yani on tour - day two

Today's montage theme is "the many faces of the Sydney Opera House"... Over the four days (okay, only really the middle two) I think we saw it from every possible angle (excluding from the air)... it really is an amazing structure...

Day Two of Yani on Tour dawned with me not having had the best night's sleep ever (a combination of thin hotel pillows, my inability to sleep well in strange beds and being very set in my ways when it comes to how I sleep), and discovering that the hotel had shitty water pressure and the shower had a hair trigger between too hot and too cold... *sigh*... such is life really...

After we were all organised we left the hotel around 7:30 with the ultimate destination of the Sydney Opera House... we were booked in for the 9 am guided tour and decided we might as well just walk there since it did seem like it was as far away as we thought it might be after all our wanderings the day before. And I decided that since we were going to the Opera House, I should take my big black backpack with my SLR in it... technically I shouldn't really have bothered bringing the SLR to Sydney at all... I could have managed quite easily with my digital camera... I only ended up taking one roll of film with the SLR, 90% of which are of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and I have no idea until next Monday how the shots will have come out... that and the fact that by the end of the day the straps on the bag had actually rubbed the front of my shoulders a little bit raw... pink anyway...

We headed down the dreaded McElhone stairs... and then up the stairs by the back of the Art Gallery (in fact the exact opposite way that we'd gone the day before), then after a quick stop at the kiosk thing near the gallery to grab some "breakfast", we headed through the Botanical Gardens and just followed the signs in the general direction of the Opera House.

I do wish we'd taken more time in the Botanical Gardens... the bits we did see were beautiful, and you could probably waste a whole hell of a lot of time in there, but we were on something of a mission, and we still weren't sure how far we had to walk, so mostly we just followed the signs for the Opera House. We did come across the colony of (I think) Grey Headed Flying Foxes that live in the trees there and who were stretching their wings and just hanging around like interesting and weird looking fruit. Actually that was pretty damn cool... I'm used to seeing birds all over the joint, but I don't think I've ever seen a bat out in the wild before. Very, very cool!

Before we knew it though we were rounding the corner and catching our first real sight of both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge... everything I'd seen yesterday had just been a big tease... this was seriously impressive!

And the whole walk only really took a little over half an hour, which we were both pretty impressed about.

We wandered around the Opera House taking photos all over everywhere (and I tried to pick out which of the apartment buildings on the opposite shore might belong to Tom), before we circled back around and finally found the meeting spot for the tour. It was an interesting tour actually (even with the 200 stairs that the guide said we would end up climbing... see, again... Sydney = stairs)... some of the stuff I knew (like the architect being replaced), but just seeing the theatres and being in the place was impressive enough.

After the tour was over and we'd bought appropriate meemaws, doohickeys and widgets from the gift shop (and I'd ogled the very cute and extremely gay guy serving in the shop downstairs), we wandered off in the direction of Circular Quay, then ended up headed off to The Rocks, stopping off at the Visitors Centre (and buying more meemaws and widgets), then we wandered through The Rocks and ended up at the base of the Harbour Bridge.

I've seen bridges... I know bridges... I'm not exactly all about bridges, but I'm not a stranger... but seriously, there are actually not enough words to describe how MASSIVE and imposing and just really THERE the thing is. Interestingly enough, once you're actually underneath it, it just becomes "any other bridge" (albeit an ENORMOUS one), it's only from the sides you get that sense of the iconic "coathanger" image. We made it to the Walsh Bay side of the bridge, then came back along the Campbells Cove foreshore before we made it back to Circular Quay.

Then Ma came up with the brainwave that instead of hopping on the big red Sydney Explorer bus like we'd originally planned, we should just leg it up into the CBD and wander around. Of course by this time it was more or less midday so all the Urban Suitage (hot boys in suits) and just general business community were out and about on their lunchbreak, so we had to do some dodging and weaving to stay out of their way. We legged it up Pitt Street (theoretically in search of the cupcake store which we never actually saw, and I totally forgot about to be honest).

Once again my overall impression of everything was HUGE! In Adelaide you don't get that concentration of buildings that just go up and up and up... and in some cases up and up and up and up and up... and especially not seemingly all one on top of another.

When we got to Martin Place we took a segue up the hill and took a look at the Channel 7 store (a bit lame really... although they did have a couple of interesting bits of Lost merchandise), poked our noses in the Lindt store (mmmmm Lindt), and found a cute little place in the underground concourse to have some lunch (and I discovered what a tuna nicoise salad actually is... not bad either), picked up some awesome banana bread and mango & coconut bread from them and then wandered back down to Pitt Street.

We pretty much just wandered around the Pitt Street Mall for a bit... I mean a shop is a shop is a shop... and we were in Sydney to do touristy things and have experiences rather than go shopping, so I think about the only place we really went into was Borders... and that was only to see the difference in stores between here and Adelaide... but then it's a chain store, so it wasn't really that different.

