FROM MY ARRIVAL IN AUSTRALIA, Last Few Days in Sydney Follow

June 11-12

And I'm off!

(I also don't want to forget my charming and oh-so-satisfying Lyft ride to the airport so I'm going to write it here.)

The travel-gods smiled upon me and gave me an empty seat for the 15 hour ride. It's amazing how not-too-hard it is to pass the time when you're not struggling against someone's space invasion overreach across the arm rest.
And all the rest of it was sooo easy - money, toilet, ticket and transport card, train (so comfortable and smooth - a private enterprise a guy on the plane told me), and then...
...bam, right out at Circular Quay (not Circle Quay like I've been saying to myself for months and btw quay is pronounced key, it just is), and a super easy walk to my Airbnb here in The Rocks district just up the hill from the harbor.

I've organized my stuff a little and am about to head out for the day. Gud on ya matey, my new favorite expression.
June 13

My flight arrived at 6:20am and I was settled in my sweet little attic airbnb with a view of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

I hooked everything up to make sure I was in e-business and then took off in hopes of staying awake until evening. Like that was going to happen, and it didn't. I was 'resting' by 5. Then I woke up in time to take a pill and go back to sleep until 6:30am local time. That is awesome!

Back to the morning when I left the airbnb for my walk into town. Just two blocks and under the bridge...what is this?
It's this. A giGANtic party club...HUGE...
...and I watched them roll so so so VERY many kegs of beer into that place. Oh my goodness, this is a Hot Spot. It's call The Argyle on Argyle Street.
Circular Quay is the modern port and is also part of the area called The Rocks. These are some of the refurbished shops and accommodations towered over by the Central Business District.

It immediately reminded me of Singapore. I haven't figured out what I want to do about this situation that happens daily, where one new and interesting thing reminds me of another thing. It's good to use what you've learned to put new things in context, but it's also good to see everything with fresh eyes.
I loved this place: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia. The artist Kader Attia had an entire floor devoted to his projects and they were awesome.

Also there were many staff members made up of enthusiastic, knowledgeable youth eager to help and eager to just chat about the artists and their works, and make interesting suggestions about venues to visit that were not yet even on my radar.
His work was emotional without being complicated. He wanted to say something and he said it loud and clear. I'm only showing two of the many projects on display.

From the brochure: Kader Attia, born in 1970, is a French-Algerian artist who explores ideas around colonization, identity, repair and reparation." I think I saw he was born in France and works in Algeria and Berlin.
There's a permanent collection too...
...and many modern works by indigenous people.
This is wiki's picture and she is always generous. It's the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The Opera House is on the far left. I walked across that thing today which was not a spectacular challenge. It's less than half as long as the Golden Gate. It was very good fun.
You can also pay to get higher but I was fine!
Here's a view from one of the Photo Ops. There must be one million of this exact picture floating around the internet.
Off the bridge on the other side I'm now in search of Luna Park whose motto from the 1930s is "Luna Park, Just for FUN!"
You can find a view of the bridge or the Opera House almost anywhere you try.
Welcome to Luna Park!
I know you're lovin' it!

It's open Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon and since today is Tuesday...
...we've got a little old-timey amusement park ghost town.
I was happy enough not to be knocking shoulders with a crowd although some kids enjoying themselves would have livened up the place.
I left the park and walked around and under the bridge to catch one of the ferries that would bring me back to Circular Quay. There is a very active ferry system so you can walk walk as much as you want to walk and then there's always a way to get back.
June 14

Today I did a Top of the Tourist List walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee. On the map 1) Sydney with the bridge, Opera House, and The Rocks where I'm staying 2) Bondi Beach 3) Coogee 4) where I'm going today, to Manly Beach.

I've chosen these activities because it will probably not rain and anything can happen with the weather by the time I get back.
I took the bus out to the start of the walk.

Here is looking back to the crescent of Bondi Beach. No People! In nice weather there are people shoulder to shoulder. This is nice weather for me!
And turning around to look forward to the next phase of the walk.

It was mostly an up and down paved trail, also some groomed trail, and a ton of steps.
You can see all the bays from the map above, and each and every one was GORGEOUS and as I understand, packed in summer.

