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Three Days in Sydney

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 7 March 2014 | Views [117]

Sydney harbour - storms a coming

Sydney harbour - storms a coming

Arrived Sydney late afternoon. 

The trains are double decker! so cool! Also the seat backs reverse. So you can sit the way the train is moving No matter which direction you're going, our tiki can make any two seats or sections our seats crave each other, if you lie. How Novell!And clever. And they do it so easily, with the posh of a button on the top of the seat. 

Sydney, a big city, is an abrupt shock after the small town friendliness of New Zealand. I actually had a guy give me a warning in the laundry yesterday because he thought. I was looking at him wrong. He obviously lives here - I  can't think of any other reason to be so unfriendly other than he thinks he has a right to.  At the hostel, everyone is into their own thing. It's very isolating. I didn't realize how much the other travelers were my companions until they were gone.

Today I've taken a jaunt down Broadway to a small whole foods place, reputed to be in the top 10 of vegan places in Sydney. It's called Iku. So far so good. It's a very small place, but I'm having an excellent tofu curry (the best part is they've put bean sprouts soaked in lime juice on top), along with cilantro, something. I didn't see anywhere in New Zealand, with a pineapple mint juice and a millet ball (millet, ginger, sweet potato, arame and basil). All so yum!

Unlike NZ, there are tons of Americans here. I hear them on the street everywhere. Also, lots of Asian faces. At least as many as Caucasian, if not more, with some Indians mixed in.

I feel sad today. I guess it's the change of scenery. 

I found a lovely park after lunch just near the restaurant and got some great video of a mother feeding her baby ducks. They were so small. I don't think I've seen ducks that small.There was a stork like bird there as well. And a bird woman feeding the pigeons. Where do old bird women come from? And who replaces them when they stop coming?

Flaneuring around in the back streets, I found a great little plaza with benches and a coffee shop at MacArthur and Bulwara. What a nice secret!

Later, I wandered toward the harbor and found the Chinese Garden of Friendship - created to represent the strong relationship between Sydney and Guangzhou - sister cities. I loved the Manchurian pear tree. I would put that in my yard. They also had a nice persimmon tree. It was a lovely space, but the peacefulness was ruined by the constant hammering from across the way where they're demolishing the convention center.

On the way back to the hostel, I walked through China town. I found a tiny little bakery and bought a cute little wrapped baked good - pancake with mango - so delicious. It had a full quarter of mango inside a crepe type pancake with a bit of cream. Delish!

I made 10 train reservations for India this morning. Yay! I hope I didn't wait to long, several of my tickets are waitlisted. The bus culture is thriving here in Sydney. I bought a day pass - should be fun to use it.

Sydney has a lovely diversion of Asian cultures here. Clearly many lifetime residents from Japan, Vietnam, China, India and other Asian countries and a large immigrant population of Americans and Europeans. Virtually no African peoples here. I've seen only one so far. 

Lot of clock towers everywhere and a mix of old and new architecture. New buildings are going up all over. Short shorts are definitely in here and short skirts as well. Very short!

Beautiful houses and neighborhood on the fairly steep hill down to the Balmoral Beach. Saw a really neat tree in bloom that i didn't recognize.

Balmoral beach is gorgeous. The sand is so soft! It's a bit wavy today so the sand is being churned up quite a bit, making the water seem dirty. There are quite a few swimmers here doing laps, which I don't think I've ever seen before. Back and forth parallel to the beach. The water is quite warm too. I wish I was brave enough to go in all the way but I can't see the bottom and there are leaves and a few big seaweed here and there. It's enough to put my feet in. No sandflies yet, so maybe we left them behind in NZ, thankfully. 

Caught the bus right from the beach and didn't have to walk back up the hill. That would have been rough.

Rain is coming, but the bus came just in time and the ferry to Sydney harbour was waiting for us at the last stop. We got a deluge en route to the harbor, but the pictures were amazingly atmospheric and I think I got a good one of Sydney opera house.

Much like NZ,  the shops are very much one story main street type areas. The houses are predominantly brick and a few stucco, which adds a nice character. The houses have an elegant quaintness with gables and such and lots of big trees line the streets.

The harbor itself is delightful. It has a curved glass awning that stretches along it.  I'm currently sitting under it as it rains having a yummy falafel sandwich and mocha and an Australian Florentine. 

I feel so lucky to be here, enjoying this moment at the wharf, trying some new foods, watching people go by. It's so darn pleasant. I wish it didn't have to end.

A lot of churches are tucked away in this town among the tall buildings built up around them. It's really cool. Gives the place character.

So loving the bus today. It's  taken me everywhere I want to go. Lots of young people and a few older people too. Even at 8:30 at night, after dark, a whole gaggle of people are waiting at the bus stop. Lots of young girls to. That a good sign of a safe town. It's a bit pricey but the service is fantastic. Also its a very walkable city so you could use the bus infrequently if you knew the city well.

The French film festival was on and I  went and saw a comedy this evening. It was wonderful and the theater was packed. A fun singular experience here in Sydney.

And just in case you were wondering, yes they do have the real housewives of Melbourne. I have captured the poster to prove it. They also have seven eleven here.

I had so much fun today I  don't want to go back to my hostel. Here's a moment where i wish i was traveling with someone and could share this moment. What joy i feel right now!

Thursday

A surprisingly quiet city once you get away from the busy main streets. For certain, you are definitely supposed to walk on the other side of the sidewalk, like they drive on the other side of the street, and I'm forever walking on the wrong side. How to unravel years of training? It's seated deep in my consciousness which side of the street to walk on.

There's virtually no litter here. I get the feeling it's just not done. Or they have invisible street sweepers at night. It's very clean. You would never know this is a big city.

The street musicians here are unusual. The ones I've seen, about 6 different ones, were all over 50. And they're playing during the day! Serious musicians, I  guess. Very unusual.

Australians have a penchant for 80s music, much like New Zealanders. It was really a constant rewind hearing all the old songs from my youth playing in a vibrant modern place. Hip cafes and rockin' restaurants all played 80s soundtracks. So weird.

So that was Sydney. Could hardly hear the accent -there were just too many foreigners.  This post is a bit jumbled but i haven't time to reorganize it properly.

And now onto Singapore.

 

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