2/15/10: Sydney, Australia
In Siem Reap, our overpriced bike rentals cost us each $1 per day. Those days feel like a lifetime ago. Today’s 4 hour rental and guided tour with Bonza Bike Tours: $178. (Don’t worry though – this price is in Aussie dollars, and given the strength of the good old USD these days, that’s only like $177.50.)
So what exactly makes up the $175.50 difference between a Cambodian bike rental and a Australian bike tour? Gather ’round and let me tell you today’s story.
Once upon a time (this morning), Zhou and I arrived at the Bonza Bike office in the oldest part of Sydney, affectionately called the Rocks. It was a beautiful summer morning, with a cool breeze winding through the ageless sandstone structures and my sorry excuse for a week old beard. It was while donning the shiny red Bonza Bike helmets that we realized Americans flock to Sydney as if it were a Hardee’s thickburger. In our 11-person tour, ten of us were gun-toting, straw-chewing, suspender-snapping, world-conquering descendants of George Washington.
Our fearless leader for today’s “gander on wheels” around perhaps the most perfect city in the world was Adrian, a curly-haired native Sydneyster whose young face was hidden discretely behind his horrible attempt to rub in sunscreen. I immediately sensed that Adrian was the kind of person you’d trust leaving your kids with, as long as your kids were taking a four hour bike tour of Sydney.
Over the next few hours, we each had the time of our day pedaling around the lesser-traveled streets of the city, passing one amazing harbour view after another. We wound our way through Hyde Park, past the iconic Opera House, over the Harbour Bridge and under the thousands of mysteriously out-of-place bats inhabiting the Botanic Gardens. To grandmother’s house we go. We saw the house where Russell Crowe throws phones for most of the year, the institution that is Harry’s Cafe de Wheels (which Zhou and I have eaten at twice already), the creepily awkward Luna Park. We learned about how almost every non-Aboriginal Australian is a convict by blood and how the architect of the Opera House got so fed up with the Australian government that he never saw his completed work. We laughed, we cried and we made memories that will last a lifetime.
As our tour came to an end under the increasingly scorching sunlight, I hopped off my 21-speed “adoption machine” (a term of endearment I gave the seat of my bike for its ability to eliminate any possibility of me ever having kids) and took my wife by the hand for the short walk to the library. (All good bike tours should end with relaxing amidst the musty smell of Australian books.) To paraphrase Dmitri Martin, we immediately reminisced through the 1.5 inch screen on the back of my Canon, and then we lived happily ever after.
PS – After we left the library, we witnessed a gorgeous sunset from the Opera House.
Pictures of the Day: Color Accent orange works for every occasion.