Monthly Archives: November 2012

Week in Sydney

My flight from Vancouver to Sydney was pretty uneventful. I slept off and on for the first several hours (the first ten I believe) interrupted twice to eat dinner and a snack. This was great because it prepared me for a full day when I finally arrived in Sydney at approximately 10:30am local time. I caught a shuttle van to my hostel, called Glebe Point YHA, just a short bus ride west of the Central Business District. It was a nice hostel, but not as close to touristy things to see and do as the place I stayed in last year. Two of my roommates here were British and they were doing what is called “work for accomm”, where you do approximately 15 hours a week of odd jobs around the hostel and then you get to stay there for free. I stayed here for a week.

The coastal walk route between Coogee Beach and Bondi Beach

While here I explored Darling Harbour (on the west side of the CBD) a bit. I did last year as well, visiting Wildlife Sydney.  Darling Harbour is home to the Sydney Aquarium, IMAX Theatre, Australian National Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum.  It is also home to the Convention Centre and Exhibition Halls, plenty of restaurants with superb patios, Star City Casino, Sydney Wildlife World (a small zoo housing only Australian wildlife) and the Chinese Garden of Friendship. I didn’t get to see all of these places but at some point I hope to go back to Sydney for a few days and visit the maritime museum and the Chinese garden.

Gordon’s Bay

Another of my roommates was a young guy named Eric, on a holiday from Japan.  He told me about the beach walk, a multi-hour coastal walk along the eastern beaches, so one day I took a bus from downtown to a place called Coogee Beach.  From there I walked for approximately 2.5 hours along a paved path, from beach to beach, heading north.  The first one, Coogee Beach, seemed quite nice, and large, with a “bath” (swimming pool) cut into the rocks on the south point and a green park on the north point, where I sat and ate my lunch 🙂  There were periodic maps along the walk and I noticed many of the local beaches also had “baths” cut into rocky areas nearby.

Beached boats at Gordon’s Bay

Just north of Coogee Beach was Gordon’s Bay. Then came Clovelly Bay, where I noticed that there were two guys apparently doing the beach walk at about the same pace as I. We would alternate passing each other every beach or so, while stopping to take photos and a break.  Clovelly Bay was interesting, it was very narrow, more on an inlet with a beach at the end and along one side.  Also there were quite a few people swimming in the inlet battling the waves pushing them in to shore.  Next stop was Bronte Park, with only a tiny beach, nice but not interesting enough to take a photo.  It seemed more of a local park with kids playing soccer and people picnicing.

Tamarama Beach just as it started to rain

As I walked around the next rocky outcrop I saw a huge cemetary.  I think the sign said it was a Chinese cemetary.  About this point I noticed the sky getting quite dark just to the west so I started to hurry my pace.  I made it just to a covered picnic area at Tamarama Beach before the storm hit.  Big storm, heavy rain, lots of lightning, plenty of hail.  Very unexpected, not so pleasant but I did have the pleasure of sharing the picnic area with a small group of people form Belgium who

Hail at Tamarama Beach

informed me that the prince was currently visiting Bondi Beach. “Prince of where?” I asked. Well “The Prince of Wales, of course. Prince Charles.”  Oh. Apparently so. I guess the storm delayed his speech at Bondi Beach because I made it there just in time to see a giant crowd on the middle of the beach with news helicopters and a small yacht hovering closeby.  Didn’t recognize Prince Charles, but it pretty much looked like the beach was crawling with colourful ants from where I was standing.  Bondi Beach was the last stop on my beach walk.

Captain of the Bounty and Governor of Sydney, William Bligh

While in Sydney I took a few other walking tours, both guided and self-guided:

An evening walk around highlighting the haunts and history of a region of Sydney Harbour named The Rocks, guided by Ross, from I’m Free! Sydney Tours. He and his girlfriend, Justine, created this tour company in Sydney, with two routes. At 10:30 am and 2:30 pm there is a three hour walking tour with highlights of Sydney’s CBD, and at 6pm there is a 1.5 hour tour of The Rocks, highlighting more sinister places and events of Sydney’s historical past.

