fortieth birthday sydney trip - day two

happy birthday from newtownis it a tiger, is it a puffin, is it a tigerpuffin?
Today has to be amongst the strangest birthdays I've ever experienced, and not just because I turned 40.

I slept like the proverbial log (that's what getting up at 4:45 and going the bed at midnight will do for you) but woke up later than I'd intended, but lay in bed for a little while before getting ready and trundling down to Ma's room, shoes and Newtown map in hand.

Ma wished me happy birthday and gave me a slightly gigantic Tinkerbell card, complete with glitter... because, you know... 40 and everything. And then we headed out to breakfast.

yeah, i'm a forty year old man with a thing for tinkerbellgaytm indeed
For some reason even though all my blog references to The Morrison were reasonably positive, I was harbouring a bad memory of the place for some unknown reason. Ma was enthusiastic though and it's only just down the road from the hotel, so I decided to trust Ma and Past Me instead of Current Me, and we headed on over.

They don't do breakfast in the main restaurant anymore, which is a little disappointing, but instead it's in the cosy little "burger" venue at the back. I think they were just about to open that last time we were here... I have a memory of the signage and everything being there, but it not being open yet.

Anyway, we headed on in, found one of the tall tables and some stools and sat down to peruse the menu. It's not a long menu so it didn't take all that much perusing. We both decided on the bacon and eggs (with spicy tomato sauce)... poached for me and scrambled for Ma and a couple of coffees.

a hearty birthday breakfast to start the daynewtown felix and his clones
While we were waiting for breakfast I got to observe not just the cute barrista boys, but also the stream of work-bound folks stopping off at their window for a "walk thru" coffee... which passed the time.

Breakfast was really good... yes, because we were sitting under some very harsh lights both the bacon and eggs look very oily, but it wasn't quite so bad in reality. And while the coffee wasn't up to the same standard as last night, it was a very good coffee.

However the spicy tomato sauce was a bit of a waste of time since I hardly used any of it.

the queen mary 2 with the manly ferry for scalerawson institute for seamen
After breakfast we headed back to the hotel briefly, picked up some more snackables from the fruit and veg stall on the corner and dropped them off in the room before heading down to Circular Quay to check out the Queen Mary 2.

One of my Twitter followers had apprised me of the fact that it was docked for the day so it had to be worth a look. I will say that it's a bloody big ship. Boat. Ship. Whatever.

However I cannot think of any worse holiday than a cruise. Actually that's not completely true, but of the holidays that you wouldn't count as being "in the great outdoors", that's on the list... right up there with lying around, not doing anything, "relaxing"... boring!

stand behind the yellow linepterodactyl man
It does make for interesting photos though, especially since I think it's the largest cruise liner in operation in the world. And I'm pretty sure the top deck comes up higher than the roadway on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

From there we headed up to the train station and grabbed a couple of tickets to Newtown. Thankfully this time around there were no inexplicable instances of anyone doing a gigantic faceplant in the middle of the street.

Newtown is definitely my kind of suburb though... as we were wandering around, two complete strangers came up to me while I was photographing street art to let me know that there was more street art down there or over there or whatever the case may be. Onya Newtown... I love a suburb that points out its street art for visitors.

newtown stationa banana where the crumpler store used to be
Part of the reason we headed out that way was that Ma wanted to check out the Crumpler store down there like we did last time. Which I had no problem with... the only problem was that the store isn't there anymore.

We've actually had some bad luck that that this time around... Wagamama's gone, the Crumpler store's gone, the bed/bath shop in Newtown where I bought my merman last trip is gone, the little bookshop in the Rocks which we never actually went into but was still a groovy little store is gone... not sure what's going on Sydney, but could you stop now please?

Unlike our last trip where we trekked all the way down to May's Lane in St Peters, this time we pretty much stayed around Newtown... I'm sure there are other more interesting things than what we saw, but if someone could point out exactly where to find them for next time, I'd appreciate it. We did find a lot of cool street art though.

newtown thoughtsenmore stripes
We did wander up King Street for a bit, but then circled around the St Stephen's church park area and just wandered up and down the backstreets for a while. Oh, and if anybody reading this knows Newtown... there were a couple of trees around that area that were making the most horrendous noise. I don't think it was actually the trees, but there was some major din coming from them but I couldn't see any bats or birds or insects or anything... All very strange.

Essentially we just wandered aimlessly for a while going from street art to street art until we ended up on Australia Street around lunch time, so decided to head to Black Star Pastry for lunch.


black star pastrymy birthday lunch
I now have a brand new favourite eating establishment in Newtown, and that is the very queer friendly and (I'm assuming) lesbian run Black Star Pastry. We had a couple of their ham rolls, which sounds kinda boring, but were amazing... nice chewy bread, delicious ham, tasty basil leaves... yummy! And because it's my birthday I decided to have one of their chocolate éclairs. OH! MY! GODDESS!

Yeah... new favourite éclairs too. And you have to love it when they write the name of the bakery on the éclairs. Well, technically over two eclairs, so half of them say "black" and the other half say "star". And all filled with gorgeous chocolate custard... YUM!

