Jul 31, 2011

Sydney Skyline

Sydney Skyline I trained it down to Circular Quay then walked up by the Opera House and round the bay to Mrs Macquarrie's Chair.

There's no chair. Is there a chair? I didn't see a chair.

There's a Botanical Garden, and the city right next to it.

I was back in time for tea.


Newtown Boy So by hook or by crook or by asking some passers-by, we established the road that we were looking for, a whole ten feet from where we were asking, and headed up to take the load off our feet.

Julie and Gary had just that day moved back into their house after extending it upwards so the place was redolent with the fragrance of new carpets, paint and varnish and the chaos of moving-in stuff like boxes and nonsense.

Gary and Jarrah had a pre-existing date with the Newtown Jets so we tagged along to watch the Footie (as they call the Rugby here). Eloise met a boy, only a day younger than her. I think there was chemistry.

The Oval where we went was well-drained and children played around the periphery as the game was played on the field. At half-time everyone piled onto the field for a kick-around. Every score heralded a different version of the Team Song over the tannoy and some guy on a penny farthing tanking around the field with a big flag and a high-five for everybody.

Back at the pad, Nicole pitched up eventually and after dinner Eloise read a story to the kids before going to bed.

The next day was Sunday so we went to the Park, partially flooded, and generally knocked around doing not an awful lot.

Later I took myself into the city to do some photos. Quiet.

The Luggage

22 - 13:12:42 - Sydney Central After gorging ourselves in the pub that night, we retired for our last night in the apartment.

For tomorrow we were going down to Newtown to see Julie and Gary and their sproglets Jarrah and Geneve.

This left us with some interesting conundrums logistically, around luggage.

We weren't due in Newtown until the afternoon, and checkout time was 10.00am. So the luggage had to be left at the hotel while we went seeking breakfast and presents.

We didn't have a particular idea of where we were going, so we thought we'd go the the coffee shop we'd ridden out the rain in for a spot of breakfast.

No ponchos today, the sun was actually coming out!

No breakfast either though, the coffee shop was closed.

So we struck off in a random direction and ended up at a place called Paddy's Market where we managed to kill all birds with one stone.

Downstairs, covered industrial markets, more stalls than you could shake a stick at, presents sorted.

Upstairs, shopping centre, food court, breakfast procured.

Rather than walk all the way home, Eloise suggested that she'd been promised a ride on the monorail, and so it came to pass that we rode the monorail around Darling Harbour, across the Pyrmont Bridge and back to the Convention Centre.

Baggage reclaimed, we headed off to find a train. On foot.

Which in retrospect was a miserly move which may have been counterproductive, as there were many bags, and not many feet, and some distance to go to the nearest station.

So somewhat tired as we got our tickets and traveled to our platform, to find it closed.

And increasingly confused as we struggled to work out where we needed to be to get to Central Station where we would change trains.

But got there eventually we did, then further confusion with platforms there, which were closed also, except Central has literally tens of platforms, so slightly more challenging. And Eloise lost her ticket. Hmmm.

Eventually we got out to Newtown and started tramping down King Street in the general direction of Julie and Gary's house.

I knew I should have written down their address.


Shaking off the ennui of the inclement outdoors, and spying a break in the weather, we donned our larcenous ponchos like the fashion criminals we were and headed off to the nearest Museum available, the Sydney Powerhouse, a mere five-minute trudge away.

Around about the time we/I realised that we/I had taken a wrong turn to land us on the salubrious forecourt of the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, the heavens opened with some seriousness. Ascending some stairs which were in danger of becoming waterfalls, we spotted a coffee shop in which we ate cake and drank refreshments whilst awaiting the abatement of the downpour.

Downpour completed, we made our way onwards past the other side of the Thorpedo's Pool to the Museum, where after a little fuss we were able to book in our ponchos to the cloakroom and proceed into the Powerhouse.

We cruised around in there for a good few hours, exploring the cavernous spaces filled with steam trains, aeroplanes, spaceships and huge machines.

Eloise took it upon herself to draw a picture, so I turned my back for five minutes to look at a nearby exhibit, and she legged it.

A nice Museum lady brought her back. Non-panic over.

Later, in the space-ship hall, she legged it again, and the same lady brought her back again.

Later still, near the Interactive Playground of Electronic Amazement, she hoofed it once more, and the same lady reunited us once more.

