Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 6: Sydney


It had been almost 8 years since our last trip to Sydney. This city holds so much wonderful memories for us and come to think of it, we had done quite some crazy things when we were here.

I remembered how a bunch of us tried to hold back the police and the traffic when we took part in a "Sorry" walk (participated by hundreds of thousands people) across the Sydney Harbour Bridge (on Reconciliation Day in 2000). The walk was in support of the indigenous Australians who had suffered injustices under certain past practices.

Not forgeting all the wines that we had consumed in a single trip down to Hunter Valley and got so wasted (my liver is probably still trying to recover from that episode till today!) that I have sworn off wine since then. I also remembered being in a tiny car driven by our crazy German friend who was going at 120mph on a 40mph speed limit steep dirt road full of potholes and gravels. The drive was so bad that our rental vehicle lost its hubcaps. It was a miracle we survived!

Then there was the late night senseless "arty" movies (aka soft porn) that we watched and even more unforgetable, watching a sold-out performance by 2 naked guys (probably multi-millionnaire dicks by now) swinging and contorting their penises on stage! If those weren't bad enough, I also remembered checking out the sex shops along Kings Cross just for fun and getting lewd propositions from strangers when we were in the shops.

There was just too much partying, too much drinking, too much smoking....and too much fun! I realised that youth was the perfect excuse for wanton recklessness and stupidity....and it's kinda sad to know that the excuse is no longer valid now.

Anyway, back to our current we decided that today would be our reminiscent trip. We decided to trace our footsteps back to some of our favorite hunts back in 2000. We chose to drive since it was a weekend and we figured that traffic conditions wouldn't be too bad. Our first stop was Myrtle Street where RG used to stay 10 years ago. The apartment still looked the same...with the same laundromat occupying the first level. Then we drove around the university district and also the Uni of Sydney. As we passed the Quadrangle, we saw some students in their graduation gowns taking we decided to stop the car and join in the graduation fun. A pity the beautiful jacaranda tree in the Quadrangle wasn't in full bloom. And here's how it'd look in its prettiest state

After leaving Uni of Sydney, we drove towards Paddington as we had wanted to visit the Paddington Market which was only opened on Saturdays. We had quite a hard time finding street side parking and it didn't come cheap either There are many weekend markets in Sydney but Paddington is by far my most favorite! There were a few hundreds of stores selling all kinds of products, of which many were handmade. Paddington market is also the birth place of many top Australian designers and artists.

It was a very relaxed atmosphere at Paddington...people were just taking their own sweet time browsing through all the product offerings...and talking to the artists and designers who made the products. And at the heart of the market under a big shady tree, tables and chairs were available for people to sit down to rest their tired feet and to enjoy a cup of coffee and perhaps to grab something to eat. There was a group of street performers strumming their guitars and singing a beautiful song.

I caught sight of the below wall painting which was along the some it was graffiti, but to me, that was a creative piece of unpretentious art.

Then there was the dancing banana..accompanied by bouncy donuts. There were so cute as they went around the market giving bear hugs from the back to unsuspecting market goers and pedestrains. The banana was also doing its own cheeky version of moonwalk around the market to the joy of onlookers.
After leaving Paddington Markets, we headed towards Glebe. We wanted to check if Valhalla cinema where we used to watch all the arty films and performances was still there. We were really sad to find that the cinema had closed and the building had been converted to office/retail space

The below photo was taken at Glebe Point where you can enjoy views of the Blackwattle Bay, Anzac Bridge and in the far distant, the Sydney Tower from the nice quiet park. We realised that we really missed our friends who used to stay at Glebe Point...and whose apartment where they used to make bacon & eggs breakfast for us and where we used to hang out watching silly movies together.

From Glebe Point, we decided to check out the Glebe market (Sat, 10-4pm) since we were in the vicinity The stalls were sprawled haphazardly over the entire compound of the Glebe Public School. It felt much more hippie as compared to Paddington and a good place to look for vintage stuffs. I bought a retro looking airline flight bag with a picture of a vintage VW van on the front...for less than A$30 (selling for A$50 on ebay).

Even if you aren't planning on buying anything at the markets, it's still really fun and interesting just looking at the stuffs that are on sale....and admiring the ingenuity of the people who made the stuffs.

Missing the food at the Unilodge, we decided to head there for our late lunch. The food court at the Unilodge served pretty decent asian food and at very affordable prices. You could get a hearty meal of rice with meat and a drink for less than A$7.

As we were about to leave after lunch, we noticed an office near the food court that was advertising the sale of some lofts. The investment returns seemed decent enough for us to approach the staff to find out more. Apparently, investors can buy units at Unilodge to earn rental income . And it just so happened that they were organising a viewing on that particular day so we tagged along to take a look around. The units that were on sale that were shown to us were currently being occupied by students and some of the lofts were totally filthy! You really can't imagine how anyone can live like that. The lofts were really small like 30+sqm. Although we were quite interested, we were later told that only Australians, PRs or full-time students can buy the units. Too bad!

Next we headed towards Broadway where we hung out at Broadway Shopping Centre for awhile. I did some x'mas shopping while I was there as I found 2 lovely houseware shops selling the prettiest baking utensils. There were several supermarkets and eateries there and so we decided to buy some groceries, cooked food and some sushi handrolls for our dinner that night. We headed back to North Sydney before the sky turned dark.

Here's an evening photo of the Lavender Bay from our hotel window. Even though we were just having a simple meal from the comfort of our hotel room, it felt almost like we were dining at a fancy restaurant with a view like that!

Nothing much seemed to have changed in Sydney but to me, it felt as if everything had changed since our last visit. Or perhaps the only change is in me and the fact that our friends are no longer in Sydney? A world of difference 8 years can make.

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