Day 4 – Sydney Tourists

Danielle had been keen to go to the Sunrise set this morning but we were both a bit slow in getting started so we gave the idea a miss. Maybe if the show was called Sunset we’d have a better chance.

Buffet breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant brought me a new nemesis. Every trip I do brings me one and until they arrive it hangs over me like a cloud. This one happened to coincide with the source of all breakfast stresses – the communal toaster. Logic dictates that with a conveyor belt style toaster you could reasonably expect to drop your toast in then go and get some other food and come back to it. Human nature dictates that you must stand and guard your toast like vultures around a dead carcass. Bravely I attempted logic by putting my white toast in after some wholegrain and angled it like a triangle so that it was different to all the others. Multi-tasking I then headed for the food, timing my run so that I was back in time for mine to pop out.

I knew I was in trouble when I saw the large indian man standing there like Jabba the Hut ignoring his toast that had already popped out and his wife who I’m sure was telling him in indian that his toast was at the front. He went straight for mine even though the bastard hadn’t put 3 pieces in anyway. I stood there inwardly screaming as I watched him walk away with my toast while I hovered there hoping I had been mistaken. Alas, it definitely was my toast and the dagger eyes I was getting from the next lady indicated to me that I would have to take the dodgy end piece of the bread that was left and go through the whole damn process again.

Back at the table I bitched about the man to Danielle who informed me that she had had a run in with him as well at the toaster. He seemed like a man that didn’t treat women very well. Now before you say it’s only just a piece of toast, it’s not. It’s all about being aware of others and not being a selfish dickhead who is wasting valuable air. Peace out. 😉

Breakfast over we decided to drive over to our new cheaper accommodations in Newtown as we could park the car there then head in to the city. Australian Sunrise Lodge is located on the main street of Newtown in King Street but it is at the quieter end of the street.

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A 5 minute walk from the station and a bus stop in front meant we had a good choice of public transport plus a plethora of restaurant choices up and down the street. Newtown is kind of like West End mixed with Fortitude Valley. Cool clothes shops combined with antiques, restaurants and pubs meant that our walks were not going to be boring. But we didn’t have time for that just yet, we needed to check in.

The place was a little deceiving as it had large windows looking in to wooden floors and brand new couches in the lobby but every door was locked. Instead you had to use the intercom beside it to make first contact. The asian lady came down to let us in but as we were early we couldn’t go to the room but that was cool cause all we wanted to do was park the car and go sightseeing. She gave us the keys and we headed off.

A 20 minute bus ride in to the city took us to the major hub of tourist Sydney – Circular Quay. This is probably the most photographed site in Australia because to your left is the Harbour Bridge,

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to your right is the Opera House

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and all around you are ferries,

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yachts and trains bustling by.

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Danielle and I headed over to the Opera House and while on the walk she coined the term “Sydwee” because that was all we’d smelt since heading in to town. For some reason the bus smelt of urine and the area near the Oyster Bar also had the stench of yellow liquid. I guess no one knew about the impressive toilets in the Opera House because if I had the choice that is where I’d go. And I did. Danielle and I found an entry bustling with kids, prams and parents which I suspect was for the “Baby Proms” music performance. Heading in to the bathrooms we were confronted with little kids taking up every bathroom stall with every door opened. Luckily we found some free ones at the end that were amazing because even the toilet paper had mood lighting.

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The sinks were a work of art in themselves with a wave type bench that ran the length of the room. The water just seemed to disappear in to an abyss. No plugs there!

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After taking the requisite pictures we headed back to the ferries to take a ride over to Darling Harbour. The ferry is a cool cheap way to see the city from the harbour as it takes you under the bridge stopping at Luna Park then ending up at the Aquarium.

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Our destination was the Lord of the Rings display at the Powerhouse so we wandered past the Imax theatre, the Chinese gardens and the old Nintendo building stopping only for a dodgy photo opportunity.

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Entry to the Lord of the Rings was $19.50 to see the amazing props and costumes of the movie. Everyone knows how good the movies are and it is all down to the fact that they concentrated on even the most minor things. They had to make 3 of everything in different sizes for a lot of the hobbit scenes. On the walls were a lot of sketches by the artists which are pieces of art in their own right. I must admit that the bits that interested me the most were of course the technological details of the film. I hadn’t ever seen how they had created Gollum so that was a revelation and I loved the software they created for the large scale fights. The program is called “Massive” and is kind of like a video game. The fighters were written to make their own decisions in battle. I had to laugh when they said the first time they ran it there were fighters who just ran away.

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Danielle dropped some hard core dough to buy her own corrupting ring at the shop as we left the powerhouse and headed for the monorail.

