Friday, February 26, 2010

Thanksgiving in Sydney

On November 26th, after coming back from the Olympic Park and seeing the small railway museum inside Central station, we walked to Paddy's Markets for lunch. I had some really bad Japanese food and a Heineken. The food court food was mostly lousy, but I should have had something else. Matt had a kebab and it looked really good.

We took the tram from Paddy's Markets to the Sydney Fish Market where we walked around for a bit to see the market and then bought some Balmain Bugs, prawns, and scallops for Thanksgiving Dinner at Cheryl's house in Sydney.

After a glass of wine and a quick snack of some olives and cherry tomatoes, we put the seafood into my backpack (huge mistake in retrospect, the smell lingered for weeks and through several washes!!) and headed for Central station to meet Cheryl. She drove us to her house and we waited for others to arrive.

We couldn't get the grill working because it was out of gas and then we swapped tanks but the new tank didn't have the right fitting for the grill! We gave up and just used the boil and fry methods for the bugs, scallops, and prawns. It all turned out great though! Gaelyn and Anne Marie arrived with a turkey!!! Haggie and Mary Jane and Aerhylle came to celebrate with us. It was an awesome Thanksgiving, even though we weren't in America for the tradition.

We had turkey and potatoes, prawns, bugs, scallops, an abalone. Matt and Gaelyn played pool in the garage before dinner. The mosquitoes were pretty rough being the middle of summer, so we had the bug zapper on. My feet got a few bites that would annoy me for the rest of the week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thursday at the Olympic Park

Seats in the Main Arena, originally uploaded by zuctronic.

November 26th was Thanksgiving, so I took the day off to celebrate my American holiday with Matt from New York and my friends in Sydney. But in the morning, Matt and I took the train to the Olympic Park in the Homebush suburb of Sydney. The city of Sydney hosted the 2000 summer olympic games and I have heard a few people call that year a "turning point" for Sydney and Australia. I overheard an Aussie talking about it at the airport and he said that before 2000, Sydney was an Australian city and after 2000 it was a global city.

I think it would be exciting to live through that kind of transformation. If I lived in Sydney, I would be proud of being a world class city - especially considering its unlikely history as a penal colony for a late discovery-era England. The Olympic Park in Sydney is a reminder of that transformation from a dusty backwater to a modern metropolis. It is also a great public space for Sydneysiders and other Earthlings. It blends a set of buildings used for trade shows and sport events with a natural setting that highlights its uniquely Australian location.

Matt and I walked around and saw the main stadium and the stables. We walked over to the brick pit and walked about a third of the ring walk. I couldn't figure out what the ring walk was for until I found a description on the internet. The ring walk is a raised walkway that makes a perfect circle over the brick pit, which is flooded and reported to be a habitat for rare frogs. That's all it is... it doesn't mean anything and it was never used for anything other than walking over the brick pit in a circle. As you can see from my photos, it's rather large!

After walking back to the train station we were exhausted and it was starting to get very hot. We grabbed some cold drinks before getting on the train back to Central station in Sydney. In Central station we took a quick tour of the railway museum they have in the station.

We had plans to meet Cheryl later for a Thanksgiving Dinner so we needed to head over to the fish market to pick up some things to grill...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Darling Harbour and Star City Casino

Tuesday, November 24th

After spending a few hours at the aquarium, I grabbed a coffee and we wandered around Darling Harbour for a little while. There was an exhibit set up by UNICEF where they took photos of children and asked them to draw pictures of themselves. The results were interesting and sometimes very funny and endearing. There was also an exhibit that discussed the history of Darling Harbour and how it developed into the pedestrian entertainment thoroughfair that it is today.

UNICEF Exhibit (Click thumbnails to see larger Photos)

We walked around the harbour and past the fountains and decided to go see Star City Casino where we could get a drink. We were going to get dinner at Astral, the restaurant on the top floor of the Star City Casino Hotel. The problem was we were both getting tired and the restaurant would not be open until later. We just found a place in the casino where we got a beer and rested our feet. After that, we walked back to The Rocks and had some bar food at the same sport bar that Cheryl and friends took me to before going to the observatory.

Star City (Click thumbnails to see larger Photos)

In 2007 on my first visit to Sydney I spent my last three nights at the Star City Casino Hotel because the hotel I was staying in for the first part of my trip was not able to extend my booking when I was asked to stay for an extra 3 nights. I really liked the room there and there is plenty to see and do around the casino and Darling Harbour.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sydney Aquarium

Tuesday, November 24th

The Sydney Aquarium is probably, for me, the main attraction at Darling Harbour. They have an impressive assortment of aquatic life, especially native Australian species like the saltwater crocodile. I had the day off after working all night, so in the late morning on Tuesday, November 24th I met Matt by Town Hall and we walked to the aquarium. People were starting to put up Christmas decorations everywhere, it was impossible to shake the novelty of seeing Christmas decorations in the middle of the summer!

Long-Necked Turtle

Saltwater Crocodile

A couple of things I really like about the Sydney Aquarium are the glass tunnels where visitors can walk beaneath the shark aquarium and where visitors can stand on the glass and see fish and other things beneath them. There is a viewing area where music creates an underwater feeling and visitors can sit down and listen and watch. I created a video to capture the feeling.

(Click thumbnails for larger photos)