Australia diary

Centerpoint and beer2 - First days in Sydney

June 4, 1998

My first big hint of being away is when I wake up: the birds do sound different!

My host takes me to have an early breakfast in Circular Quay, which is the place between the Opera and the Harbour Bridge where ferries, buses and trains stop. She goes to work and I start touring around the Rocks, the Opera House. It’s winter and raining, but it’s really pleasant. I send an “arrived safely” email back home from a pay-internet kiosk, and I manage to find my way back home on my own…

When I get back, one of my housemates takes me for a car ride, we get to Bondi beach and Bronte. I sample some draught Foster’s, I Don’t like it even in its homeland. We have a nice lunch at home.

June 5, 1998

Balmoral beachManly beach After sleeping late, to wash away the jet-lag (it’s not that bad), a drive to a huge fish and chips on Balmoral beach (inside the northern harbour), and then to Manly beach (an ocean beach), to watch the surfers and walk back to the ferry wharf on the harbour side of Manly.

June 6, 1998

Godzilla ticketCenterpoint tower A visit to the Saturday Paddington bazaar (I’m staying in Paddington), to do some shopping at the open air market. We eat in an Indian restaurant on Oxford street, the food is very good, I discover one of the pleasures of Sydney is to have so many different cuisines around, and very tasty mixes of these. More shopping (got a tank top in a shop called Ozon’s on Oxford street) and then we go to visit the Sydney Centerpoint Tower (also called the AMP tower). It’s about 300 m high, just a few storey up on a pole, including a restaurant. From there I take a few photos giving a clockwise panorama of Sydney: northeast is the Gap, where the harbour opens to the sea; southeast lie suburbs, with ocean beaches behind; the south is mostly skyscrapers; east is Darling Harbour; and north is the Harbour Bridge.

Then we get to the Hoyt’s cinema downtown, and get to see Godzilla. Well… As my friend puts it, “Isn’t it nice to see a French man save the world?” Maybe… We then go through Kings Cross, the red light and backpacking district, and head back home.

June 7, 1998

A little supermarket shopping, always interesting to see differences on what’s on offer in the supermarkets, then to Bondi, to meet people and eat in an Italian restaurant. Big suprise when my friend asks for a doggie bag, I’d never seen that before and would like to see how a French waiter would reply to such a request. Then back to Paddington, and a walk to Rushcutters bay, the Sydney Yacht Club and marina.

Circular quayOpera HouseCars on the Harbour Bridge At night, we take a train to Martin Place, then a bus to Milson’s Point and walk back to The Rocks on the Harbour Bridge. I get to take blurry photos of Circular Quay, the Opera House, and cars passing by. A couple of Australian dark beers at the Australian hotel, now I know which Australian beers I love.

June 8, 1998

Royal Botanic Garden It’s Queen birthday, my host has a day off, so we walk to Chinatown (close to Darling Harbour), to a Yum Cha place, the Regal restaurant. It’s a huge restaurant (on two levels, I think), you queue to get it, take a seat at an empty table, and ladies pushing food carts come and go. You just pick what you want to eat… Good food, but it’s better to be with someone who knows what’s in the dishes and spoke cantonese at some point! A walk through Chinatown, where I spot interesting manga shops, an Asian supermarket, where I find very tiny boxes of flavoured bubble-gum, with nice cartoon characters on them.

A bus ride to the Opera House, a walk through the Botanic Gardens to Wooloomooloo, and a taxi ride back home.