Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Zealand & Australia 11: Sydney

I woke up early the morning we sailed into Sydney harbor.  I happened to look out the window and was thrilled to see us sail around the Sydney Opera house then dock opposite it in the harbor.

Melony took this shot of me on our balcony with the Opera House in the background that morning before we left our cabin for the last time.

We had expected it would take a good chunk of the day for us to disembark from the ship, get our luggage and clear customs. How wrong we were.

We found ourselves standing on the dock in the rain, luggage in hand, at 8:30am.

It took a bit to get our vouchers transformed into bus passes.  There was some sort of a mix up at the little kiosk near the dock where the transaction was to take place.

While it was all being sorted out, we hung around, taking in the new sights. White Ibis birds the size of chickens roamed around the dock area looking for hand outs.

We also chatted up and  joked with the transit guys who were trying to get their kiosk organized.

At last, one of them handed us our tickets and asked us where we were staying.  We told him.  He said, "Ah mate, that's not far.  Got a minute for me to grab some coffee?"
It was raining.  I was dry standing under the kiosk overhang. We told him to take his time.

He emerged from the kiosk a bit later with a cup of coffee in his hand and asked us if we'd like a private ride to our hotel in his "stretch limo."

His stretch limo turned out to be a huge articulated bus.  He opened the doors, turned on the "out of service" sign, invited us aboard and then drove us to our hotel, shown above, while we regaled each other with incompetent bureaucratic management stories. 

I expressed concern about getting him into trouble.  He said not to worry.  He was headed back to the bus barn anyway.

After checking into our hotel we went to the zoo, which will be a separate post following this.

On the ferry ride over there, though, I saw some great water craft.

The next morning, Melony wanted to hit Paddys Market.  We had been told by folks on board ship who lived in Sydney that this was the place to go for souvenirs.

Was it ever.  The place easily covered ten acres and was stuffed with items beyond description.  It reminded me of the huge markets we had seen in Bangkok and Cambodia.

While wandering around waiting for Melony to make her purchases, I came across a tee shirt with this saying on it.  I didn't buy one but I thought it was hilarious. 

The folks on board ship had been right.  Souvenirs here were less than half the price of similar items near the water front.

Paddy's Market ended up being right next to China town.  So, we wondered in looking for something to eat.

We ended up in this basement food court.  The atmosphere wasn't much to write home about, but the food was out of this world.

We came here twice, it was so good.  We'd been warned on board ship about how expensive food was in Sydney.

The second day we shared a plate of the best sizzling, sweet and sour chicken I'd ever had for 11 bucks.  Couldn't beat it.

Sydney, too, has a tourist tower.  It seems to be the rage in this part of the world.  We paid the $25 each and went up there.

I was glad we did because the view from up there is breathtaking.  Sydney harbor is in a fabulous setting and very picturesque. 

There is a little arm of green land on the opposite side of the harbor.  That is the approximate location of Sydney's zoo, which is why one must ride a ferry to get there.

We also went to the cultural museum, which was very nice, and saw an exhibition of native art.  This piece particularly intrigued me for some reason. 

Next time, we go to the Sydney Zoo.
Continue on to Post 12: Sydney Zoo by clicking here.


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