Australia

QVB and Legally Blonde

Today we are visiting Queen Victoria.  Well, not quite, for that we would have to travel back in time.  I’m visiting the Queen Victoria Building (QVB as it is fondly named) in CBD (Central Business District), Sydney.

It’s the building on the left.  It was built in 1898.  History in stone.  Queen Victoria Building, CBD, Sydney, Australia

And here she is presiding over her domain.

QVB, George Street, CBD, Sydney, Australia

She doesn’t seem jolly, does she?

QVB, Sydney, AustraliaAs soon as I walk in I know I’ll like the place.  Lovely tiles.

It’s an upscale mall.  Most well-known international and the best local designers are here.  I dare not enter any of the shops though. I am already having enough problems with the prices of regular things.  Don’t want to think how high the prices in these stores are.  Besides, I have a knack to pick out the most expensive item in any store I go into.  Sydney, Australia   Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, Australia

So I concentrate on the patterns and burst of colors as I go on the escalator.

QVB, Sydney, Australia

I’m getting dizzzzzyyy!

I have a weakness for colors and stained glass windows, and light coming through and patterns and architecture and history attached and all of them combined!  Stained Glass, Stairs, Color  Stairs, Color, Stained Glass   Stairs, Stained Glass, Color

Unfortunately I do not bring my good camera and capture these images on my small pocket one. I have a small purse and high heels on today for we are going to the theater to see Legally Blonde Theater Ticketsand maybe to the casino.

We drive to Darling Harbour, another busy, bustling shopping center that has a marina.  It is a harbor after all.    Sydney, Australia

The Star Casino is the only casino in Sydney right now and is where the Sydney Lyric Theater resides.   We are a bit early so we walk around.  Sydney, Australia

Lyric Sydney Theater, Sydney, AustraliaWe walk around for about an hour before going into the theater.    Though not exactly embraced very enthusiastically on Broadway it did have good reviews out of which I like Variety’s the best: “It may not be bulging with subtext or boast a score for the ages, but this pinksapoppin funhouse delivers exactly what it promises.”   Click here to read a review of the Sydney ensemble of Legally Blonde.  You come out smiling and that is good enough for me.

Of course, though I can’t hear the hypnotic song of the slot machines, I know they are there and they pull me in as mermaids seduce sailors with their songs.  Hopefully it will not have the same end result on me.  I am happy to report that although I did not win much I left the casino with a bit more money than I went in with.  I may go on a supermarket spree tomorrow with it!

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Categories: Australia, Darling Harbour, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, Sydney Lyrical Theater, The Star Casino | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Walk, But Not on By… and not Laboring on Labour Day

Though I’m living in the Bronte/Waverly area and I can see the ocean from my window I have yet to go to Bronte Beach or finish the upper part of the Coastal Walk which goes from Bronte to Coogee.  I’m sort of in the mid-point.  So today we are off to walk it all!

It’s October 1 and Labour Day (labor for Americans), a national holiday in Australia.  Though a bit on the chilly side the sun is out and it is just the perfect weather to walk around. Being an Angelino has diminished my tolerance to cold and at the least breeze I am shivering!  Don’t know how I am going to handle the real cold in New Zealand.

Keep healthy, Sydney, Australia

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind!!

The street has these clever signs painted on the floor indicating what you will find ahead and the benefits of walking.  Wish I had taken the time to photograph them all, they were so amusing.  I took a photo of only one and it was far from being the best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronte Park, Sydney, AustraliaWe have to cross Bronte Park to get to the beach.

It’s literally like venturing into a forest.  Bronte Park, forest, Sydney, Australia

 

The green starts thinning out eventually and the most wonderful blue peeks through.  Trees, forest, Bronte Park, Sydney, Australia    Blue Sky, Bronte, Sydney, Australia

Up till now the park had little to no people but as we see the beach ahead of us so come the masses.  It’s a holiday, it’s beautiful outside and hence it is crowded.  And though I am not one for crowds there is a festive air that makes it all okay.     Bronte, Sydney, Australia

Bronte, Sydney, Australia

Bronte Beach, Sydney, AustraliaPeople don’t seem deterred by the Dangerous Currents sign.

 

 

 

 

After all, the surfers here all seem to really know their thing…  Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia

Even when the seagulls just stare and wonder what the heck they are doing.

Coast Walk, Bronte, Sydney, Australia

Why do they surf?

The sea is rougher here and rockier making it more fun to photograph.  This photo doesn’t show me at my best but it does show well how I felt.

