Aaron & Ethan & Shnik’s Excellent Adventure – He Went Down

Ok, NOW we’ve beaten jet lag. Probably.

Saturday started nice and early, by which I mean I slept a few hours past Aaron and Ethan while they went running in the rain. After pulling myself together, Aaron went to Shabbat services at a local synagogue while Ethan and I went to a cute and absolutely delicious little coffee and breakfast place a couple doors down from the hostel.

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I’m not sure why they paired it with raisins
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There’s bacon in there, it’s just shy

From there we waited at the hostel for a few hours for Aaron to return. Once he did, we walked through the on-and-off torrential rain to the Sydney Aquarium. Aside from being absolutely incredible, the entire aquarium was plastered with Finding Dory advertisements. They had a really amazing array of marine life, including a mantis shrimp (!!!) who unfortunately never showed its head.

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Amenonemonome. Anemomonene.
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This little bugger was really fast! It also apparently has a razor in its tail, so…

While waiting for Shabbat to end, we walked around Sydney more and ended up in the Queen Victoria Building, a super upscale mall filled to the brim with extremely expensive stores.

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All I could think as I walked through was “Sloane would have a field trip in here”

Once it ended (quite early at 5:40), we wandered around looking for a restaurant for dinner. We settled on a Korean BBQ place called Naruone. The portions were small but were beyond delicious. The short rib cut like butter and the spicy chicken was well complimented by a sweet ginger sauce.

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Through this morning’s meal and this evening’s, we found out two quirks about Australian dining – first, you don’t tip. I’ve heard this is common everywhere outside of the US, but it’s still strange to not see the tip line on the check. Second, your waiter won’t bring the check until you ask for it. Thinking about it more, it’s very polite – they don’t interrupt your dining experience until you are ready for it to end. It did mean that we sat there for an extra fifteen minutes wondering if the check was going to come on its own or not.

The day was far from over, however. After dinner we found a wine and craft beer store which looked small from the outside, but had two second rooms filled to the brim with local wines, craft beers, and craft ciders. I selected a local Shiraz, which turned out to be an amazing choice. Ethan picked a semi-dry local riesling, and Aaron got a pack of a local Pilsner.

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The wine was wonderfully complex. It starts with tart cherry and black pepper, but rounds out very well on the finish and has a surprising yet very light butterscotch, somewhat whiskey-like aftertaste. It would pair well with any kind of meat with a pepper or spicy dry rub. For twenty Australian dollars, it is a total steal. The rum was meh, 4/10

We met some Australian girls staying at our hostel for the weekend and drank with them for a while. I have to say, in a relatively short time I learned quite a lot about Australian culture. Slang involves shortening nearly every word and some times adding a ‘y’ or ‘ie’ to the end. It’s very weird to them that voting isn’t compulsory and is actually quite tedious for us, and demanded an explanation for the rise of Trump (to which we threw up our hands and replied that we wished we knew). We swapped favorite snack foods – they don’t have twizzlers here, apparently. Finally, to really get things going, they taught us a “traditional Australian” drinking song. It goes like this:

Here’s to (insert name), s/he’s true blue
S/he’s a piss-pot through and through
S/he’s a bastard, so they say
Tried to go to heaven, but s/he went the other way
s/he went down, down, down

The “down”s don’t stop (and grow ever louder) until you’ve finished your drink. It sure was a heck of a night!

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