fortieth birthday sydney trip - day four

bondi morning swellwalking out
Today was a fairly early start... couple that with the fact that I got more than my usual dose of sunlight, plus I haven't had a lot of water to drink today and the fact that I've been lying down for a little while and I'm kind of muddleheaded at present.

Hopefully I can manage to string a reasonable sentence together...

Like I said, today was an early start... as I mentioned yesterday, we've been starting our days later on this trip mostly because of me, so I wanted to remedy that, especially since we were going down to Bondi, and it was supposed to be fairly warm, so the earlier the better really. We managed to get out of the hotel by about 7:30 or so and headed down to Circular Quay to catch the bus down to Bondi just before 8.

bondi cloud coversurfer tattoo arm
Other than the stretch along Oxford Street, it's not the most exciting of trips. I was thinking along the way that for a major tourist attraction, the only real way to get there isn't all that glamorous. However Oxford Street had a few moments of amusement, like the fact that there were still The Gays emerging from The Exchange Hotel at 8am and loitering on the footpath... go home homosexuals, you're drunk and its morning.

Anyway, when we got to Bondi we headed down to the beach and wandered along the path along the beach (does that have an actual name?) so I could enjoy perving on hot beach boys with the aid of my telephoto lens.

When we got there there was a weird mist or spray or something happening at both ends of the beach... it made for some interesting light (and some very interesting photos, although what's weird is that the photos that are misty straight from the camera end up looking perfect with a little auto contrast).

surf club breakfast cheflittle surf dog
About half way down the beach there was a little dog making all manner of noise, not barking, just whining... his master must have been off in the surf and the little dog was fretting about it and had gotten his lead all tangled in the fence. I went over to try and help him untangle himself, but all he did was lick my hand and then sit on my shoe. Stupid blonde dog. He did stop whining though, at least until I headed on down the path... and managed to untangle his own lead.

At the other end of the beach we saw all the little pink singlet clad Nippers having some sort of awards presentation (graduation maybe?) for a bit before heading up to Porch and Parlour for breakfast. It was another place that someone from the social medias had been to not that long ago and I thought it sounded interesting. Turns out lots of other people also thought it was interesting because it's only a little store with limited space and there were a lot of people there.

We ended up having to wait outside for a bit, but it gave us a chance of peruse the menu and decide what we wanted so when a couple of seats freed up at the counter, we slotted in there.

old skewl bondi tattoosbreakfast at porch
I'm a little ambivalent about the whole experience to be honest... the food was nice, but not amazing... the staff's attitude varied from cute and perky to inexpressive and off-putting. It was a vegetarian place (there were eggs, so that means it can't be vegan, right... or they were ovo-vegans or something, I don't know) so no bacon... instead I chose the brown rice porridge with poached pear which sounded interesting and Ma had the toasted museli and we washed that down with a couple of berry juices.

My porridge wasn't so much like porridge as it was essentially runny rice pudding... which I don't have a problem with, but it was neither thick enough or hot enough. The pear was nice though, as was the juice.

After breakfast we wandered back along the foreshore to the other end, and then wandered along Campbell Parade looking for the Bondi Markets. Only really because we were there and it was Sunday, because we weren't all that impressed with them last time. This time, even more so... but it did fill up some time.

market bag treein the pink
Even so, by the time it was like 10:30am it felt like it was about 3pm. I don't know if that was because of the quality of then light or the fact that we'd been up and out so early, or what, but it was weird.

After the markets we had a poke around the Aquabumps gallery for a while... not with the intention of buying anything, just because, and then jumped back on the bus and came back to the CBD.

All that and it was only noon when we got back.

shell curlsstriped surfer
I have to say that although beaches and I really don't go together (at least not in summer... winter is a whole other matter)... we really don't have anything in common... I don't like them, they don't like me, etc... but even given all that I have a weirdly symbiotic (or maybe parasitic) relationship with them because that's where guys go to wear very often the minimum legally required clothing and parade around. And that I do like, quite a lot.

But I think, having now seen both Bondi and Manly... I feel like I prefer Manly. Partly because Manly is an easier beach to take photos at since it's a lot narrower than Bondi and partly because the way of getting there is so much nicer. Also, Manly actually has some shade along the beach, which Bondi is sadly lacking.

