Hi folks. No, I haven’t run away to join the aborigines or been killed by a giant man-eating koala bear (thanks for your kind concern). For some reason, the computer has decided the world-wide-web is simply too much for one small piece of electronic equipment to cope with and has a sobbing tantrum in the corner every time we ask (ever so nicely) whether it might possibly consider hooking up to the Internet – even just for a little while. So, as a result, I’ve had to wait for a slight lull at work … an occurrence on par with speaking with a real live person when you call a Customer Support line … to catch up with you.
So, with my sincere apologies for the delay and no further ado, here’s the rundown on the first week of Ink’s Aussie Adventure …SYDNEY. [And, yes, I finally
got the photos to work ... YEAH!]
The flight to Australia was pretty much what you’d expect – long, boring, and EXTREMELY cramped. All I can say is thank goodness I had the sense to invest in a 6 GB MP3 player (a Sansa, if you’re interested) and a pair of Senheiser earbuds before I left.
After doing a rather decent impersonation of a sardine for 24+ hours, it was heavenly to finally get into Sydney, stretch, walk and pick up the bags … in my case literally – I think I’m the only person in the world who still doesn’t own one of those wheely-suitcases with the handles! The weather was relatively cool almost the whole time we were there – around 17-20 degrees Celsius (no, I don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit) – and cloudy with the occasional shower. Not unpleasant really, but also not precisely suited to the light summer gear I’d brought with me. I practically lived in jeans and my leather jacket the whole time we were in Sydney.
Our hotel – actually a very nice serviced apartment – was right downtown, so we* could walk to most things we wanted to see or catch a bus or taxi with relative ease. [*Eds. Note – “We” refers to Ink and her travelling companions, a.k.a. “Mum” and Mum’s friend “R.” Ink informs us that Himself was unable to get four weeks off this time round, but is a sure bet for the next trip Down Unda.]
After dropping off our bags, the first thing we did was seek out the closest (decent-looking) coffee shop and collapse there in a jet-lag stupor until the caffeine kicked in. Then we strolled down to The Rocks - one of the main ferry terminals, with a great view of Sydney's Harbour Bridge ...
... and the Opera House -
and had a ride on the monorail that serves the downtown core. The first thing I bought was an umbrella (collapsible, in a charming floral pattern), since I naturally forgot to pack one.
We spent most of the following day at the National Maritime Museum. The one in Greenwich is better, I think, but Sydney’s version did sport some really interesting exhibitions on underwater life, aboriginal canoe building, the Australian navy, and the ways Aussies have used the sea for both recreation and commerce. They had a truly stunning/shocking presentation on the disastrous 1998 Sydney to Hobart race in which at least 7 or 8 people died and literally dozens of boats were sunk when a huge, unexpected storm caught many of them at sea.
After the museum, we hopped a ferry ride (literally – it was just pulling out as we got there) to the main terminal (i.e. The Rocks, where we'd walked the day before), and took a short stroll around the outside of the Opera House (didn't have time to do the inside tour just then). We couldn’t help but laugh at this big group of teenagers or early-twenty-somethings all dressed up as pirates, who were dashing about the Opera House "plaza" ambushing unsuspecting Asian tourists who were getting their photos taken. First they'd shout "Photo! Photo!" and then surround the astonished victim in suitably piratical poses. TOO funny - and once the tourists got over the surprise, they really seemed to get a kick out of it as well.
That evening, Big Brother “S” flew in from Melbourne (where he lives, works and occasionally plays) to spend the weekend with us, and we ended up going to Chinatown for supper. There were coloured lights and Asian pop everywhere, and hoards of people strolling about just enjoying the show. Most of the restaurants (and there were literally dozens, one after the other) had fetching young things accosting passers-by with a smile, a menu and a pressing invitation to step inside. We chose one (or rather it chose us) and enjoyed both the meal and the atmosphere.
TO BE CONTINUED ...