april in sydney - day two

mays lane boysfollow the grey eyebird
I really didn't have the greatest night's sleep last night. I'll partially chalk it up to it being a new hotel room once again and partially due to the fact that this is the first bed other than my own that I've slept in since I injured my back.

I don't remember waking up throughout the night, but I did wake up with a headache, although that could partly be a lack of hydration since Ma and I both forget to drink water when we're wandering around.

I woke up fairly early... although a couple of times I just shut my eyes again and went back to sleep, but by the time I got up it was still only about 6am. So I did what I always do... both on holiday and off, fucked around with my phone until it was time to get my ass into gear.

After I had a shower and got ready I took my camera bag and whatnot and with my shoes in hand, just like every I do on every trip we make together, I padded next door to Ma's room.

We made a plan of attack for the first part of the morning, at least until our main expedition could take place... first we headed across the street to drop all the postcards for The Junior Nut House in the mail (with a brief stop at one of those many and varied Sydney kiosk venders for some fruit and veg nibblies for later), then off to breakfast, followed by the purchasing of appropriate public transport tickets.

There wasn't really an exact plan for breakfast, so we decided to head down to The Rocks, maybe to the awesome French patisserie for something, but on the way we went past The Morrison on George Street, which we'd looked at from across the street yesterday and thought could be an option... so we figured why the hell not... plus we didn't want anything all that massive.

It wasn't bad either... very funky décor, kind of an inside/outside/rustic vibe, and seemingly quite popular with the CBD Executrites, since the place was full of them.

Although the waitress was either slightly snooty, or bored, or just not into us or something, because she wasn't overly pleasant... to make up for her we did have a quite cute (more personality than looks, although he wasn't bad), very gay waiter who kept bringing us the wrong things. First the wrong beverages, then when he got mine right he brought Ma a cappuccino instead of a latte... then he brought us out the wrong breakfast. Actually it wasn't that they were wrong in the sense that they got our order wrong, more that he kept trying to give us the stuff that was destined for another table.

We both had the bacon and egg butty... which was good, especially the spicy tomato sauce, although I'm not sure how well a brioche bun worked with egg and tomato sauce... it was a little too delicate and prone to turning to mush I think. The hot chocolate was excellent though.

feeling the feels in newtownscraping back the layers in the rocks
After breakfast we headed down to Circular Quay to purchase our highly overpriced bus/train/ferry tickets.

Now, just as an aside to all the Sydney folk who read my blog: If I want to be able to catch the train, the bus and the ferry, with multiple trips that can be used for a long period of time, ie not just a weekly ticket, what the hell do I ask for? We had one last time but I don't know if that included the trains. And why the hell don't you have a more efficient and cheaper system for tickets... $44 for a week-long ticket feels somewhat excessive, even if you can catch three different types of transport with it.

Then, because we were already down by Circular Quay, we wandered down to the Opera House, for no real concrete reason, just because we were there and it was there and I wanted to get some more photos when the light was in a different place. We also had a look under the concourse at some possible places to eat tonight before we head to the Opera House... and it didn't look too bad.

After some aimless wandering, we came back to the hotel to drop some stuff off, take a bathroom break and then headed off down to Circular Quay to catch the train out to Newtown.

facepalm pasteupshoes nailed to a pole... bless you newtown
We made it all the way down the hill, and were on the home stretch, walking across Albert Street, with me slightly in front, more or less like we have done a billion and one times, and then from behind me I hear this shout of, I think, "Oh", or some other random noise of not-goodness that made me turn around, just in time to see Ma halfway through a stumble that she was too far away from me for me to help her, and all I could do was watch her do a giant faceplant.

A million and one things rush through my head, most of them involve hoping that she's okay, but I started doing the usual cataloguing of injuries and possible problems that I usually run through when I do my own faceplant.

Mostly though she just scared the living daylights out of me. I think I was running on more adrenaline afterwards than she was. But we picked her up, dusted her off, got her onto the footpath on the other side of the street and assessed the damage.

Fortunately she wasn't all that badly hurt, she didn't scrape her knees up, although they may be bruised tomorrow... she did scrape her elbow along the road though... and the weirdest of all, I think her glasses must have smacked her in the eye socket somehow, because pretty much immediately the skin over her eyelid turned into a giant, puffy bruise, almost like a blood blister. Gross as hell, but she says it didn't actually hurt, it was just weird having something over your eye like that.

newtown trashnewtown treasure
By the end of the day the swelling had gone down a bit but the bruising had spread out and was kind of sliding down the side of her eye socket, so it looked like she was wearing some really horrible eyeshadow.

