Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 3: Sydney

Day 3: Sydney
When gallant Cook from Albion sail'd,
To trace wide oceans o'er,
True British courage bore him on,
Till he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England's flag,
The standard of the brave;
With all her faults we love her still,
"Brittannia rules the wave!"
In joyful strains then let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"

Pictures: Birds of yesteryear, DB and Jane on the descent, DB and Jane outside Metal Lab, fire exit offence sign, our dinner spot

Wackydoo: Aussie for a bang up job surprisingly well done, or you are enjoying good luck, as when you find a great parking spot quickly and thus you announce your current situation by exclaiming “Wackydoo!”

A good night’s sleep! We’re only 5 hours (and one whole day) off, so adjustment should be easy and seems so to us on our first full day. Up and out before 7 to walk the Harbor Bridge. There are plenty of others, most running across towards downtown wearing backpacks. Must be combining exercise and commuting. It is warm and humid and overcast, which pretty much sums up the weather for the day.

We then encounter the first major disappointment of the trip: we stop for coffee and pastry at a spot just down the street from our hotel, and a) the service is amazing slow, b) the order is screwed up, three times, and c) THE MUFFINS SUCKED (not wackydoo…doodoo), missing key ingredients (you know, like the raspberries in the raspberry muffin), flavorless, and cold as if frozen months (years?) ago and then defrosted just that morning, or maybe not quite defrosted. Oh, and we were undercharged, so we had to fork over an extra $3.50 for the benefit of leaving most of the pastry on the plate. Shocking, just shocking. Total: $17 (comparable prices at Arizmendi: $10).

Jane, a local, is taking us touring today. She was the head of the Australian Crafts Council, and we were connected up through a mutual friend. Wackydoo!! First we visit a gallery that is mostly works of glass, in many shapes and made with different techniques, with a crazy owner, Maureen, who also takes us upstairs to see her house (next door and above the gallery) and personal collection. Thoroughly entertaining, and her dog, Zena, an Egyptian guard dog (well, something like that, guardian of the sphinxes?) even has modeled some of the jewelry.

Next up is a visit to a couple that has been making jewelry together for over 40 years, at their house/studio in Manly (and near where we took the ferry yesterday). Their house is down a long, steep set of steps (see pic) and about 40 feet up from the harbor. Very picturesque, and we get a great overview of their work, the studio, and this time a great Danish pastry (he’s originally from Denmark, she grew up in Australia) and French pressed coffee. We are eating on their deck overlooking the harbor when it starts to drizzle; we quickly move inside while the temperature drops to almost tolerable outside and it feels less humid. Wackydoo!

Back to town where we stop for a lunch of chicken salad, chicken sandwich, small veggie pizza and one soft drink. Very pleasant, we eat inside with the front windows raised such that the front wall his now entirely open, letting in cooling (not cool, cooling) breezes to waft through the casual restaurant. Total $42 and very comparable to US.

We visit a small, hard to find (not for Jane, for us or anyone else that doesn’t know right where it is located) jewelry gallery (see pic of DB and Jane in front) with a nice show featuring an artist now working primarily in glass (our day for glass!) and other pieces. They also have artisan wallets, bags, and eyewear on display. The owner is very informative and discusses how they have two stores, one in a very public spot and this one, and the same customers will buy items only at one of the two spots, even if the same exact piece, because of the location and ability to take their time in the more obscure place (no other customers) vs. feeling more caught up in a spot with more traffic, or vice versa….one too quiet and the other full of energy.

Our last stop of the day is another gallery featuring glass work, and they’ve just had the opening of a major new show and a number of the pieces have sold, very impressive. The owner takes quite a bit of time to give us the background of the artists and show us the work in the backroom.

Jane then gives us an architectural and scenic highlights tour through downtown Sydney, dropping us off at the hotel after 5pm, quite a day! Yes….wackydoo!

For dinner, we decide to dine at the local street fair (see pic) and since we are so close to the hotel we bring the food back for dinner on the balcony (sort of like lunch on the deck at the beach): two styles of gyoza, colzeme (a Turkish sylye quesadilla) with spinach, cheese and chicken, Australian wine (blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc), gelato and a chocolate/pistachio muffin (much better than this morning’s version), total $55.

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