Exploring the CBD

Trip Start Apr 28, 2012
Trip End May 11, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Thursday, May 3, 2012

Newtown seems to have forgotten what the sandwich is. Nathan and I walk up and down King Street in search of one for lunch. All the cafes seem to jump straight from salad to burger. I settle for the latter and Nathan makes do with a wrap. Like almost everything we've eaten in Newtown, they're delicious.

We head into town to explore the city some more. First we go to The Rocks but after snapping a few photos we make a u-turn. The Rocks just feels a bit artificial to us. Instead we head for the botanic gardens. We're surprised by the the park's enormous size. What's most stunning is that on one side of the expanse of grass and trees is the sparkling blue harbour, while on the other the CBD's skyscrapers loom over the park. As we make our way through the joggers and nappers our attention is caught by a fellow tourist taking a photo of a wild cockatoo. He's up close to it and as we approach, more cockatoos join them. Soon it's a happy snappy party of parrots and tourists. The birds are exceedingly friendly. Just as we've had enough and are walking away, one of them lands on a woman's head. Incredible!

We walk into the CBD looking for our bus stop. The skyscrapers tower above us. Our legs begin to ache as we finally find the mall where our bus stop is supposed to be. We decide to quickly have a look at the shops. It's Bell's birthday and we haven't got her a present yet. From the outside, the Queen Victoria Building is impressive, beautifully ornate with copper domes. We step inside. The floors are covered in stunning tiled patters that disorientate me. The mall seems to stretch forever. There are a confusing number of levels and escalators. We head downwards. It's a beautiful mall, but it feels very adult. There's not a toy store in sight. Suddenly we find we are no longer in the mall, but in a rabbit's warren of rather nasty smelling tunnels. And then we're in the mall again, only it's newer and shinier. We find a help desk and ask for toys. The attendant points us to Myers. This, we find, is a giant department store within the mall. We make our way to level four and select a singing, gurgling, swimming bath tortoise. We name him Tommy.

When we surface to daylight again we find ourselves across the intersection from where we started, on the diagonal opposite from the Queen Victoria building. Those smelly tunnels were going under the road! It's a bizarre experience. After more confused meandering we eventually find our bus, tickets in hand. Five hours have passed since we left Newtown. 

The bus takes the long way to Marricksville, our destination. We get off and knock on Si's Dad's door. Inside it's all on, with Bell (one year old today!) and Si's little sisters who are eight(ish) and three. Si's auntie arrives too and everyone, except the birthday girl, gets cupcakes and champagne. There are birthday candles, singing and presents galore. Tommy is a hit.

Things quieten down an hour or so later. Si's auntie has left. Her father and step-mum have taken the opportunity to go out for dinner together. Most of the kids are in bed. Si, Nathan and I enjoy Vietnamese takeaways. The duck salad is a highlight. Allan, sadly, has just come down with an aweful tummy bug. He sits at the table with us but feels miserable. As the evening draws to a close Nathan and I find our way back to a bus stop and 'home' to Newtown, to bed.
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