Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sydney Day 2

Friday was a much better day weather-wise. We hopped on down to our local cafĂ© for breakfast, then Nicola went off to confer with her fellow conferees, and I went in to town again. This time I went to The Rocks – the area under and around Sydney Harbour Bridge, which contains much historicalness and also tourist-trap type shops. As the sun was shining, I was able to take photos of the Opera House with a blue background instead of a grey one:

I also headed up to the observatory, which sits on a hill next to the bridge:

Then headed back down into The Rocks, to have lunch in a restaurant I’d spotted earlier, where the Portuguese owner tried to persuade me to return later that night for some real Portuguese cooking and entertainment. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that we were already booked elsewhere, so I left him with vague promises. After I’d eaten my lunch, a couple of parrots flew down to the wall and looked expectantly at my plate…I thought “there’s no way you guys are going to hang around until I get my camera out, switch it on, zoom in and focus, is there?”

Wrong again. Cheeky buggers.

In the evening, we went down to Darling Harbour. This is an area of Sydney filled with bars and restaurants…and people! It makes you realise how small Wellington is, and how used you get to not having many people around, when you go to a place like this. God help us when we return to London! To put things in perspective, Sydney contains more people than the whole of New Zealand.

We were a bit early, as we tried to get down there in the daylight after Nicola’s conference ended, but due to traffic (another thing we’ve grown unused to in NZ) it was almost dark by the time we got off the bus. We strolled around trying to find an appropriate place to have a drink, but everywhere seemed pretty full (it being a Friday night, and all that). We eventually found seating space in a pub that was showing the rugby, so we watched the second half of the Hurricanes v. Chiefs match. Now, we’ve been following the ’Canes all season but have shied away from going to their games recently as we seem to have a perverse effect on them: when we show up, they lose at home, but when we stay away, they win! Bah! Anyway, we obviously couldn’t get to this game, and when they went in at half-time they were leading 18-15. But the second half didn’t go their way at all, and it all came down to a final despairing effort in overtime, when the ’Canes managed to get the ball over the try line. Was it a try? The TMO was invoked, and after about 5 minutes of examining the video footage, he decided that it was. So the Hurricanes won – but their place in the playoffs was dependent on other teams winning and losing in the right order (a bit like England’s usual route through to the World Cup), so they wouldn’t know until Monday night when all the games had been played and points counted.

By then it was time for us to trot down to Nick’s seafood restaurant for our dinner, where we duly ordered some seafood, and ate it. I had a crab ravioli to start, followed by char-grilled king prawns (messy but fun), and Nicola had Tasmanian smoked salmon then blue eye cod fillet. Food cost about the same as at Rockpool a couple of nights ago, but so much better presented and served! It is a bit of a factory, like a Conrad restaurant in London, but as long as they’re doing it efficiently, who’s to complain?

By then it was time to get on the bus back to our hotel, in time for the big day tomorrow.

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