That's a Big Ol' Island: Day 14

Rainy Sydney

Chris said it right. Our descent into Sydney revealed a coastline that seemingly never ended. This is the country/continent I've been reading up on for the last month, and never have I been so scared of a country's wildlife than I have coming into Australia. And after being all over East and Central Africa, I think that's saying something. I couldn't wait to giggle at everyone's accents, and Chris welcomed back civilization with open arms. I was still bumming off our departure from Fiji, but boy was this a cool city we stood in. Looking at our itinerary, we knew we were heading for an ultra-modern, powerhouse of a hostel for the evening. Wake Up Sydney wins international hostel awards, and being two travelers who love to find the hidden gems and steer clear of the easy path, we were very skeptical we'd enjoy this stopover.

But when Christian, the general manager, awaited our arrival out of customs, we got the pleasant surprise of seeing the personable side of the institution. He dropped our things at the hostel after hooking us up with all the amenities and took us for a drive around a very wet coastal city.

Chris instantly fell in love with the place, which called to mind his home in the Bay Area. I was just plain blown away by the sheer size and expanse of the harbor, surrounding houses, buildings; it was all so cosmopolitan...and huge!

"There's where Russell Crowe lives, up on that entire top floor."

"Here's the best view in town of Harbor Bridge and the Opera House."

"This is where the massive New Year's Eve celebration occurs every year. The place is absolutely packed and rowdy. We're already booked up for the holidays!"

It probably didn't make it easier coming from a remote Fijian village, but I was more in culture shock of Sydney than of little old Nakavika.

Christian offered to take us out for drinks that night and give us the opportunity to see the Opera House become alit by an evening light show, and it was our best intention to make that happen. But, a lack of sleep, a pile-up of work, a need to shop and eat, and power up for the Outback stopped us from doing Sydney right.

We're both determined to return; needn't we worry. And neither should you.