I woke to discover that today is the first day for summer daylight saving, so immediately I lost an hour. First trip of the day was to Cabramatta. This is a suburb that has a Vietnamese town. The whole street is full of Vietnamese restaurants/cafe's, supermarkets and shops. I wandered the streets to discover that it is a lot like China town, stores selling pretty much the same foods and goods. The souvenirs, clothes and shoes pretty much all the same factory produced products. The street also had the Imperial gates with the lion dogs guarding the entry. I also noticed that there were several other statues like a pig with piglets surrounding it, a ram, a tortoise and an Ox. Beauty salons and wedding shops were also popular in this area.
It was good to get an insight into suburban culture that isn't captured in the lonely planets guide.
The drive into Sydney
was about 1hr long. Not too much traffic on a Sunday. We parked within walking distance of Darling Harbour
where the Latin American festival was happening. We crossed over to the Harbour side using Pyrmont foot bridge. While we were on it an announcement beamed through the megaphone speakers informing everyone that the bridge was about to open and all pedestrians needed to make their way behind the gates. We followed the instructions and waited like spectators on the sidelines.
The lion dog
The gates automatically begin to close and the sirens sound and lights flash to warn people. Not surprisingly pedestrians feel the need to dash through to the otherside instead of just waiting for the bridge to finish opening and closing before crossing. We waited until these last minute dashers had finished. I somehow assumed it would open up like London's Tower Bridge but then realised with horror that the monorail track is built directly above the foot bridge and if the bridge was to open up like Tower Bridge we would have a disaster on our hands. I was pleasantly surprised to find the bridge did not open up the way I has expected. Instead the bridge slid out and spun around, very smoothly and very quickly. A monorail passed through overhead as I filmed it, I was impressed.
A stage had been set up for the main band to perform, the floor in front was a dance floor for the audience to shake their legs. A large group of people gathered and were dancing to samba and cha cha cha while the band played enthusiastically. We watched the band perform for a fair while before we moved onto the bigger park area. We walked along the water feature at the centre of the boulevard, markets lined the sides. The park was filled with food stalls, cuisine from all over South America. The stage at the centre of the park with a Venezuelan band beating out some real good tunes. For food we chose the peruvian pancakes, you have a choice of sweet and savoury, I chose the ricotta and ham and Mimi had the feta and spinach. Bad choice I think because the pancake itself was sweet and therefore I should have chosen a sweet filling to compliment that.
Driving into the city
Next stop organic Colombian coffee, everyone had the same idea and we queued for about 20mins before we got to the front of the queue. I had the WAKE UP your senses coffee and Mimi had the chilli hot chocolate! As we were leaving the park the Mexican dancers dressed up in their colourful outfits came onto the stage for their performance. We headed out into the markets. The stalls had some traditional South American crafts and gifts. I got a set of worry people, I think its a mexican tradition where people can share their worries with these tiny dolls and I'm assuming this makes them feel better. A problem shared is a problem halved, they are probably good for secrets too.
The fireworks were scheduled to start at 7.
30-8pm. We had plenty of time to kill and still so much of Sydney to see. We walked to China town passing the chinese garden of friendship on the way and also a quick browse in Paddy's market too. The market is filled with stalls selling all the souvenirs that you could wish for. The Lonely planets guide to Sydney didn't recommend haggling, it said that haggling was considered rude. I didn't attempt it, in fear that I would offend someone. Prices are fairly reasonable anyway, in comparison to the rip off prices you pay at the actual tourist sites. The market closes at 5pm and is only open from Thursday to Sunday.
We stopped off at the Three Monkey's pub, just as the game between The Parramatta eels and Melbourne storm was getting under way.
Crave festival, Pyrmont foot bridge
These are two rugby teams and it was the final for some kinda important game. Everyone in the pub was supporting the Parramatta eels as that is a Sydney team. We watched the crowd get defeated as the team failed to impress. I found that everone was fairly quiet during the course of the game and everyone had their eyes locked on the screen. As you may have guessed the Parramatta eels lost.
We stood at the front of the harbour to get the best view of the fireworks. They started promptly at 8pm when the sky was dark and ready for the colour. The whole performance lasted about 20mins. They were pretty impressive. Shortly after the fireworks had finished the rain started to fall. This did not deter the audience, they stood firm and enjoyed the capoeira dancers, all the shaking and shimmering got the audience very excited.
We went indoors to have a look at the shops inside of the harbour building. The usual souvenirs and uggs.
The birdcage a restaurant at Cockle Bay Wharf across the harbour on the city side is where we chose to eat. The decor inside was very dark in colour but quite modern and unusual. The square bar located in the middle of the restaurant with tables all around it. Towards the back you find the DJ and more tables. There is a metal frame cage big enough for a garden table and chairs with green carpeting to resemble grass. On the back wall you'll find it's filled with pot plants and in front of the wall you'll find two hanging egg shaped cocoons that are also seats. The selection is pretty varied. Pasta, pizza, burgers, steaks the usual stuff is available. The food portions were good, very satisfied with the meal.
After dinner Mimi took me for a late night drive around Sydney. We covered Oxford street, Paddington, Westfield towers and then headed back up west to Wentworthville.