Because the graze on her elbow was bleeding, we hobbled off to the chemist to chat with the somewhat blasé chemist and get Ma some "bruise cream" (I'm not sure what it actually is but it's supposed to be good for bruises) and some of the biggest band-aids that I have ever seen in my life.

And then we, very carefully, headed up to the station to wait for the next train to Newtown.

Poor Ma... I've tried not to let her get more than an arm's length or so away from me when we're walking around all day, and have probably asked her twice as much as usual if she's okay... and I usually ask her that quite a lot when we're out and about anyway.

The train ride was fine... other than me asking Ma if she was okay a lot, and the semi running theme of noisy children who fortunately go away after short periods of time.

blue sky newtown doggreen tree newtown dog
We got off at Newtown Station and wandered up King Street a little, found some Sydney street art, finally, and I released some more eyeBirds into the wild... if anyone sees one, let me know!

Our first stop on King Street was the Crumpler Clearance Store to check out whether they had any of the Hillman Hunter mini courier bags, since they're now a discontinued line. Turns out that yes, they did, even though they only had black left.

Actually compared with how the store looks in the interior photos on Google Maps, it was remarkably sparse... like almost no merchandise sparse. But I guess it's their clearance store and if they're not clearancing a lot of stuff. We did get what we went there for though, even if it's not in the colours we would have chosen.

We continued up King Street in the opposite direction from the way we were planning on heading, just to have a look around... and in the window of Holy Sheet, of all places, there were some sparkly tailed mermen ornaments hanging in the window... I've seen them before, they're by December Diamonds, who do a lot of that kind of ornament, but I've never found anywhere that would ship them here. Turns out the guy who runs the store was given on by his sister and he contacted them and ordered them for his shop.

So I bought one... Tattoo... it's wrong, but still kinda hot.

Then we switched to the other side of the street and wandered back down King Street in search of a couple of places that the Kidrobot website had listed as stocking their merchandise.

It was not a successful expedition, and if we hadn't been going that way anyway to May's Lane then I would have been really annoyed.

As it turns out, the first place no longer exists and the second place definitely doesn't stock their stuff anymore... or at least they don't have anything in stock at present and there really isn't any indication that they ever did.

So I'll be sending an email to the nice folk at Kidrobot when I get home informing them of both of those facts.

phibs' redheaded girlblue eyed garage girl
Fortunately Newtown seems to be where all of Sydney's street art lives... okay, maybe not ALL of it, but it certainly has its fair share... so there were lots of photos taken, as is pretty self-evident from the contents of this post. And I also released a bunch more eyeBirds as we sent along... I'm not sure exactly how many to be honest.

Eventually we found ourselves at May's Lane... which I've been wanting to do since we started coming to Sydney.

Like all places where street art tends to accumulate, there are times when it's all very much one kind of style, and others when it's a whole other kind of style, or you might miss a piece by your favourite artist because it happens to get covered over the week before you get there (not that that was the case, at least as far as I know).

There were some very good pieces... some were not so great... and some weren't my preferred style, but were still good... and some were fairly m'eh.

mays lane zenstreet art grooves
But I'm glad I can finally say "Yes, I've been to May's Lane".

It was however, very difficult to keep an overly solicitous eye on Ma when she kept wandering off while I was taking photos...

We couldn't decide on what to do about lunch, and while there may be some excellent places in Newtown to eat (suggestions are more than welcome, as are suggestions for other places besides King Street to visit in Newtown), we didn't see anywhere that really got us excited enough to walk all the way back up King Street, so we hopped back on the train at St Peters and came back into the city.

i think they filmed part of the matrix here... also parts of dark citythe shiny tiles made for some weird optical illusions
After an emergency pitstop at David Jones... which involved finding the damn bathrooms across two different floors... we headed up to the foodcourt at the top of Westfield Sydney.

Now, everybody say it with me... Westfield Sydney foodcourt at 1pm on a Friday afternoon is not a nice place to be. There were just too, too, too, too, too, too many people... people getting in the way of people left, right and centre... people getting in the way of the people getting in the way of people... and all of those people getting in our way. It was just too hard to move around, let alone trying to pick somewhere to eat, and then having to actually try and buy anything.

So, by mutual agreement, we got the hell out of there.

Instead we decided to head down to The Rocks in search of viddles after a brief stopover at the hotel on the way just to drop off our purchases. One of the Sydney foodtrucks, the Eat Art Truck, was down by the Passenger Terminal, so we went down there to sample their wares.