Happy 🙂

Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia       Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia

We climb heading out towards the Coastal Walk path and what I hope will be a bit away from the crowd.   Bronte, Coastal Walk, Sydney, Australia

I still am just smitten with the custom of having these tidal pools/swimming pools next to the beach.    Sydney, Australia

Ah this dilemma of mine.  Should I point my lens towards the rocks?  Coastal Walk Wall, Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia Or towards the water?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further up there’s Waverly Cemetery which has to have the best view ever!  If I were to be buried I want to be in this prime real estate spot.

Waverly, Sydney, Australia

This is really resting in Peace!

And if I were a lawn bowling enthusiastic I want to belong to this club on top of the hill with the most incredible view.  Bowling club, Sydney, Australia

Of course if I were a bowler I would be looking down as this one is, and not out.  Sydney, Australia

This chatty father and son duo were having so much fun!  Turns out they are from the bowling club close to home that was closed today so they all landed at this club to play. Sydney, Australia

Another beach.  Another swimming pool.  Sydney, Australia

This one was rockier.  Sydney, Australia

 

Some mosaic steps beckon us to take a short cut.  

 We continue on.  Sydney, Australia

 The sun is hiding and as we go we see a photo shoot.  She must be freezing!  

 We end up in Coogee.  Time to take the bus back ‘cause we are definitely walked out!

Categories: Bronte, Bronte Beach, Bronte Park, Coastal Walk, Coogee, Sydney, Waverly, Waverly Cemetery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Seeing Red and so much more…

Starting today with last night won’t confuse you, right?  It seems perfectly normal to me since last night we were surprised with an offer from a friend of Dean’s of two tickets to see a play I knew nothing about:  Red by John Logan, an American playwright.   A play I should have been well aware of since it won six Tony awards in 2010.  It’s about an episode of a Russian/American painter’s life in the late 50’s: Mark Rothko.  Only two actors in it. Quite intense and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We went into a pizza place Pizzeria Rio afterwards.  The owner is Greek and the pizza was wonderful.

I was not about to let the remainder of my 24-hour double-decker fun go to waste and since I realized Bondi Rd. (a street very close to home) was on the bus’ route, I headed over there.   Unfortunately, Citysightseeing Tours stops are not clearly marked –in fact, not marked at all- and I couldn’t find one, so I walked over to Bondi Beach where I knew there was one.  Though still on the breezy side it was a lovely day and off I went.

Yesterday I learned that “Bondi” or “Boondi” is an Aboriginal word meaning water or noise of water breaking over rocks.  The Australian Museum records show that Bondi means a place where a flight of nullas (nulla being an aboriginal hunting stick) took place.   Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club is the world’s first surf lifesaving club.  Bondi Beach, Lifeguard, Sydney, Australia   After asking around I finally found the Tour Bus Stop but have to wait about 20 minutes before their first pick up at 10:00 am.  So I sit on a mosaic bench and stare at the beach.  Breeziness turns the temperature to cold.  Beach, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia  When the bus arrives it takes me up a street I had not been to before. We are headed away from the beach. Dover Heights, Sydney, Australia

It gives me a different perspective and view of the city.   Dover Heights, Sydney, Australia

We go through an area called Dover Heights which I really liked.  Of course it’s one of the most expensive areas in the city.  Property values are above $2 million. It’s hard to avoid views of water no matter where you go.  Sydney, Australia

We go back towards the CBD (City Business District) and we pass Woolworths, Woolworth food store, Sydney, Australia a store that reminds me of the now defunct Woolworth’s of my youth though this one is essentially a food store.

That’s another bus like the one I’m on and The Sydney Tower Eye I went up on yesterday.  It’s a Westfield mall on the first five floors. Sydney Tower Eye, Westfield mall, Sydney, Australia I love that the buildings here have names.  This was one of my favorites.  Sydney, Australia  Town Hall, built in 1875 maintains its dignity while being restored by the scaffolding being cloaked with a veil imprinted with its original façade.  Town Hall, built 1875, Sydney, Australia This Coca-Cola sign is heritage protected.  How lucky for Coke that their ad is a historic landmark!  Heritage protected, landmark, Coke billboard  Coke billboard, Sydney, Australia   After going through city, the bus loop takes me back to where I started.  I have to get off since my 24 hours officially end at around 1:00 pm.

It’s quite chilly so I’m craving something warm. I stop at Chocolatería San Churro which caught my attention when I arrived.    Touring is serious business and considering the weather, I succumb to a cup of hot chocolate before I walk back home.

