Monday, October 31, 2011
And today's phrase (actually kinda following on from yesterday really) is "Quick like bunnies"... usually in reference to crossing the road before the lights have turned green.
The problem with busted air-conditioning is that I have to sleep with the windows open... open being a relative term here that means "not open enough". The downside to that is when the trucks start arriving at 3am and 4am and 5am to pick up empty bottles, rubbish, deliver things or any of the myriad of other things they seem to need to do in the laneway at the back of the hotel where my windows happen to face.
Even so, I managed to keep rolling over and going back to sleep until about 6:15 when I grabbed my iPhone and dicked around with that for a while before getting up and getting ready after pottering around the room for a bit.
But he promised to call people while we went out for breakfast... so we left him to it and went down the street to Starbucks. I know, but it was Ma's idea, and really their coffee isn't that bad. Or at least it's not that bad here in Australia where people know how to make a cup of coffee in the first place.
After coffee and baked goods we came back here to see how Captain Gormless was getting on and to get our hats before heading off on our day's adventures.
He hadn't progressed very far... but I told him that if they needed to let people into my room to check it out/fix it, I had no problem with that. I'd already hidden my netbook and my camera was with me, so about all they could steal was a bit of change and my clothes...
But I figured I was safe enough, even though I didn't have the greatest of confidence that Captain Gormless would get it done.
So off we headed to Darling Harbour.
We wandered along York Street as far as The Grace... which is just a GORGEOUS building and then wander down King Street and across the overpass to Darling Harbour.
Because we'd come at it from a completely different angle, everything kind of felt a little strange, and it took me a minute to get my bearings.
I was very excited to see the giant LEGO mural outside the Aquarium though... even if it was next to impossible to photograph properly. Fortunately the LEGO Neptune/Poseidon was much easier to shoot.
But one place we can go again and again and again and again is The Chinese Garden of Friendship.
However, on the way there, disaster struck. Ma needed to visit the Little Girls Room, so I sat on a wall and waited for her. When she came out, I went to jump down and suddenly I was stuck! I didn't realise it but there was one of those big treated pine type flat headed screws sticking up slightly... and it had gotten itself caught on the bottom of the back pocket of my jeans... tore a hole right in the butt of my jeans!
My favourite jeans... the only pair that actually have some stretch in them... the only pair where the zipper doesn't fall down every two seconds... and most importantly, the only pair I brought with me.
Fortunately, thanks to the aid of a very dodgy sewing kit Ma picked up from a $2 shop in Chinatown later, they appear to be all fixed now...
Specifically in this park they have this whole water system set up... you pump the water at one end, it trickles down a set of aqueducts, then hits this whole series of dams and directional gates where water can be redirected or stopped completely. That all leads down to one of those Da Vinci water screws and a wheel that pumps water out through its centre.
Suffice to say that it's a ton of fun, and if you either have kids, know someone who has kids or are just interested in engineering and happen to be in Sydney, go and have a look.
Big props to the City of Sydney or whoever put it together... and more specifically, GIANT props to whoever designed it. I doff my trilby at you Sir/Madam.
But there's only so long you can play in a children's playground (without a child of your own) when you're 37 before it starts to look dodgy...
So we carried on to The Chinese Garden of Friendship...
We always say that we could wander around there for hours and hours... and while that is probably a bit of an exaggeration, we always try to see every little bit of the garden, and I'm often caught up in one spot or another trying to get a perfect photo of something.
Unfortunately, that was also the period of time where everybody back at home decided they needed me. And by "everybody" I mean H-San and the woman from my agency.
I missed a call from the agency, then got a message from her asking her to call back about some problem with my time sheet... and after I worked out why I could call the number she gave me (different state, different area code), I left a message with the receptionist with what I thought was the problem.
Turns out I'd put that I'd worked from 8am to 4am on my timesheet for Wednesday instead of 4pm, so she just needed to confirm that I actually meant 4pm.
Then I realised that I'd also missed a text message from H-San that he was having some problem or other with something I set up for somebody before I left. Fortunately, I only saw that message when he actually messaged me to tell me that he'd sorted whatever it was out.
He then replied with a cryptic message about something being "painful" on my return...and after doubting the validity of that he professed seriousness so I told him I didn't plan to care about that for another week.
I mean, seriously, who the hell does that? It's my holiday dammit... just lie to me until I get back to work... or at least until the Friday before I return.
But whatever it is can just fuck off until a week from now. Don't care, don't want to know.
So I went back to enjoying the peace and serenity of the Chinese Gardens. Stupid work related bollocks.
After that we called it quits and headed on our merry way...
We kind of did things a little bit bass-ackwards next... we wandered back to the Harbourside Shopping Centre, which I think I mentioned last year is the biggest waste of time, space and effort ever.
Mostly we were looking for somewhere to buy a sewing kit... but they don't have any actual useful shops, so we had no luck. I had intended to try the O2 Oxygen Bar, just for shits and giggles... but unlike the information I read which seemed to suggest that the price was about $1 a minute, the prices started at about $15, and it was maybe a little too steep for something that was just for fun. I'm also sure that if they offered $5 for 5 minutes, they may have a lot more takers. Or alternatively, if they were actually in a good shopping centre.
