A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

Meet Sydney


Further down the coast, another 167 Km further down to be exact lies the sleepy (yeah right) town of Sydney which was our central destination for the rest of the weeks journeying. Being a major city and in effect the unofficial capital of Australia, I wasn’t sure what to really expect from the place apart from the usual hustle and bustle, heavy traffic, tightly packed buildings of a normal working city and many of the old clich├ęd images of the Opera house and harbour bridge.

Iconic Sydney
Click here to see the Sydney Harbour Ferry Ride photo Album
And it was with all that in mind that I suggested we shouldn’t go killing ourselves to take it all in as, for the great extent, most of it would already be well documented on the internet especially after the city found itself in the spotlight during the 2000 Olympics. Yes it would be nice to have a wander round and take in the atmosphere of the place along with some of the sights but I wasn’t really up for fighting the hoi polloi with respect to the task of getting around the place.

Anyway, we left Newcastle in the afternoon of the Sunday and arrived at Sydney for around 4pm where we booked into the Travelodge hotel (much better than the last place) for a total of three days to give us time to go explore in a relaxed enough manner. And upon arriving in our room, we first took the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep after the late night snacking and bad hotel of the previous night.

DISASTER STRIKES

It wasn’t until we woke up that the final of the ‘lowlights’ of the Newcastle trip first reared its ugly head. Yes I had gotton myself sun-burned. How the hell did that happen, I’d been so careful.

Now I know they say only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun, and that if you put an Englishman anywhere abroad, usually you can generally easily spot him as he is the one that looks like a deep fried, bright scarlet, red and sore looking lobster being cooked for teatime. And because we Brits normally see so little of the sun, we willingly throw ourselves at the mercy of its burning rays, while most of our Australian counterparts tend to be a lot more aware of the damage it can do to human flesh and so treat it with a great deal more respect. But I really had been careful, or so I thought. Not so though, I’m afraid.

You see that trip down the beach in Newcastle was the time I chose for the first airing of my shoulders to the blazing Australian sun and what made it unknowingly worse was the cool gentle breeze blowing across said shoulders. I was without doubt, totally oblivious to the whole sunburn thing. And being the man I am, I like I did to her face, fully blame that Cath Slater woman. Grr :)

But back to the story again…

When we later woke from our slumbers, my neck and shoulders were red raw with sunburn but they were reasonably bearable pain-wise and to save any further burning I overdressed before leaving the hotel to go explore the harbour, taking a ride along the waters past the Opera house and harbour bridge on one of the many ferry boats laid on there. On the ferry, we went over to Watsons Bay via Garden Island a place where Jodie reckons she had spent 6 years in electronics and weapon systems refurbishment for the Australian Navy (R.A.N.) to Doyle’s fish and chip restaurantwhich is situated at the forefront of the ferry landing bay. 


Talk about having a captive audience. There was no way for any one of the hundreds leaving the ferry to enter the bay without passing through the place while being seduced by the succulent aromas of the food being prepared and with fish (shark) and chips for two costing just over $30 AUD, I’m sure the place was quite a good money spinner for good old Mr. & Mrs. Doyle. Something the long queues lie testament to for sure.

Anyway, we sat at the bay front with our fish dinners and I must say, it felt rather empowering to be sat there eating shark in a country where the sharks think very little about actually eating you, and after having her fill, Jodie decided it was a good idea to share the remains with a solitary seagull that had patiently kept us company for the duration of the meal. Sounds quite cosy in principle doesn’t it? 

+ food =

But the trouble is that where there’s usually one seagull, there is often another million or so, close at hand. And true to form, they all showed up in good time to harass the pair of us for our scraps.

Anyway, after nom noms it was a case of off to further explore the expanse of land known as Watson's Bay. It is located on the southern head of the entrance to Sydney Harbour. To the east is the Tasman Sea and to the west is the Harbour with a glorious view of the city of Sydney in the distance. It is where Governor Phillip first landed in Australia. 

Click here to view the Watson's Bay photo album
It's also recognised as Australia's oldest fishing village, having been established in 1788. We headed off down the beach, looked around the marina, checked out the buildings and open spaces, hell I even climbed a tree during our escapades.

Climbing trees? OK, so we were having too much fun and had to put a stop to it all. So with that in mind we headed back to the ferry for our return trip to the harbour where we would embark upon a train ride to St James’ in the city centre for more photos, a little shopping, an explore or two around the buildings and historical interest things and having once again exhausted camera batteries, memory cards and traveller’s legs, we headed back to the hotel for a pasta salad style health food type meal thing.

Click here for the Hyde Park and surrounding areas photo album
It is worth noting here that part of this jolly up was to take in the opulently appointed bank buildings built in the early 1900’s while the rest of Australia was subjected to extreme poverty (sound familiar?). One such example was the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Martin Place, a building that despite its splendour and public interest aspects, actually refuses the taking of pictures Grr.

Never mind though, thanks to the interwebs, here’s one we prepared earlier for you… it's all real marbles in there and it is huge too. This photo hardly does it any justice at all.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Martin Place
After tea when the temperatures had dropped sufficiently for us to venture out again, we set out to trek the length of what is locally called ‘the rocks’ taking in yet more buildings, shops, places of interest, the docks, the nightlife and whatever else we thought would fit our lenses. And that meant some night shots too. Maybe it’s time to confess once more that a photographer I ain't as the lack of lighting seems to be directly proportionate to the blurring of the photos I take (grrr again).

Click here for the Sydney by night photo album
But we did what we did and when we did it we turned round and recovered our tracks doing some more as we made our way home to the hotel for the remainder of the night.

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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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