Back on the road with my legs as transportation I see graffiti that makes me smile…  Graffiti, Park Bench, Bondi, Sydney, Australia   And graffiti takes baffles me, this one is inside an apartment.  Graffiti, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

Though Sydney people are not exactly friendly and outgoing I love how courteous they are.  Something that is reflected even on their mailboxes…

No Junk Mail

Respectfully Decline…

They even give reasons for rejecting things.  This photo is out of focus but it’s kind of appropriate it is so.

No Junk Mail

Your Junk Mail Will Go Unread!

My artist side was fascinated by a whole window display that started off with an explanation of what art is.

Art, Storytelling

Art is About Life

The rest of the window display explained that through the months, a piece of a story would be added and illustrated through found and borrowed objects.  I spent a while reading the story and saddened that it also had a good-bye note saying that the storyteller/artist was asked to vacate.

Storytelling, Art

A story unfolds…

I’m getting hungry and start searching for a reasonable place to eat and find a fish place, The One That Got Away, (half fish market, half fast food restaurant) that has a whole instruction manual on how to order.

Instructions to Order at The One That Got Away

I’m not reading all this just to be able to order!

The One Who Got Away menuAs I order a guy asks me where I’m from and starts talking to me.  I am surprised by the fact that he is a local, they don’t normally approach you and initiate a conversation.  But he was charming.  We exchanged some travel stories, he told me about the big Footy (Australian Rules football) that was on and that he was headed out to the stadium.

Today would be a day of conversation.  When he left, I approached a couple that were talking in Spanish.  He was from Uruguay and she from Argentina.  They shared my same thoughts.  They were shocked at how expensive Australia was even when they knew it wouldn’t be cheap.  They had planned to stay about a month and a half but were returning in a few days after being here a month.   The lady on the left was also speaking Spanish to her mom as she fed her.  It was obvious that her mom had Parkinson’s. My mom had Parkinson’s and their interaction brought back so many memories.  I still miss her so very much.

The One Who Got Away, Sydney, Australia

The One That Got Away

I still have a ways to go and decide to explore a supermarket and get some things to snack on at home.  Found a brand that reminded me of home.  🙂

Latina!!

The city reminds me once again that even with the chill, it is Spring.   I go by a flower store with orchids, trees in full bloom and flowers at ground level.             Orange Flowers

As I get close to the apartment (flat for Aussies and Brits) the bowling club (lawn bowling for us) is in white.

This is how I picture lawn bowling.  So civilized.

Young Bowling Fan

 

The church a block from the apartment is usually closed.  Today, as I pass, it bids me to come in.     

Australia is a very laid back country.  Even the signs take a rest at times…   My turn now.

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Bronte, Dover Heights, Kings Cross, Queen Victoria Building, Town Hall | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Double Decker Fun and in London I Am Not

The washer dryer for our floor is very conveniently located next to the apartment and since I have woken up early I decide to be domestic and do a load of laundry.  I go out in my pajamas for I intend to climb back into bed and write my blog.  And I do so, however I am not alone.  Sox decides that I am an okay human to cuddle up to and as I go into bed he jumps up and snuggles.  I try to put my computer somewhere on my lap but Sox is quite big and heavy and is already asleep.  And I wouldn’t want to disturb him.  cat  cat shoe repairI have other errands to run once my laundry is done and, fortunately, Sox decides he will continue his nap under the sun so I am free to go to the shoe repair place.  I have brought my Born boots that served me so well in the fall when I went to Paris and I hope that they will keep my feet warm and dry in the cold that we will encounter in New Zealand.  But the heels are worn and I want to have them in tip-top shape for the trip.   Once I hand them in I’m off to the bus (I’m so glad to have my bus pass.  Bus Pass This is a pre-pay only bus. Bus stop) that will take me to Circular Quay which is where I saw a stop for the City Sightseeing Hop on-Hop offbus that I am taking today.

The tourist bus stop is in front of the Customs House (which is a library now, as you must know by now).  The place is not very busy today and a Silver Gull (the most common of gulls around here) is the one who greets me.  Customs House, Sydney, Australia  Silver Sea Gull

  Today I am focused on reflections and the juxtaposition of old and new construction.  Sydney has a lot of that to offer.  Reflections, Old and New, BuildingsBuildings, Old vs. New, Sydney, Australia    But I am visually digressing.  I must get my tourist mode on and jump on the Sydney Sightseeing double-decker bus to get a lay of the land and get an idea of what areas I would want to revisit.  The bus is $40 for 24 hours.  It’s a bit breezy today but I am just taking the plunge.  Here we go…  City Sightseeing bus, double decker bus We pass the area of Kings Cross that I would equate a bit to 42nd St. in New York when it was filled with adult entertainment both in the buildings as on the streets.  Love Machine Woolloomooloo with its converted warehouses (into apartments –flats for the Aussies- on the upper floors and hip restaurants on the ground floor) also offers a really nice view of the city.  May be a place I would like to revisit.  Woolloomooloo, Sydney, Australia  Woolloomooloo, Sydney, Australia