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The ride was $4 regardless of how far you went so we took the full loop around once and then got off at central. My tip is you should buy the all in one light rail/powerhouse pass to get the maximum amount for your cash. The light rail pass also includes the tram that goes near Paddy’s markets as well. Of course we discovered this bargain AFTER we’d paid full price.

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Our mission was to find Krispy Kreme donuts and on the way perhaps eat lunch. A long walk along York St didn’t show us any appealing cafes so we decided that a Homer lunch would do (mmmm glazed donuts). Krispy Kreme is near the Wyvern train station and is a cute little building with some hardcore industrial donut making facilities. They even have a roped off line up area. Danielle and I decided to go all the way and purchase a dozen.

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Lemon, raspberry, strawberry and iced filled along with chocolate, sour cream, blueberry and plain were our choices. Picking up some coffee as well we headed across the road to sit in the park and try our first ever Krispy Kremes. The chocolate glazed one wasn’t much of a revelation, but the second one was incredible. I thought they were great, but I’m not sure why people waited 3 hours for them. They are a bit lighter than normal donuts – not as cakey. Dammit, I want one now.

Swinging our box of donuts we headed back past a knitting store where Danielle did some research for Maggie and I watched the ladies of Sydney sit around and knit in their knitting club. You must be passionate about it to come in to the city on a Friday just to knit in a circle.

A little walk later and we were in front of the channel 7 building in St Martin’s where they film Sunrise and the news.

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Sunrise is now the most popular morning television show on Aussie tv which is great to see. I was really surprised when they got rid of Mel and David a few years ago as even then they were amusing. It was refreshing to see the news being read with a sense of humour and although there is a school of thought that news should be read without an opinion, I don’t mind hearing theirs. The ratings must have gone down when they got rid of them because they eventually brought them back and actually designed the show around their idiosyncrasies. Television executives take note that it sometimes pays off to do something different! Not much was happening at 4.30 in the afternoon but it’s cool to have a tv studio in the middle of a city.

A wander around Hyde Park to admire the fountain’s um… assets,

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then a quick visit to the St Mary’s Cathedral to see the place where famous Australians have funerals (such as Michael Hutchence). No burials today – only some wedding rehearsals for a family that must be swimming in cash because I can’t imagine it would be cheap to marry there. It’s a beautiful cathedral but I’m a bit immune to them after seeing so many in England.

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Danielle decided to take advantage of the self cleaning toilet in the park which cost her 50 cents. You’d think that self cleaning toilets would save the council money in the long run so why charge for the privilege? My tip would be that if you are in Hyde Park and need to go to the loo, go downstairs to the St Martin’s train station and go for free. We took the train from there back to Newtown in Sydney’s friday rush hour. It’s not too bad – probably because the trains are two story and the seats are three across on one side.

Both knackered we walked back to the hotel to unpack the car and head up to our room for the next two days. You enter the hotel using a key to a hallway beside the lobby and everywhere you look there are signs saying “don’t let anyone you don’t know in”. A little bit disturbing as it made us wonder what had gone on in this place before. A murder, a rape, a britney spears video? No fear, we continued on up the stairs to our room. And room it was. There was just enough room for a double and single bed to be side by side with room enough for your legs to shuffle between them. At the end of the double was a small table and chairs then a shelf thingy with a tv and microwave. They’d gone to the trouble of chaining the tv to the shelf but not the microwave. More demand for that product maybe? We’d booked a room with a toilet and shower thankfully but it was a little depressing. I did like the view out the window but Danielle wished that we had one with a balcony. Ah well, it’s only a place to sleep anyway.

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After a bit of a rest we headed across the road to the local Thai restaurant. It was pretty busy but we go a seat in the cushioned area at the back. I chose something called Larb which was supposedly a spicy chicken salad. Spicy my ass, more like chilli demon from hell land! My lips started burning as the fork headed towards my mouth and I sculled all the water that was in the place. I managed to eat what I had scooped on to my plate but I’m said to say I left a hell of a lot of food on the serving dish.

To offset the burning red molten that was my mouth, we talk a walk to the italian gelato store up the street. Another store where they know how to make the place look good. The girls serving had tight blue shirts on that looked like the italian football team while the walls had huge black and white photos of people eating ice cream that was highlighted in colour. I picked a cup of ice cream that tasted like a toblerone and it was amazingly creamy. I’ve had gelati before but this was AMAZING!Afterwards Danielle and I went to the Newtown Hotel for a drink upstairs and then headed back to our room for a sleep that was nothing like I’ve experienced before. But I’ll save that for the next post.

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