Holly has been bothering me for at least five months to write about our weekend in Sydney. I’ve been bothering myself, too, but something time-consuming and important always got in the way. Tests, papers, losing my phone in the snow.

Sydney was never a part of my itinerary when I headed to Australia last summer. After all, I’d been to Sydney already, and I saw enough of Holly during the academic year. I saw her eating breakfast, riding her bike to tennis practice, and riding her bike from tennis practice. Supposedly she did other things, too.

But there we were–my cousin Joceline and I–on a plane, on our way to Sydney. When we arrived, Holly fed us some nice Cadbury chocolate. She later mentioned that she’d picked up the abandoned chocolate off a tennis court bench. I gagged and counted the hours to my death from deserted tennis chocolate food poisoning.

Holly’s parents were incredible hosts. We had more blankets, DVDs, Chinese food, warm water, and Tour de France coverage than I could handle. Holly showed me her tennis photos. You know how Wikipedia pages of famous pro athletes talk about their incredible victory-studded childhoods? And the three-paragraph long sections on their childhoods, describing how they represented their country for This World Championship and broke records for That Country? And how they knew they would be Great before they learned long division? And how you’ll get two action shots–maybe three if you’re lucky? Well, that’s Holly. But instead of a Wikipedia page, I saw all of it in photos. So many photos. So much tennis. All painstakingly chronicling this tennis prodigy’s domination of the sport. Mind-blowing.

The next morning, the three of us took a train to downtown Sydney. We shopped at Paddy’s Market. Paddy, sure, no. It was actually an Asian-dominated Hong-Kong-style mega-marketplace for tourists. Edifis kept calling me a tourist. Even the shopkeepers called me a tourist. I don’t care if I bought small stuffed Australian animals and token Australian decorations. I was not a tourist. Not me. I resented that.

We exited Paddy’s and passed a shop for Uniforms and Kitchenware. Very useful if you ever want to make sure you’re cooking Ramen noodles in a matching pot and gown.

Next up was a leisurely stroll through the city for some light reading.

(this last one’s sneaky–take a squint behind the 7-eleven sign)

“Picking up some milk from the 7-eleven… oh, might as well get me some Henry Miller!”

Up next was Chinatown. I say this as if we had a plan and a map. We had neither. A French woman agreed to take our picture. She was so charmed that she took a picture of us with her own camera, too. Terrific! Creepy! Somewhere in France, we’re rotting in a dusty, ignored photo album.

As we strolled through Harry Potter park–

–which Holly insisted was actually “Hyde Park,” we ran into some folks filming a Doritos commercial.

I got chills watching it. A corn chips commercial. Unbelievably exciting. You grow up watching TV, eating Doritos. You dream of being one of the people on TV, so you act, act some more, and get a stint acting for a Doritos TV commercial. That’s how the chips fall.

Meanwhile, Holly found herself a new love in the botanical gardens. She had to first check out the goods.

They broke up a few minutes later. I knew it wouldn’t last. He smiled too much.

We were soon off to Manly Island, where we ate too much ice cream and rode our bikes way too long. All worth it for this view:

One day, I’m sailing around the world.

Step 1: Hijack a boat.


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