Given that my breakfast hadn't been overly filling or fulfilling, we decided to go and grab some lunch once we were back into the city... although between us getting off the bus and making a quick detour into Customs House for a bathroom break the weather went from hideously sunny to grey and raining in the space of about five minutes.

shirtless in tealknitted coral at customs house
So we wanted somewhere not too far away, where we could sit and rest our weary feet, and eat good food.

We settled on Jamie's Italian... we'd been talking about trying to go there for an early dinner tonight, but it seemed more sensible to have a big lunch and then a smaller dinner.

And I do approve of whoever designed the waiters outfits for Jamie's Italian... and whoever is in charge of employing their waitstaff generally... not only are they knowledgeable (and the American girl who served us was lovely), but the boys are very handsome... and with jeans and an apron that leaves a triangle of space at the back plus a big chunky leather belt/pouch with some featured buckle action... plus the white shirts... it's a pleasant look.

prosciutto, pear and pecorino salad at jamie's italian
In some ways it wasn't quite as good as last time... I think last time all the waiting and the lines and feeling very exclusive made for a heightened dining experience... plus I think I made better food choices last time. This time around we didn't want big enormous meals, so I settled on the burger and Ma had the prosciutto, pear and pecorino salad. I've said it before, and I really should listen to myself... as a general food item, burgers should be off my radar 99.9% of the time. And it's not that the burger was bad, it just felt a little under-seasoned... or lacking in some sort of flavour profile. The polenta chips are very nice though.

But whatever deficit there may have been in the main course was more than made up for by the Tutti Fruitti Lemon Meringue Pie. Seriously, that's not so much a pie as it is a religious experience. And I've never eaten anything more slowly in my life. YUM!

When we were finished lunch it was only around 1:30 but we both needed a rest and to take out shoes off... plus at that stage it was still raining, so we came back to the hotel for a while.

yellow trioa big yellow board
A couple of hours and some journaling on both our parts later and I wandered down to Ma's room to try and nut out something of a plan for the rest of the afternoon. And if there is one thing that Ma and I suck at, it's coming up with a plan without any general guidelines. The only thing we were sure of was that we wanted to avoid as much of the St Patrick's Day blarney going on around the city as possible. Oh and to not do a hell of a lot of walking. One of these we accomplished better than the other.

In the end all we really came up with was having a wander before heading back up to Wagamama for dinner. Neither of us wanted anything overly heavy for dinner and the chicken ramen at Wagamama had been calling my name seductively since Friday night.

We started our wander with the Opera House... however for some reason every tourist in the city (well anyone who wasn't in Hyde Park getting their Irish on) was down by the harbour taking photos. We took a stroll around the Opera House forecourt, which was reasonably deserted (I swear some tourists never get further than the Opera House steps given their behaviour today).

blue green waterstar runner
After we'd circled around the Grand Dame's skirt we found a spot out on the forecourt to sit and soak up the atmosphere.

And by soak up the atmosphere I mean be in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time while a quartet of Asian girls played every possible version of smartphone photography... selfies, you take me on your phone, now take me on my phone, then get one of these guys who seem to be with us but aren't invited to be in any of the photos to take one of all of us... then in twos and threes and always with the pause between so everyone in the photo can check they weren't blinking and their hair is okay.

All it really needed was narration by David Attenborough... it was perhaps not entertaining, but nicely diverting.

Eventually we’d had enough of people watching and decided to head up to Wagamama the long way, via the Botanical Gardens.

Yeah, it seems like completely the wrong direction, and maybe it was, but it let us wander through the Gardens, even though the light was fading, and it was a much gentler incline than going straight up the hill. It did however mean a lot more walking... of course so did going all the way up to Wagamama at The Galeries.

Once we left the Gardens by the State Library exit we wandered up the hill, giving Hyde Park if not necessarily a wide berth, then at the least an appropriate one before we got to Wagamama.

The place was a lot less crowded than Friday night, unsurprisingly, and we had a whole big table to ourselves for most of the meal before we were joined by some real live Irish folks from the St Patrick's celebrations... which was good if only because I got to hear hot Irish boys talking Irishly at each other.

As far as dinner went, it was a much simpler meal compared with Friday... just a plate of edamame and two bowls of chicken ramen. Man I love their chicken ramen!

Then, once we were done, we wandered, very slowly, back to the hotel, very full of soup.

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