I seriously got so lucky during my trip to Sydney. After my friends Melissa and Paul left me and I had to explore by myself, I immediately headed to Chinatown. When I got off the bus, pink banners everywhere alerted me that the Chinese New Year festival was starting that very day!
How fortunate was that? In the park next to Central Station, people were setting up the festival market, with a big stage and tons of booths featuring food, sponsors, and vendors.
|When you see lanterns, you know you're going the right way.|
While waiting for the programming to begin, I explored Chinatown.
|People were lining up for these and they were cheap, so I got some too.|
|Warm, light, batter filled with a custard cream that isn't too sweet. Yum!|
|Found a guy who was cutting out custom silhouettes for $2! Does this look like me?|
|A HUGE high five to anyone who gets this. haha.|
I stumbled over to the Chinese Garden of Friendship and got super lucky again, because that day they were offering free admission as part of the Chinese New Year festivities! Regular admission is only $6 and it's probably worth it because the gardens are very pretty. You can take a lot of beautiful pictures here. But who doesn't like free, am I right?
The Chinese Gardens are located in Darling Harbour, just a short walk from Chinatown. This is a pretty, happening area that often hosts big cultural events in Sydney. It's home to the Darling Quarter playground, Australian National Maritime Museum, and the largest IMAX theater in the world.
Eventually, I headed back to the Chinese New Year market. I was running out of Australian money and couldn't find a convenient exchanger, so I had to choose my dinner very carefully! I ended up getting 4 kabobs for $10: lamb, chicken, octopus, and mushroom tempura. Mmmmm! So good, I ate them before the thought of taking a picture crossed my mind. Plus I slopped satay sauce on my dress...classy.
After satisfying my rumbling stomach, I found a place to enjoy the programming. There was a lion dance, puppet performance, traditional dance, and a bit of fireworks at the end. I also scored a cute Chinese charm from one of the sponsor booths!
The only bad part of the night was the light rain! I tried to brave it, but in a sleeveless dress, I wasn't dressed properly, so I was afraid of getting sick. After a while, I discovered that the festival information booth was handing out FREE ponchos. How well-organized! I don't think that would ever have happened in America. In America, people would probably be ready to sell you cheapo ponchos. But once I had one, I felt so much better. I was able to enjoy the SBS Pop Asia show (featuring mostly Korean and Chinese pop music) for a while until I finally called it a night and returned to my hostel.
And that was my Chinese New Year in Sydney, and the conclusion of my Australia posts! I loved my vacation there. I had fun, and did so much! I was surrounded by handsome men and women, drank so many flat whites, climbed the Harbour Bridge...and I'm planning another international vacation for next month! I really have to knock out pho in another state, though - I've been stuck at 19 states for a while now. Well, stick around and I'll share some more exciting adventures soon!