… and the night flight was over … We finally arrived at Sydney International Airport at around 9am … Lots of sunshine and the temperature was around 27 – 28 degree, a little warmer than I expected. It was a good idea to have left all the warm clothes at home.
Our first stop in Sydney was Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. This chair was carved out of a rock ledge and dedicated to the wife of Sydney’s former state governor. She used to come there to enjoy the panoramic views of Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the harbour itself. So we finally saw one of the most photographed modern architecture in the world with our own eyes. It’s said that you will have to book your show a year in advance if you want to make it at this world-famous opera house ….
We then drove around the Rocks area where old houses along the harbour were built out of big rocks. And off we went for a cruising experience.
As we walked along the harbour, the bars and restaurants along the walkway started to get crowded. I hadn’t seen much of locals since I landed in Sydney. The wide streets were empty most of the time. And most of the shops were closed. In fact, most of them closed after working hours. Do the locals shop during the day when they are supposed to work in the office? Errr, I guess ….
By the time we left the harbour for dinner, the pouring rain got us shivering a bit. And it got much colder later in the night when a group of 12 decided to explore Sydney night life. And by the definition of the older guys in the group, night life in Sydney equals Kings Cross – the red-light district of the city. After we got off the big taxi van, a giant man in black approached our group with an offer “Come check out our schedule, it’s on the other side of the street” … Looked like my colleagues found what they wanted. Being the younger and less curious ones in the group, 6 of us refused to join them and continued to walk along the street jammed up with invitation sign boards of the adult clubs and stores.
Interestingly, in the middle of the area, we found a decent souvenir shop …
… and a British Lolly Shop with more than 300 kinds of sweets imported from England.
The owner is a super friendly old man and the sweets were irresistible. Out of the many colorful kinds of sweets, I finally found my nougat. Only two packs left. Sigh … I’m gonna look for more.
It was 11pm and the temperature had dropped down to 15 degree when we passed by this shop … I was stunned …
Wish I had them all ….
The next day started with a weird request: all of us would be heading back to Mrs. Macquarie’s chair for a group picture. WHAT? Talking about nearly 400 people in a picture. I guess when the pictures are developed, each of us will be given a microscopic so we can find ourselves.
Our next stop was Bondi Beach – also known as the Beverly Hills of Australia. And it really stood up to its fame. Lovely sandy beach – deserted as winter’s coming. The chill in the air got me shivering …
The trip to a harbour city would never be complete without a visit to the aquarium.
Time for some shopping. And surprisingly this is the only thing that I bought for myself.
Been wanting a real big pair of shades for a while. Now this completes my material need …
Time to get ready for Gala Night. Palais ballroom was warm and cozy and the Gala dinner was fun, except that we didn’t perform our dance as well as we wanted. Anyway, it was good to part of the amateur dance troupe.
After the big dinner, a group of 10 led by our Australian Modern Trade director decided to go for a drink tour in Orchard Road. Dedicated to gay and lesbian clubs, the road was lively with big crowds of people inside most bars and lots of couples walking up and down the pavements. However, a group of 7 men and 3 ladies like ours did not receive the warmest welcome as any guard could tell from a glance that we’re not gays and lesbians. We were turned off at our second stop – Sydney’s most popular bar The Colombian, and had to negotiate with the two big guards of Snow— for a while before we could enter their “gay and lesbian proud” bar on the first floor. There were all gays up there, we ladies felt quite safe while our fellow male colleagues were told to watch out for possible moves … And they actually saw some …. hehe … We didn’t feel like we were in the right place so off we went back to the hotel.
We spent the next day visiting Featherdale wildlife park and its lovely animals.
Coolie, you got a lovely peak …. hehe
Now there’s a story about how Kangaroo got its name. When the European came to explore Australia, they met Australian tribal people and asked them for the name of this indigenous animal. Not knowing what to call the animal themselves, the tribal people said “Kangaroo” which meant “I don’t know”. But obviously the message didn’t get through, and everybody started using the tribal phrase as the animal’s name. Hehe.
This round hairy ball is a wombat …. bulky and funny looking …
If koala’s not eating, he’s sleeping … oh dear … this koala was still sleeping when the staff took him from his tree to this branch …
Three-some … hehehe
And foursome …
Leaving the animals behind, we were off for Katoomba. Katoomba reminded me of Da Lat, except that the houses here are so much more beautiful. This place is an ideal choice for post-retirement life … Dream on ….
Here I am at the Blue Mountain in Katoomba. Legend has its that a tribal witch doctor turned three sisters into three big rocks to protect them from the fight against the invaders. Unfortunately, the witch doctor got killed …. and forever kept under his spell, the three sisters are here to stay ….
Our last stop was Sydney Olympic Stadium …
Our last night in Sydney, we decided to watch a 3D movie at LG I-max cinema. Too exhausted after a long day, the gang settled for the first movie in the schedule: darn, a documentary one: The Lion. Really wished we had seen Deep Ocean instead … it would have been more thrilling to see sharks and corals and other lovely sea animals ….
The gang 5 minutes before the movie started …
Umm, I had a great time in this green and peaceful city … However, the wide empty streets in Sydney were such a contrast of my bustling life in Saigon that I was glad the trip only lasted for a few days. Upon return, I almost vaporised in the killer sizzling heat, but that could not stop me from rushing to embrace the noisy crowded Asian city life … So there’d be no walnut kernels, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and nougats in Saigon, but my mom and I can last one nutty month with the nutty bags I brought home from Sydney … And when the nuts are all gone, I’m gonna miss Sydney so much …. hehehehe