Harry’s Café de Wheels is famous for its meat pies which is a staple for Australians.   Harry's Meat Pies, Woolloomooloo, Sydney, Australia Terrace Houses, terraced housing, sydney, AustraliaTerrace houses are my new obsession.  They were built in the 1800’s and are heritage protected so, at least on the outside, they are exactly as they were back then.  They are everywhere and my camera likes them just as much as I do so please bear with me for I will bring them to you a lot.    Terrace Houses, Terraced housing, Sydney, Australia

Mary’s Cathedral will definitely also bring me in at some point. St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia

 The new always follows and this is the RTA (Road and Transportation Authority) headquarters building.  

Back to the old.  Central Station’s (train terminal) clock.  Second to the Customs House it is a very common meeting point.  Central Station Clock, Sydney, AustraliaCentral Station, Sydney, Australia

Onward to Darling Harbour where the only casino in Sydney is.  It is also a huge shopping center.  Bustling.

    

Still liking the new/old overlapping.       And still enjoying looking at now familiar fixtures from a not so common perspective.  Here is the Harbour Bridge from below. And the top of old buildings at eye level.   So far this has been a “hop on and just don’t get off” bus for me but as soon as I spot the Sydney Tower Eye I know I’m hopping off and getting on that elevator to the top.   Bus Driver, please stop!  He did.  I buy a ticket for the Tower at $25 so I won’t have to wait on line and though it would later turn out that there was no line, I did save $1 by buying it on the bus.  As expensive as Sydney is, every little bit counts!  Just in case I am not going to get dizzy enough up on top, the stairs to get to the fourth floor from where the elevator departs, is dizzying enough! There is a Skywalk where you actually walk outside but it’s very windy, you have to change into what looks a skydiving outfit, I’m scared of heights, I can’t take my camera and it costs $40 so I am content to just look outside through the windows.  The photos speak for themselves so I’ll shush up now and let you enjoy.  

 

        

  It’s getting late      so I must take the ride down  (2 ½ min)     I take the double-decker to a few blocks from home.  Turns out I could have taken it there all along.  Ay!

I delight in the snapshots of daily entertainment the bowling club provides me as I walk home.       I look up and love what I see.   And once home am happy that it is not dark enough and I can still grab a quick view of the water from my window.    Feeling almost as if I’m a part of it all here.        The local newspaper, The Australian

Categories: Australia, Central Station, Circular Quay, Customs House, Kings Cross, Ramblings, Sydney, Sydney Harbor, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Woolloomooloo | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

On the Move

Today, 27th of September, we have another change of address.  We are subletting an apartment in Bronte.  It is a close walk to the beach, really on the border of Waverly and Bronte.

Espresso, Kitchen

Getting My Caffeine Fix!

The owner is an American from Boston.  He is at the apartment when we arrive which was good since he showed me how to use his espresso machine.  Yay!!!!  I won’t have to go in search of a café for my morning caffeine fix.  There it is… in the far corner.

Studio in Bronte

Home till we go to New Zealand

I don’t hear a Bostonian accent and it turns out he has been here for 15 years.  However he has American mayo, mustard and hot sauce in the fridge so he still hangs on to some American customs.  Mayo here is nauseatingly sweet, as is the tartar sauce. I am liking this place already.  The studio is nice and airy with pretty much everything that you could need.

Bill is going to Cambodia and I am immediately jealous.  But what am I saying?  I was there and I am now in Australia all in one year.  And New Zealand is next.  I think how fortunate I have been.  This year has been truly chockfull of incredible experiences.

AlleywayWe also have a cat.  Though he doesn’t technically belong to the apartment since it’s Bill’s girlfriend’s cat who lives two apartments down the hall.  But he visits… a lot.

Cat

Meet Sox

And fancies himself as the local “Don”

Cat

Overseeing His Territory

You can’t see it in this photo but we can see the ocean from here.  

The day is spent unpacking and making myself at home and when I wake up the next day I am ready to become Lidia The Explorer once more!  I am dropped off not far from the Circular Quay where the impressive Sydney Opera is.  I choose to come back to this area since I am familiar with it.  Tomorrow I will be more adventurous.   Besides, I needed a place to meet someone who I have been emailing with, Dianne.  I belong to a travel group on-line called The Travelzine.  We have GTG (get-together) with local people from the group when someone visits.  It is really a lovely set of people.

