Dallas.

I hate Dallas.

That is, Dallas airport (because that’s all I saw of it) <- brace yourselves, that’s as rational as this post gets.

Some might think that my distaste is unreasonable. That I’m immature to be so negative about a place I was only in for around 4 hours.

I say you are all wrong, I am completely justified, and that Dallas is a pool of depravity.

Here is why; I ordered a coffee.

Ahah! See where I went wrong? Oh to turn back the wheel of time so as to spare myself the distress to follow following such a seemingly innocent activity; asking for a latte. And then being handed one. The large cup feels uncomfortably flimsy, cheap and (in all-knowing retrospect) suspiciously cool.

I took a sip of coffee.

I took off the lid and looked at the coffee.

London has been referred to as grey, and it is at that. The sky is often white rather than the fairy tale blue we like to think a sky should be. The concrete starts on the ground and rocks it’s way up to match the sky above, breaking pattern every now and then for a victoriana throwback or a trendy cafe. The monotone lives in contrast and texture, windy streets that make no sense, and cobble stones that break the heels of grey faced and black coated commuters. The grime blankets everything and lives on, as well as next to, sleek marble or flat slabs.. But the grey is alive, it has depth and personality, it is distinct and faceted. It serves as contrast to the character and diversity, the art and history.

..In the hazy days of my childhood, on the rare occurrence of a sunny day, something practically inevitable would happen. I would be given a blue ice lolly. Everyone of a certain age from England will immediately know that to which I refer. For those without a UK upbringing, this was a long cylinder of frozen chemical water so intrinsically blue it actually tastes of blue. Other blues seem to be meer shades of green or indigo, every other blue pales in comparison. This blue is an all powerful invasion of the senses. It’s bright and happy tasting. Synaesthesia – that’s a thing people.

You must see where this is going.

I had never tasted Dallas coffee grey before this day, and I never want to again. This grey was not a London grey, this was one that invades the soul, it seeps in and settles. All hope is lost. The world loses colour, actually taking away contrast. Kittens cry. I could go on.

I threw away the coffee.

No words.

The drinks trolley

What on earth is on the drinks trolley? That lane blocking contraption that rattles slowly down the plane. This I want to know. I became curious when I oveheard a passenger a few roads ahead of me ask for ginger ale. It took a second (I’m very tired atm around 17 hours flying time from Australia to Canada) but it brought me up. Ginger ale? Prior to this moment I didn’t know they stocked that. Then I was further intrigued by someone infront of me ordering tomato juice. Huh? Is that standard fare? I personally can’t imagine tomato juice in demand – maybe excepting the odd business person’s bloody mary.

I ordered a coke hopefully and was swiftly delivered one. Not only do I get a (diminuitive) cup full of it with ice, I get the can. A full sized can. Anyone who has flown can appreciate this marked improvement from the barely half full cups of orange juice or water which everyone knows are there. Ask for a carbonated beverage – get a higher return.

It’s so frustrating to swallow, put your cup down in that little circular recess (those aren’t fooling anyone) then pick it up again a moment later to find you’d finished it. The precious moisture in this tube recycled air already inbibed.

I now can’t help but peer around as the car makes it’s slow progress (trying to not catch the eye of the now queueing toilet goers who posess bad timing).

What else is in there? Do they have, say, chocolate milk? (hopeful, hopeful, hopeful) Cream soda, tropical juice, lemonade, maybe… pink lemonade?? Thus the perceived life force of the trolley changes infront of me form strangely anthropormorphic with clanking that says; airplane. A bananal measure of time to a mysterious thing of wonder in posession of treasures uknown. A tardis, bigger on the inside full of endless possiblity.. It trundles out of sight.

I need to know what’s in there!

P.S. 6 movies in flight – personal record. whaaaaat.

Sydney

Check out that featured photo! I am not proud of if per say, (it was such an easy shot to take) just exceedingly happy that I had done the sensible thing and packed my camera into my hand luggage. Its a travelling necessity, really. I took about 40 shots of the sunset as we rose through the clouds and I don’t think one came out badly. Such a dreamy exit from New Zealand. Everything looks like candy floss, and that’s not even the most candy floss shot from the set.

