Enjoying Sydney

I am enjoying life in Sydney very much! It’s not as crowded as New York City, but has very much the same sort of “vibe”, although it is cleaner than NYC by a long shot! There are wonderful weekend markets, plenty of shopping arcades, lots of Victorian architecture that has been restored to a great luster and there’s always water to enjoy.

zoo

I’ve been to the Sydney zoo several times. It’s a short and enjoyable ferry ride from downtown. I bought an annual pass to the zoo, so it’s always nice to just hop over there, take the Skyway to the top of the hill and leisurely stroll to the bottom. I like to find a empty park bench in the aviary and sit and enjoy the birds for an hour or so at a time. They are free to come as close as they choose, and sitting quietly encourages them. The first time I went, I shelled out a whopping $3 to have a volunteer guide give me personal tour of the Australian animals. Best $3 I’ve ever spent!

I took a day trip up to the Blue Mountains… very beautiful! Interesting rock formations, a trip into a tropical rain forest at the bottom of a valley… accessible only by transportation that was more akin to amusement park rides. We stopped at a zoo that let us pet Koalas, wallabies and an emu. We also stopped at a aboriginal cultural center. Very interesting day!

I went to see the Blue Man Group a few days ago. Lot’s of fun. The BMG is very hard to explain… it’s something you just have to experience. It is VERY funny! I was in the THIRD row. The first two rows are considered the “poncho section”. Ponchos really ARE needed. I got splashed a little bit with what I believe (hope?) was mashed banana. Here’ s a link to a youtube video of one of their sketches… there was 90 minutes of this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsKmUoDyQEU&feature=endscreen

The Blue Man Group was playing in an auditorium at Sydney’s casino. I had gotten there an hour or more early, so I figured I would check out the casino. I’m not much of a gambler, but they had penny slot machines with comfortable chairs… I figured it was worth $5 to sit and spin the mind-numbing machine for a little while. So, I fed the machine my $5.

Do you know how long it TAKES to lose $5 at a penny slot machine? Yeah, me neither. About the time I was down $2 or so and looking forward to losing it all… I hit some jackpot and won an additional $10! Now, I KNOW the idea is that at THAT point I would start betting bigger and faster, but that’s just not my style. If I’m sitting at a penny slot machine, by golly, I’m going to bet a PENNY! I ended up walking away with an extra $7 in my pocket, which turned out to be not quite enough to buy a glass of wine while waiting for the doors to open for the BMG, but it was close!

Next week, Sydney is going to host “International Fleet Week” and have a bunch of tall ships and Navies from several countries in the harbor. This is something that you don’t get to experience EVERY day, so I decided to “splurge” by booking a dinner/fireworks review on one of the 17 tall ships that will be in town. The Fleet Week fireworks display is supposed to rival the annual New Years display… which is BIG, and I will be right in the thick of it drinking bubbly and eating what promises to be a wonderful buffet spread! Isn’t that wonderful? I’m really looking forward to that!

Now, it just so happened that the day I bought my tall ship ticket… and had a long chat with the salesperson “Zack”… they had a special discounted price JUST for me, AND Zack would throw in any one of several Sydney Harbor day-cruise experiences that were open for that afternoon! I chose the Convicts, Castles and Champagne tour. Now, it may have been the champagne, but I actually don’t remember seeing any castles! Never-the-less it was an excursion over to “Goat Island”, one of several islands in Sydney harbor that had been used to accommodate convicts back in “the good ol’ days” of Sydney’s early heritage. Goat Island is a National Park, and this little tour company was the only commercial enterprise allowed to give tours. It was fun.

boatThe tour brought us over to Goat Island on a VERY “tender” boat. As you probably know, I have spent a LOT of time on boats and ships. I’m not inclined to sea-sickness, but I am honestly surprised that all stomachs stayed intact considering the free flowing bubbly, large lunch, and swaying of the boat! Lol! We had a buffet lunch on the Island, a guided tour, then a little jaunt around Sydney Harbor with narration. All the while Australian sparkling wine and/or beer and wine were flowing. There were two women on the boat that had the Aussie equivalent of a New “Joisey” accent and were especially enjoying the bubbly. They were quite entertaining!

Tomorrow night I will be attending the Sydney Opera to see “South Pacific”. I’ve got the cheapest seats in the house! I’m sure I will enjoy it just as much as I would in the more expensive seats! Today I rode the metro out to the Auburn suburb and took a tour of the mosque there. There is a large Turkish population in Auburn, so the mosque was built in the Ottoman style. Our guide was a very pleasant young man in his late 20′s, maybe early 30′s. He did a very nice job introducing the fundamentals of Islam and talking about the very beautiful mosque. Very enjoyable.

Otherwise, I am doing what I usually do on vacations… wandering around, taking in the sights, stopping for tea, eating here and there (a lot of Thai food!)… and generally enjoying myself! Because…

Life’s a Trip!

Claudia

Here’s a link to my Sydney album on phanfare… enjoy! http://summerthor.phanfare.com/6214040#imageID=198117289