After some massive amounts of indecision (and a look in the Myer store in Pitt Street, which was, once again, MASSIVE compared with what I'm used to) we ended up going downstairs into the foodcourt under Myer (and woohoo Mrs Field's cookies, oh how I love thee) and trying to come up with some kind of plan... it was still pretty early (around 3 or so I think) so we didn't want to just give up and go back to the hotel, so after much discussion and "I don't know, what do you think's" we decided that since we were so close we should jump on the monorail (thanks go to Tom for the half price coupon) and take a little turn around the place.

Sadly, that whole general area was about the closest we ever got to the QVB which we really should have gone across the road and looked in, but originally the plan was going to be to come back there the following day... but you know what they say about the best laid plans...

I kept wanting to sing the monorail song from The Simpsons... and to be honest, it was kind of interesting (the trip, not the singing), but not really that great. I was a little surprised for some reason that it was all little individual cars rather than being one big train (but that was good because we ended up with a car all to ourselves for most of the journey)... but looking out on the first floor of buildings isn't really that interesting. I think it's possibly one of those things that looks more interesting from the outside...

After the monorail trip ("I hear those things are awfully loud"... "It glides as softly as a cloud"... sorry) we wandered back up Martin Place, some guy carrying a chair and a cello gave me crap when I stopped to take a photo of the sign outside the Prada store (I think his exact words were "Oooooh Prada" in a slightly girly voice... to which I replied, without thinking or turning around "Oh, piss off", which according to Ma made him turn and smile... little bitch) and then after stopping off to make a donation at the brass boar outside Sydney Hospital we wandered across to Hyde Park, checked out the very lovely Archibald Fountain (mmmm naked classical and mythological men), was slightly disturbed by the guy wading around IN the fountain with his shirt open (what's up with that?), then went past St Marys Cathedral, down the hill, through the backstreets, back up the hill, up MORE stairs (although different ones this time) and ended up right near the hotel. We left the hotel around 7:30 in the morning and when we finally got back it was 4:30 in the afternoon... and over 80% of the time we'd been walking around. Exhausted much?

I didn't fare too badly overall from the day of almost constant walking... a little bit of sunburn where I missed a spot or two on my forehead, the aforementioned marks on my shoulders and a couple of blisters from my poxy New Balance sneakers (I'm never buying New Balance EVER again).

After we'd crashed out for a little while we headed out and grabbed a pizza down the road (really good pizza... Macleay's Pizza I think), I settled Ma in for the night, went back to my room, showered, changed and generally prettied myself up, and then went off to meet The Blogging Boys (aka Tom, Andrew and Monty). And of course, I walked...

I'd decided to kill two birds with one stone (since everything seemed far closer than I thought it would be), and go past the pub that was our meeting place, down to the famed gay mecca of Oxford Street and more specifically The Bookshop Darlinghurst.

And although I only did basically one block of Oxford Street, and not an overly big block at that, it wasn't exactly how I imagined it... for one thing it's a lot wider, but it was also kinda skanky. I'm sure with the street jammed with people and floats and everything at Mardi Gras it's somewhat more impressive... but just as a street... not much of anything really.

I did like The Bookshop (although for some reason it was very different from the image I had of it in my head and the way I was seeing it on the website... I was expecting something huge and sleek and modern)... even if it hadn't been crammed full of things I wanted to buy and had just been a regular bookstore... it had that wooden pine floors and shelves and "gets smaller and narrower the deeper you go" thing going for it... which I love at the best of times. But there were SO many things in there I wanted to buy... so many... so, so, so many.

Luckily I was hamstrung not only by the amount of spending money I was willing to part with on stuff, but also by the compact nature of my little orange backpack. That and the fact that the two or three things that I asked the guy behind the counter about were either our of stock or out of print or whatever. Annoying, but it did save me a ton of cash.

It was also really, really warm in there... I thought initially it might just have been me, having rushed down the road after a warmish shower, but I think it was a very humid night and a distinct lack of proper air conditioning in the store. I was sweating like a pig after a while though! Overshare I know... but true.

In the end I bought Summer Storm (under half price!), Another Gay Movie (which I enjoyed when we watched it on J's laptop while he was here... and was also slightly marked down, but not by much), the third book by favoured author Joe Keenan, My Lucky Star, and the first book by photographer and fellow blogger (and former Random Hotness entry) Jay Diers, Raw Youth. I probably spent too much money, but it was worth it...

Then I traipsed back up the street and as I was standing at the traffic lights I looked up and saw what I first thought was a flock of birds flying overhead. They turned out to be bats... the same type that we saw in the Botanic Gardens I assume... and there they were... against a darkening sky with a sliver of crescent moon behind them, looking like they were flying out of the church style building across the street. I can't really do the image justice in words (and my camera would have had a fit trying to capture anything in the low light), but it made the little gothic boy who lives in my brain wave his arms around and go "yaaaaaaay".

Anyway, I made it to the pub half an hour or so early, got myself a drink and a glass of water (I was feeling a little "sun strokey"... and choose to blame any errant or odd behaviour on that) and settled in to await the arrivals of all and sundry.