Already I am enjoying the walk.  I like to walk leisurely and capture familiar scenes from unfamiliar viewpoints.

Train Tracks

Train Tracks from Above

It is around 10 am and the city looks almost deserted.  This is a city that sometimes makes you wonder if it really is inhabited.

Street

I am spotting a yacht I wouldn’t mind being on.

Yacht

I forgo the water and head inland where I will meet with my Travelzine friends.  The easiest and most recognizable place is the Customs House which is a library now.  Makes me smile that the street has a reminder as to where to look before you cross.  My mind adds “You, clueless visitor, do not cross before looking both ways or else you will be run over.”

But it would  be hard to be run over here ‘cause drivers are -as a rule- super courteous towards pedestrians.

There’s a bird roaming around the street.  Nobody pays any head to it.  I figure this is Aussie’s equivalent of pigeons.  I’ll have to find out what they call it.   The photo isn’t a good one –the darn thing would not pose- but I think I will easily be able to capture a good one on other walks.    Sydney is starting to bloom.  Keep forgetting that it’s spring.  This is a reminder for me.  Flowers

I get to the Customs House. A local meeting point and a building you will see in more of my posts.  Customs House, Sydney, Australia

Though I was going to avoid the harbor, it beckons and after I find my new friends Dianne and Murray we head to the water for a drink and a chat.  After a few hours I say good-bye and head out to do some more exploring.

These stairs try to guide me back up to land.  Stairs  But I do not climb them and am rewarded with the image of this duck, calmly swimming in the harbor among ferries, yachts, and others.    Duck

I am feeling a bit tired.  The bus pass comes out.  Bus PassYou can buy these bus passes in most newspaper stands.  Handy to have since some buses are “pre-paid only”.

Once back in my neighborhood I am reminded by this sign that though we speak the same language I may actually need (considering the accent and the slang) a dictionary to translate some things.

Do Not Queue

Translation: Do Not Block the Intersection!

 Tomorrow I am taking a sightseeing double-decker bus and expanding my horizon.  

Categories: Australia, Bronte, Customs House, Sydney Harbor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Out On The Farm

We drive about an hour to Peat’s Ridge where Dean’s sister lives.  It will be our home until the weekend.  I don’t see much along the way since it’s pretty dark outside.  We arrive late night but Simone has waited up for us even when she has to wake up quite early to prepare Lily (her horse) and herself and go off to compete the next day.

Morning comes and I wake to the most tranquil of settings.   It is quiet.  Really quiet.  It is so conducive to just relaxing.  I make my morning tea and with my cuppa (Aussie speak for a cup of tea) I open the door and go towards the gate I opened last night in pitch darkness.

Wisteria gives a touch of color along the fence which I thought was lavender (though I have a green thumb I would not be able to identify most plants).  Fortunately Marty, Simone’s boyfriend, knows them all and later helped me name them.  I cut a branch filled with flowers and put it in and I sit with my Mac on the porch to catch up with friends.

I’ve been told to go up the hill for a good walk.  

I think it’s because I love to travel so much that I have a slight fascination towards paths.  So this one is calling to me.  Off I go.  

More flowers along the way which Marty would identify as  Gymea Lilies  You have to look up for these since the flower blooms at the end of a long stalk.  

These two horses held my attention.  I was curious about the patch on the white one’s eyes.  I watched them interact.  It looked as if the brown one was looking after the white one.  He didn’t leave her side.  Later, Simone would tell me that one was blind in one eye and that the brown one was 30 years old, pretty ancient for a horse.  They are the best of buddies and are always close to each other.  

I was going to take a right at the end of the road and go to a Tough Mudder competition that was being held in the area but decided to go back to the house.  Why would anyone want to stress their body to that limit is beyond my comprehension.

As I return the old tree -it is bigger than the house itself- commands my attention.  

Marty comes home.  Simone comes home.  She’s placed third in the dressage competition and scored really well on the other.  Dean comes home.  Dinner in front of the TV and catching Big Brother Australia.  I might be hooked.

Today, Monday, Sept. 26 we are going to Terrigal.

It is a charming village.  The bay is filled with boats.  

This combination of a Sea Rescue and a boat named Dream Catcher attracted me.  Perhaps Sea Rescue is rescuing a dream that may have escaped the Dream Catcher?  Don’t shoot me… I spin tales from very little.  

We go grab a bite to eat at the kiosk on the beach.  Today’s menu is Fish and Chips (French Fries to Americans).    

As I eat I look up, and wonder why these pelicans have chosen to pose on an electrical pole as opposed to the lovely tree they have right next to it.   Up close the bird’s eye looks almost painted on.

