yani's big adventure - day two

evening over the harbour bridge evening over the opera house
I'm not happy.

I should be happy. Any number of good things have happened of late, but I'm still not happy.

Mostly I'm hoping I just need a decent night's sleep since I've had about a grand total of nine hours since 5am on Wednesday.

And I completely realise that putting anything that is making me unhappy down in digital ink, as it were, is only going to make me sound like a complete tosser when I read it back later (or when anyone else reads it).

I'm pretty sure it's just the lack of sleep.

Even though I didn't sleep for an overly long time, I didn't sleep too badly last night, thanks, once again, to Ma's ingenious "stuff one of your long body pillows with spare pillows so you can sleep" brainwave. And even the bed being velcroed together didn't give me much of a problem, it just meant that I pretty much stayed on one side of the bed.

When my alarm went off at 5am I was pretty much up and wide awake... which is just wrong at the best of times... but it did mean that I could kind of leisurely get ready before, as always, dragging my stuff down to Ma's room (which in this case meant dragging it down five floors).

We were nattering away when my mobile rang which surprised the crap out of me given that it was about 7:15am.

Turns out it was the driver come to take us to the airport... even though he was actually booked for 7:30. So either he thought it was 7am and was 15 minutes late or was actually 15 minutes early.

And for the second time, we didn't have an actual sedan... we had a big black van. And a chatty driver. Not in the good way.

Just to segue onto a tangent for a second, I read something recently about my star sign (Pisces) which rang particularly true... we don't like pointless small talk for the sake of it... either say something interesting or just be quiet.

I do often think that (or something "so similar that it makes no nevermind" to steal a phrase from Stephen Fry)... especially when we're travelling and having to interact with people in various locations. I don't need you to chat with me... you're either a total stranger or you work somewhere I'm buying something. In the former case, go away... in the latter cas, get on with what you're supposed to be doing.

Sorry... bit of a side rant there.

I also wasn't especially impressed with the driver they sent us this time around. He actually felt quite a bit like a taxi driver, which none of the others have really ever done, and which is exactly why we hire cars in Melbourne in the first place. He was looking around when he should have been concentrating, he seemed to be very much all over the place when it came to his control of the van on the road.

If I didn't know myself better than I do, I'd make some grand statement about writing to the company and complaining... but we all know that by the time I make it home again, the whole thing will have completely skipped my mind.

By the time we got to the airport, the place was essentially heaving. Whether it was Friday or what it was I have absolutely no idea.

Fortunately it was only really the security check that took any length of time because of the lines.

We grabbed some breakfast and then settled down at the gate to do the tappity-tap-tap thing on our netbooks while we waited for the plane.

Turns out that the plane was about 10 minutes late due to "industrial action" but they managed to get it all ready to go fairly quickly once it got here. I think I've said before that I much prefer the bigger planes... the 767 type deals where there are two seats by the windows and three seats in the centre... they always feel like there's more room... plus Ma and I don't end up sitting with a complete stranger.

Although I really think whoever came up with the phrase "Hell is other people" must have been on an aircraft with them. And of course, the fact that the children that had been the least well behaved when we were waiting at the gate were the same ones who are sitting behind us. Urgh.

Thank all the appropriate deities for headphones.

It did feel a little weird though, not only because I'm only really used to going from A to B and then back to A... so this A to B and then B to C stuff was unusual, but also because we only spent a day in Melbourne.

But it doesn’t matter where the hell you go in Australia, it seems there's always a shop at the airport with one of those planes that flies around on the end of a piece of string hanging from the ceiling.

The taxi to the hotel was fairly uneventful and before we knew it we were standing on Bridge Street.

To some degree, I think that's part of the thing with staying at the same hotel... it does kind of make you feel like you've never been away because the last memory you have of the place involves that place, and it's the one constant while you're there.

Having said that, I think we'll be finding a whole new hotel when we come here again next time. But more on that in a minute.

Checking in took a little while if only because when we got there there was a foyer full of people and nobody at the desk. Thankfully when the guy did finally appear it didn't take very long for us to get our keys and make our way up to our rooms.

Turns out that Ma and I were at opposite ends of the hall, literally... we could not be any further apart and still on the same floor. Which is weird, because our room numbers are 809 and 813.