Later still, we saw our lady and she just gave the urchin a look that said "No running away, you."

Jul 27, 2011

Heart of Dampness

Heart of Dampness Our apartment (in Strine they call it a Unit) overlooked a wonderfully pictorious motorway. On the other side of the motorway was a railway. On the other side of the railway was the Convention Centre, Nicole's base of operations.

Luckily there was a covered walkway which ran from the hotel directly to the Convention Centre, ensuring relatively dry transit.

Rainy Day in a Strange City

Rainy Day in a Strange City One way or another the ponchos got us back safely to home base, so we went for a swim in the building pool. Another couple of hours of bubbly fun.

Then it behoved us to visit the local shop, which was another poncho-centric paddle challenge. Eloise had to be carried over some of the streams that were flowing over the urban landscape.

Later on Nicole came back with her chum/colleague Julie who was staying in the hotel. She stayed for supper, an unremarkable effort cooked by yours truly.

The next day the rain had failed in any meaningful way to relent. And so we conquered the complexities of hotel TV to get the Foxtel going and watched kiddie drivel and played DS all morning until I could take it no longer.

Jul 25, 2011

Sydney Aquarium

Sydney Aquarium Sydney Aquarium held great promise for us, so much so that we expected a full afternoon's worth of entertainment, and had cut our swim in the hotel pool down to a mere few hours in anticipation.

I say swim, but I suppose that's just slightly dishonest as the water in what's technically referred to as the "lap pool" was far too cold to actually enter, so we frolicked instead in the spa pool with bubbles activated for prolonged periods of time. Very Bohemian.

The hotel was quite odd, apparently a converted woolstore. Presumably there had been a huge internal space because a huge internal space had been left with walkways punctuated by oak beams alternating with dizzying drops to the floor far below and dizzying heights to the roof far above, with the various landings receding into the distance in every direction.

Anyway the Aquarium afforded us a few hours of entertainment, but at the end of the day an Aquarium is an Aquarium and it didn't afford us too many surprises. There were two pools with glass tunnels running through them, which was one more than Mooloolaba, and the whole place didn't stink of fish, which was better than Kelly Tarlton's in Auckland.

But the real plus with a minus concealed inside was the fact that the cafe had blue plastic ponchos for sale. The plus was obvious, the minus could be split neatly into 1) the poncho was too big for Eloise and she kept standing on it and 2) everyone thought would looked like idiots and 3) they were right.


Darling Harbour Nicole had a conference to attend down in Sydney for a few days, so it made sense to go and see Julie and Gary for the weekend, so it made sense for Eloise and I to tag along too. So it made sense to book an apartment, and whoever it is out in Drugsland who mysteriously pays for such things, well it made sense to ask them, and for whatever reason it made sense for them to say yes.

So with all this sense going on, of course it made sense for Sydney to get a month's worth of rain in the few days we were there.

Whilst Nicole was at her conference, a confident stone's throw from the hotel, Eloise and I, without the umbrellas we hadn't packed, since it made sense to assume that the weather in Sydney would be nice, because after all when isn't it, braved the elemental deluge, and made our way to the other side of Darling Harbour to (ironically enough) the Sydney Aquarium.

Jul 11, 2011

Jul 4, 2011

Winter Swims Tend to Shortness

Aquarius The other day, after the habitual dog walking, Eloise and I decided to go to South Bank.

I thought it might be nice to visit the Museum, maybe have a sandwich.

So I thought it a little odd that Eloise was putting on her swimming costume, but she's sartorially individual, shall we say, and was wearing the habitual three pairs of socks, so I took it in my stride and we hopped into the car and set off.

Half way up the road a little voice came from the back: "Oh no, I've forgotten my goggles!"

"And why would you be needing those?"

"Well for swimming of course."

"And what about the towel, then, and the change of clothes?"

So after equipping ourselves (I put on some trunks underneath my jeans, in case of emergency) we set off again to sample the winter delights of the South Bank swimming complex.

It should be said that after the floods, South Bank has been out of action, and the pools reinstated to their full glory only recently. The artificial beach had to be de-sanded, the sand disinfected, and the pool repaired.

But now re-opened, in she hopped up to her ankles before pronouncing it far too cold.

So we headed up to the water park, and she waded around in there, and gamboled in the fountains for all of three or four minutes before insisting that we retire to the changing rooms, then grab an ice cream.

We did make it to the Museum in the end, though.