Posted: Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008
Next Earliest Posting: Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008
Last night at 11 PM we sailed away from beautiful Sidney harbor, both Susy and I were sad to be leaving, but with the great hope that we can return again. As I think I said in my first Blog on Australia, this country and its people are wonderful, and Sydney is the largest jewel in the Crown. We both want to return, but with Gigi most of all (and of course, all the rest of you) because as Susy said last night, “this is Gigi’s kind of people, very warm and friendly, love to have a good time, just wonderful to be around (like all her friends).
I could go on for a long time about Australia, but it would bore you so let’s get right to a short version of two days in Sidney. I’m going to refer to the photo album above called “Sydney, Australia”. The first photo is a shot of Sydney Ocean Terminal where we docked which is right in Sydney Harbor across from the Opera House and almost under the Sydney Bridge, which the world knows as the two most famous icons of Sydney itself. I’m going to try and give you next a good panoramic view of the skyline as we sailed in day before yesterday, Tuesday, Nov. 4th (remember we are 14 hours ahead of EST). Since Susy and I spent a week in Sydney on our last visit, we did not have to take in all the famous sites that one needs at least a week to see. We headed straight for the nearest pub, which as you can see from the third photo, is also the oldest, opened in 1828. We spent the next several hours there, because as I said in the Melbourne Blog, the running of the Melbourne Cup was a national event. We watched it from the pub and it was really exciting because the winner, “Viewed” a huge long shot, won not by a nose in a photo finish, but by a hair, it was that close. Later, as we walked the streets, we found whole outdoor plazas where betting booths, bars, etc. had been set up so that the city had one great big party which continued long into the night. I should explain that Australia is a gambling country. There are bars and pubs (gaming bars) where horse races (tracks around the country) and lotto drawings go on from morning till about 5 or 6 o’clock, 7 days a week. Store hours are generally 9 or 10 AM till 5 or 6 PM, many closed on weekends when the open markets operate. From the pub, Susy and I headed out to the Queen Victoria Gallery Building, which is an old beautiful indoor shopping mall (building) covering one city block and Susy’s favorite window shopping place. You can see from the 4th photo the elegance and styling of this old Victorian era building. In the next photo I show you the huge Xmas tree, just to show you they started Christmas shopping very early in this part of the world. While in the Victoria Gallery we stopped at a favorite “tea” time café were Susy remembered she had showed up one day, ordered her tea, and found she had no cash (they didn’t take credit cards). When she told the owner, he said “oh that’s all right, just come by tomorrow when you have some cash, and you can pay me”. Only in Australia!! We finished the day in our favorite eating place (for dinner, just after dark), Darling Harbor. The 6th photo shows you the Sydney skyline as we arrived and the 7th photo a shot looking back at the sidewalk cafes where we took the skyline photo and where we sit to watch as it gets dark and see this beautiful city light up at night.
In the 8th photo I show you an excellent photo of the famous Opera House taken from the ship and the 9th photo shows you my favorite subject with the Sydney bridge as a background.
On Wednesday, Nov. 5th in the 10th photo I show you the ships sign which says we have to be back on board at 10:30 PM. We again headed out for shopping, and as you can see in the 11th and 12th photos we visited an old shopping gallery (1891”Strand”). The 13th photo shows you another Xmas scene in front of the entrance to “Myers” one of the many old department stores. We stopped in a pub on the way back to the ship, and as usual two Australian gentlemen invited us over to their table. We had a long talk about everything from football (soccer) to politics and it made a wonderful ending to our stay in Australia. I want to finish off Sydney by showing you two photos we took on the ship as we sailed out of the harbor. We set up chairs on the aft swimming pool deck and got Susy with our glass of wine (one for the two of us, ha, ha), and one of our fellow passengers took a photo of the two of us with the Opera House in the background. You can imagine how sad we were to leave this city and country which we love so much.
I have to close by commenting on the elections back home. Susy and I are very proud of America and as much as I go on about Australia, there is no other country, especially with our family and friends, that we would rather live in. The election of Obama is without a doubt one of the most important events in our history, and should prove that racial barriers need not exist by anyone, white or black. There is no doubt that his election is looked upon favorably by all the countries of the world, as we found out in talking with people from many nations here on the ship and in Australia. I’m sure we’ll have many conversations about the new president and so I’ll save any further comments until we return.
On to the South Pacific islands, three in a role; New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa.
Love you All,
Gary (alias Gagu)