aussie culture

Byron Bay: more evidence Australia has way too many beautiful shorelines by Jessica Lee

I've concluded that Byron Bay is for lovers. With a sandy beach, a horizon that stretches for miles and a romantic lighthouse; how can you not fall in love with this town?

It was a little rainy the day we drove in, but I was able to imagine it in sunnier weather.

I spent the morning trying to surf, then the afternoon was spent walking around town looking at the different shops.

The place is a little "tourist-geared", but I didn't mind.

I love learning about a place based on what they sell in their shops. For example, the shoes below would rarely be sold in Toronto, where I'm from. Though we have the same brands, there are no shoes like these in shoe stores in Toronto.

That's because the shoes below are lightweight, with foam soles and geared for walking on sand, they would disintegrate so quickly on the pavement/ seasonal snow/ ice we have. They are nice beach shoes though. I would definitely have bought myself a pair had there been a pair my size.

I also noticed when I was in Sydney that there are a lot more singlets (in bright colours) for guys sold in stores. Singlets just aren't very fashionable in Toronto I guess, neither are bright colours. Personally if I had to choose between the fashion in Australia or Canada, I would choose Australia. I will explain why in a later post, but for now...

We hiked up to see the light house as it was getting dark. My housemate Tara lives near Byron Bay, so she knew all of the neat places and told us to come here.

It was absolutely breath-taking. If I ever had to fill a film clip with pretty places, Byron Bay would be a top destination for sure.

What made the place more magical was the fact that we were the only ones at the lighthouse at one point. It was like the lighthouse was here just for us so we could look into the horizon and dream...

Vegemite adventures + Aussie life by Jessica Lee

I've been in Sydney for about a month now and I feel like I'm adapting very well.

Today, for the first time, I tried my housemate's Vegemite, which is an Australian starch spread.

It was so nasty!

It tasted like salt, but it had a gross, pasty, texture.

Sorry Australia, Vegemite is another thing I won't be embracing along with crappy internet, expensive everything, having to wait for a sunny day to hang my laundry, and oversized cockroaches.

Speaking of which, I slayed one tonight.

I also woke up almost the whole house in the process, but we had a good laugh about it.

The last house I stayed at in Burwood, when I screamed, no one cared. :( I could have been dying in the next room, yet no one came to my rescue.

Here is a picture of the cockroach I killed today with insect spray. My keys are there for size comparison.

This was one of the smaller cockroaches.

I've come a long way from screaming and panicking when I first encountered an Australian cockroach. Now I know how to pick up an insect spray bottle and go to town.

What are your favourite + not-so-favourite things about Australia?

Cottage trip to Hawks Nest, NSW by Jessica Lee

I went sailing this weekend at Hawks Nest, which is a little cottage town 3 hours away from Sydney.

Spending St. Patrick's Day with a group of sailors (40+ total) was one of the craziest parties I've ever been to. But more on that later.

I want to show you pictures of the cottage we went to.

This is the view of our backyard.

The gorgeous patio.

We left on Friday night and got there around 11 pm, so my mental capabilities weren't at its most alert when we finally stumbled in to 40 people hanging out and eating in a porch/dining room. It was then when I experienced my first big cultural clash since being in Sydney...

But not with Australians.

When I got there, I was greeted by a French guy, some Australian guys and a Belgian guy. I got hugs from the Australian guys and everything was fine. And then the Europeans moved in and judging from body language (open arms), I assumed he were going for a hug, but nope. It was cheek kisses!

So here I am attempting to hug this guy, and he is trying to give me cheek kisses at the same time. It was a lovely surprise for both parties.

But now at least I will know what to expect when I travel to Europe. I've been there before, but went in a tour bus, so we didn't meet any real Europeans to greet with cheek kisses.

After a late dinner of pasta at midnight, we headed down to the beach for a beach bonfire where there was marshmallow roasting and acoustic guitar music. You could see the stars lit up at night, and a yellow moon in the corner. It was quite spectacular. 

I can cross "beach bonfire" off my list now, as in Toronto I've only enjoyed fires around campgrounds.

Another thing I can cross off my list is dry capsizing on a sailboat!

When I did it on Saturday in front of a small crowd on the beach, I kind of played it off like I did it all the time which made me look somewhat pro, but really it was the first time I had achieved such a feat.

For those of you non-sailors, dry capsizing is climbing over the edge of the boat that isn't tipping into the water and bringing the boat back up with your weight/strength when the boat tips into the water sideways.

After sailing, we watched some kite surfers do their thing on the water.

Previous to seeing kite surfing in person, I've always thought wake boarders were the coolest people on the planet. Seeing the kite surfers this weekend has challenged this perception. Kite surfing looks so cool! And the guys who were doing their tricks made it look like the easiest thing ever, and they were metres off the water, which frightened me at the same time. Regardless, I am probably going to go kite surfing this weekend just because.

I don't have photos of the epic St. Patty's party, but I will try to describe it to you in words.

Imagine 40+ people crammed into a small indoor beach porch + dining room. A barbecue is happening in the backyard. There is loud music playing, and the biggest mountain of food I've ever seen in one place at the same time. I was legitimately worried that we wouldn't be able to eat all the carrots we had chopped, and I'm not even sure if we did end up eating it all.

Here is where I learned what the Aussie term "goon" means. It's actually just cheap wine, which is usually sold in a bag.

On Sunday, we had another sail, then packed up and headed back to Sydney.

But first, a detour to a small New South Wales town named Toronto!!!

This is their main street. (Note how it says "Toronto")

This is their sailing club, which I thought was cute.

At the end of the trip, we had a free for all for the remaining food that wasn't eaten.

I grabbed two loaves of bread (there were more than a dozen), some apples, and a full jar of Nutino, which is the Italian version of Nutella.

My goal for this week is to spend $10 or less on food. Milk costs $3, and I'm planning to buy sandwich materials with the other $7.

I'll let you know if I manage to make this happen!

Until next time...