Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Braving the city

After waking up to another cloudy day, I decided to change my plans from the zoo to the aquarium. The boys were out too late last night (too early this morning, actually) to go with me, so I ventured off by myself (with some flower-picture-taking on the way, of course).

On the bus ride, I noticed that even the youngest children have learned the art of gaze-avoidance when there are off-kilter passengers riding near them. The aquarium was alright, but nothing too exciting, and I blew through it in about an hour, and had scheduled 4.

I was then left, without a plan (huge gasp), and with 3 hours to kill. I decided to take my time and explore Cockle Bay and Darling Harbor. I walked along the boardwalk (? I'm not sure if they call it that here, did some people-watching, and tried to decide if I wanted to eat at one of the many overpriced restaurants. I opted for some gelato instead. The flavor choices were endless, and I ended up deciding on green tea flavored. Poor choice. After only eating toast with nutella on it all day, the green tea gelato made my stomach feel a little queasy. Better luck next time.

I then ventured over to the Chinese Garden of Friendship, but decided to save it for a sunnier day, and maybe when I have someone with me to enjoy it. I made my way over to Chinatown and decided to grab a bit to eat. I got pan-fried beef dumplings, which were excellent. I opted to use a fork, though.

By this point, I still had more than an hour to kill, and was starting to consider winging it in the search for a bus home (I had plotted out my route on this great website where you put in your address and destination and it gives you maps and directions for which buses/trains to take and plans a return route for you. However, the route changes based upon what time it is, so I wanted to stay on schedule). I headed for my bus stop to see when the next train to North Sydney would be, and on the way, stumbled upon my favorite building so far: The Queen Victoria Building (or as the locals say, the QVB).

It had beautiful architecture, complete with stained glass windows and old fashioned elevators. Inside were hundreds of shops, restaurants, and cafes. While the majority of the stores were way above my price range, they were fun to explore, and I definitely want to go back there again. I ended up buying the brown Tevas I passed up in the states, because my flip flops the other day just weren't cutting it -- my ankles felt about ready to break. Turns out it was a good idea to wait until I got here to buy them; they were at least $20 cheaper! I slightly haphazerdly caught the train back into the city, in the pouring rain, and ended up on the perfect one, to take me right back to Edinburgh Road, right near my house.
Here's a picture of my house:

I finished off the night with dinner and TV with the host family. Tomorrow, Thursday and Friday we have our culture class at the school, which means leaving the house at 8:38 a.m. (according to my handy trip planner website). I will be fitting in a phone-date with Tonya at 8 a.m. so it will be an early morning for me...

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