I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sydney, day 3

Right, I've got about half an hour before I have to leave the hotel for my second boat trip of the day, so let's see if I can describe Thursday sharpish. This might not be the best blog entry ever...

As Tuesday morning, on Thursday me and Kev walked through the park to Bondi Junction. Not because we needed a destination the bus wasn't good enough for, but because it was time to get Sally some keys cut. The place had been shut on the way back the previous night but things were perilous and she really needed her own set, what with me causing him to be a filthy stop-out. So while he sorted that out I went to the newsagent to buy, yes, a Diet Coke. Except the newsagent didn't sell drinks. Odd. So I went to the standalone deli counter (ie, not a counter inside a larger shop) and bought it there... and a pork pie too. Wasn't very nice, that.

Train to Town Hall took us to the interchange of the first box to tick that day: the fucking MONORAIL. After roundly laughing at my exuberance over the thought of a trip on it on Tuesday, Kevin had tried to get backup from Mara but instead was treated to the full-on "it's great, you get a truly unique perspective on the city, and anyway, what about that Simpsons episode?" treatment. Go Mara! Foreman the Elder scowled away while I waited with a huge grin on my face. Hah!

First monorail had 2 carriages whose doors didn't open, and all the other carriages were way too full. So we waited for the next, which had only one fucked carriage, but was still standing room only. Not to worry though: the ticket you buy (if not a pass) is vaild for any amount of stops on the loop, and since by definition all the people sat down had got on before us, they were bound to get off soon and we'd be able to sit (and take photos). We were being a bit naughty though, 'cos we actually wanted to do a circuit and a bit: where we got on was only 2 stops from our destination.

Turns out every other fucker was doing the same. NO-ONE got off for the entire circuit, I swear the first people who did got off at the next stop, second time around. Bastards. The huge party occupying most of our carriage finally got off there too, meaning we had precisely one stop to sit down for. Oh well, I don't really care: I had a ride on a fucking monorail!

Grabbed a drink and stole some Internet access from a wifi network by a coffee shop before exploring the area. Darling Harbour was where we got off. It's, um, a harbour area. Ferry stops, a marina, loads of bars and stuff, and the National Maritime Museum -- we walked past them all. Took loads of photos (especially of the monorail *cough*) but mainly just wandered for a couple of hours. We had a lunch date with Sally, who works around the corner, so just before that we went away from the water and through the casino building. Not actually onto the gaming floor, but I did make us spend a good few dollars on this if-your-reactions-are-OK-you-might-win-an-ipod-shuffle machine. Our reactions weren't OK, we didn't win an ipod shuffle.

Kevin couldn't remember the address of Sally's work. This was problematic, because she didn't have a mobile or any way of getting hold of us, and we were supposed to meet her outside the office. He remembered the road, but thought it was number 120. The problem we faced, however, was that the road didn't have a number 120. Hrm. 200 was the next best guess and, in fact, also the best guess, because it was right. Sal appeared and we went round the corner to Pen Cafe (a diversion from where Sal had intended to take us because she'd forgotten I don't do sushi).

A couple of other friends of theirs joined us for lunch too. Anne and James? I think and hope that's their names. They're in Sydney for a while, she being a native and him being a Londoner. Innit.

Oh, here's an aside: talking of people other than me, it turns out Sal has a sister called Jo who's married to a bloke called Nige. What are the odds?

Anyway, lunch was great. I had a plate full of spaghetti, can't remember what everyone else had, but what I do recall is that Sal made us all drink Bundaberg ginger beer. It was nice, but OH MY GOSH: 41g of sugar in a bottle. Eek!

Sal back to work, Anne and James back to wherever they were going, I insisted on going back to the casino and this time onto the gaming floor. And indeed that's where we went. Believe it or not it was my first time ever in a casino and unfortunately it was a massive disappointment. All the fruit machines are these endemic "pokies" which I shoved a bunch of money in and signally failed to understand how to work. The money remains in the casino.

Another aside: on New Zealand's MTV at the moment there's some fucking weird ass half-Nirvana indie band covering Enter Sandman. At the start of this paragraph I was undecided, but now I've come to the conclusion that it's bollocks.

Right, not much time left. The thing that confused me most about the casino wasn't the pokies, it was the table games. I was half tempted to play some blackjack and almost got as far as buying some chips until it hit me: they had blackjack tables, and they had pontoon tables. Erm. What? Hold up. Pontoon? Isn't that what we used to call Blackjack as kids until we learnt it was really called Blackjack? Looked in vain for a leaflet or whatever explaining the basic rules of all the games available but no, all the leaflets they had were all about contacting some people to help you talk about your gambling problems etc, all this self-help don't-gamble-your-mortgage-and-kids-college-funds away nonsense. Well look: I've got a problem gambling -- I can't work out how to do it. Sigh.

So, we left. Went to the ferry stop but we missed one by about 20 seconds, so a wander around the other side of the harbour got us on a different one... which stopped at the one we'd just left. Oh well, the earlier you get on the more water time (and likelihood of a seat) there is. Back to Circular Quay and ready for a bus to Bondi Beach.

Well, that's it really. We got a bus to Bondi Beach. Straight off the bus bro' bought a coffee from a total psycho mental woman in the shop and we stood watching the beach and waves and surfers for a while. After that got boring we took the coastal path around, past one bay (Tamarama) to another (Bronte). Mara was working in Bronte and could pick us up and take us home if we got there at about 1800. Well, we got there at 1730 and hung around for a bit until Sal phoned both Mara and Kevin saying she couldn't get into the flat. Kevin had handed over the freshly minted keys at lunch but they didn't work :-(

Frenzy! Kevin phoned Mara, got directions to where she was working, we got the car keys off her and he drove me and him to the flat. Sally wasn't there, so I went towards the local pub while Kevin took the car back to (get) Mara. Just approaching the boozer I got another call, from Kevin: Sally isn't in the boozer, she's in a coffee shop in the opposite direction. About turn I went, going past the flat until I thought, look, I might not be a local but in this direction there's fuck all. So I called Sally and found where she was, in a coffee shop indeed, but a slightly different direction again. She left, I headed towards and we met halfway.

See, the problem was, the guy had slid across the counter 2 sets of 3 keys. The natural assumption was that one set was the originals, and one the new 'uns. This is a rash assumption, for in reality I had 2 copies of one and Sal had 2 copies of another. Only one lock is used, mind, but that happened to be the one I had 2 of. Turns out the other key I had was a new 'un for the second lock and it didn't fit anyway. Fucking useless.

Thought it was a bit short notice but my desire to go out for an evening while in Sydney was actually heeded, and we headed to The Spot, a bit of Randwick full of bars and eateries, for mexican. Hmm, that was some fuck-off burrito I had, but the jalapenos on the side were weak as cat's piss :-(

Back at the flat I dozed off too early to watch Family Guy. Ho hum. Up the next morning and off to the airport and Auckland... and there we go. It's now 1415 and my boat trip starts boarding at 1445. Time to neck this bottle of Diet Coke and slap on a bit more factor 50+ UV EXTREME.

1 comment:

Techno said...

You too have discovered the wonders of a true monorail.