Day 1: Arrive Sydney International Airport at 6:30 A.M. Get picked up by my dad's high school best friend, my godfather, and his wife. They've lived in Sydney for over 20 years now.
We wind our way toward downtown; we stop at a hillside park to take a picture with the iconic Sydney Opera Theater from across the bay. Meanwhile, a flock of tagged cockatoos feast out on the grass.
Have a huge, hearty breakfast at the Opera House cafe, enjoying the beautiful view of the opera house, the Harbor Bridge, and the cityscape.
Walk what feels like ALL of Sydney downtown. In the rain.
The buildings, again, like Perth, are gorgeous old-timey brick buildings of a yesteryear. Everything from the still-lively flea market (Paddy's Market) to the Department of Education building is stately and picture-perfect.
Have lunch at Fish Market--a tray of a half dozen raw oysters and, what I can only take to be a heaping trough of battered deep-fried fish fillets, calamari, unidentifiable shall fish, baby octopus, shrimp, and--as though that weren't enough--a scoop of fries.
Enjoy real coffee (none of this "flat white" nonsense) at a hipster cafe. Had to ask a "tall black" in order to get the nearest thing to coffee. Chatted with the barista and learned that a "short black" is an espresso, a "tall black" is like an Americano but with the espresso poured over hot water, and a "flat white" is like a latte with more crema (do not recommend... unless you like milk and hate coffee).
Stop and stare into the windows of every single shop in the stunning Strand Arcade and Queen Victoria building, and feel like Alice, lost down the rabbit hole.
Have a craft beer at a tiny, burrowed away pub, and sit at a table for one out on the porch, under an awning, watching the rain pour.
Have dinner with my godfather and family at Hurricane's, the Australian equivalent to America's, well, Outback Steakhouse. So. Much. Meat.
Day 2: The Blue Mountains, Bays, and Beaches of Sydney. Wake up early and catch a city train to a mountainside train to a small town. Then, hop onto a city bus to finally catch a view of the famed Blue Mountains--hardly blue, in my opinion, but beautiful nonetheless. Hike solo in the rain to try to catch more up-close-and-personal views before my limited two hours before I have to catch the train back to the city are up.
Get picked up at the train station by my godfather; get shuttled to and around Sydney and enjoy a nice drive along the coast, seeing every beach between the popular, the rich, and the... most suicidal (The Gap).
Have Thai dinner; enjoy international cuisine before catching my flight back to Japan.
Thanks for taking care of me, Ninong and family! I gotta make it back out to Sydney when I have more than a weekend to spare and when it's not raining. Looking forward to seeing more of Australia, wild animals, and beautiful sights in nature.