*This is part 1 of 2 of Sydney. Part 2 of 2 is above.*
After being delayed for over six hours, JetStar flight 38 from Denpasar (Bali) to Sydney finally took off. Leaving Indonesian airspace, we cut south towad Perth then east, passing over the Bight and near Canberra, the nation’s capital, before descending through a lazy mist down into this internationally celebrated port city.
We made it. Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. Kangaroos. Q’s prounced like K’s. The final frontier…at least of our trip. For a city that started as a penal colony for some not-so-lucky Brits, Sydney, and Australia as a whole, has reinvented into something magical. At 33 degrees below the Equator, the city battles with Buenos Aires and Cape Town for the most cosmopolitan city at the bottom of the world. When people look at a map of the world and see Australia, they see Sydney on the far southeast corner of the continent. However, the city is oriented north-south, rather than east-west facing the Pacific. Sydney proper is south of the Harbour, so many of the landmarks and means of getting there are referenced as such. The country is about as big as the continental US but has only a 14th of the popluation (22 mil). For comparison, Los Angeles County has about 10.5 million residents.
It is an incredibly fascinating city – 50% London, 40% Seoul, 10% San Francisco – in that all types of people you wouldn’t expect to live there (or speak with like a good ‘ol Aussie) call the smallest continent but one of the largest countries home. Asians screaming for the Melbourne-Darwin rugby match are drowned out by Samoans and Afghani refugees-turned-Australian nationals in an epic shouting proxy match for Labour vs. Liberal. Surfers on their way to Bondi Beach jaywalk in front of the busy Art Gallery of New South Wales as Hindu monks and Chinese Maoists pound a cold one in an Irish pub.
Australia, you rock.
Here are the pictures of the first part of our trip down under.
After a 6 hour delay in Bali, we finally arrived in Sydney. The Sydney News 7 building was near our hotel.
Exiting the subway from the airport to downtown Sydney
Exploring the area where our hotel was located (The Rocks). Had a nice "Australian" cappuccino in the nearby park.
Back that truck up...
Approaching the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the state in which Sydney is located
Close-up of the gallery
Our hotel was in the nice business district called The Rocks. Exploring the nearby Sydney Botanical Gardens on our way to the Opera House and Darling Harbour.
Where is the opera house?
Later that evening, we walked back through the park and there were bats hanging off the fountain.
Still trying to find the opera house...
Exploring Sydney in late June was pretty cold (the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere)
Ah, there it is
Finally, the world-recognized Sydney Opera House. Paul and I saw a comedic presentation of Macbeth in here.
Dark picture of me + amazing background
More views on the wintry June afternoon
Yes, I have lots of pictures of the same thing. But it's awesome!
The Sydney Harbour Bridge, which I climbed on the outer arc, as viewed from the Opera House complex
The surface resembled '60s bathroom tile
Darling Harbour, a large recreation/commercial/pedestrian area in downtown Sydney
Me in front of the Harbour Bridge
The top of the bridge - I was up there!
The southern portion of Darling Harbour is called Circular Quay (pronounced like "key"), an area where you can catch a ferry to all points near and far
Later in the week, Paul and I took a ferry to the northern suburb of Manly (named after a British captain saw bug guys on the shore)
Past Circular Quay and on the other side of Darling Harbour, we were able to get a great, albeit cloudy, view of the Opera House
Me in front of the landmark
Some crazy science museum in Darling Harbour (is that a neuron?)
Nearing the bridge
We found an awesome weekend market. I bought an old travel poster, hidden among authentic Aboriginal art stuff and handmade home crafts.
Lots of didgeridoos in the market (pretty expensive)
I want one of these lights for my room in Chicago
Upon exiting the market, we encountered a street "fayre." Ate some great food while wondering among the scents of fruit and flowers.
Just having been in Istanbul, I can say these Turkish cözelmes were great
I really like this picture for some reason
Coming into port
Sunset over one of the most naturally beautiful cities in the world
Lots of these parrots were playing around the Sydney Opera House near sunset. So...
...naturally I tried to get them on my shoulder. Fail.
Silly Australians and their crazy city names
Morbid update: recession around the world
Harry's Cafe de Wheels, a true Sydney classic that sold all types of hearty foods, like pot pies and beets
I think I can say on Paul's behalf that this was our best meal in Sydney - a great great meal at Nepalese place that was well worth the extremely long walk through southwest Sydney at 10 PM.
Walking along Darling Harbour the next day
Lots of boats anchored in the Harbour. Nicole Kidman's house isn't too far from here.
More Darling Harbour
The Cochlee Bay Wharf AKA place for Aussies to drink. Excessively.
The Rocks from the west
Palm trees probably can't live much farther south...it was cold!
Our first of two visits to the venerable Sydney Fish Market. It is the second-busiest in the world after Tokyo.
Best fish and chips...and spicy oysters...and fried burundi this side of London.
Catch brought in that morning
To order sashimi, you told the fish monger lady how much (in kg) you wanted. She cut it right there from a huge slab.
*sigh* Dumb kids feeding the birds.
The Ian Thorpe Aquatic Center
A view of the building
The pool. They circle swim on the left - that would be really confusing!
Thorpie Burger...isn't Ian Thorpe in LA trying to make a theatrical debut? That's working well.
A view from the side of the pool
I look borderline narcoleptic
From the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Center, Paul and I were making our way to the University of Sydney. Most people take the bus or train, but we like to walk to places that say "you shouldn't walk through here." Along the supposedly route we found an amazing chocolate place. This is Nutella hot chocolate.