Saturday, January 30, 2010


For my second morning in Sydney, my new friends Cherisse and Mendelson took me out for brunch.  Here is what ensued:

Ridiculously hot gay Aussie waiter:  G'day! Can I start you all off with something to drink?
Me, confused American:  I'd like a coffee, please.
Ridiculously hot gay Aussie waiter:  What kind would you like?
Me, confused American:  Regular, please.
Ridiculously hot gay Aussie waiter:  ... No, what kind would you like?
Me, confused American:  ... Just a, you know, regular coffee...
Ridiculously hot gay Aussie waiter:  So, do you want a latte, flat white, long black, cappuccino... ?
Me, confused American:   ... Ummmm...
Ridiculously hot gay Aussie waiter:  ...
Me, confused American:  ...

Coffee culture is completely different here.  They don't have what we call coffee - except at Starbucks, and you have to order it as a "brewed coffee".  Nobody else serves brewed coffee.  A flat white is heavy on the espresso and light on the milk, with no froth.  A latte is similar to a latte in the US - espresso with more milk and some foam - but the lattes here are a bit frothier.  A long black is an Americano (only Starbucks lists the name "Americano" next to "Long Black"), and I assume a Cappuccino is the same as it is back in the States, but I've yet to actually try one.  There's also a severe shortage of flavoring syrups here.  No, you can't get a caramel latte, or almond latte, or hazelnut latte, or white chocolate mocha, or anything like that (except at Starbucks of course, but even they are pretty limited to a few basic flavors).  And I think Gloria Jean's has mochas, but nothing more fun than that.  I really hope Starbucks has their pumpkin spice lattes when winter hits in June.  I'm going to shit sideways if they don't.

More observations to follow.


Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm Here! Now What?

I arrived in Sydney at 6AM this morning.  To keep this short-ish and simple, here are 10 items for your review:

1. First off, there is no internet available at LAX.  Not even for a fee.  WTF?  Even little shithole airports in places like Knoxville and Laredo probably have internet access.  

2. V Australia is one of the best airlines I've flown on... ever.  50 or so movies to choose from, a plethora of games and music, pretty good food, and at least two gay flight attendants.  The 15 hours went by rather quickly.  I watched The Proposal with Sandra Bullock, slept through Julie & Julia twice (but I had already seen it), played crosswords and trivia and solitaire, and watched a few episodes of Nurse Jackie.

3. It's hot here.  Like, fucking hot.  I was sweating at 7AM and I was only outside for 2 minutes while walking from the terminal to the taxi stand.

4. Did you know that cars drive on the LEFT side of the road here?  Ok, fine.  I knew that.  And you know that too.  The Aussie government recognizes the plight of Mainland European and North American tourists and they've painted the words "LOOK RIGHT" at all intersections downtown.  But here's the thing: despite clearly reading "LOOK RIGHT" every time, I still keep looking TO THE LEFT.  You can't teach an old dog new tricks.  I'm going to get hit by a car.

5. My first meal in Sydney was at none other than... Starbucks!  Whatever.  You'd have done it too.

6. The Sydney Opera House is actually more of a yellow-ish color than white.  Are you as surprised as I was?

7. I saw a dude in a kilt inside a Jimmy Choo store.  WTF?

8. Internet service is metered here - just like the utility company meters your water or electric use.  Weird.

9. Thai food is all the rage in Sydney - more so than it is in Seattle.  And it's yummy.  And it makes me happy.  And a happy Phill is a good Phill.

10. I went to the Sydney Tower and OzTrek - a 10 minute video presentation on Australia where you sit in seats that move around - sort of like Star Tours at MGM or Body Wars at EPCOT, for those of you familiar with Disney World.  For a description, read this:

Now, what's so strange about this ride?  Well, when you get in to the room, the girl running the joint tells you to put your bags on the floor (in the middle of the aisles) and to uncross your legs (for those few ladies who had their legs crossed).  Then the bar comes down over your lap and off you go!  No waivers.  No warnings.  No "you must be this tall to ride this ride" or "not suitable for pregnant women or people with heart or back problems" and no safety video up front.  Bags in the aisle?  Whatever.  You know Disney has to have special cubbies for personal items - you can't take these things on rides.  And you know what?  Nobody is going to sue if they get hurt.  Except for maybe an American tourist.  Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And I'm Off!

... Like a herd of turtles.

My flight leaves in less than 12 hours and I'm no where near close to being all packed up. I doubt I'll be sleeping tonight, but that may make it easier to sleep on the plane, so my procrastination might actually pay off.

It's only 5hr 55min to Los Angeles, a 10 hour layover, and another 14hr 55min to Sydney. Piece of cake. Or not. Whatever. See you on the sunny side!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Hop, Skip, & Jump

All I keep hearing about is how long the flight to Australia is going to be.  Personally, I think everyone is being overly dramatic.  I've illustrated the distance using the world map below.

See.  It's actually quite close.