals are cute!

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