Sydney

Sydney continues to wow me. It’s a great city. Like great cities around the world, it’s also expensive. Understanding what things are is a bit mixed up: chips are fries; kebabs are gyro sandwiches; Hungry Jacks is Burger King; Woolworths is a grocery store; McCafes are Starbucks/McDonalds hybrids; Surgery is just a doctor’s office; a bottle shop is where you buy alcohol; and on top of it all they drive on the wrong side of the street. Coffee is a whole other story. There are long blacks, short blacks, flat whites and the normal assortment of cappuccinos and lattes.

I started out yesterday doing the Bondi Explorer bus. It goes out to the famous Bondi Beach. (pronounced bond-eye, not bon-dee like I always thought) The surfers were out, in big thick wetsuits. It was cloudy and cool all day. The bus gave a good tour of the eastern suburbs and I got in a nice 45 minute coastal walk. I hopped the bus back into the CBD (central business district). There I went to the Maritime Museum, the highlight of which is the Endeavor replica. Endeavor is the boat the James Cook first sailed the Pacific on. It’s amazingly small, with very small headroom through much of it. You practically have to crawl in places to tour the ship.

Late in the afternoon I took a tour of the Sydney Opera House. This structure is as impressive as the photos you’ve seen. It’s also massive. The big disappointment of the tour was that a rehearsal was in progress, so we didn’t go into the opera auditorium. We did go into the concert hall and one of the smaller theaters.

I had dinner at Fu Manchu. I saw the sign the other day and immediately thought of David Diaz and that Mardi Gras costume of, well, many years ago. Gosh, how long ago was that? I had the salted cuttlefish to eat. It was very tasty, deep fried with an herb infused batter. The portion was huge and I could barely eat half.

My iPod has accompanied me during my walks around the city. I thought of Alan H. as I listened to Cher. She’s good to walk to. I find myself keeping a lively pace with her on.

I started today by walking Pitt Street, the main shopping area. The Food Halls at David Jones(the major department store here) is a reason to move to Sydney in itself. The displays are glorious and extensive. The Harrods of Australia. The food is expensive too, but it all looks so good.

Later, I took the ferry to the Zoo to see kangaroos and koala bears. Susan had told me that she got to hold a koala when she visited. That’s no longer available. They do let you have your picture taken near them for $17. I didn’t splurge on that. I wanted to touch. I thought maybe the petting zoo would have kangaroos too. I was disappointed to find only goats and sheep. The zoo is nice, but quite a bit repetitive. I saw several aviaries, and many other animals had multiple places to see them.

After my ferry ride back to the Circular Quay from the zoo I hopped on the ferry to Manly Beach. It was named such because the aborigines that the first western explorer encountered looked so manly. It’s a bit cuter than Bondi and the weather was way better, so I found it much more appealing. Today I actually took off my jacket. It’s not shorts and t-shirt weather yet, but much warmer than the last few days.

It’s my last night in Sydney for this trip, but I’ll be back. My flight is tomorrow night, so I’ll have to entertain myself all day tomorrow too. There’s plenty to do. There is a boat show at Darling Harbour I don’t want to miss. No chance I’ll buy a boat. Ever. Mark my words. Still, I’ll enjoy looking.

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