Three Men and a Baby...I mean Amy

Trip Start Mar 08, 2011
Trip End Jun 11, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today was our last day to explore Sydney and unfortunately, it was dark and rainy. We like this city so much better when it's sunny and warm!  We had initially thought of going to the zoo but since that’s an outdoor activity we had to narrow down our choices to indoor options.  As usual, we slept in a bit and all met up in the lobby for us to 'decide’ where to eat breakfast.  I use air-quotes when speaking about ‘deciding’ anything with this group of 3 guys who could care less and then me.  It’s like pulling teeth to get any of them to express an opinion of what they want to do or what we should do.  Let’s just say all this apathy makes for a very long decision making process.  Eventually we headed to a dim sum restaurant we’d seen the previous day when looking for a dinner place.  It was right near our hotel and was packed, even late morning on a weekday.  The dim sum was delicious although much more expensive than in China!  We ate ourselves silly, as usual, with steamed dumplings, wontons, soup and noodles.  We still can’t get enough of this stuff! 

We then headed to the shopping streets in the CBD and specifically I was interested in the Strand, a boutique mall of shops that had been there since the 1800s and the brand new Westfield mall across the way.  The Strand has beautiful little shops and one of my favorite was the men’s hat shop that sold authentic Australian hats and such.  We then went across the way to the new mall and I spent a while exploring the Jurlique store.  I think they sell these products in the U.S. but they are all natural Australian made lotions and beauty products.  I spent a while talking to the salesgirl and trying on different things before settling on some plain old hand cream.  It’s what I’m using now and going into colder climates I’ll definitely need.  I also didn’t want to buy too much because if I can get the same product in the U.S. then it’s for sure cheaper there.  I was very happy with my lavender cream. 

By this time I’d lost most of the boys (my plan worked!) so we had to corral everyone and then continue on our way.  We visited a few other stores and my favorite was a posh department store called David Jones that had a whole food shopping center in the basement where you could get either grocery goods to prepare at home or ready-made food.  I’m a sucker for a good food market so I spent some time just wandering around eyeing all the goodies.  I know we talk about food a lot but I just can’t help it – there’s so much great food out there!  We had some dessert cookies and decided to head to the Aquarium as we’d heard it’s a good sight and it wasn’t too far from where we currently were.   It wasn’t too far a walk and the rain was starting to let up a bit.  When we got there it looked like a fun place right near Darling Harbour but there were two problems.  Firstly, it was jammed with kids on school field trips.  Secondly, it was really expensive ($35AUS which is like $45US/per person) to go and none of us were that excited about going in the first place, it was just a rainy day filler activity.  Time to regroup.  We took out our maps and books and decided that we were close to the monorail station and we could take it to Paddy’s Markets, a shopping marketplace. 

We enjoyed the monorail ride quite a bit (save Dave and Ken’s "monorail, monorail, monorail!" jokes from Seinfeld) as it took us in a loop around the city so we could see a few more sights.  We were then let off right in front of Paddy’s Markets.  Today was Wednesday and they are only open Wednesday through Sunday and it’s also wintertime (off-season) here so I wasn’t surprised that most of the stalls were closed and those that were open were not selling anything I’d be interested in buying.  We do enjoy a good market, though, and took our time wandering through each aisle through all the souvenir stalls, clothing stops and even the fruit and vegetable section.  By this time we’d split up as staying together as a group in this type of market was impossible so it took some time to get everyone back together.  Ken and Adam enjoyed the discount souvenir stalls and had several bags as proof.   We walked out of the market and unfortunately it was still crummy weather.  We headed towards George street which was in the direction of our hotel when we saw signs for Mary Poppins playing at the nearby theater.  Adam was very excited about this and so we all trooped over to the Mary Poppins ticket office but we’d missed the matinee and the evening showing was super expensive ($145AUS/ticket), especially for a show that only Adam wanted to see.  So, plan B was a nearby pub that was at least warm and where we could have a drink. 

By this time it was very late afternoon, almost evening and getting dark.  The rain was also getting worse.  So we headed back to the hotel but firs t stopped at a grocery store nearby so Adam could pick up Tim Tams for some friends (good choice, best cookies ever!) and we could grab a snack.  It was now past 5pm and rush hour so everything was jammed which made it a bit difficult to get around, but Dave still managed to pick up a sausage roll from Pie Face, a local meat pie stall we’ve seen around.  He’s had better sausage rolls, but the snack hit the spot.  Once everyone had their purchases we finally headed back to the dry hotel.  We decided to take a rest for a bit and meet back up around 7pm for dinner.  Earlier the previous day at the Bridge Climb, our guide Mel had mentioned the Australia Hotel as being one of the oldest establishments in the city where we could enjoy local food and our choice of 96 beers.  As this was our last night it sounded like the perfect place for dinner – and to watch the State of Origin Rugby match where the state of Queensland played New South Wales (apparently equal to the Superbowl in the U.S.). 

The Australia Hotel was near the Rocks so we took a taxi and had a bit of an eventful ride since we didn’t know exactly where it was and the taxi driver seemed to think it wasn’t his fault he didn’t know, we should know.  We arrived and there were mostly locals at this tiny bar and they were sitting outside under heat lamps since there were only like 3 tables inside.  We took a table and ordered at the bar – Dave and I shared Greek Salad and pizza with veggies and meat while Adam tried the crocodile pizza and The food was delicious but even better was my beer – the menu recommended it with my salad and it was called Skinny Blonde.  It was delicious and I noticed that the bottle had a buxom blonde in a pink bikini which I thought was cute.  An hour or so later when I had finished my beer and we’d moved inside to watch the match I notice that the girl on the beer bottle is completely naked!  I asked Dave if he remembered it that way when I got it and he didn’t but sure enjoyed it now. 

I think it’s one of those bottles that changes when it gets warm/cold – her bikini either is on or off!  It entertained me during the 3 hour match because even though I do like rugby watching it for 4 hours with 3 guys who just sit there drinking their beers wasn’t exactly thrilling.  It was all good fun though as the game did start to get good the last half hour when NSW started to come back but as predicted, Queensland won the title.  It was still raining so we hopped a cab back to our hotel to pack up as we were leaving the next day.  What a nice way to spend our last evening in Sydney!
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