After the general disappointment of Harbourside, we went back past the Chinese Gardens and on to Market City. And thankfully, they had the scary, overstuffed $2 shop.
Other than that we just kind of wandered about. I looked in the Converse store briefly, but nothing was grabbing my interest, so we ended up grabbing some slightly disappointing things from part of the food court, just to tide us over, before wandering back along Sussex Street.
Nothing really interesting happens on Sussex Street... so eventually we detoured up to York Street, got distracted by a Lincraft somewhere along the way (I thought it was on York, but it shows up on Google Maps as George Street) for more pants repairing supplies, picked up some fruit from one of the little "sell you things" booths that I think we should have... especially the ones selling fruit... I love those... $3.50 for a container of fresh mango, yes please!
Like I always say, sometimes you have to wander off the beaten track, and you never know where your eyes could take you if you look hard enough.
But this point it was probably around 3:30... and we'd been out of the hotel since about 8:30, give or take... so I figured, if anything was going to be done about my air-conditioning, it would have been done by now.
And Captain Gormless told me that they'd had someone out and that it was working better than it had been, but they needed to come back tomorrow to replace a part. Music to my ears... better is better than nothing, and I can survive another night.
But even before I'd opened my door, I knew there was something wrong... I could hear the air-conditioning through the door. And not in a good way.
Not only was the compressor just above the door making a horrible racket, the whole room was stuffy as hell.
So I marched downstairs to tell off Le Gormless...
Turns out it was so stuffy because somebody, whether it was him or whether it was the air-conditioning guys, had closed all of my windows. That combined with the non-working air-conditioning... not good.
Thankfully the less gormless guy on the desk is back tomorrow, so I'll be having a word with him before we leave...
Thankfully, even though it's still making a horrible noise, with all the windows open it's not so bad in here... it's still not cold though.
Although it appears that Qantas is flying again... so at least there's some good news there.
Now I have to go and get ready to go to the top of a very, very, very tall building...
This evening's entertainment was brought to you by the nice folk at Westfield Sydney and The Sydney Tower Eye.
Just after I finished writing up the day's adventures I checked what time the food court in Westfield Sydney closes... only to discover that it all closes up at 6:30... food court, shops, the whole deal.
So we moved with not inconsiderable haste up the road.
Turns out we didn't need to get quite so excited... sure they close the shops, and yeah, a lot of the places in the food court had stopped serving before we even got there, but there were still some places open... and nobody who was eating there seemed to be in any kind of rush about rushing their food down.
We were kind of limited with our choices... like I said, a lot of the places had already shut, but one of the ones that still seemed to be serving people was the pun-tastic ThaiRiffic Noodle Bar.
And it wasn't already cooked stuff lurking in a warmer, this stuff was all cooked fresh.
Ma and I both went with the stir fry option... mine was beef with egg noodles and peppercorn & basil leave sauce. Ma went with the same sauce but chicken and thin rice noodles.
I have to say that mine was beautiful. The sauce was really, really tasty, the noodles didn't feel heavy... yeah, the beef was perhaps a little chewy in the way that stir fry beef can sometimes be, but it was still tasty.
After dinner we chatted a bit until it was just before 7pm and then wandered over to The Sydney Tower Eye. The only reason we had to wait was because I'd found out that if you booked online to go up after 7pm, then the tickets were half-price. So, bargain right there!
Before they send you up, they put you through this "4D Cinema Experience"... which is as cheesy as hell... but actually really, really cool. It feels dumb saying that, but I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time.
They cover the first three dimensions of the cinema experience by giving you 3D glasses (for the 3D movie, obviously)... but while that's going on there's rumbles from under the platform your standing on, and wind during the windy bits, I think there might even have been very fine mist during a wet bit and bubbles for an underwater bit. Like I said... it's incredibly cheesy... but still fun.
Then they let you go up to the tower.
If I remember correctly, the elevators to get you up to the top of the 360 degree viewing building were regular building elevators... these ones, for reasons I don't completely understand (maybe the width of the actual tower) are small, triangular elevators. Very, very weird,.
We got up there just as the sun was setting... and you know what... it's probably another one of those great tourist attractions that's actually ruined by the tourists. And not to be particularly racist, but the Asian tourists were the worst... or it could just have been that there were more of them than anybody else. But they were noisy and just sitting in the windows, not looking at the views, taking up space, and generally in the way.
Of course, as soon as the sun was making its last hurrah before slipping below the horizon, that side of the tower was heaving with people.
And there are all manner of lights and displays and things shining on the inside of the windows that stop you getting decent photos.
But having said all of that... it was pretty damn spectacular.
We stayed up there for quite a while, and thankfully by that point all of the noisier tourists had gone on their way.
And it's saying something when your ears pop as you come back down in the very, very fast elevator.
We can certainly pack a day though... that was very definitely 12 non-stop hours (well, apart from when we came back here and rested).