March 28 - Australia: Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House has 76 steps. I know this because I ran up and down them this morning. 20 times. In between sets of five, I stood at the top of the steps and looked around the outside of the Opera House. The tile work on the walls is pretty amazing, actually. And it looks like the opera house is made up of many different houses - not just one stage. (Lonely Planet says it's 6-7 different buildings). It was drizzling slightly, but it felt good on the run. I also ran through the Botanical Gardens, which is where all the bats stay during the day. They're hard to miss what with the racket they make when they're hanging out in trees. On the way back to the apartment, I got a bit turned around in the gardens and had to backtrack to find an exit gate. But it was still a gorgeous run.
If You Love Something, Set It Free...
Today - being Thursday - is the day we had to sell the truck. Jon was terribly sad about this, but we definitely can't bring it back with us so we've no choice. On his way to Parramatta Road (home of the used car dealers), he dropped me off in Kings Cross so I could go to Global Gossip about our phone card. While he was gone, I wandered about town and picked up some silly souvenir gifts.
Jon, meanwhile, took the opportunity to photograph almost every stage of his car sale.
Here's the Truck In the Used Car Lot - Before the Transaction
Here's the Dealer Driving Away in the Truck
This took most of the morning and into the afternoon, because the owner had to take the drive for a test-drive. He docked the price by $200 because of a problem with the starter, but we figured something like that would happen. We were just glad that we'd had the truck fixed in Brissie, because the dealer would have heard the horrible clank-clank-clank and probably would have docked the price by a few thousand. So we were pretty happy.
They took Jon to the bank, which issued us an "International Check" in US Dollars. Because of changes in the exchange rates, this conversion to USD actually worked out in our favor. By a few hundred dollars, actually. Quite the arbitrager, my husband. So despite Jon's deep depression about losing his little baby, luck was on our side today.
He got back around 2:00 and ate lunch. Then we logged online for a bit and fielded emails and some other administrative stuff.
Sightseeing In Town
Around 4:00, we decided to head into the city and visit the Sydney Aquarium. But by the time we got there, it was nearly 5:00 and we didn't feel like we had enough time to spend in the aquarium. Instead, we wandered around Darling Harbour and ended up in some large "Outback" shop. Here, there was a free 30-minute "Sounds of the Outback" performance that we felt seeing.
In this show, a very amusing man played the didgeridoo while also entertaining us about the traditions and sounds of the instrument. A didgeridoo, by the way, is a long, thick, hallow stick that makes a very interesting noise when blown into. An experienced didgeridoo player can play it for endless amounts of time through something called "circular breathing". This means he inhales through his nose while also exhaling through his mouth. And the sound that comes out is soft of like a muffled baritone kazoo. I just asked Jon to describe this sound in words and he said that "it's the kind of sound that you expect to hear from a long, deep, hallowed-out tube". Well. Thanks.
It was an educating show, and very entertaining too.
Afterwards, we checked out a local movie theater to see if we could catch a showing of "Rabbit Proof Fence". But the only shows were American productions which we figured we could see in the US when we got back. Instead, we headed back to the apartment to make dinner.