Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dawn Sydney

The second flight second seems so quick. Yes, eight hours is a long time to be confined, but it's four hours shorter than the first leg!

Crossing the equator was uneventful. (A bug in the simulator for the F-16 fighter aircraft caused it to flip over whenever it crossed the equator.)

We only skip 3 hours on this flight, landing at Sydney on time at 07:10.


Team work

There's a horrendous queue to get through quarantine. (Australia is not keen on any chance of contaminated food entering and killing their kangas.)

So we end up with several hundred passengers queuing for one quarantine gate. I stand in line, while Martin searches out another arrivals hall with an idle quarantine gate. We do the obvious thing.

Taxi Rank

My sleep deprived brain analyses the taxi rank system. It's blatantly wrong. There's a stream of taxis entering the rank. There's also a stream of passengers. So where's the bottleneck?

I guess a bit of passenger frustration doesn't appear on anyone's balance sheet

I'll have to do a parallel serialisation simulation...

Whinge over. I'm on holiday! (And we finally get a taxi!)

Mercure Hotel

The rooms are booked and will be ready by noon. We leave the luggage, and start exploring.

Our hotel is a 15 minute walk to Darling Harbour.

We revive ourselves at a burger joint across the road. It's full of Chinese students - all keen and student like.

Paddy's Market
We head off towards Paddy's Market - it's only a short walk away - and, wrongly,  we head south. (Remember that the sun in the southern hemisphere appears to the north: do not head south if you want to go north: you will not reach your destination if you do that.)

We turn around and we're soon at Paddy's Market. It's fascinating to poke around. Some aboriginal silk screened canvas prints took my eye. (And a smiling Oriental took my dollars.)

We walk through Chinatown. It's very familiar. We could be in Manchester or London.

Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour is new, very pleasant and touristy.

Late autumn has gone - it's now late spring. We enjoy café latte, sitting outside, soaking up the strong sunshine. Factor 30 sun cream is urgently needed!

Being nerds, we want to nose around gadget shops. The tourist information centre at Darling Harbour are very helpful. Techy shops don't exist in Darling Harbour. No, that's where you eat out and be seen. Armed with a map and a list of shops we head to old Sydney and the Queen Victoria Building.


Martin is after a stack of video tapes, and he buys enough for the holiday at a good price.

I show interest in a fixed lens for my Canon (F1.4 30mm). The price drops rapidly as we talk.   The price starts at $800 dropping to $500. Maybe I should have struck the deal.

The exchange rate is around $2.5 = £1.  It's not too hard to convert: I mentally multiply by 4 then divide by 10.

MonorailShopping Centre: moving lightsWe ride the monorail. (The Simpsons cartoon episode comes to mind. "The monorail was the only folly the people of Springfield ever embarked upon.")

The monorail is actually a good way to get to know Sydney. The route covers Darling Harbour, Chinatown and the central shopping and business districts. 

Back at the hotel, our rooms are ready. They come complete with a CAT5 cable, DHCP and the Internet $5 per 1/2 hour.

Restored after a shower, we venture out to Chinatown and an evening meal.

Darling HarbourSydney Entertainment Centre LogoMartin was so sleep deprived - he thought the ground was quaking. I escort him back to the hotel to sleep.

I explore. Nearby is the Sydney Entertainment Centre where Kylie Minogue is performing her first come back.

There's lots of photographers lurking with interesting long lenses.

(Sydney Entertainment Centre - sounds like some dreadful 1970's hi-fi system.)

Now we should have been a bit more organised and got tickets to see Kylie, and Priscilla, the stage musical.

It's Saturday night - everybody is eating out. There's a lot of buzz.

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