Susannah Place Museum and Gifts

The Rocks tour began in front of Cadman’s Cottage, in Circular Quay. {insert map}  Cadman’s Cottage is the oldest structure in the harbour, built in 1816 as the barracks for the Superintendant of Boats and his crew.  Right beside the cottage is a monument of William Bligh, 1754-1817. William Bligh was a British Sea Captain, Captain of the famed ship, The Bounty.  He later became the governor of Sydney.

Ross explaining the the pub in the background used to feed men beer until they passed out. when they awoke they would be imprisoned and out to see to work as deckhands

Next we stopped at Susannah Place, a former workers’ housing unit, which housed (I think ) 6 families at a time, and is now a museum.  Along to tour Ross also told stories of famous historical immigrants (many of whom met untimely demises) and pointed out spots where law enforcement performed executions and other public displays.  There also seem to be a number of hotels in the district claiming to be Sydney’s oldest hotel and pub.  A section of The Rocks became infested with a plague approximately 100 years ago and the government had that region demolished.  Now the area is known as Walsh Bay and is covered with extremely pricy harbourside condos with private docks.  The tour ended on Observatory Hill, where the Sydney Observatory is. Walking to the hill we went through a pedestrian tunnel, which has white tiles that are covered with all kinds of dirty shoe prints.  Apparently it gets cleaned once a month, but you can never see it without prints because it seems perhaps the cleaners start the prints and joggers and bypassers follow suit.  On top the hill there is a huge gazebo with great views of the harbour.

Swarovski crystal decorated Christmas tree in the Queen Victoria Building shopping centre

Angel Place. A laneway decorated with hung bird cages, with recorded bird calls and names of bird species native to the area carved into the cobblestones

I also took the three hour walking tour with Justine a few days later, starting at Town Hall.  It highlighted historical and well-known buildings, famous shopping areas, gardens and monuments.  Highlights were the Town Hall; Queen Victoria shopping mall, attached to Sydney’s extensive pedestrian tunnel network; David Jones department store, with yearly Christmas musical miniature displays;

Me in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Hype Park Barracks, a World Heritage Site; the rum hospital; Martin Place, a pedestrian street used for public displays and entertainment; various government buildings and churches; and Sydney Harbour.  Quite interesting, but I’ll let the pictures explain spots of interest.

Another day I took a stroll through a section of the Royal Botanical Gardens, through an area called the Middle Gardens and I spent a couple hours in the Palace Gardens, which is full of various roses.

A passing sailboat on the way to Manly Wharf

A postcard of the Manly beaches area

The day before I left Sydney I took a ferry north to beautiful Manly Beach.

Me at Manly Beach

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BC Lions Game

Singing of the national anthem

“Presenting your BC Lions!”

While I was in Vancouver (Nov 1-5th) Lisa and I went to the BC Lions vs Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL game on Saturday, November 3rd. We had fun and both of us commented that we were glad we went. They also tributed Canada’s Veterans at halftime. Many of BC’s veteran’s drove around the perimeter of the field, riding on military jeeps and a few of the eldest had signs with their ages. One man was over 100 and another in his 90s. BC won the game 17-6! GO Lions GO

Halftime tribute to Canadian Veterans

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New author, plus testing WordPress iPhone app

Tonight (in eastern timezone) my sister has asked about setting up a blog and slideshow.  She’s on a working holiday in Australia.  So in an attempt to learn more myself and give her a solution, I’ve created a user for her and category for blog posts, added to the site main menu.

While doing so, she and I discussed posting from the iPhone.  I explained about the last experience I had with the iPhone app, that it was very simplistic, not full-featured like the web site.  And so she got the app, and I updated (first time using the app in over a year).

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How to feel when fixing a minor but insanely difficult bug

“Don’t take it so hard, you work effectively in this ultra-specific area of technology than. You made a simple mistake.  You’ve admitted and acknowledged it, and you’ve learned from it. And it had no identified impact on customers.  Good!”

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