But I'm not overly happy with my room, especially compared with last time.

sydney hotel 2011... please note they skinned cookie monster to make my blanketFirstly, I'm in one of those "oh, look, we've got this weird shaped space left at the end of the floor, lets make a room out of it" rooms... which isn't a huge issue, but it does mean that I'm looking straight out at the windows of the neighbouring office buildings, one of which is maybe ten feet away. And I have some BIG windows too, which kinda makes it worse. So there will be a minimum of me wandering around my room essentially buck naked, at least not until I pull the blinds down.

But I could probably cope with that... and the furniture I keep bashing into, and the bedspread that looks like the skinned remains of Cookie Monster, the toilet roll holder that falls to pieces every time you look at it funny, and the fact that the toilet is right behind the bathroom door (I mean really, who does that).

I could cope with all of those things if the air-condition worked... but it doesn't. All the little lights on the control panel light up, and it says it's doing things... there's certainly a noise like it's doing things, but I'm absolutely positive that there is no air coming out of the stupid thing at all. And even if there is, it's not cold air.

And if there's one thing I love in a hotel, it's cranking the air-con down as low as humanly possible so that the room is nice and chilled when we come back after long sweaty walks (oy vey... is it always this humid in Sydney... I'm dyin' here), but also so that I can close all the windows at night (especially given the location of this place, never mind the location of my room and the fact I overlook the back alley with the rubbish trucks and the seemingly two hour long cavalcade of dumping glass bottles into bins this evening) and the place is good and cold while I'm sleeping.

But we’ve already told the guy at the desk... and either he'll get it fixed, or he'll move me to another room, or I'll just be a very unhappy bunny for the next seven nights.

Once we were finally all unpacked and settled in and had done the room comparison thing (which usually ends up being about the only time Ma sets foot in my room, since mostly I get ready and go to her), we headed out to explore Sydney.

fruit at the rocks meat of varying kinds at the rocks
Our first stop was The Rocks, to hit the Farmer's Market, see what was about and get some lunch. I could seriously get used to that whole thing if I lived here... even though there were a lot of people around, it was awesome with all the different kinds of food on offer. It reminded me quite a bit of the market we saw in Brisbane...

We split up when it came to grabbing lunch. Ma went to get this Japanese pancake thing with what she assures me is beef squashed into the top and a squeeze of mayonnaise on top (weird), whereas I went for the more traditional angle and got a steak sandwich from The Fine Food Company (I think). I did kinda wish I'd gone with my original thought to have their Wagu burger, but the steak was quite nice.

After we'd eaten, we bought some fruit at the market, a few macarons at one of the bakeries in The Rocks and wandered back to the hotel to drop them off.

In the middle of the square outside Customs House at the moment is a washing line with a couple of old washing machines under it. On this washing line are paper napkins that people have written messages on... and in the washing machines are the napkins on which to write.

I was intrigued so had to have a closer look. Turns out that you're supposed to "Tell Sydney a secret".

So I did... although I'm not sure it's really much of a secret.

napkin confession forgotten songs - sydney bird cages
Once we dropped off the fruit and got our hats, we headed out again, this time up into the city.

While we're on the subject of the city and the shops and whatnot...

Things it baffles me that they have in the Eastern States but nobody has brought over to SA: Pieface shops. Those shops downstairs in food courts that sell cheap bottles of juice. Wagamama stores.

Things it baffles me that Sydney doesn't have in their CDB: Target. Big W. Okay, Adelaide doesn't have a Big W in the city yet... but both Melbourne and Brisbane have both. Is it just the rent? Or wouldn't Sydneysiders be seen dead coming out of a discount variety store within the borough of Sydney?

But I digress.

We headed up George Street, past the Apple Store (although we're going back there at some stage... I'm still undecided about the iPad, but at the very least I'll buy a new pair of headphones) and up to QVB.

Last year when we were here, the whole place was completely dominated by the Christmas tree in the centre of the building and all the decorations and whatnot.

This year, not a sausage.

classic sydney - qvb modern sydney - twist and amaze partial buff
Ma went and spoke to the Concierge (ie the woman in the information booth) and she said they're not putting it up until the middle of November. So I'm also guessing that the Christmas windows may not be up in David Jones either...


