yani's big adventure - day seven

language of sydney deco curve
In breaking news: My hotel room is FREEZING! Woohoo! Okay, the air-conditioning is only mostly fixed (the bedroom vent still isn't working properly), but I just had to turn the fan speed down in the main room.

So when I get back after Sculpture By The Sea tomorrow, my room should be positively Arctic!

Anyway, I digress.

Today was essentially a mongrel of a day... not because it was bad, it was just a bit of this and a bit of that and a bit of something else.

Neither of us really knew what the hell we wanted to do for breakfast this morning, so we just wandered up Philip/Elizabeth Street (they're essentially the same street, it just changes name halfway up), found seemingly the lone Bendigo Bank ATM in all of Sydneytown (or at least the only one that comes up on Google Maps) and ended up at David Jones on the corner of Elizabeth and Market Streets.

And it turns out that they have unveiled the animated Christmas windows...

wise camel little drummer mouse
They're so sweet... and whoever puts them together obviously has a great sense of humour... from the "Shepherds washed their socks by night" reference to the running gag of the little mice, they're all great fun. And I loved it even more because there's a window full of drumming toy soldiers (and toy solider mice).

After detouring around the Christmas windows we were close enough to Pitt Street Mall, so we wandered down there and decided to see what was on offer for breakfast in Strand Arcade. We ended up at Elixir Espresso, which is decent enough... their coffee was pretty good anyway, and the food was decent.

I mean, they can't all get four stars...

Afterwards Ma wanted to look into Taka Tea Garden which is right next to the café since she'd noticed something in the window. Turns out it was a couple of little rabbit figurines... and as I mentioned briefly the other day, one of the watchwords/watchphrases for this trip... particularly in relation to crossing Sydney roads at any point, but more so when other pedestrians are crossing, but the lights haven’t changed (more on that in a second)... has been "quick like bunnies"... so she bought bunnies, one for me, one for her.

quick like bunniesBut getting back to Sydney pedestrians... I think I mentioned on our first trip that part of the reason Sydney drivers are reasonably well behaved (although I don't think I've ever heard horns used half as much as I have here), especially when it comes to letting people cross roads and suchlike is because Sydney pedestrians are clearly INSANE!

Sometimes people don't even bother to look to see if there are cars coming (especially at the zebra crossings)... they just walk and assume that the drivers will stop... which they are forced to do by default. It's the weirdest thing.

And clearly that's why the Department of Transport has to write "look right" and "look left" on the road at every pedestrian crossing to remind people.

But anyway... after Ma bought bunnies we stopped off at a store called Sweet Infinity because they had these little (what turned out to be) almond meal fruit tarts in the window... and I don't know what the hell they'd done to the top of them but they were glistening and gleaming in the light... and even though I'd just had breakfast, I couldn't resist, I had to have one. Ma had a crème brulee, which I think had some kind of booze in it... it certainly wasn't just custard.

Then we sat in the little seats in Pitt Street Mall and decided on what our next move was going to be. That's been a little bit of a theme throughout today actually... or just going with the flow of being near somewhere so heading there next.

In the end we decided to swing back past the hotel, grab our hats, stop off at Customs House to look at a couple of things there, then head over to the Opera House to look at the Sony World Photography Award winning photos, then head for the Botanical Gardens.

Which all sounds like nothing much at all... but turned out to pretty much fill up our morning.

Customs House is just around the corner from the hotel, so that didn't take long, then we headed down to the Opera House.

And it seems that I can't just wander by the Grand Dame (ie the Opera House) without either taking a bunch of photos or getting close enough to touch one of the big white sails.

But first we checked out the winning Sony photos... there were some very good ones actually, but they were displayed kind of strangely... being on big double sided stands and placed out on the walk way on the western side of the Opera House. Strange, but I suppose more people would probably see them their almost by accident than would see them if they were hidden away inside somewhere.

After that, I left Ma under the cover of the Opera House's skirts if you will, and wandered up the stairs to take some photos.

opera sail can you see the squishies?
Once I was done with that we headed towards the Botanical Gardens gate, but I got distracted by a yellow buoy in the harbour... and while I was trying to photograph that, one of the Japanese tourists near me pointed out something in the water to his friend and said something I didn't understand before wandering off... intrigued, I went to where he'd been standing and there were all these tiny little jellyfish in the water!

"He will be my squishy and I will call him Squishy... Bad Squishy..."

