Saturday, December 18, 2004

Woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs from the hotel cafe. However in a rare attempt at frugality, we had to forego the $9 Vulcan Big Breakfast. Instead we went again to Paddy's Market, this time to the fruit and vegetable side that we missed yesterday. Cheap, fresh, fragrant stuff.

Found a $10 note on the sidewalk and used it to pay for our breakfast at McD's. Exactly the same as in Singapore except for the sausage that was probably pork and definitely not halal. I still want bacon and eggs though. Sigh.

Caught the Explorer to our 1st stop, The Rocks. Here, June was in her element -- exactly what she had been looking for in a weekend market: unique handicrafts and artworks made by authentic Australian hands. Here is a list of our purchases:

1 x display mobile made of twisted forks and spoons
1 x eucalyptus scented wooden puzzle block
2 x fridge magnets hand-carved from wood
2 x scented wardrobe protectors, guaranteed 3 years
1 x banana bread
1 x lemonade
1 x reproduction painting of Sydney landmarks
1 x book of collected Aboriginal folktales (my purchase)

This is the most shopping we've done since we arrived in Oz!

Loaded with our purchases, we hopped Explorer to view Sydney Opera House up close and personal. From afar, the overall structure is already impressive. Close-up and it's the texture of the tiling that grabs the attention. With all the ceramic layering its surface it looks set to be an alternative space shuttle design. Took lots of photos here.

Explorer to Mrs MacQuarie's Chair, a spot on the harbour that Gov McQ had designated as a garden and as a lookout spot for his wife (i.e., for his wife to look out of, not for him to look out for his wife). Her chair had been carved into the rocks here and it became her favourite hangout. Today women sit on her chair and make a wish. This place is also the best land-based vantage point to frame the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge in the same photo.

Explorer to Wooloomooloo and the site of the original Harry's Cafe de Wheels. Finally got to order our pies; a Tiger for me, and a chicken and cheese pie for June. Wow! Excellent stuff and reasonably priced too. They are substantial and taste great! Meaty and juicy, crust flaky and light. The addition of mash and mushy peas on the Tiger made it more of a meal. After guzzling our pies, we ordered another hotdog to share, I am unashamed to confess.

Explorer back to our hotel to dump our purchases and get ready for dinner with Charis, Samson and DotDot, their King Charles. We grabbed their pressies and stuff they wanted us to get for them. Went to Central to check out the timetable for our train ride up to Newcastle tomorrow, then went to meet our friends at the bus stop.

It's great to see them again after 2 years. They've settled down in the suburbs and DotDot still remembers us. She's such a dear. We saw their lovely house then drove out to Hurstville for Viet food. Our pho was big with good, lean beef and piles of sprouts and mint leaves. June was very happy to see the saucer of chilli padi. DotDot sat patiently in her seat while we ate, and attracted lots of "so cute" from passers by. Charis and Sam kindly drove us back to the Vulcan after dinner. Wonder when we'll see them again?

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