The last few days of our time in Australia have definitely been the best so far. Thursday started early with a 2-hour train ride to the Blue Mountains. Having hiked the majority of the Adirondack Mountains, I was pretty excited to see what the Blue Mountains had to offer.
We didn’t necessarily hike the mountain, rather we took a bus tour around, which was actually much nicer being that it was raining the majority of the time. We got to see waterfalls, local wildlife and plant life, and when the fog cleared, some incredible views.
One of my favorite parts about the bus tour was when we stopped at the Blue Mountains Chocolate Company. We come up on stop 12, and the first thing you see is a rather unimpressive looking building, which ended up being the chocolate shop. Because of this I didn’t expect much once inside, but after opening the door I completely changed my mind. The shop was nicely set up, sort of like a café, and full of homemade chocolate and other sweets.
By Floyd’s recommendation, we all ended up getting their hot chocolate. The process of making this hot chocolate was fascinating and created by far the best hot chocolate I have ever had. After the 2-hour train ride back to Town Hall, a few of us ended off our night with some Mexican food made by Chinese people in Australia, at Mad Mex, and we were not disappointed.
Our last full day in Sydney ended up not being a rainy one, so Brandon I decided to take advantage of the “nice” weather, and decided to try our hand at surfing. We went to Bondi for this and rented a couple of boards from the surf shop. Surfing was much harder than I had expected. But, in between getting smashed by waves and drinking my fair share of salt water, I had a really great time. I was able to get up on a total of 1 wave, so I would say that my day of surfing was a success.
Interestingly enough, Brandon and I were able to learn about the business culture in Australia at the outdoor gym at the beach today. While poorly trying to do a muscle up, we started a conversation with a man named Marc. Marc is from Australia, but owns an advertising business which he has in LA. Initially he asked us what we believed that cultural differences were, then he shared with us what he thought. He hates doing business in Australia. Although he is an Australian, he dislikes how slow and relaxed the Australian people are when it comes to business and enjoys the fast-paced people of America and how they get stuff done quickly and generally on time. This was an interesting conversation to have, especially after the conversation that was had during the AmCham meeting.
I ended of my final day in Sydney stopping by the Sydney Opera House around sunset, eating fish and chips and walking across the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I was even lucky enough to see the fireworks that were being fired beyond the lit up Opera House.