I know they're not fun to swim with and whatnot, but they sure are pretty in the water.

Then we wandered through the Botanical Gardens...

ibis in the lake scavenging what we leave behind
I didn't really want to do a major league wander, especially since we pretty much did that last time, but I did want to visit the bats and see whatever else we happened to see as we wandered through.

bat wings gold blossoms
Even though some of the fruit bats ended up in Adelaide after all the natural disasters and whatnot here in the eastern states, it's still good to visit them here in Sydney.

We kept wandering through the Gardens, and came out in the Domain near the Art Gallery. From there we wandered up and around to Hyde Park after detouring slightly over to the Aquatic Centre and Australian Museum.

We ended up sitting in Hyde Park for a little while, just enjoying the shade and the ability to sit down... okay, so I also caught up on my tweets... I get ancy if I'm doing absolutely nothing for very long.

After we’d finished enjoying our rest and were wandering in the direction of Westfield Sydney's food court for lunch, I noticed a bunch of guys standing around one of the park benches... partly I noticed them because they were all varying degrees of attractive, but also because they had cameras sitting on the bench with SCARY sized telephoto lenses... like the ones that have an additional handle because you'd never be able to hold them upright just from the camera body. Then I realised we were outside the very swanky hotel that a bunch of people from work stayed in for a work conference earlier in the year (the Sheraton?)... and realised that they must be there for a certain (talentless, pointless, irritating and famous only for being pointless, talentless and irritating) person who is currently in the country. I won't mention her name though (which will confuse me no end at a later date when I reread this).

happy lab becasse treats
It was still the tail end of the lunch rush when we got up to the food court... we wandered around a little bit, went back to Happy Lab for more happy things (I really do want ALL THE THINGS though... they have the best containers!), then wandered some more trying to work out what we wanted... so many good choices... but in the end we decided on Sabbaba, who do "Middle Eastern" cuisine involving pitas.

We opted to have the very interesting mixture of things in a pita... may have been better to have them in a bowl, as it was kinda hard to get to the meat (beef shiska for me, grilled fish for Ma)... tasty though.

Once we were done, I left Ma at the table and wandered over to the Bécasse Bakery to buy a custard brioche on the instructions of fellow blogger Eddy... well, Ma is actually the custard tart aficionado, so I bought her a blueberry custard tart and got a lemon tart for myself.

And I had it a little while ago... and it was FUCKING AMAZING! So creamy, so very, very yummy!

Thanks Eddy!

We also stopped off to pick up some of the amazing fruit salad at Top Juice before heading back to the hotel... we did make one quick stop along the way , so I could buy some new earphones at the Apple Store. And they were cheaper than buying them from JB back in Adelaide I think... plus they came in a cute Apple plastic bag with a drawstring. I will of course need to find a reason to take that to work with me next Monday.

Originally we had intended to stop off at the hotel, drop our purchases off and go back out again, but there were some minor issues with my air-conditioning and, honestly, neither of us really knew what we wanted to do next, so we decided to have our afternoon rest early and then go out to dinner earlier.

Our original plan was to go to one of the Italian restaurants in The Rocks, but as we walked past they had one of their staff standing outside harassing random passers-by (okay, harassing is too strong a term, but calling out to people who are just walking past)... and if there's any way to make me avoid your venue, it's that.

So instead we headed up to Caminetto Italian on Playfair Street... sure we went there last year, but it was good then, and it was pretty good now. I did second guess my choice though... I went with the same thing as Ma, minestrone soup and bruschetta, but there wasn't as much soup as I was expecting, and I could have been better having pasta. But it was tasty enough.

Today hasn't really been the most exemplary where food has been concerned... well, other than the lemon tart.

ghost blossom observatory hill
After dinner we wandered up Argyle Street to Observatory Park to check out the view, which is pretty spectacular... and we’ve been talking about the Observatory a lot this trip, so since we were in the neighbourhood.

The only down side was that we ended coming back the "long way" via York Street, and the combination of that and the beer I had at dinner meant I was doing the Pee Dance every time we stopped at a set of traffic lights.

Thankfully we found a friendly café on the way back... and the rest of the walk was much less... desperate.

And my room is still freezing... instead of wearing shorts, I'm wearing track pants, socks and my hoodie... me like!

Oh, and I stuck one of the stickers I got from Crumpler on the lid on my netbook this morning... I guess that officially makes me a fanboy...

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