February 13 – Thursday
My Birthday and my whole reason for going to Sydney. I woke up earlier than normal because all these wonderful birthday wishes started happening at about 6:00 am because that’s 8:00 in New Zealand. So I was wide awake and enjoying the rainy overcast view (cooling everything down for me) when my magnificent room service breakfast arrived.
Eventually at about 9:00 I set out for the Apple Store to buy myself a birthday present. The weather gods even decided to stop the rain as an added bonus for my birthday, so I set out in glorious sunshine. However the glory didn’t last long – the Apple Store was CLOSED FOR RENOVATION!!! Seems I’m doomed to never get inside that particular Apple Store, it wasn’t open back in 2015 when I was last in Sydney either, click here to read about that day.
That completely threw me and I completely forgot it was my birthday and didn’t really know what to do after that, so I stayed on the flash new air conditioned tram till I got to a stop near Paddy’s Markets. When I was 16 my parents took the whole family to Sydney for the August school holidays and one of the places we went to was Paddy’s Market – it was cool. There was so much amazing stuff you couldn’t get back in New Zealand and the coolest thing I bought was a Nintendo Octopus game.
Sadly the Paddy’s Market of 2020 was nothing like the 1981 version. Or maybe it is still cool I just didn’t like any of the stuff they were selling now that I’m not 16, it seemed like a never ending $2.00 shop with row after row of identical stalls, so crammed with cheap stuff that you couldn’t move around each stall to have a proper look. But I did find some Stubby Holders which was on my list, so it was worth it just for that.
After the markets I headed for the Chinese Garden of Friendship which I really enjoyed and it only cost $8 to get in. The garden is set amongst some really tall buildings so at times when I looked up it felt like I had been magically transported to Hong Kong. There were the biggest frangipani trees I’ve ever seen in full bloom and these gigantic lizard things that just lay around everywhere (I nearly stood on one, not sure which one of us got the biggest fright).
After that beautiful relaxing experience I headed for the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium with a quick stop at McDonalds along the way. The aquarium cost $45 to get in and definitely was not worth it. The best part (and probably the reason I went) was the lovely cold air conditioning keeping all the fish & penguins cold. I got to see a Dugong but the whole place seemed run down and creepy. The penguin expedition was over in about 30 seconds! So glad I didn’t need to queue up for it. Check out this sad penguin in dry kinda ugly conditions.
Last time I was in Sydney I caught a ferry back to Circular Quay from Darling Harbour and it took about 10 minutes, so I thought I’d do the same thing this time. I asked the ticket man which peer for the ferry to Circular Quay and he pointed me in the direction of a ferry that looked more like a hydrofoil than a ferry, so I thought things have really got flash in the last 5 years. 45 minutes and about 20 stops later, me and several other tourists realised we were miles away from the Quay and certainly not headed in the direction we should be in. One lady asked a crew member if this ferry was going to Circular Quay and he said no – so they hurriedly got off, but it took me too long to work out what they had asked the dude and what just happened. So I got off at the next stop and luckily the ferry returning to Sydney was just pulling in. It took another 45 minutes to get to where I was supposed to be going, so all up a 10 minute ferry ride took me an hour and half. At least it was a pleasant trip around the very expensive North Sydney harbour suburbs. I guess a 90 minute harbour cruise for $6 is a bargain.
Here we are heading in the wrong direction getting further and further away from the city.
According to my iPhone this is Drummoyne.
90 minutes later this was a very welcome sight.
So… after all that I wasn’t really sure what to do for my birthday dinner. I really didn’t feel like getting all dressed up to sit somewhere flash all by myself, so I bought a box of beers, a lot of junk food and thoroughly enjoyed my wonderful hotel room with the stunning view.