There wasn't really anywhere we wanted to look in QVB, so we headed across the road to The Galeries and upstairs to Books Kinokuniya.

It didn't have quite the "wow" factor this time around since I already knew what to expect, but it's still a hell of a store. We ended up pottering about for quite a while and in the end I bought some little folding scissors (not a patch on the ones I had confiscated by airport security that time) and a couple of little Perspex display cases that more or less fit my Dunny figures (the stand figures fit if you stand them sideways, anything non-standard doesn't seem to).

And then we wandered back along Pitt Street.

We got a little distracted when we got to the Pitt Street Mall though (and it seems weird that Rundle Mall in Adelaide was actually the first one of those "pedestrian street malls" in the country... and even weirder that none of them were around at all before 1976)... partly by the big shiny Westfield site, partly by the previously mentioned juice stall downstairs under Myer.

For some reason, I think I misremembered the location of the Swatch store here in Sydney... or else my memory was clouded by the fact that last time we were here Westfield had only just opened and the whole place felt a little empty. But they do have all the KidRobot swatches... so I may be tempted before we leave... or I may end up getting a completely different Swatch, who knows. Although, weirdly, I'm pretty sure that the KidRobot ones are the same price in the store as I paid (including shipping) to get one from America.

By this point I was some weird combination of underwhelmed and overwhelmed (does that just make me whelmed?)... I think a combination of the late nights/early mornings/lack of sleep and having to deal with the fact that Ma doesn't pay attention and is going deaf as well as the whole hotel room disappointment... yeah, not great really.

Hmmm... just thinking about it now... maybe I'm having caffeine withdrawal a little bit too... I haven't had anything coffee related since Tuesday. That's it, I'm having a big fat coffee with breakfast tomorrow.

Anyway, we came back to the hotel to have a little rest before we regrouped and decided on plans for dinner.

yakitori and edamame at wagamamaAnd while nothing we've really done today has been as satisfying as either I remember it being or I hoped it would be, I have to say that the food at Wagamama came pretty damn close. I think the only downside was the human error because we were going with the same kind of idea as the last time we ate here and having only side dishes, but we only got four things, whereas last time I think we ordered about twice that. But everything we had was fantastic... yasi gyoza, tori kara age (so very tasty), beef yakitori and of course, edamame. How one little bean, cooked so simply and sprinkled with a little salt can make me so happy, I have no idea... but it does.

We also had the same dessert as last time (or at least I'm pretty sure we did... I had a total déjà vu as soon as we started eating it), Banana Katsu... so tasty.

After dinner we wandered down towards the Opera House and snapped a few pictures (as per the beginning of this post), but the Friday crowd down there was very noisy and the wind was getting a bit chilly, so we thought we could head back up to Pitt Street Mall and pick up a couple of things since we assumed it was late night shopping, being Friday and all.

Did nobody give Sydney the memo about late night shopping on Friday? Or is it just because stuff is generally open much later in the evening anyway enough? If we’d gotten there before 8pm we probably would have been okay, but it was about 8:15 and everything was shut up as tight as a drum.

Disappointing really.

So we came back to the hotel.

And I did what I always seem to do on any of our trips, whether it's using electronic means or pencil and paper... I spent the rest of the evening writing up what we did during the day.

Not that I don't want to do it... I like to be able to look back on the details of what we did... but maybe I need to skim a little bit more... less tiny tiny details, more general overviews with occasional details. Now if somebody could actually tell me how to write like that, I'd be very appreciative.

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Tom said...

The middle of November is still far too early for Christmas decorations! Pffft. 2nd week of December is about right. :-)

Also no BigW in Sydney CBD as parking options are limited. Go to the big malls outside the CBD and you'll find all those sorts of shops.

yani said...

I don't completely buy the parking argument... I mean Melbourne and Brisbane manage it with not that much more apparent parking. And there's a Target in Brisbane right on top of a train station.

I think it's an element of snobbery :P or just because it's never been done.

And yeah, I thought the decorations were a little early last year, but it was still beautiful to see the QVB tree.

Victor said...

Sydney's late shopping night is Thursday although Lord Mayor Clover Moore has just proposed twenty four action like in New York. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that one.


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