Around the Dot

Sunday, March 18

Raining? Let’s go surfing!
Around the Dot by Guillaume
on 18.3.07

If you’re in Sydney and it’s a rainy day, don’t think twice. Book a surf lesson. No better and more fun way to spend the day – you’ll be wet anyway.

Actually, I had not planned this when I booked my surf lesson (online via which I highly recommend by the way). And I had no idea that the bright blue sky and the sun would soon be eclipsed by a heavy rain for the rest of the afternoon when we arrived at Bondi Beach for my surf lesson at 1.30pm this Saturday.

Anyway, it was awesome (dude!) and I had a great time – when poor Raquel, who had joined to watch and work on her suntan, had to find shelter in the arcades nearby and comfort in a guava smoothie.

Raquel and I had already surfed a bit in Hawaii 2 years ago and, thanks to the help of the great Leo from North Bondi surf school “Let’s Go Surfing”, I managed to stand on my board in a few waves. A couple more lessons and some regular practice and I’m confident I’ll reach my goal of knowing how to really surf by the time we go back to the northern hemisphere!

Afterwards, we headed for a nice warm lunch at the Hog’s Breath Café where they accept wet tourists and American Express cards ;)

So, a bit more about the surf lesson… The wetsuit and the sunscreen are provided. And after a few stretching exercises and a “drag your board 500 meters” warm-up, you’re quickly introduced to the key techniques to paddle, catch a wave and stand on the board. You also get an explanation on how waves and rips work and you learn to observe the water to know where to go. After spending enough time in the water to catch a few waves, you’re back to the beach for a few more details, notably on the surf etiquette (who’s getting which wave, where to circulate and take wave). The breaks are actually well deserved as standing in the water fighting the currents and paddling is excruciating.

Most importantly, you end up catching waves on your own and having a lot of fun.

And by a rainy day, there is a relaxing bonus: walking back with your board, you get a foot massage thanks to the sand on the shoreline being softly moulded by the raindrops.

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Sunday, March 11

Another Day In Maroubra
Around the Dot by Guillaume
on 11.3.07

Reading on Maroubra BeachWe discovered Maroubra last week-end and decided to go back this Sunday. This is arguably our favourite beach so far. Even if it is a tad further than the other eastern beaches it is definitely worthwhile because it is the most quiet (the street is far from the promenade and the strand is wide and large). There are less (no!) shop and animation but if that’s what you’re looking for, just head to Bondi. :)

The waves during the summer are powerful but not too dangerous so you’re sure to have fun in the water (2 lifeguards areas make this real safe). It looked like the swell was actually great for surf beginners. It made me crave for my first lessons which I’m gonna book this week. I wonder whether I could find some after work sessions around 6pm just before dusk.

Anyway Maroubra is great and I’m sure we’ll see more of it as Raquel is going to start giving English classes at the French High School located there very soon. Damn, French people know how to spot a great spot! Location, location, location!

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Saturday, March 10

Koala Park
Around the Dot by Raquel
on 10.3.07

It took us more than an hour to get to the Koala Park near Pennant Hill, but it was totally worth the long journey!

We arrived just in time to watch the koalas being fed (think lots of eucalyptus leaves) and were given the opportunity to pet them too. Funnily, the koala on duty that day was named Froggy! And while munching on some leaves… she didn’t seem to bother that much!

It was a really strange thing to pet (and actually see for the first time) such an exotic animal and you can’t help but think these are truly teddy bears.

Well, Koala Park isn’t just about koalas. There are plenty of other typical Australian animals as well. A lot of kangaroos in particular, some of which you can feed and pet too – of course, they’re really more cuddly if you give them some special kangaroo snacks first!

We had fun watching the little penguins too, getting fed fish almost as big as them that they swallow in one bite. And we make friends with a very sympathetic parrot who kept saying hello and asking how we were doing for a while.
Koala Park is rather small and there were very few people during our visit, which made it all the more enjoyable. Besides, I don’t know that many “zoos” where you can play and pet with the animals. So, I highly recommend it if you’re around Sydney!

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