Archive for November 2009
Tonight is the annual, “Movember” party. For the month of November, guys grow out their mustaches or ‘mo’s’ to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer. It all comes to a finale on the last day of November with a costume party at Luna Park. As it happens, I am working on this Monday, the only Monday I have ever worked, so I can’t go. Andrew, Natasha and Morgan go out and have a blast, lots of amazing pictures.
I get home from work about 12 midnight and give Andrew a call, they are all heading back to the apartment now, and going to go out downtown, Natasha even has a costume I can borrow! (and here I was in my pj’s getting ready for bed!).
We end up heading to Scubar, which is packed for a Monday night, lots of people here are dressed up from the Movember party earlier. We stay there until they close at 3am, and then off to the only bar that is open 24hours, the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel, for one last drink. Awesome night, even if I did miss the first half!
The weather isn’t great today so we don’t want to go to far from home in case we get stuck in the rain. We head down to the Chinese Garden of Friendship, just past Tumbalong Park in the Darling Harbour area. Entry fee is $6, or $4.50 with a YHA card. Once inside its hard to believe that you are in the middle of one of the busiest areas in Sydney. The gardens are quiet and tranquil, and the high walls block out all the distractions from outside. There is a large pond in the middle which most of the gardens are based around.
One of the attractions I recommend doing, is dressing up in the Chinese costume and getting your picture taken. Cost is $10 per person. I actually thought it was free at first, and may not have done it if I knew it was $10, but I was so glad I did it after that it didn’t matter. After our walk through the gardens, we decide to complete the experience by taking a walk through Chinatown, which is just around the corner. Small streets and alleyways are filled with shops and bakeries, will be awesome to see during Chinese New Years. It starts to spit outside, looks like we just made it through before getting stuck in the rain.
Its another hot hot day in Sydney, so we seek out some air conditioning and decide to go see 2o12 in the afternoon. We walk over to the George Street cinemas complex. It is a massive complex with restaurants, a bar, shopping and about 15 cinema screens. There are two different classes of theater’s as well, the regular cinema seating, and the Gold cinemas. Gold cinema’s feature a fully reclining chair, tables, waiter service, and are smaller cinemas. We decide we are ok with just the “regular” movie experience. 2012 is definitely a movie theater experience – story line is predictable, but great sound effects and special effects. Now, to convince Andrew to see New Moon in theaters next week!
I’m working my first double today since we have a large function in at the restaurant this afternoon, but I end up having my shift cancelled tonight, which works out well since Andrew has the night off as well. He has been playing poker the last few Thursday’s down in a bar in King’s Cross, with some friends from work, so I decide to tag along as well for the night. It’s only a $10 buy in, so I think what the heck, I’ll give it a go. There are about 60 player’s only 2 others of which are female.
Time goes by, and 4 hours later I am still in the game, along with Andrew, and having the time of my life. Everyone is cheering me on, as the only girl still in the game. I end up placing 5th overall, one place out of the money, but couldn’t be more surprised with my luck. To top the night off, Andrew’s ties for first and wins $425! We all go to World Bar for their famous teapots to celebrate. Considering quitting our jobs and playing poker full time!
A must see in Darling Harbour is Sydney Wildlife World, located next to the Sydney Aquarium. Cost is $32 for adults, save 20% with a YHA backpacker card. If you are planning on doing both in the same day, discounts are available as well.
The first exhibit when you walk through the doors is a plant out in the open with giant stick bugs. You don’t even notice them at first because they blend in so well with the plant. One of the employees is describing their habitat and life cycle, and explaining that they don’t have to be caged in because they rarely fly off the tree because they won’t leave a good food source. As soon as she finishes saying that, one flies right off at me and I nearly die of a heart attack! Off to the next exhibit – deadly spiders and snakes, at least they are locked in their cages! Australia, as I found out, is home to a number of poisonous insects, spiders and snakes – good thing I have health insurance here!
The next exhibit is a large roof top dome with kangaroos and koalas. Kangaroos here are not as exciting as seeing them in the wild, but the koala exhibit was great. I captured on video the first time I have ever seen a koala climb down a tree – and then fell over! Made my whole trip to Wildlife world. You can watch the video on YouTube here.
The last exhibit is a massive dome filled with hundreds of butterflies that you walk right through the middle of. While they are beautiful to see, after my fright with the stick bug, I really don’t want to have any insects flying around me! Overall, a great way to spend an afternoon, lots of interactive displays for children and a nice outdoor cafe for parents who need a rest.
Another touristy day in Sydney, and first on our list in the Darling Harbour area is the Maritime Museum since it is just across the way from us. Admission is free, special exhibits, including the ships outside are $10-$20. There are also free guided tours available, on the hour each hour. There aren’t many other people there this afternoon, so we get our own guided tour just the two of us. The museum features the history of the immigration of people to Australia with a focus on the ships that brought the people over. There are also some WWII vessels, and Olympic gear as well. Impressive displays, and interactive displays for children make it a very educational experience. We didn’t make it to the ships outside, since we have plans to meet up with Andrew’s friend, Adriene, at the Sky Tower.
We walk over to the Sky Tower entrance which is currently under construction. We head up 328 meters in the elevator to get a 36o degree view of the Sydney skyline. While not as tall as the Melbourne or Auckland Tower, it is still a great way to see the city and get an overall perspective. We snap a few dozen pictures and then its time to head back home and get ready for a night of work.
Finally back at the beach again today, Andrew and I haven’t been in at least two weeks so it feels nice to spend the day just lounging and working on our tans. One of Andrew’s co-workers, Clement, lives right on Bondi and has a whole stack of surf boards.
He is kind enough to let us borrow one for the day and we all head out to the waves. The surf at Bondi is huge today, even in the front break the waves are still powerful. I spend more time holding the board and looking at the waves then actually attempting to surf. It seemed a lot easier when there was an instructor and only tiny waves to worry about. Andrew manages to get up on a few of the bigger waves and ride them all the way to shore. I think I’ll need a day when the surf is smaller to practice!