That year, he was traveling around the world to chase spring. Sydney was his last stop, but his first in the Southern Hemisphere. I was the designated host; a part I happened to compulsorily play to most Filipino travel bloggers visiting Sydney.
Ron and I have been virtual friends for well over four years. Needless to say, our meet-up was long overdue. It was evident at how comfortable we already were with each other right from the get go.
You see, the Pinoy travel blogging community is a middle school cafeteria of sorts. I was the new kid who was unceremoniously given an express pass and a sure seat in Ron’s table.
And no, you can’t sit with us.
The Meat and Wine Co. – Darling Harbour
Jokes aside, Ron’s first day in Australia only left us a single afternoon to explore as much of the continent. To cut the chase, we drove him straight to The Meat and Wine Co. in Darling Harbour for lunch.
Overlooking the historic Pyrmont bridge and under the fine Sydney sun, we feasted on a generous helping of beef carpaccio and kangaroo steak while brainstorming itineraries for the rest of the week. For what better way Australia can be introduced to visitors than with food– meat, in particular?
After lunch, we sampled a couple of pretend-couture poses for what little Instagram following we kept. After all, we were merely honouring an unspoken, but unshakeable commitment to social media.
Gotham Coffee – Long Jetty
Keen to reach home before sunset, we drove out of the city and up north, to our coastal home in New South Wales’ Central Coast.
Along the way, we took a detour to the quirky avenues of Long Jetty and window-shopped a bit. For a while, Ron considered buying overpriced burlap sack throw pillows for his Manila condo, but decided against it in the end, upon realising he couldn’t possibly fit those in his luggage.
We also stopped by Gotham, a coffee shop themed after the fictional Batman city, and enjoyed a cup of Cappuccino each. After all, we were as huge as coffeeholics as we were alcoholics. Also, because geek.
Adjacent to the quirky shops was a lakeside tourist drive featuring historic jetties. Hence, Long Jetty. But I couldn’t recall whether we stopped there or not. Probably not. Because as hardcore a traveler Ron Cruz may be, he also was the type who couldn’t be bothered to stick to the brand at times, that moment in particular, since he still hadn’t moisturised for the day.
Lighthouse, Meat and 3 Vege, and Beer
There was still a bit of sunshine when we got home, so we went for a walk to Norah Head lighthouse, to give Ron his first glimpse of the Tasman, and the endless beaches on the country’s east coast.
I felt sorry for him though, and largely responsible at that, because I allowed him to wear rubber boots and denim pants to the beach. To the beach!
To be fair, most Asian tourists go to the beach fully-clothed anyway. (Really, this bit I write with wholehearted honesty and without a tinge of racism. I cannot be racist to my own race and I have Russell Peters to me back me up.LOL./rant over).
Right after, we welcomed Ron home, aptly with a cold bottle of Australian lager. That, and a dinner or roast pork with perfect crackling and roasted vegetables.
We chatted a bit by the lakeside, mostly about other people as we’ve already talked too much online, there weren’t anything to know about each other anymore.
And no, you still can’t sit with us.