From there we wandered the other way down King Street for a bit and checked our Reclaim by Monica Trapaga (former Playschool presenter amongst other things)... it's an upmarket second hand/vintage store, but full of really interesting things. We didn't stay all that long, but it was worth a visit.

reclaim... the vintage car reflection was a happy accidentreclaim interior
Then we circled back around chasing some street art and ended up on Enmore Road, where I couldn't go past Holy Kitsch and Curios... it's heavily Mexican Day of the Dead inspired, but full of really wonderfully quirky things. I couldn't resist the Día de los Muertos inspired print of Shakespeare.

From there it was back to the station and then back to the CBD.

Oh and I discovered something on Sydney trains that I wasn't aware of until today and I was a little bit blown away by.... and also think it's the coolest thing ever (so all my Sydney readers can ignore this next bit).

we did happen to bump into this film crew on the backstreets of newtownthe newtown hipster in his native environment
The seats in Sydney trains are reversible... the backrest is attached to two swivel arms at either end and I'm guessing when a train needs to start going the opposite way they walk through (or maybe there's a button somewhere) and flip all the backrest so the seats face in the opposite direction.

First they're double decker trains... and now they transform... too cool (within the confines of the fact that I'm easily amused).

When we got back to the CBD we headed down to The Rocks to have a quick look at the food market. I'm pretty sure I've said it every time we’ve been to Sydney, but if I lived here and worked in the city, I would make it my mission to get my butt down to the Rocks every Friday to work my way through all the food on offer. It all looks so damn yummy... and some of the guys cooking/serving aren't bad either.

fine food store boys... and oddly every person in this photo is a guywhy they kept the pretty one up the back, i don't know
We didn't buy anything other than some gelati and then wandered back to then hotel to drop off some stuff, have a short rest and get our hats, which I stupidly said we didn't need when we left this morning. Short version, we did... although I'm not really that burned, more just a little pink around the edges.

Yesterday I discovered that the step between the lounge area and bedroom area in my hotel room was a little wonky, and then this morning found that it was actually just flat out broken, so I reported it when we got back to the desk and the nice lady on reception sent the maintenance man up. Sadly I have the worst possible luck with maintenance men, so while he was speedy, he sadly wasn't the stereotypical hunky tradie type.

After he had been and gone I got my stuff together and headed down to Ma's room so that we could head back out again. Since we do tend to go more up and down George Street and the nearby streets when we're staying in this hotel, we decided to get out of our general comfort zone and head down to the Museum of Sydney.

museum of sydneythe pavers in the courtyard lay out the footprint of the first government house
We’ve been to the gift shop a couple of times, but never to the Museum itself.

It's actually a really interesting museum... quite small, but it's all about Sydney (unsurprisingly)... plus they have an exhibition on at the moment called Suburban Noir where various artists have produced work based on or inspired by Sydney forensic photographs from the 1950's I think.

There was also a documentary running about the forensic/police photographs which was really, really interesting and we ended up staying for the whole thing. Even though they're not artistic photographs and often not of pleasant things, there's something compelling about the photographs, and I really enjoyed seeing them.

denison street eyecamperdown peeper
After we wandered through the rest of the museum we headed back to the hotel to have a rest before headed back out for dinner and my real birthday present.

The rest mostly consisted of me getting more of my notes down for the earlier part of the day and then I jumped in the shower and got ready, all in black. I toddled down to Ma's room to join her in her black and white dress from Christmas and together we headed on up George Street for The Galeries and Wagamama.

Having a favourite restaurant, even if it's a chain and there are other restaurants that are essentially exactly the same, and then having that restaurant go away is never easy. I know it's a total First World Problem, but although a lot of things about the Wagamama in the Galeries are the same, some of them seem to be different.

blue smokeswoosh wires on blue
It was a great meal though... as usual we went a little mental on the side dishes... edamame, tori kara age and sweet potato kusabi... the kara age was a little different from the way I remember it, but still tasty. And there really isn't anything you can do to make me not love edamame.

Both Ma and I wanted something other than ramen for the main course, although Ma ended up with something she's had before (chicken and prawn cha han) while I opted for the well named spicy chicken itame. Yeah... that shit was spicy... or not even spicy, just hot with chilli. It did get to a certain point towards the end of the bowl where I swore I couldn’t feel my lips anymore and was starting to see through time. But it couldn't have actually been all that bad, because it pretty much dissipated in the time it took to attract the attention of a waitress and get some dessert. Which, as always, was banana katsu... because it's so damn good.

After dinner we wandered even further up George Street until we got to the Capitol Theatre for The Lion King Musical.

jungle parkingnewtown feathers
I think it deserves its own blog post, but suffice to say that it was absolutely AMAZING.

We don’t usually go wandering almost the entire length of the CBD on a Friday night when we're here though (last time, when we went to Pirates at the Opera House was about the closest, but that was quite a short walk from the harbour to the hotel by comparison. It was definitely an experience, dodging the huge crowds of rowdy folks. And it was quite a relief to get back to the hotel.

So that was how I spent my 40th birthday... in another city, looking at many and varied things. Not the worst birthday by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely up there for most unique.

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1 comment:

Michael said...

The din you heard coming from tree's near St Stephen's was probably the flying foxes ... there is a small colony that live in the large tree's on the grounds. Let us know next time you come to Newtown, and I would be happy to show you around :-)


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