Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adventures in Oz: Sydney (Part 6 of 6)

Link to Part 1: Cairns
Link to Part 2: Great Barrier Reef
Link to Part 3: Port Douglas
Link to Part 4: Australia Zoo
Link to Part 5: Tamborine Mountain and Surfer's Paradise

Between Surfer's Paradise and Sydney we stopped to visit some friends of the family. They brought us to visit a national park area called the Blue Hole (not sure why it's called that). It's one of those areas that has a lot of depth in the vista (and a tall waterfall), but pictures don't quite capture it.

There may also be a small population of wild easels.

Also a small population of McDirties, known to hang out around lookout points.

We had a great time and we hope to see them again sometime, but there was more driving to be done.

This camper van worked out really well for us. Here I am eating breakfast at the table. Cairns was nice and tropical, tee-shirt weather all the time. By the time we got to Sydney the climate had worked its way into early spring, complete with all the rain and cold. Hmph.

We actually had a pretty good setup. During the day this area was bench seats and a table (and our luggage), at night everything folded down into a bed. Opening the back door revealed a small kitchen area complete with sink, gas burner, refrigerator/freezer, storage for pots and pans (included in the rental), and a rack for the glasses and coffee mugs.
We saw a fair amount of other camper vans on the road, but the company we went with was the most popular. We'd choose them again.

Lots of roads cut straight into rock around Sydney. How long must that have taken?

Sydney is much more populated than everything else we've seen except the Brisbane/Gold Coast area. Definitely more concentrated.

We walked around downtown for a while. It's a nice little city (compared to Tokyo, most cities will probably feel small to us), although the general vibe is much more angry than the rest of Australia that we saw. I even saw a woman eating a soft serve ice cream cone that looked furious. You're not allowed to be angry when you have an ice cream cone! It's against the rules!

We came across a statue of a boar in front of the Sydney hospital with a sign explaining that it's good luck to rub the snout.

Although, judging from the polished-looking areas, apparently the snout isn't the only thing that's good luck.
I only touched the snout. I consider myself lucky enough.

There's a very nice park in the middle of the city, too.

The fountain is surrounded by a few characters from Greek mythology, and some turtles spouting what I feel is an unfairly forcible stream of water. It makes it look like they've had a really rough night of drinking.
Now you won't be able to un-see that idea. You're welcome.

Husband and I agreed that this is an unusually well-designed minotaur.
I've always felt bad for the minotaur. He got the short end of the stick all around.

Aussies have such fantastic names for locations.

But perhaps somewhat questionable fashion sense.

All in all, a nice city to visit.

Driving to the airport, we saw this poster. I have no explanation.

Have you seen this shirtless man? You have now!

Fun at the airport!
After dropping off the camper van, we got a taxi to the airport, where we were to spend the next 17 hours. Well, almost. Eventually we discovered that the terminal closes between 11pm and 4am, so we had to drag our luggage around the city until we found a 24-hour fast food restaurant to camp out in. This wasn't easy, because every town and city we had been in or through closed down at 6pm. Shopping malls, department stores, hardware outlets. Sydney wasn't really any different, even the bars closed at 11.

Having been up all night, when 4am rolled around and we could drag our luggage back to the airport and finally check in for our flight, things started to be funnier.
For example, the destination "Wagga Wagga."

I was also bored enough to analyze the designs on the coins. What is this? Sports with Australian wildlife!
Miniature emu racing, pole vault and leapfrog with kangaroos, swimming with giant platypuses, and apparently teasing an ibis with a cat toy.

The ladies' room also cracked me up. There are usually dispensers in public restrooms, but they don't usually consist of 90% cosmetics.

Near the check-in counters, there is a vending machine that sells babies.

For breakfast, I had a smiling pie.

Eventually we were able to check in, get on the flight, and get home without incident. It was a great trip and we'd love to go back. There are a couple of places I wouldn't mind spending more time, and we might do a trip from Sydney to Melbourne.


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