I did some people watching, checking anybody who either came into the pub or who was anywhere in sight on the street outside against my mental pictures (or mental checklist) of said people. Which made for an interesting mental dialog after a while... "Not Tom enough... not Andrew enough... not Monty enough..."

Eventually I saw Andrew coming down the street and when he came in gave him a wave and a big hug... And I don't care who's doing the list... The Other Andrew just is the shortest blogger *grin*. He's Hobbitliscious!

We chatted for a bit... cast some aspersions on the likelihood of Tom turning up... and then suddenly this pink shirted whirlwind descended on the table from somewhere in the back of the pub and whisked us off down the back...

Seriously though... who sits at the BACK of a pub, out of the line of sight from the door, when you're supposed to be meeting somebody... who does that? *mutters*

Anyway, the pink whirlwind resolved itself into Monty and then suddenly there was Tom... turns out that they'd been in the pub for about an hour already. And for the record, Tom is slightly akin to a lamp post (sorry dear, but you just are)... I mean he has more personality and doesn't shed quite as much light, but he's very tall... very, very, very tall... and quiet... and didn't fit the mental picture I had in my head of him in the slightest.

But then I always suck at that game, so I shouldn't really be surprised.

It was both interesting and weird catching up with people I've never actually met before, but who I know all this random minutia about and who know equally large amounts of randomness about you. Andrew mentioned a couple of things during the night and I thought "Oh yes, I remember THAT!". But then I do have a mind that might not remember why it came into the kitchen, but will remember really random items with blistering clarity (anything that's created some kind of vivid mental image... for example, Monty in a leather bar... that's an image that's going to linger a while *grin*).

What was also interesting was that I wasn't nervous about it at all... and that's weird because usually I'd be freaking out about the whole meeting new people thing... but really it was all as laid back as could be. Maybe that was the beer... I dunno...

They're all really lovely guys though. Monty is just adorable (and my choice of him as somebody to go and have coffee with in the blogroll meme was a perfect one), Tom is lovely and has this very quiet and very tall English schoolboy (it's the accent I think) thing going on, and Andrew is just a sweety (even if he did call me garrulous on his blog *grin*).

And me, well as the boys will all happily attest I'm sure, I'm a very cheap drunk. Not that I really got DRUNK drunk... but I was well on the road to merry... and I'd only had less than two beers (again, I'm blaming some sort of sun stroke). This is no real surprise, and I've mentioned it on more than one occasion... I'm the very definition of a "Cadbury"... a glass and a half and I'm away in The Land of the Happy Yani.

See, I'm a good date... I get drunk really easily, and I put out regardless of said drunkness... now, where was I...

So my inability to hold my liquor was thought most amusing... but I know when I'm licked and happily switched to water... then Monty had to rush off to deal with some distress call so Tom, Andrew and myself ended up going off to get some gelati (mmmm lemon and malted chocolate) and had a bit of a natter (in between me being somewhat distracted by cute and/or gay and/or underwear waistband displaying boys).

Then Tom left us to head back to his auto, and Andrew, ever the gentleman, ended up walking me back to my hotel. Bless!

And the less said about a certain person who didn't show up and didn't even send an email saying they couldn't show up the better... you know who you are... *pokes out tongue*

When I got back upstairs I stopped off briefly at Ma's room to let her know I got back okay, then headed back to my room to do much journal scribbling and early morning bootay call arrangement SMSing... thus endeth a Very Busy Day...

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7 comments:

Tom said...

Pffttt. Who the hell sits in the gloomy inside front of the pub when they could be outside at the back! :P

Very amusing that you were casting aspersions on the likelihood of me turning up when you must have been no more than 10m away from where I had been sitting for the hour before you showed up!

Anyway, good to meet you - next time I'm in Adelaide I'll take you out for a beer (or half!).

yani said...

You do obviously... and it's not even like you snagged one of the low comfortable sofa thingies... :P

Half hour... I got there around half seven... ;)

Good to meet you too, and finally be able to put a face to the blog... maybe make it a shandy though, I might last longer that way, hehehe...

Monty said...

I'm just exhausted reading your post! Nice to meet you too Yani, now you're more than just an eye! :-) Sorry to rush off like that...but glad the boys managed to kick on with you! :-)

The Other Andrew said...

I'd just like to point out that garrulous isn't necessarily a bad thing... :)

And yes, I am the shortest blogger. I wear like a (small) badge of honour.

yani said...

There were four jam packed days Monty... I'm still recovering ;) (and no worries about having to rush off)

And I know Andrew... I'm likewise wearing my garrulousness as a badge of honour... it's such a "me" word :)

Tom said...

I'm not so sure that there is a badge for garrulousness. I think it's more of a large flashing neon sign. :)

So... where next for Yani on Tour? Up to Queensland to harass the brissie bloggers?

yani said...

A flashing neon badge maybe?

And interestingly enough Ma asked me the very same question while we were at lunch on Day 2... and yeah, I think a trip to Brisvegas might be on the cards ;)

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