Anyway, back to Australia and on to Sydney! Where I met up with one of my Canadian friends I met in Malaysia and who took me on my first rock climb. Kayla is awesome, really chilled, friendly, super smart and she took the time to take me down to Bondi beach. We had a proper aussie brunch (aussies know how to brunch – even if it’s without the standard alcohol accompaniment you get in the UK) and we went on a walk to catch some of the best views.

At this point in my journey I had a Golden daytime. It was fabulous. As you might imagine.

Some of my memories of Sydney are, unfortunately, less than pleasant. I stayed in a hostel that, whilst serviceable, was not ideal. After spending so much time in south east Asia in gorgeous facilities with a pool, amazing showers and more the aussie-western world asserted itself in the form of a slightly dingier hostel that promoted claustrophobia and bad sleeping at night. It’s not socially acceptable to be in the buff in a six bed room. No matter how hot it is.

After the Kiwi experience this was a little bit of a shock and a downer, but I persevered and just got out of the place – and walked to the Royal Botanical Gardens of Sydney. As well as their ‘Hyde Park’ – GET ORIGINAL NAMES. *cough* moving on…

During the day I very happily wandered around the Sydney – discovered a store called Lululemon (ouch my non-existent wallet..) and generally really loved soaking in the vibe. At night was one of my favourite activities – the night noodle market. Happens every year and I was so happy that I caught it. It’s a collection of some of the best food stalls all in one place. And, whilst there were good noodles, I LOVED this one dessert cart which rocked my world. I have never seen such fancy desserts outside of what my sister has cooked. They were divine. Give me a moment whilst I reminisce.

I really liked Sydney, it felt really clean and nice. 🙂 It didn’t have as much of an art vibe as Melbourne or Wellington but was a lovely place.

Onwards!

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Compulsory to have this shot when you’ve been in Sydney.

Wellington

Moving from my lovely WWOOF family, I then went to stay with Bhagee and Vithiya – the other kiwi friends I’d made in India.

A huge thank you to them for their incredible generosity.

It was so cool to be able to catch up, and I got fed! (I’m so shallow) I alllso was introduced to the best coffee in town by Bhagee’s housemate. The intel was as great as the coffee. And what good coffee it was, nutty and fruity. I had the perfect flat white. Saying that, the entirety of wellington had really good coffee. I looked up the independent coffee houses and did myself a tour, and it was fabulous. I think Wellington was up there with Melbourne in terms of coffee, but Wellington was a little more relaxed and a lot smaller.

I have mentioned previously that the interior design of coffee shops makes me incredibly happy. The effort is always made to make it that much more unique appeals to me on a fundamental level. I think it’s because I am nosey as all hell. It’s like that feeling when you are going round your friends house or room for the first time, unashamedly staring at  everything. Band poster you didn’t know they liked? Awesome. That book you had been meaning to read? Borrowed. Pictures of them as a child? Jackpot.

Digressing here, above is a picture of one of my favourite cafes from Wellington. Pretty cool, huh?

Looking back on Wellington it seems I was very focused on drinking, coffee yes, lots of it. But also craft beer. Oh the craft beer. This was quite a big thing for me as I am not usually a beer drinker. But Bhagee took me to The Garage Project, a craft beer mecca where we very happily got tipsy on tasters, I chatted with the lady behind the bar for ages and Bhagee got me the best chips in Wellington to munch on. It was good times, I discovered a love for stout, my favourite being one with a coffee flavour (don’t look so surprised) and a really nice fruity one which was so light and refreshing. Definitely another interest to take home with me.

I spent a lot of time just exploring Wellington on foot, I got to know it pretty well. I visited the botanical gardens, museum, walked up Mount Victoria and took the cable car up as it seemed like thing to do.

I meant a wonderful elderly gentleman at the top of Mount Victoria, he was retired ex-ambassador army background who hikes all the way the Wellington coast every Sunday. He was a sweet heart and we had a strange if lovely conversation about ghosts.

Speaking of coastal walks, Bhagee and Viddi took on me on a gorgeous one. The featured image of this post is from the walk and is of the long white cloud over the South Island we could just about see from the hills. Aotearoa being the name of New Zealand and it’s most common definition being the ‘land of the long white cloud’. It was a pretty perfect day.