I’ve spent the past couple days walking around and enjoying Sydney. I’ve checked out a few museums, including the Powerhouse Museum which for some reason had a travelling show on ABBA (not too sure how that fits in with their mandate but whatever.) Lots of other fun exhibits as well including a big section on steam power in Australia and a presentation of winners of local design innovation competitions. Would have been a lot better if people had made their children behave a little more mannerly though. I’m not a person who expects kids to be perfect, but christ there were a lot of enabling parents with spoiled crying brats there. Also, get off my dang lawn and such.
Along with my museum visits I’ve checked out some of the shopping, one of the more interesting places being Paddy’s Market. Kind of a strange place, a small city block or so of four levels of shopping mall, with the ground floor underneath opening up 3 days a week as what I’d have to call a bazaar. Stall after stall of random stuff, mostly asian gifts, cheap aussie souvenirs, clearly counterfeit clothing (including hockey jerseys for whatever reason) and big selections of things you’d see at flea markets. A large produce section sat in the back and all in all it really reminded me of one of the sheds at the market back in St. Jacobs outside waterloo, but times about 50.
Today was finally a quite sunny day when I looked outside in the morning so I hopped on the ferry to Manly beach to spend a day in the sun. Manly lies to the east of Sydney’s downtown, at the entrance to the harbour and the ferry ride was gorgeous. I managed to snag a seat on the bow deck and watched as the coast flew by. As we passed the heads where the Tasman Sea meets the harbour waters things got a little choppy but the ride was otherwise quite smooth. I could very easily spend my time here on a boat cruising around all day, it’s probably for the best that I don’t have enough for a sailboat left in my bank account or I’d be tempted.
Manly itself was gorgeous, a cute little suburb with some superb beachfront and lots of little cafes and bars. I walked along with the rest of the crowd from the ferry, checking out the offerings and talking myself out of a lemon tart at one of the bakeries. The long promenade crossed the lowest part of the isthmus that forms the north end of the harbour and at the other end was Manly Beach. The beach itself stretched quite far and was fairly busy for a Monday morning. The water was a beautiful greenie blue, but honestly for my money the beach back at Hahei was prettier, something about the island out there just seals it for me. It could also be the fact that I didn’t have the “things that can kill you in Australia” part of my travel book ringing in my head at Hahei. It’s not just sharks after all, there are poisonous jellyfish, octopi, snails and fish in Australia too.
It also had lots of people learning to surf as the wind was strong enough to create some medium breakers. I couldn’t think of a better place to lay down on the sand and spend my day. The surf lessons were entertaining as each person repeatedly fell with their board often snapping around on the foot cord to smack them in the ass as they struggled in the waves. Slowly but surely each of them managed to get riding the board, first on their stomachs, then slowly up onto their feet for at least a few seconds. After lunch and a swim I settled down for a few hours of reading and relaxing until the wind began to pick up and ominous clouds started blowing in from the direction of New Zealand (so that’s why the weather had been so nice there, they sent it here.) I high tailed it over to the ferry and got back to Sydney proper just as it started to pour.
Pouring rain when you have no car is kind of a drag, so I ended up heading to the movies instead of my original plan of hitting the aquarium. For everyone who buys the line that heavier enforcement of movie downloading (something Australia is apparently super Gestapo about) would let movies cost less, let me show you my $18 movie stub when I get home :p Also, for some bizarre reason, they still have assigned seating here for films, what the hell is that? I was assigned a seat next to some very weird woman eating an ice cream cone in a disturbing manner so I sat two seats over and hoped for the best, thankfully no one else appeared to be assigned to our row.
After the flick I came back here to the hostel to find that I’ve got another brand new arrival as a roommate so the lights were off early. Hopefully he actually adjusts unlike the last one. That kid seemed intent on sticking with some bizarre sleep pattern and not trying to move to local time at all. It appears the fourth bed will be empty again tonight though. It would be nice to get a roommate who actually spoke english and was social though, with the rec room full of tour type groups I could use a conversation that wasn’t a prelude to selling me something. As usual a day at the beach has pretty much sapped my energy so I think I’m going to post this and call it a night, pictures will follow at some point.