Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We decided to sleep in, but slept in too much, and missed breakfast on the other end - it was already over by the time we headed out. The weather had changed decidedly, from 95 and muggy to 70 and misty. After the day before, we decided to hit up some of the other neighborhoods in Sydney, something more Aussie and less trendy and touristy. We started off by going to Paddy's Market, which is essentially a giant swap meet. Not surprisingly, it was junky, and we couldn't find anything worthwhile to purchase, but it was interesting nonetheless.

We headed east, going through Chinatown, then Hyde Park. Then we walked east on William Street going out towards Kings Cross, seeing both car dealerships and also a car crash. The sound was weird, it sounded more like a pop (somewhat like the sound it makes when you blow up a paper bag and smash it real quick). No one looked injured, fortunately. We headed up Darlinghurst Road, through what was clearly "backpackers' country," then up Macleay Street into Potts Point. We ate lunch at Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point. We knew nothing about it, but it looked "neighborly" and there were already a decent number of people eating in there. As it turned out, it was very good Italian food (although it was quite expensive, so its good that the food was excellent). For quite awhile, Justin was the only male patron in the restaurant, with 19 other women.

After lunch, we headed back west, going around Woolloomooloo Bay (passing the famous Harry's Cafe, which we probably would have eaten at if we had known about it before we walked past it) and into the Botanic Garden. There were tons of bats all over the Botanic Garden, just hanging out (literally) in the trees. Of particular interest was the Alloxylon (Tree Waratah), Cereus uruguayanus (looked like a cactus made of wax, only slightly melted), and the Wollemi Pines. The Wollemi Pine was only "discovered" in 1994, in a gorge in the Blue Mountains. It was long thought to be extinct in the wild. As it is, it is now one of the oldest living species on earth, going back almost 100 million years. There are less than 100 in the wild, and now plants are being distibuted into cultivation, with all of the proceeds being used to protect the wild plants. You can actually purchase one at


We wandered back into the CBD, and got dessert at Lindt Chocolate Cafe. It wasn't as good as the place in Adelaide, but it was pretty good nonetheless. To walk off our dessert, we walked across a decent portion of the Harbour Bridge, took some photos, and walked back. We did some window shopping in the Rocks, and Crystal got an opal necklace. We went back to our room to put on some "acceptable" clothing, then gave the Shangri-La another chance, even though it didn't deserve it. We got there right at 5, and got a great seat on the Northwest corner of the room, with great views overlooking Sydney Harbour. The drinks - not too surprisingly - were overpriced, with prices on par with the Shangri-La in Singapore, which was previously the most expensive place we've ever had drinks. Because of this, we had only one round, then headed out in search of a decent-priced happy hour. We found such a place at Dock's at Darling Harbour - $3 house wine.

After happy hour, we ate dinner at Meat and Wine Company, also in Darling Harbour. We got a seat upstairs, at the end of a hallway, all by ourselves. But after 5 minutes, a big group sat down next to us. It was a bunch of people from some union conference - they were mostly Aussies, plus an Irish, an American, and a Canadian. We were in such close proximity, we became a part of their group - it was good fun. Justin got a Lamb Rib and Steak Combo, and Crystal "just" got steak. We made our way back, slowly but surely, to the hotel, then crashed. It was a much better day than the day before, and we had managed to get in over 10 miles of walking - perhaps enough to offset 25% of everything we consumed.