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Archive for November, 2008

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More from the harbour

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

The last week has been busy!  After some rain last Saturday, the weather has been sunny and warm, perfect for seeing Sydney and the surrounding area.   There’s too much to tell here, but we’ve been to the Maritime Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sydney Olympic Park for a nice bike ride, the Blue Mountains, Bondi Beach, and Watson’s Bay.  We also stopped off at the fish market again yesterday for and excellent sushi lunch, plus picked up some huge prawns and mussels for dinner – mmmm!  Having an apartment with a kitchen has been great.  

Sydney is really comfortable.  Many of the shops are similar to those back home, and TV is a mix of US programs and similar Oz variations (the finals of Australian Idol are on Sunday!).  It’s easy to forget where you are, which is why it stands out when you find something that is different.  Here’s an example… 

Pop Quiz:  What is a capsicum?  Hints:  It comes in green or red.  It’s at the grocery store between the tomatoes and lettuce. 

Answer:  It’s a bell pepper!  And they’re very good too. 

We’re enjoying our last few days here for now and starting to plan for the next leg to Cairns. Here’s the from Bondi:


Blue Mountains

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Our 1st ‘roo sighting…


Other pictures from our trip are located at the link on the right side called “Our Photo Gallery”.

Settling into Sydney

Friday, November 7th, 2008

After a few days with no internet connection, we finally found a convenient and relatively cheap internet café.  It’s just down the street from the apartment that we’re renting for the rest of our time in Sydney.  It’s great to have a kitchen, laundry, and more comfortable place to hang out.  We’ve been spending our days exploring the neighborhood and in addition to the café, we’ve found a good farmers market, grocery store, and bottle shop.  It’s been amazing how time consuming simple things can be when you’re not sure where to go or what brands to buy!  However, Sydney is pretty easy to navigate and we’re getting around pretty quickly now.  We also met a friend from the US for dinner last night and got a few more pointers.

We spent a day in Manley, a beach north of the city.  There’s a nice, but long walk up to a cliff lookout called the North Head that has beautiful views of the entrance to the harbour.  The surf culture is definitely a factor here and it felt a little like home in CA, except for the pine trees along the beach instead of palms.  After the day here, we can’t wait to go to Bondi next week.

Finding Nemo

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

We did indeed find him today, as well as many other unusual animals at the Sydney Aquarium. Australia seems full of strange and dangerous things including jellyfish that can sting you, crocodiles that will eat you, and even platypuses that have a pois oned claw. We saw all of them plus 10 kinds of sharks that supposedly won’t eat you (I don’t want to have to find out if that‘s true), and huge bats at the Botanical Gardens that eat only fruit (I really hope so).

Our first few days in Sydney have been very exciting. In addition the sights above, we’ve been to the iconic Opera House, which is more beautiful than I expected. Pictures from a distance don’t do justice to the patterned tiles visible up close. We’ve also walked across the Harbour Bridge, taken several ferries, and had lunch at the Fish Market – mmmm!

All of it has been interesting, but the most fun has been in discovering the little differences here. For example, the weather forecast is not sunny, it’s “fine” or mostly fine,” possibly with winds that are “fresh.” Yesterday we were caught unaware that the whole city was going to be celebrating the “World’s Greatest Race,” the Melbourne Cup. It turns out that it’s a horse race, but is also an excuse to take the afternoon off, dress up, and drink (and when I say dress I mean men in suits and ties, and ladies in dresses and hats everywhere – bars, hotels, restaurants, the streets), all while betting and watching the race of course. Fantastic!

Finally, the US election is receiving a LOT of attention here. It was covered on all the TVs stations and everyone is talking about the new President-elect. A few parting shots of the trip so far:



Off to see the wizard…

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

…In Oz!  After a slight delay in LAX we made it to Sydney!  We caught up on some sleep last night and off to explore the city today (still looking to find P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, thanks Chuck).  Will post more later, but just wanted everyone to know we arrived.