Initially, I found starting this blog to be a huge amount of work, and a bit of a pain. Then, I got used to it and realized that I was already enjoying reading my older posts. However, now that I am travelling with my girlfriend, I am finding it difficult again. I find photography, especially, to mostly be an individual endeavour. To get dawn pictures of Sossusvlei, I had to get up at 4:45 in the morning. These days, I go out for dinner and drinks in the evening, we have great times, and I don’t get up at 4:45.
The last week of 2012, spent in Sydney, was very enjoyable, but not conducive to storytelling or photography. Museums, restaurants, shopping centres and bars. Nevertheless, here’s a few stories and pictures to prove I really did leave Yemen without being abducted.
Michelle and I had an urge to indulge in fish and chips. We went to the restaurant which, like all other fish and chips restaurants, serves the “best in town”. Good fish restaurants usually don’t serve them, but “The Fish Shop” did, at a price comparable to any fish and chips joint… +200%! We got the kitchen view and enjoyed watching the incredibly efficient craziness of the kitchen action.
A+ for originality. The fish came on wax paper-lined vegetable oil can lids and the bill on a sardine can lid.
A classic not to be missed, “Harry’s Cafe de Wheels”. The joint started serving little single serving meat pies, accompanied with mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy piled right on top of the pie, way back in the days of the Great Depression. As stated on their website, it was “keenly sought by sailors, soldiers, cabbies, starlets and coppers alike”. We had pies, sausage rolls and all sorts of embarrassing goodies. The walls are covered with shots of movie celebrities stuffing their faces and the picture on the bottom right is that of KFC’s founder, Colonel Sanders, enjoying a pie in 1974. The place is right next to a Navy base and in 1978, the base Commander christened it HMAS Harry’s!
Since we had rented an apartment for the week, we didn’t eat out every meal and cooked a few things at home. Our biggest supermarket shock was the fresh meat pet food lines. The fact that they existed was not as alarming as the fact that they were on same rack as human food! The enchiladas on the right are for humans, the ground meat on the left with a dog on the label is not a korean delicacy.
Sydney is a popular tourist destination in the summer, and it experiences a significant peak around New Year. New Years in Sydney Harbour is like New Years in Time Square, something unique (for the bucket list: done and done!). Busy can be fun, but this was a bit too much. We wanted to see a 3D movie in a theatre downtown on December 30th, but the matinee showing was sold out, and so were all the others until late the next day! On January 2nd, we went to the world famous Bondi beach and found this small crowd. It was not nearly as crowded as the Cote d’Azur in August, but not exactly quiet either.I took this picture with a point and shoot as soon as we arrived, and the battery immediately died. Unfortunately, this means I have no picture of the siren going off, warning of a shark sighting. Everybody got out of the water, patrol boats went around, then a patrol helicopter, followed by a Channel 9 news helicopter. After a while, things went back to normal. In the big picture, 5 people probably died accidentally that day in Sydney (car crash, drowning, overdose), but a potential shark attack is world news…
I don’t know how to describe this horror, please suggest some captions for the “pink-stretched-Hummer-limo-downtown-wedding-photo-shoot”.
One of Sydney’s high adrenaline activities: bridge walking. I later discovered they have the same thing in Auckland. Not for me.
The bridge, with the Crystal Symphony, one of two ships belonging to Crystal, the luxury Japanese cruise line. It has a passenger to crew ratio of less than 2-1!
The Central Business District and the Opera House, seen from a ferry.
The Opera House sees 7 million visitors a year. The area was certainly busy on a nice day between Christmas and New Year.
The Opera House was completed in 1973. Because the shape is so unique, I would have assumed the roof is made of some high-tech material, but it is in fact a concrete structure covered in good old-fashion ceramic tiles. Here are a couple more Sydney building pictures.
The Harnett Towers, under close guard.
This church is under renovation, but the construction company is nice enough to show tourists what it’s supposed to look like!
Travelling with someone naturally involves compromises, so off to the zoo I went, even though I don’t like zoos. This is my face when I realized we had boarded the wrong ferry. Getting to the zoo went from 10 to 100 minutes. I was not happy about the zoo trip.
The gorilla was not happy either.
The kangaroo was simply disgusted.
The koala bear was not impressed (and strangely reminded me of Master Yoda).
And the red panda could not express any emotions, as it is too cute to do so. I did not know such an animal existed. The highlight of my zoo trip.
Finally, it was time for New Years in Sydney. In the immediate area of the harbour, people rush in when they open the gates at 8. That’s 8 am! There was no way we would do such a thing, so we found a nice spot closer to our apartment and showed up at 11:45, pm. This is the picture I would have taken, had I been sober. I took this one during Canada Day 2012, in Ottawa. But, sober I was not at all.
My best fireworks picture from New Years Eve in Sydney. No further comments.