There were still a scattering of surfers in full wetsuits and ear to ear smiles all along the way.
An ibis! I've seen hundreds and they fill the city like pigeons. Some nicknames: dumpster diver, flying rat, and tip turkey.

People around here don't like them very much.
Another one of those awesome bays.
We were detoured through Waverley Cemetery...
...because that path you see here has now dropped into the sea.

(internet pic)
As for the Waverley Cemetery, here's what wiki has to say: "The Waverley Cemetery is a cemetery on top of the cliffs at Bronte in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Opened in 1877, it is noted for its largely intact Victorian and Edwardian monuments. It is regularly cited as being one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world."

It's true, it's huge, dense, and gorgeous.

I think he's a magpie.
Then there was the Parrot Forest. Wow is right.

Looks like a Rainbow Lorikeek to me.
And more. It was bird day alright. Isn't this an ordinary seagull? He would stomp in the water kicking up mud and then stare like he is now certainly waiting for food.

The internet says Silver Gull.
Destination, Coogee Beach!
It was time to head back and as I was puzzling over the schedule at one of the bus stops this sweet gal showed me all the options, we decided on a route, and she walked me to the right place. Thank you sweetie!
I did a bus and a train as easy as could be. But it adds up in cost. I'm used to paying a quarter, senior rate in my town, and I've gone through about $40 already including the ride from the airport.
Walking back to my place I passed the deli where I bought delicious food earlier in the day. I had one of those sandwiches and it was perfect.

Yesterday I had another delicious treat, a salad of roasted pumpkin and feta and tomatoes and rocket (what they call arugula).

Food is Super expensive! Other than these I've had perfectly good snacks from the market. Today I'm hoping to have a nice fish lunch at Manly...yum.
June 15

Heading down to the ferry through my neighborhood. Many of these buildings are preserved from back then - the whole story of The Rocks is long and complicated which I will leave for now.

I love that you can surprisingly catch sight of the bridge and the Opera House...
...and a school group here for an outing dressed for the occasion.

Indigenous people occupied this area 40,000+ years ago. There's a museum here that tells a little about the ancient history but I have to say it's not a very good museum. I'm sorry about that.

I have to fact-check this memory but I seem to have heard that the Europeans did an even more thorough job of wiping out the Indigenous people in Australia and Tasmania than we did with our own Indigenous people.
There's a small arch on the sidewalk, go through the arch and you're here.

What the sign says: CAUTION Heritage Walkways Uneven Surfaces.
I was going to go to Manly to eat fish at Hugos. But today I remembered that one of my airplane pals (you find such interesting people standing around, stretching and chatting at the toilets) said Oh No you have to eat fish at Doyles in Watson Bay.

So I took a survey of a few people and the consensus was absolute. Go to Doyles in Watson Bay.

So I did and there I am. You can see the city in the middle distance. It's a 20 minute ferry ride over so even within commuting distance.
Look who's lining up. It's a living organism with many heads and it moves with purpose and enthusiasm. You go girls.
The terminal, the city, a girl, and a dog.
Watson Bay is home to Sydney Harbor National Harbor Gap Bluff looking into Sydney Harbor and out to the Tasman Sea.
He has the face of a Myna, yellow eye-yellow beak but his body is a little too grey. So I don't know!
Continuing the walk through Gap Park that's the Tasman down there...
...and Sulphur Crested Cockatoo fly wild around here.
It was beautiful and easy to tromp around.
I sat on a park bench for some time admiring this sky. The layers of the clouds were so engaging and then also I was trying... get this Crested Pigeon to hold still long enough for his crest to stop wobbling.
Coming in on the ferry from Watson Bay.

From Ingalill: "Bit of trivia for you.... did you know that the tiles covering the Opera House are made in Sweden. Höganäs Keramik." I did not!
I couldn't do it with the pictures because there are so many EXCELLENT pictures on the internet.

If you have any interest PLEASE ask google for {{vivid Sydney 2017}}

The centerpiece displays are the bridge and the Opera House. The show they produce on the wings of the Opera House is A-MAY-ZING and the bridge follows along.

