Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sydney Day 4: Touristy Stuff & Rugby

I spent most of Friday hitting a few of the more touristy arts of Sydney: the Wild Life zoo, the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium, and the Sydney Tower Eye. I had a ticket to each from the combo I bought when I went to Manly, and I figured I might as well check them out.

The Wild Life zoo was pretty interesting, and I got to see a bunch of the more unusual animals unique to Australia: kangaroos, wallabies, koala and echidnas. My timing was right to catch the short talks about the koalas and kangaroos. The aquarium was disappointing, and while much larger than the one in Manly, I didn't find it much more interesting. The swordfish were a highlight though.

The Sydney Tower Eye is the tallest building in Sydney, and features a great view of the city from above everything. On the way up is the "4D experience", a cheesy 3D movie with added effects: rumbling floor, mist, smoke and bubbles. Pretty lame. And at all 3 places there was great effort to funnel everyone through the gift shop. The Australians outdo the Canadians and Americans at gift shops full of crap.

Views of Sydney from atop the Tower Eye

I wound up at Town Hall railway station after coming down from the tower, and found a good Malaysian food stall where I got some yummy satay for dinner, and picked up muffins for tomorrow's breakfast. Bought my train ticket and figured out how to get out to the Olympic Park for the rugby match, arriving well before game time.

Betting vans outside the rugby stadium!

I hadn't realized that there are two different varieties of rugby here: Rugby League and Rugby Union, played with different numbers of players and slightly different rules. Rugby Union is what I played in high school (I was a house league hooker!), and Rugby League is what I was seeing here. There were 13 players, and after 5 tackles a team had to kick the ball away or else turn it over when tackled next (very much like 3/4 downs in North American football). There were no line-outs and very few scrums. The game was close and fun, with the Bulldogs edging the Eels 18-16.

Train back to downtown and walked back to the hotel, getting to bed late and very tired.

[photos to come once I get my iPhone/Google+ to sync them properly; the wifi so far has been a little inconsistent in terms of speed...]

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