 

The sun is coming down so off to Coles it is to get stuff to cook dinner with.   Simone’s son is coming to dinner.

The next day I learn that two little foals have been born that morning and I am taken to see them.  They’re in a field with their two moms.  One of the mares is colicky which can be dangerous for her so she is closely monitored by her owners and vet. The other mare, Gypsy, is in the middle of the field with her brown and white foal.  She sees us at the fence and comes halfway and stands there staring at us and then calmly turns around and goes back to the foal.  She has given us a warning and expects to stay away.  Mothers of all types are immensely protective of their offspring.   What a treat it was to see this.

The rest of the days before we relocate to Bronte, I spend the day relaxing, working around the house, and sharing meals and TV time with Marty and Simone at night.  Really enjoying being part of their daily life.

Categories: Australia, Peats Ridge, Sydney, Terrigal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Bye, Bye Bondi

It’s Saturday, September 22.  Tonight we head over to Dean’s sister’s house in Peats Ridge.  So today I pack in the morning so that I can have the rest of the day to say good-bye to Bondi Beach.  It has truly been wonderful to be at a beach in an apartment where I got to know my neighbors and surroundings and live a bit as a local.

I was going to do the Coastal Walk once again but decide to stay close to home.  It is the weekend and the weather is still beautiful so the people are out and about the beach.

The grass along the beach is also packed with people enjoying the sun.  Perhaps these are the people who do not consider sand between the toes as enjoyable or romantic but still want to be at the beach. I can’t resist some of the graffiti walls and as I pass I photograph.  

I cross the street into Bondi and am fascinated by the mosaic benches.  No one seems to notice them or care.  No one is even sitting on them.  I just photograph them and do not listen to them beckoning for me to sit down since I have barely started my exploration today. 

  

I’m hungry and consider eating at one of the fish places on the beach but decide to go further into the town itself. I pass Gertrude and Alice  that seems to be a café but basically has books outside for sale.  I continue and then make a U-turn.  Has been a while since I’ve heard the name Gertrude.  I imagine very prim and proper women having tea around an inviting fireplace when I read it.  Need to investigate this place. People are having coffee and I smell food.  I go in and it is in fact a café and bookstore.  It’s cozy and I’m digging the vibe inside.

Once done I go back home where I will wait to be picked up and head to our next home: Peats Ridge which is about 45 minutes from town. After getting into the apartment and checking all is ready to move I go outside and as the sun goes down I bid Bondi Beach farewell.

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Switching to Tourist Mode

Today, Friday, September 21, I am going to be a tourist!  First I do the usual: open the door and assess the weather.  It’s early still and brrrr… it’s a bit nippy.

Perhaps that is why the beach is still mostly unpopulated.

Bondi Park is practically deserted.

By the time Dean wakes up the breeze has let up a bit and it is not too cold.  We head out to the bus.   He’s bought me a Bus Pass that makes me feel like a local again.  Never mind that I don’t know where the bus stop is or what bus to take.   This outing will help me familiarize myself with the routes.  We stop at the Circular Quay (which I would have pronounced “kwa” with a long “a” and is actually pronounced “kee”) where the Sydney Opera House is.

The Harbor Bridge greets us.  

I had wanted to do the bridge climb tour where they take you on top of this beautiful bridge.  Was willing to pay the $223 until I saw how high up they go and how windy it could be.  Uh, no thank you!  Ah, but what a view they must get (one that I would not be able to see with my eyes shut!) 

Just in case the sight of this Sydney icon isn’t enough of a recognizable and welcome sight there is a big sign welcoming you to The Opera House.

Didn’t realize that the tiles form a pattern that makes it even more beautiful up close.  1,056,006 glossy white and matte cream tiles!

Across the harbor is Luna Park, an amusement park that immediately brought Coney Island in New York to mind. 

The light is changing and giving the Opera House a different hue.  It’s as impressive up close as it is from a distance.   

One photo of me just to prove I really was here and then we are off toward dinner.  On the way we will see the Opera House from another angle.  But first I glance at the Harbor (Harbour written in Aussie) Bridge once more as the sun goes down.  

People at happy hour don’t seem to give it a second glance while the birds seem to stop and stare.  

And then here, in all its glory, is the Sydney landmark from the other side.

Dinner was at an Italian restaurant, Zia Pina Pizzeria, in The Rocks, a historic area of Sydney’s city center.

We don’t roam much since we have to get back to the Bondi Pavilion to see I Want to Sleep With Tom Stoppard.    My first independent theater outing in Sydney.  I much enjoyed it.  At intermission there’s a large balcony (the theater is on the second floor) from where you can gaze at the beach.

