Random Thoughts on Sydney

Sydney Travel Blog

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The winning pizzas

Sydney is a manageable city. It's completely city-like:  cars, tall buildings, public transportation, etc. -- but much calmer and more manageable than larger cities of my acquaintance. Calmer, quieter. 

Also very photogenic. You can't hardly stop yourself!

We are living like Mormons -- Jeff with two wives!  OK, without the benefits.

I read something in the local paper about a benefit for people who have survived/lived with/lost someone to leukemia. They compared it to the way we Americans do this sort of thing. Noted that the one difference is that Australians are uncomfortable with being called heroes or with using the language of warfare to talk about illness (fighting cancer, etc.).  It was an interesting observation and I'll ponder it a bit more.

Since we're staying in a Marriott, I've heard as many American accents as I have Australian.  While I'm grateful for the comfort of the Marriott, I kinda enjoy the casual-ness of hostels, backpackers, and guest houses more.

Saw a guy on the street wearing a Redskins jacket. He was a black Australian, had never been to the US, and only had a vague notion who the Redskins are. Made me happy anyways.  :)

God bless fast internet access!  All too rare.

Birds, birds, birds everywhere. I love it! 

This is a very green city. Lots of parkland.

Kitty is more worried about our sex life (probably because she's sharing a room with us) than we are.  It's so cute.  :)

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Saturday, August 15

When you are on an extended trip (anything more than 10 days), I strongly encourage you to plan a Down Day. This is the day you do laundry, sleep in, buy stamps, pick up a few souvenirs, take a nap, watch TV, whatever.  This was that day.

I desperately needed a massage. My right hip goes wonky on me if I stand for too long or, sometimes, if I walk too far. (It's really a butt muscle that over-tightens but we're not going to talk about that.)  It had been wonky off and on for a couple of days, adding in some back strain to complete the picture, and I was due for some bodywork. The hotel had a spa with massage, so I signed myself up.

Now, spa massages make me a little uneasy. Not because there's anything wrong with them but because the quality of the therapists can be so varied.
  Great or crappy. And when I got there and there was no one behind the desk and no MT in sight, I wasn't encouraged. And when the desk person did get there but couldn't find the MT, my confidence level did not rise.

The MT walked in a few minutes later but spoke only broken English. Confidence level still heading south. And then she didn't do an intake and only used a towel (which are never big enough) to cover me. I was fully ready to call it quits if I was not happy with the work within the first 5 minutes.  (yeah, tough customer)

Aside:  "intake" is when the therapist sits down and chats with your for a few minutes before your massage. They review what you've put on your health history form and make sure they understand what you want out of your massage.
I am a firm believer that you should never accept a "one size fits all" or a "I work the health history form" kind of massage.  I am, perhaps, more than a "firm believer". I may actually approach "rabid" about this. <end aside>

WELL, I was wrong. This girl was good.  Even though I didn't specify that I really just wanted her to focus on the back of my body, especially my hips and back, she did just that (though, really, would it kill them to cover you with a sheet??????).  She also spent some extra time on my legs, which were a lot tigher than I'd realized (which should not have suprised me).

A couple times I had to actually lift my head up and say "OK, that's..." and she lightened up immediately. She didn't do anything wrong in going deep. When you have a wonky body part and a new MT, they have to explore a bit to discover just what your body can tolerate.

My only complaint about the massage (besides the towel) was that I really should have booked 90 minutes instead of 60.  And, wow, did my hip and back feel better! (And, yes Monica, I'm doing more yoga.)  And then I took a mid-morning nap.  :)

While I was getting my hip de-wonked, Kitty and Jeff went shopping. Yes, Jeff went shopping, of his own free will. They were both looking for hats with broad brims for our next leg of the trip (Uluru and Alice Springs). There's a market in The Rocks near the hotel on Saturday and they went a-shopping. They both came back with cute hats too!  Success.

But was our girl Kitty done?  Oh, no, the shopping bug was in full...well, whatever bugs get full of.  There's also a Saturday market mentioned in the guidebooks in the Paddington neighborhood. So that's where we head next.

First, mastering the bus system. Oy vey. After 5 days here, we're still not good with the coinage.  They have gold $1 and $2 coins. We figured those out. But for some reason the 5 or 6 silver less-than-a-dollar coins completely flummox us. Oh, the driver was so ready to be rid of us!  But we did finally work it out and got ourselves on the bus and get to our destination.

The trip gets us out of the central business district and into the neighborhoods. Paddington is a busy neighborhood. The streets are lined with shops of all kinds -- clothing, food, shoes, pharmacies, bars, etc. It's clearly a walking neighborhood, which we love. The market is on the grounds of a church and is a very eclectic market. It reminded me a lot of Eastern Market on a Saturday, without the major food hall (there were smaller individual food stalls offering cooked food). Clothing, bags, art, books, tchotkes, etc. 

But before we head in, we need lunch!  I love to try pizza in new countries so we stopped at a little Italian place. They had individual pizzas and they met my stringent standards (1. nothing weird 2. actual pizza sauce 3. nothing weird).  The crust was crispy thin (my favorite), the sausage was kinda  cross between salami and sausage but....OK and the tomato slices were easy to pick off (I really don't like straight tomatoes).

Success and much rejoicing!  Australia can now join the world community of Places That Make Pizza The Way Kelly Likes It.  Other current members are the US, Spain, the UK, and Italy.  New Zealand is considering appealing the 2000 ruling that barred their membership.

Once we were fed, Jeff announced that he would, graciously, wait for us in a local bar while we perused the market. Whatta guy!  ;)  So Kitty and I went without the manly protection of our Harem Master.

The market was fun to wander. Had some chocolate and a cupcake. I didn't buy anything but I talked Kitty into buying a number of things. :)  That's the way I like to shop (since I actually generally hate to shop). She bought an eyeglass case she needed, a shirt, and .... something else, I forget. I like getting other people to spend money, even if they aren't spending it on me.  :)

After our bus ride back to the hotel, we were all ready for a little downtime. Jeff....headed to another pub (consistent, if nothing else!). Kitty took a nap, and I took over one of the computers in the business center.  When we re-connected several hours later, we were too tired to go out for dinner. Noshed on the freebies and went to bed.
The winning pizzas
The winning pizzas
photo by: Sunflower300