Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hooroo Australia..Thanks heaps!

Peta is a friend of Aarron and Mindi's. She travels all over the world organizing the Australian teams in the Winter and Summer Olympics then she returns home to Bondi Beach and looks for a job. The current job she has is an Event Planner and one of her clients was Julia Gillard who up until 4 days ago was the Prime Minister of Australia.  Julia's home was pointed out when I took the Sidney Harbour tour a week ago.

I met Peta at Mindi's wedding and have followed her adventures via facebook ( what else?).  We were happy she could join us for the evening.

Mindi met Peta and I at Bistro Moncur in the Woolahra Hotel on Queen St. in Paddo.  I had walked by the day before so I knew where it was. Cute neighborhood with lots of little shops, great gardens and older brownstones.  She had to drive 2 hours to get here after prying herself away from the boys. Aaron was a real trooper to offer this sleep over for mommy.
I am sure he would have liked to join us as Bistro Moncur is one of their favorite restaurants.  It is very hip and busy.
The food was incredible, wine good and the conversation lively.  Check out the menus..amazing

The next morning Mindi and I were up at 6 am. Check out was at 10am so we got an early start packing up.
The plan was a drive around some familiar Sydney neighborhoods. She lived and worked here for 4 years or so before Aaron got transferred to Newcastle. Since my flight wasn't until 9:30 pm we had alot of time to do a "drive around". 

We started out the drive around in Darlinghurst past Centennial Park, Rushcutters Bay ( I wanted to see this), which is quite small but pretty and on up to Sydney Harbour National Park which is huge. We took the Fairfax walk to North Head which is considered a "bushwalking track". There were spectacular views and unusual vegetation. The large sandstone rocks were very smooth from years of bushwalking visitors. Mindi pointed out where people jump to their deaths sort of like they do on the Golden Gate bridge.  There are park rangers that patrol plus some good Samaritans that have stopped many from jumping.  I took many pictures before we left, just as three huge tourist buses pulled up and people were pouring out with cameras hanging around their necks, all Asian, not school kids this time.

Park entrance

North Head

Mindi B.!

Jumping off point

Bondi Beach was next.  Mindi was to meet a Vintner who was interested in hiring her to distribute his wines. I told her I hadn't had an Aussie beer since landing-too busy discovering the yummy wines. We stopped in a beach side pub and did just that. As she was sipping a glass of sparkling wine her phone went off. It was the man saying he was in Bondi early and could they meet soon. We were laughing hysterically at her showing up a little tipsy.

And she got the job!!

I wandered around taking photos while she went to her meeting. It was hard to fathom, but many people get attacked by sharks in these beauty waters. One of Aaron's surfing buddies had been attacked a month or so ago in the evening. He survived. Mindi won't set foot in the water and she wishes Aaron wouldn't either.
Surfers at Bondi Beach
Shark bait?
Beautiful Bondi Beach

Time for a late lunch. We went to Surry Hills to the Red Lantern, a Vietnamese restaurant.  The neighborhood is quite charming with lots of interesting shops and Victorian buildings, also a few loiterers, one of whom started ranting and raving. Since we were on the patio there was no ignoring this man.  He must be a regular ranter as everyone kept their distance until he finally moved on.  The lunch was fantastic. I don't know why I didn't take any pictures.  When I went to the restroom I passed a table with cards promoting the owner and the cookbook he wrote.
I did a double take... it was Luke Nguyen's restaurant!  He is a chef on the Cooking Channel who travels around Vietnam and cooks outdoors in the street or on little boats. I love his show. I didn't even know he had a restaurant or that he was from Sydney. Now I do! His wife Pauline runs the restaurant when he is away.  We had three "entrees" which are appetizers to share.
Goi Vit- a warm duck, ginger and cabbage salad with banana blossoms, Bi Cuon Chay, Vietnamese vegetarian spring rolls and Goi Du Du. green papaya salad with pork and prawns. The Goi Du Du link is Luke's recipe. 

It was 4:30pm and Mindi had to head back to her little ones. She dropped me off at the airport.  I  was looking at 2 hours before I could check in and get rid of the bags and another 2 hours before boarding. What to do? Why have a last glass of wine and spend the rest of those Aussie $$. Hawaiian Airlines jetted off to Honolulu for another 5 hour layover.
I didn't regret one minute of this trip except the 5 day jet lag when I returned home....honestly it was a doozie.
Full moon over Sydney as we took off. Hooroo.

I know everyone is waiting to hear about the trip to Italy and I have started on that one. Just had to tie up the loose ends and couldn't pass up posting the Bondi Beach pics.

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