Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Another early riser to catch the 2nd Qantas flight out to Sydney. Had an omelette and coffee for brekkie at the domestic terminal's food court. June spotted Channel U's Michelle Chong seated at the table next to ours and took a pix with her.

Arrived at 1040 in sydney and after some deliberation, we bought a 3-day Sydney Pass ($100 each) for ourselves. The pass covers unlimited travel on most, I repeat, most public buses and trains for any 3 days within an 8-day period. It also covers airport transit 2-way even beyond the 3 days that the ticket is claimed on.

Sydney is the Big City. Lots of people in power suits talking business on their mobile phones; way tall buildings and a curious mix of concrete-and-steel with old red-brick, copper roofed low-risers from a century ago. Bustle and crowded streets... ah, city life.

Our hotel, the Vulcan Hotel, is in the Ultimo district. It cost $7.30 by cab from Central Station. I gave the cabbie $10 and he said, "thank you!" I never got to see my change, but that was to be expected.

Cabbie was Chinese like a lot of the people here. Evidently, Asians are not the minority. This was certainly the case in Darling Harbour while we were looking for dinner. There's no cheap food to be found anyplace. We finally settled on a food court in Harbourside. There's Mexican, American, Japanese/Chinese, Turkish, whatever, food on offer but behind every counter stood an Asian face. That sort of took the authenticity away from the menus but, hey, we're all over the place now -- making up for lost time.

Food at the food court is still expensive though. Large portions but high prices too. Starting to worry about our cash that seems to be drying up faster than expected.

Oops... time warp. Lunch was at Sydney Fish Market -- first place we hit immediately after checking in. June and I shared a dozen Sydney rock oysters and another dozen of the Tazzie variety. They were so fresh, just recently shucked by the guy behind the counter. Cold and briney, no sickening aftertaste. How can we enjoy half-shell oysters at buffets from now on?

Got ourselves sort of lost wandering around downtown with the Queen Victoria Building as our main point of reference. QVB is a beautifully restored old building turned shopping mall and its centrepiece is a massive 3-storey tall Christmas tree wich is a must-take photo op.

From QVB we visited St Andrew's Cathedral and dropped in on Woolworth's for munchies and on Border's where I bought R & G are Dead on DVD. Yay! I've been searching for it for so long.

Our hotel is quite a long walk away from the main action downtown. It seems to be located in something like the forgotten side of town so it's a bit dark and deserted where we are staying. The hotel is nice and comfortable, newly renovated so it's like an oasis this side of town. Fringe benefit from this holiday: good health from all the walking we're doing.

Off to the Blue Mountains by train early tomorrow morning!

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