Thursday, October 26, 2006

Day 1 - Downtown Sydney

Weather: Overcast then drizzly the whole day

We ate breakfast at Sullivans' breakfast café. The breakfast buffet wasn't included in the room rate and, at $12.50 per head, it seemed a little expensive (I hadn't at that point realised how expensive eating out in Sydney would be). Sullivans' regulars raved about it though, and for muesli eaters like HM, it was perfect. There was a good spread of cereals, yogurt, bread and fruit. I prefer a hot breakfast myself but that cost extra, so yogurt and cereal it would have to be. Consolation: there was vegemite and peanut butter!

After breakfast, we walked all the way down Oxford, from Sullivans to Pitt Street in Sydney's CBD. Great, everything was within walking distance. And on that short walk, it seemed that Sydney was prone to emergencies. So many ambulances and fire engines passed us by.

Fitness First seemed to be big in Sydney; many people were carrying FF haversacks. The funny thing is no one seemed to think it obiang to do so. Now, it's a different story in S'pore.

We walked through Hyde Park, to Circular Quay, and on to the Rocks. The weather did not look too good, cloudy and gray. Sadly, photo-taking would be blah...

our take on Historical Sydney, hehe



wah, national pride

To get out of the drizzle, we ducked into the Sydney Visitors' Centre and got a short history of the Rocks, Sydney's historical centre. We came away with the conclusion that women were certainly no pushovers in those days. They bought and sold whatever was on their backs, and were just as likely to use their feminine wiles to lull men into complacency before absconding with their money.

When the rain let up a little, we explored the Rocks on foot, having bought a brochure with guided tour and map. A number of remnants were still extant in situ. For a tourist trap, it retained an incredible sense of history.

Then the weather turned from bad to worse. It started drizzling again. Refusing to be deterred, we trudged on, armed with our trusty umbrellas, under and past the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Affectionately termed the "coathanger" by Sydneysiders, it seemed that much more impressive when we got up close.

the underbelly of the coathanger

ye olde pub

social history preserved


When the rain got even heavier, we sloshed into the Sydney Observatory. Not HM's kind of place, but there was an interesting little exhibition on the history of astronomy.

Eventually, our stomachs rumbled and we found ourselves back at the Rocks. Most of the food joints in the Rocks area seemed a bit wanna-be and touristy, but what choice did we have? We mostly wanted to sit down and warm up. We chose Mokambo, a quiet place serving Australian cuisine. HM had a mildly spiced tandoori chicken wrap which she liked. I had an Aussie omelette (how boring, I know). The food was surprisingly decent and not salty at all.

When the rain let up, we headed towards Chinatown, although not before detouring to do a bit of shopping in the CBD.

Queen Vicky

the old meets the new in the CBD

HM finally managed to locate some face flannels from Body Shop, yay, something we hadn't been able to find back home in Singapore for a while. But then she decided afterwards that she didn't like them that much after all. The hunt is still on. Beware, face flannels. Darn it...

We finally made it to Chinatown, with communication on our minds. Our mission was to buy an Optus phonecard each so that we could avoid paying roaming charges. It was a surprisingly easy and hassle-free experience, no problem at all.

Of course we had to pop into Market City in Chinatown. Pooped, we sat down for a drink at the food court and a piss in the loo. Must all Asian loos be so gross? Bought stuff at the Asian-run cheapie supermarket (ok so we Asians are good for one thing) - xiaxiangju tea, muesli, plastic bowls and spoons. HM pointed out that this would be a good place to come back to for souvenirs and prezzies eventually. Can buy wasabi peas and macadamias!

Then we circled around Chinatown two and a half times, determined to find Pho Pasteur. I had never seen HM so determined where food was concerned. She had apparently eaten pho from this shop every Sunday after buying groceries at Hay Market on her previous stay in Sydney. And the search was worth it - wah liao, cheap by Sydney standards, and really good! We both had a pho special each, tendons and all, and shared prawn rice paper wraps. Someone was greedy and had the large bowl of noodles. And believe it or not, there appeared to be none or very little msg.

Footnote: Had problems getting new Optus prepaid SIM cards to work. Turned out the problem was non-existent – Optus activation was just very slow!


Post a Comment

<< Home