We walk back home.  It’s gotten cold but I am getting to like the fresh breeze on my face and it makes a nice warm bed so much more inviting.

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Bondi Park, Bondi Pavilion, Circular Quay, Luna Park, Sydney, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Come And Say G’day!

I wake up to an absolutely perfect weather on Thursday, 20th September (as they state the day first and month afterwards around here) almost like Sydney proving me wrong to have said that bad weather is the norm here.  I can’t believe it’s been a week since I left Los Angeles and 5 full days of being here.  First time that I go out in short sleeve and don’t even bother to take a jacket.  The sun is up.  The surfers are out. The park is full already at 9:00 am.

I am determined to get my coffee fix today.  Head out to the cleaners first.  Want to take advantage of the sunny sky and take a photo of my two favorite buildings.   Though I have my trusty camera hanging from my shoulder I am almost feeling like a local.  Until, that is, I go into the cleaners.  Name?  That’s easy.  Telephone?  Uh, don’t remember.  Do you need one? The Asian looks up, sighs, says yes, sighs again and then says he needs a phone number in case something goes wrong.  Now I’m really confident in leaving my clothes.  So I give him a number, he seems satisfied and I proceed to walk up the hill into the residential area.

I pass a school which has a mural on its wall which I love.  

The houses on my way up are distinct, with colorful glass panels.  

I find a little café in the hill away from the coast.  After all, one can only take so much of the beach, right???

I usually smile a lot and say hi to just about everyone that crosses by.  Finding that most here avert their eyes when crossing, rarely say hi when eyes meet and don’t smile much.  Once engaging in a conversation they are charming and really quite helpful but to get to that point is not effortless.  Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee fame made it sound that everyone was pretty much open and overly friendly.  Remember the “I’ll slip another shrimp on the barbie for ya” commercial from the mid-eighties?  Or does this mean I am such a product of mass media that I believed?  By the way, for the Aussies it would have been prawn instead of shrimp.  Shrimp was replaced when they did the campaign so as not to confuse Americans.

I head to the Coastal Walk, which I know will keep me on track and help me not get lost.  I find a park way up on a hill with wonderful views.

I sit on a swing.

Find a bench.

I lay on a bench.  I’m starting to get really good at this chilling thing.

Back on the Coastal Walk, I stop a million times to take photos for myself and of others.   “Want a photo of both of you together?”  “Yes please!” was interchanged a lot.

 

 

 

      

I find that the scenery quiets me, makes me contemplative.

  It seems to have the same effect on birds.  🙂

  How could it not?

As I head back down I pass the Bondi Icebergs, a local club.  The swimming pool, where the waves crash into, fascinates me and scares me at the same time.  They have a pretty cool restaurant.  If you show your non-resident of the area document you can go in and eat.

I am getting closer to home now.  Pass some really colorful graffiti.

 And something that reminds me that humans are very similar around the world:  we all like to bend the rules at times. A lone surfer running towards the beach and stopping to assess the waves.

 

As I spot the apartment on the horizon a sort of possessive feeling comes over me, and start thinking of Bondi Beach as mine.

 

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Coastal Walk, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

No Jetlag and No “Nasties”

Monday morning, September 17, and I awake extremely proud of my body not going into jet lag mode at all.  Never mind that the only time I have experienced it was when I flew back to Los Angeles from Hong Kong.  Hopefully I am not jinxing myself and I truly have escaped it.

I haven’t figured out this Telsa broadband stick thing so I am again with no connection.  This is becoming a recurring theme.  So today, after I eat a yoghurt –which by the way, made me laugh out loud when in the nutritional info it stated Nasties: 0%- will head out to the café that has Internet.  It’s either Aussie’s great sense of humor or “Nasties” is their equivalent of “Other”.  I am trying to go as organic as possible and this yoghurt is divine.  I notice that there is an abundance of organic and gluten-free products in the market.

I pass Bondi Park which is right in front of the apartment.   Love the artsy sea serpent kids play on.  

I arrive at Speedos Café, order a very healthy egg white scramble and a not so healthy toast.  They have Internet but as much as I tried I could not connect.  The girl who is serving me asks me where I’m from.  So I tell her and she proceeds to start talking to me in Spanish.  I was a bit surprised.  She tells me she’s from Medellín, Colombia, and that, contrary to what I thought, there are tons of Latinos (according to her, mostly Chilean, Colombian, and Brazilian) in Australia.  She tells me life is hard here and if it weren’t for the fact that she has an Aussie fiancée she would be heading back to her country.  In fact, it was another Aussie that fell in love with her in another part of the world and brought her here.  She’s been here 4 years.  She sings three times a week in a Cuban restaurant.  I seem to be getting people’s life story every time I engage in a conversation and loving it.  People are fascinating.  Their lives are so interesting even when they don’t see it as such.

