I'm staying with family friends in the suburb of Sydney (Liverpool) and Kevin (the eldest son) took me to the city today. We took the train this morning and it took about 45 min to get to the city. Wow...I think I like Sydney more than Melbourne! There is so much more to see and I think the city is much more beautiful than Melbourne!! When we arrived at the Circular Quay Station, I was able to see the two places that people told me to go visit...the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. The complete view of these two places with the water and the skyline was amazing!! I was so excited and wanted to capture this view with my camera...and wouldn't you know it...my camera battery was dead!!! I had connected it to my laptop the other day and forgot to turn it off...completely drained the battery and I didn't even realize it till this morning. I had to go pick up a disposable camera...and then remembered I could take some pics with my phone. So the pictures won't be great...but I'll upload the pics from my phone when I get back to Melbourne.
We walked around the Sydney Opera House and the architecture of this building is so unique...I absolutely love it! The design is very modern and the roof is shaped like shells that are grouped together...hard to explain unless you see a picture of it. The design for this building came from a Danish architect named Utzon. He won the design competition for this opera house and beat over 200 architects from 32 countries. He worked and help supervised the project and eventually resigned over disagreements with the client. What a shame since this turned out to be so magnificent!
We also walked around the Harbour for a bit and then took the ferry to Manly Beach. The 30 minute ferry ride was so relaxing...I stood on the side of the ferry and enjoyed the nice breeze while looking at the view of the city. Manly Beach normally has alot of tourists and locals, but I didn't see too many people there...probably because it was a Friday. The weather was perfect for being on the beach...shame I didn't have my swimsuit with me...the waves looked like it was alot of fun. There was a section where people could rent surf boards and I saw a group of small children trying to learn how to surf. Pretty funny sight to watch all the kids get knocked back every time the waves came.
After walking around Manly Beach, we took the ferry back to the Harbour and went to visit The Rocks. This is a historic area of Sydney and alot of the original buildings were made of sandstone. It was a very poor area and was once inhabited by the British convicts and then later on was dominated by gangs. The area was pretty rough back then!!! There were alot of souvenirs and craft shops...while we were there, I saw them setting up some stalls...there's apparently a market there on the weekends.
We took another ferry to Darling Harbour and just walked around the shops. Some of the attractions there included the IMAX theater and the Sydney aquarium. We didn't stay in this area too long since we needed to get back for dinner with the family. We took the train back and the rest of Kevin's family was at his parent's house when we got there. It was great catching up with everyone since I haven't seen them since 1981 (except Kevin and his father when they visited Atlanta back in 1998). My family and Kevin's family were really close friends...lived together in Cambodia until both families fled to Thailand to the refugee camps. My family only stayed in the refugee camp for about 1.5 years since we got sponsored to the US...their family was there for 4 years before they were sponsored to Australia. From what they told me, my father had asked Kevin's father to go to the US as well, but he chose to apply to Paris and Australia instead. Wonder what it would've been like had our two families grown up together...apparently, Viv (the youngest daughter) and I were best friends when our families were still together in Asia. Viv is a year older than me...they were telling me a story of how Viv and I were playing one day and she fell while I was chasing her...injured her nose and she still has the scar. Viv joked that I scarred her for life...oops!! :)
They've got a couple of pictures of the families from when we were in the refugee camps...I'll post them when I get back to Melbourne.