Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sydney: Day 2

[writing this Thursday morning about Wednesday in Sydney while it's still Wednesday afternoon back home; still getting used to what time it is...]

After a very good sleep (despite the moaning of the elevator avery minute or so), I spent Wednesday getting my bearings and exploring central Sydney. I got a 10-pass for the city buses and took one up to The Rocks, a neighbourhood by the water where convicts initially cut much of the sandstone used to build the city, and which later became the site of major protests by working-class people and unions against development proposals that would have erased most of the historical buildings. Now it's a trendy area with museums, touristy shops, and lots of restaurants (many of them really expensive). I visited the Discovery Museum that filled in some of the history, wandered the streets a bit, and had lunch in a nice pub.

Walked over to Circular Quay, where ferries come and go to & from many points nearby, and then took a bus over to Hyde Park.

Sydney Opera House, from Circular Quay

Spent some time in the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, learning more about the British "Transportation" system that brought convicts (often guilty of only minor theft) here for sentences of indentured labour of 7-14 years or life. I always knew Australia was founded this way, buit didn't know how minor the crimes could be that sent one away, or that Britain had done the same in North America before American war of Independence.

From the museum I walked to Hyde Park nearby, and enjoyed an ice cream cone in the sun.

An ibis (thank you Google) hanging out with pigeons in Hyde Park

The park is beautiful, long with a tunnel of fig tress down the middle (sadly many of them dying due to the poor soil they were planted in decades ago).

 Fountain in Hyde Park

My arty shot from the middle of the park looking north.

From the park I wandered across town, through Chinatown, into a market full of stalls selling all kinds of stuff, and picked up some snacks for the hotel room. By the time I got back to the hotel, checked my email in the lobby, and got to my room, I was pretty wiped. Ended up turning the snacks into dinner, and crashed around 10pm.

Tried one of the local flavours; not as exciting as it looked!

I'm trying to sort out what Sydney (and Australia) is like. So far it feels very much like home, some sort of mix of Canada and the USA, and much less British than I expected. Not really very foreign at all. The people are very friendly and polite. I guess it feels a lot like Vancouver so far.

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