She tells me of a local food market to buy stuff for tonight’s dinner.  In this short block, up the hill overlooking the ocean is where the locals are.  Ion and Tony’s Market will be my go to grocery store for as long as I’m here.  Filled with organic products and pretty much stocked with anything I need.  The owners are Greek.  One tells me that he went to Hawaii and was disappointed.  He much prefers the Greek Islands where he is from.  How could he not?  He did say the shopping was better than in Sydney.  Cheaper, much cheaper, as well.

As I went up the hill I spotted a turquoise, art deco building.  Don’t have my big camera with me but think I will come back and take a better photo of it.  

At night we went to pick up some things left behind in another apartment in Bondi Junction and go to a supermarket.  It must have been around 10:00 pm and the streets were pretty much empty.  It started drizzling giving the town a bit of a haunted look.  Went to Coles, the bigger supermarket here though it isn’t as big as the ones we have in the States.  In the mall there is a K-Mart. 

Sydney showed its true colors on Tuesday.  The morning was extremely overcast and very much on the cold side giving me the perfect excuse to do absolutely nothing productive or otherwise.  I gazed at the beach, the park.  Read. Wrote. And once again gazed at the horizon.   I can now go online and after a quick look and wonderful chat with a few friends I, believe it or not, disconnect.  The weather improved but I was so into my inactivity that all I managed was to visit the market and cook a quick spaghetti.  Then at night we headed out to the beach for a gelato but the place was closed (again, it was after 10:00) so settled for something called Paddle Pop.  I don’t like chocolate but have been on this strange binge of craving for it.  Somehow this ice cream popsicle tasted specially good walking the coastal walk and hearing a very feisty ocean crash its waves against the coast.  It’s cold, almost deserted, and just eerily beautiful.  It was actually quite magical.  Another perfect ending to the day.  

 As we walk there’s a police car in the middle of the street and as we look to where they are looking there is this guy propped upright against a side mirror of a car, effectively in another world –either dead or very asleep.  They shine their flashlights on him.  He doesn’t budge.  We wait to see if he’s alive.  He wakes. We leave.  When we pass the place again cops and drunk are gone.  I ask what probably happened and am told that the cops probably took him home.  Certainly am not in LA where he would have probably spent the night in jail.

Wednesday allows me to do something I haven’t done in many, many years.  I do a wash and hang my clothes on the clothesline.  Washes I’ve done before (though maybe not for $4).  Hang clothes on a clothesline, nope.  Today is sunny and I can’t help but smile as I see wetsuits on it.  Must be surfers in the building.  And then, when I ponder what to do with the undies I laugh when I see bras and panties on the line.  So I proceed to hang mine up and to weave stories from the clothes others have hanged up.  I wonder if the same is done with mine.

It’s sunny outside and in two hours time they are dry.  I bury my face in the clothes and inhale.  There’s a scent that the clothes get when left to dry in open air, under the sun, in an unpolluted environment that just can’t be reproduced commercially. 

Tonight we are going to the screening of Graham, a short shot and edited by Dean. It will be screened at the Ritz, an old theater probably built in the ‘40’s.  It has an art deco feel to it.  It’s heritage listed as they say here.  Landmark Building as we say in America. Pretty.  Unfortunately, the film is actually being screened in the new addition so I didn’t get to see the old main theater. Couldn’t help but compare the ones in LA to the one here.  If it weren’t for the people’s accent, the whole set up -presentation, thank you, etc.- is pretty much the same.  The only thing is that in our screenings I almost always know most of the people so mingling comes more naturally to me at home. 

It’s almost 10:00 pm by the time we finish chatting and socializing a bit.  Most everything is starting to close but we are hungry so cross the street to El Bulli, a Spanish tapas restaurant that is still serving food.  Music piped in is Colombian (a cumbia), there’s tequila prominently displayed on the bar, some of the actors are sipping margaritas, the tapas menu is very limited and when it arrived it was a bit of a hodgepodge of countries.  They had a dish of Albóndigas de Paella.  Paella shaped in a ball and fried.  Fun, original and tasty.  I got spicy empanadas.  Both were good but not quite Spanish tapas.  Oh, and I still can’t get over sticker shock.  $35 for two itsy bitsy plates, no drinks.  Fulfilling nonetheless.

Back to the car that will get us back to our flat (apartment for us) on the beach, in no time.  

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Bondi Park, Coastal Walk, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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