If you have any interest PLEASE ask youtube for {{vivid Sydney 2017}}

These are not my pictures! These pictures are good!!
The city has taken this idea and run with it big time. SO right up my alley!

These are not my pictures! These pictures are good!!
June 16

The view out my window, my lovely host Mary, and the wallpaper in my room.
One corner of my little attic hideaway.

I'm going to come back here at the end of the trip for another four nights because despite being a third floor walk-up, and despite sharing the bathroom with another guest on the second floor, and a few other little nitty things I'm so comfortable and I totally love the neighborhood.

Off to CAMBERRA now on the bus!
* *BACK TO SYDNEY after 7+ weeks on the road!* *

July 29-30

This was my last domestic flight - Brisbane to Sydney. It doesn't matter how short the flight Qantas always comes up with something to eat. Arancini is a relatively common snack around Australia but this is the first time I got them from Qantas.
The only state I missed was South Australia and I missed two capital cities, Adelaide and Perth. It has been AWESOME!

Sydney June 11-16 and again July 29-August 3.
Canberra June 16-20 and Melbourne June 20-23.
Tasmania June 23-July 1.
Broome July 1-8.
Darwin+ and The Red Center July 8-18.
Cairns-Port Arthur-Lady Elliot-Brisbane July 18-29.
Here's this one again because it seems the time, the last time, yikes!
Welcome back to Sydney! I'm staying at the same place I stayed all those weeks ago when I first arrived.

The host here wrote this book and that's his leg where you can see a very faint scar, evidence of his survival of a Crocodile Attack(!)! I was there in Armhenland and Graham recognized the locations of all my pictures.
I really like Sydney. On the edge of The Rocks, where real people live and where I am, you can come across great pubs on about every block.
The Harbor Bridge peeking around every corner.
When cruise ships are in, this view is entirely blocked as those monsters tower over everything else in the harbor. Close up the big boys are particularly freaky.
You can see Luna Park over there.
The grand sweep of the Opera House.
The wings are made up of these tiles and they don't reflect.

From wiki: "...they ((the roof shells that I like to call wings)) are precast concrete panels supported by precast concrete ribs. Though the shells appear uniformly white from a distance, they actually feature a subtle chevron pattern composed of 1,056,006 tiles in two colours: glossy white and matte cream.

"Apart from the tile of the shells and the glass curtain walls of the foyer spaces, the building's exterior is largely clad with aggregate panels composed of pink granite quarried at Tarana. Significant interior surface treatments also include off-form concrete, Australian white birch plywood supplied from Wauchope in northern New South Wales, and brush box glulam."
I should be able to fit in the tour which everyone says is so interesting.

The Customs House. I enlarged the lion and the unicorn standing for England and Scotland. It reminds me of the cool old Customs House we ran across in Tasmania.
In the lobby of the Customs House, under a glass floor, is a scale model of modern Sydney. At the leading edge you can see the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge.
Another pub on a more touristic street.
There are two especially nice places one block from me in two separate directions. There's this one, The Lord Nelson, and the other one is called The Hero of Waterloo. Maybe I'm done with pictures of pubs but I'm not done eating in them!
July 31

Rain was threatening all day and guaranteed 100% for a downpour in the afternoon so I decided to walk until it started and then catch a cab.

Here I am walking through Barangaroo Park on the way to Darling Harbor. Who could resist a place named Darling.
Maintaining some historic facades while the city grows up around them.
Shapes always catch my eye.
This is the Maritime Museum.

I'm reading a book "The Life of Captain Matthew Flinders" by Ernest Scott, written in 1914, about a guy whose name I was seeing around on streets and parks. Who is "Flinders"?

Turns out he was an English navigator and cartographer, who was the leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia, identified it as a continent, spent 7 years in a French prison, and who died in 1814 at the age of 40. It's going to be an interesting story and I note it here because of the old sailing ship.