I had the pulled pork bun, while Ma opted for the Cajun chicken bun. The pulled pork was very tasty... not as good as the pulled pork at Pearl's Diner maybe, but still very tasty.

this should be sydney's state flowerthe other kind of tree house
After our late lunch, we wandered around the bits of the Rocks Market that were around... which, honestly, wasn't very much. I swear that there's been more stuff around on a Friday on previous trips, although my memory could be playing tricks on me.

Sadly there wasn't anything that looked particularly good dessert-wise, so we decided to stop off at Guylian. I need to have a look back at what I said when we stopped off their on a previous trip, because while the drinks were quite good, the cakes were okay but not stellar, but the service was kind of shit.

We didn't even order anything that required cooking or heating or anything. All they needed to do was literally take it out of the display case and put it on a plate, so I really have no idea why it took so much longer for the cakes to come out than for our beverages to arrive.

Of course we could have been like the old English lady who came in and must have order a coffee and a cake, and had a bit of a dummy spit due to the fact that they didn't arrive at the same time and she was finished her coffee but the cake was nowhere to be seen.

To be honest, I don't think that that is an isolated incident with them. And Emily, our waitress, didn't really seem all that bothered with being useful.

I think I need to add a note to not bother going there alongside the note not to visit the Westfield Sydney foodcourt during rush hour.

beard guyst peter in the suburb named after him
Anyway, we wandered back up the street to the hotel for our afternoon break before heading out for some dinner and Captain Jack Sparrow at the Opera House.

I was actually pretty tired, so I ended up laying on my bed for a while rather than sitting down and typing out this post... and I ended up feeling a little weird. My face got kinda hot and my feet got very cold... whether that was due to the fact that I wasn't wearing any socks, my feet were hanging off the bed and the door to the balcony was wide open... or whether it had more to do with a distinct lack of water being drunk by both Ma and myself over the last couple of days, I'm not sure. But eventually I got up and hammered out a bunch of notes for this post before getting ready.

I could probably have taken a little more time to be honest...

ganesha by phibs... this is at least the third version he's put up in the exact same spotpurple lettering
In an effort to make sure that we had enough time to have dinner and still be early enough for the show, we ended up being way, way, way too early.

We'd decided on one of the places on the lower concourse of the Opera House, but there wasn't a huge amount of choice (I'm sure I had something nice with noodles from there when I was here last April), but neither of us were really all that hungry, so we settled on dumplings.

Once again I don't think either of us was particularly wowed by either the dumplings themselves (good, not great) or by the service... we didn't get any plates, or any dipping sauces... just the bamboo steamer stack of dumplings and some chopsticks.

Sydney, you kind of need to lift your game. Or else direct me to affordable, yet excellent venues. We've probably had as many disappointing food experiences on this trip as good ones so far.

guardian of mays lanepepe checking out the guys in mays lane
After dinner we headed into the Opera House for Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl performed with live music by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with American conductor, Richard Kaufman.

We had pretty good seats... right in the middle, and with something like this, so long as you can still see the screen, you don't need to be that close to the front. Which we weren't... while we were in the Circle, we weren't all that far back, even though we had to go all the way up to the highest door in the place to get into the Concert Hall.

We’ve only ever been in the Hall, briefly, once before, on our first trip to Sydney when we did the Opera House tour, but neither of us has been to a performance in the Concert Hall before. It really is a stunningly beautiful venue. And given the fact that the interior was, I think, designed in the last 1950's or sometime in the 1960's, it doesn't feel dated in the slightest and has an incredibly timeless feel to the design.

Normally I would probably do a whole post for the concert itself, but I don't know how much I actually have to say about it.

the pirates of newtownsetting her golden sails into the wind
Ma and I have seen the first Pirates movie a number of times (I've probably seen it more than Ma as one of the audio commentaries is one of my favourites), so there wasn't anything new there, although seeing it alongside around 2000 people is something new. Although only about half a dozen of them bothered to wear pirate accessories.

But watching it while listening to music being performed live is a whole other thing. Oddly, at first I wasn't sure if they were playing as well as the soundtrack, because I couldn't always see when the musicians were playing, but as soon as some of the big rousing numbers kicked off and the whole orchestra got involved it was pretty amazing. And it was fun seeing how some of the particularly iconic (at least for me) musical moments in Pirates are achieved (and I think, more often than not, the answer is "violins doing something really cool".

And there were even some musical moments that I wasn't even aware of... so I may need to go back and watch the movie again, paying particular attention to the music.

It was definitely worth going to see though, and not bad for something that I found completely by accident.

The sitting for over two hours wasn't brilliant for my back, but my body hasn't been complaining all that much.

After the concert was over we joined the huge throng of people making their way from the Opera House and back into the city... and found ourselves walking along with a couple of the pirate boys from the audience, which was fun to watch.

Thus endeth the second day...

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