Friday, October 31, 2008

Going about town

Me in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

I made it to Sydney, and one again my business class status paid off, as I was able to use the “express” line to breeze through customs and quarantine. I was really worried that the Nasonex samples my doctor gave me (without the required prescription) would be confiscated, especially since they’re basically nasal steroids. But not even a peep.

I did forget to do one thing that I had fantasized about for years. My plan was as soon as I got into the immigration line that I would pop Men at Work’s “Down Under” up on my iPhone. It completely slipped my mind, especially as I got quickly through the line, then had to worry about getting some Aussie cash. (I played the song as soon as I got a chance to sit down and recharge my laptop).

I couldn’t find the Citibank ATMs advertised on the airport’s website, so I had to hit a third party cash machine. Then, I had to find some way to break the $20 AUD bills into small change to use on the bus. Mission accomplished, but could someone in the know tell me why the heck the Aussie $2 coins are half the size of the $1 coins (about the size of an American 5-cent piece)?

The bus ride (route 400 to Manly Shops then line 309 down to Circular Quay) was pleasant except for me having to plead ignorance to the operators as to how much I should pay. (Sadly, Sydney buses do not offer transfers, so I had to pay full fare twice.) Riding a city bus into town is the absolute best way to get a feel for the town if you’re not in a hurry.

Circular Quay was the final stop. The quay is right between the Harbour Bridge and the world-famous Sydney Opera House, so I got some nice pictures of both. The Harbour Bridge, aka the “Coat Hanger,” is much more impressive in real life then it looks in pictures. The Opera House, on the other hand, is almost the complete opposite. Sure it looks all fancy, but up close it still looks like any other example of avant garde architecture, albeit one with a funny roof.

Right: Anyone else think the logo on this cruise ship in the Sydney Harbour makes it look like a Decepticon?

Pictures taken, I began the track downtown – which was the cue for it to begin raining. Not quite torrentially, but still steady. I’m at a Borders in the central business district, bemoaning the apparent lack of free wi-fi in this town (I just chipped in $8 for a half-hour), but at least I found some power.

I talked with Claire and Ian on the phone just after I arrived in Sydney. They sounded like they were having loads of Hallowe’en fun. Ian is being Luke Skywalker (in his Endor outfit from “Return of the Jedi”) and he looks awesome! Left: Ian as "Luke Skywalker (Endor outfit).

Now I’m off to pick up some sandwiches or the like for the Indian Pacific train – on which I will embark for Perth in about 2.5 hours. I may or (likely) may not have some sort of Internet access in Adelaide. If not, chat with you on Tuesday.


Rob said...

Don't forget to play some "Beds Are Burning"!

And send some pics of Endor Ian!

Jennie said...

Wow, button-down shirt and slacks? Quite the old-school traveler!

JOHN C. BAKER said...

I wanted to be dressed up for the plane ride, hence the outfit. :-)

Jennie said...

That's old school! Very nice.