I'm in the early section of the book now that's detailing, from source material, about navel battles of the late 1700s in which Flinders played a role. We're talking complicated massive efforts with an entire dictionary of words unknown to me.
One of the bridges that crosses Darling Harbor.
There were maybe twelve of these in a circle surrounding the fountain and they were all just great.
After the walk and after a tasty lunch of eggs and Tassie salmon on toast with a very nice side salad, I decided to take a ferry ride back to Circular Quay...
...which was good fun as I hadn't been in this area before.
The Bridge! Will I ever tire of the bridge?
I don't think so.
This is not a big one (P&O refurbished ship built in the 1990s) with 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew. The new ones are Much Bigger at 4,000+ passengers and 2,000+ crew but I think maybe those guys can't even park in this spot and have to stay out of Circular Quay, I'm not sure.

It was amazing, I stepped into the house from a light mist, went upstairs and watched, from my cozy table and chair looking out my handsome window, while the storm poured down. I didn't go out again, so my Sydney itinerary is getting shorter.
I heard after I got home about the mess at the airport.

From Australian Broadcasting: "Extra security measures are in place at airports across the country after four men who were allegedly plotting to blow up a plane with an improvised explosive device made out of a meat grinder were arrested in anti-terror raids across Sydney on Saturday."

"There is no scanner that can pick up plastic explosives."

"He (Roger Henning) said it was "ridiculous" for politicians to know of the loopholes and to still say scanners were the answer.

Mr Henning said the "one missing ingredient" was "human intelligence".

"The only chance you've got is to have everybody who works at an airport trained to observe human behaviour," he said, calling for better training for security staff."

(internet pic)
I'M GETTING READY TO GO HOME! There's still the rest of this text to finish and my last day to put in (Manly and the Botanical Garden) - which might not be for awhile!

August 1

Dawn from my window. (So as not to mislead, I'm in an attic room and I do have to get up and stand in the dormer to get this splendid view.)
These are the four blocks I walk from my place to Circular Quay, one block behind me and three ahead.

I'm in the bus now for this shot, going for a tour that will give me a few hours in the UNESCO World Heritage Blue Mountains.
But first a ton of pick-ups and look, it's the bridge!
Painted in June 2016, from the Daily Telegraph: "Artist Matt Adnate’s mural is of Wiradjuri elder Jenny Munro, founder of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy, and an advocate for Aboriginal housing rights for four decades."
Why are the Blue Mountains blue?

What wiki says: "The tinge is believed to be caused by Mie scattering which occurs when incoming light with shorter wavelengths is preferentially scattered by particles within the atmosphere creating a blue-greyish colour to any distant objects, including mountains and clouds. Volatile terpenoids emitted in large quantities by the abundant eucalyptus trees in the Blue Mountains may cause Mie scattering and thus the blue haze for which the mountains were named."

A closer-up view of the water fall.
Our driver-guide. I got to sit in front and we had a jolly good time. He was a lively and entertaining story teller.
The Three Sisters. Our driver-guide told us the story as if he was doing a Shakespearian soliloquy. It didn't end so well for The Three Sisters.
We drove through and around Olympic Park from the Sydney 2000 Olympics and it was great. All the venues are still in use and everyone I talked to loved it.

It reminded me of my experience in 1984 - I loved it, and now we get to have it again for which I'm very glad. Eleven years. I'll be well into my Next decade.
At the end of the tour they dropped us off at a ferry stop for the ride back to Circular Quay or Darling Harbor and everyone was to find their own way back to their accommodation.

Here we have four dentists from Myanmar! I've never met anyone from Myanmar outside Myanmar before and they could not believe that I'd been there. One of them did most of the talking and seemed the leader, but she did say their dentistry program was taught in English and they could all understand. I wish I could have talked to them longer.
This was fun.
August 2

It's DECEMBER now and I forgot to put in this last dayNow a ride over to Manley, across the Sydney bay.
Then I spent several hours wandering around the Royal Botanic Gardens.
((It's the wee hours of the 5th now and I'm trying to sleep. There is still the last day to put in and proof-reading would be good.))

The seat gods were in a good mood. I had an empty seat and the guy on the other end had an empty seat too. We were Happy Campers!

All the stories are in chronological order now.

hum bug; i5; intersecting roads at roadhouse; english breakfast; whitefellas; Toast-butter-jam-peanut butter; Chinese noodles; airplane lunch; chicken and chips
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