Day 2 – Friday June 4th 2010
Our day was to start with a tour of the Sydney Opera House. Kind of a dismal day, lots of rain unfortunately. But we made it there mostly dry. Then came the thing that I forgot I hated about Sydney tourist attractions – they all make you pose for a photo as you go in & then try & sell you lousy photoshopped images of yourself for $40 at the end of the tour. Umm, why not just GO to the places & take photos yourself? The incredible stupidity of this was highlighted as we watched others showing up for the tour. A guy was wearing a green shirt. The blank background was green. The obvious issue arose. So the photographer took him over to the side by the water, which overlooks the harbour and the bridge from there, and took their group photo. To be later photoshopped onto fake backgrounds. I’ve never quite worked out if you can just refuse to have your photo taken, or if it’s a combined sales opportunity & security plan. (There’s nothing I hate more than being told to smile for a photo I will never look at and would never buy.)
I have a feeling that the tour guide we had was the same one that JJ, Nellie & I had two years ago on my last visit to Sydney. But they’d changed a few bits & pieces about the tour from that time. The main one being that we had to wear headphones the entire tour so the guide could speak into a microphone. It’s kind of annoying to wear them for over an hour… I’m not much of a headphone person. Then, if you wanted to speak to anyone around you, naturally you had to take yours off then wave your arms to get the other persons attention. I remember them going into a lot more detail of the acoustics of the rooms last time … I didn’t remember much of it but I was hoping they’d talk more about it for Ben’s sake, as he would have been in music nerd heaven, but it seemed a little watered-down to me. Or maybe there’s only so many times (one) you can do this sort of tourist attraction, I don’t know. Anyway, the tour went for nearly an hour and a half and was ok overall. We got to see a sneak peak of a show called Glow, they were rehearsing their lighting when we went in the room and though I wasn’t too impressed with the lighting, it was kind of cool to see them in rehearsals. We actually caused that part of the tour to be cancelled, the show’s organisers (producers?) told the Opera House management that they weren’t allowing any more people in as the tour groups were affecting their lighting rehearsals. Fair enough.
We decided to use the tickets to Sydney Tower (which is apparently not called Centrepoint anymore) and headed up towards there next. The girl at the ticket desk told us that it was a white out up there, so she didn’t rip our tickets, that way we could come back if we wanted. We proceeded to security, which was interesting. There was a group of 3 or 4 guys ahead of us and the security guard went through their bags pretty finely, but practically ignored our bags. We got in a lift with the guys and they sent us on up. Generally, I’m not scared of heights. I don’t always like them, but I’m hardly a shivering wreck. I doubt you’d know if I didn’t tell you. And most of the time it doesn’t bother me. However, I do hate lifts. I think I watched too many cartoons where cables get cut and people go falling to the ground. I don’t know. Anyway, it’s more old lifts that scare me, modern ones are usually ok because you can’t feel too much motion. But one of the guys in the lift with us was terrified. They’re indoor lifts, but there is a little screen with a tiny graphic telling you how far up you are (by dots, not exactly specific). One of the guys ended up sitting down on the floor with his head between his knees for the ride up!! (His mates weren’t exactly being supportive either.)
When we got out the top, it sounded like the group of guys had tickets to go outside on the viewing platform … I’m not sure if they were actually running that in the weather, but I felt so sorry for the terrified guy! But, bringing us back to the heights thing, Sydney Tower is the one place I can think of where I get disorientated by the height. But only for a few mins, then I’m used to being up there. It’s odd. We sat for a while up there, saw a girl who had brought a book up and thought that was a good idea. In the end, the only photo we took up there was this one from my phone. It really wasn’t even worth getting the camera out of the bag, it really was raining that much while we were up there:
Anyway, there’s only so long you can look at rain while up a tower surrounded by gift shop and (predictably) a few loud tourists, so we headed back down pretty soon after going up.
I’m thinking this may have been when we decided to try and do ‘dry’ things… so apart from wandering in malls and stuff like that (like most tourist cities, it’s sometimes hard to find a toilet) I think what we did next was to visit the Da Vinci exhibit at Sydney Town Hall. Whenever it was that we went there, we spent quite a while playing with all the stuff. It wasn’t really much of my thing, but Ben enjoyed it. I enjoyed being dry and sitting down!
I do know that the end of the day is when I found a little cheap shop and bought a jacket, an oversized cardi and a tshirt for $30. So I was happy! After that we pretty much gave up on the weather and went back to the hostel and flopped on the bed and rested our weary (and soggy!) feet for a while.
Since the little Italian place I wanted to eat at was gone, we decided later that night to walk up the road to an Indian place to eat dinner. It was little odd … they had signs up saying ‘no table service’ but at the same time you had to order at the counter and they would bring the food out to you. But not cutlery or water or glasses. You had to kinda go behind the counter to even get a bottle of water… a little odd. But the food. Wow. So nice!!
Ben got the Butter Chicken and I got the Mango Chicken. They really weren’t spicy food (but the only spicy Indian food I’ve ever had is proper home-cooked Indian food), but the Mango Chicken especially had the most amazing flavours. I dream of being able to cook it myself at home! They’re very well priced too, our meals were only about $12 each. And incredibly filling, we had trouble finishing ours, but tried our hardest because they tasted so good. The restaurant is nice too, huge wooden tables and they had a belly dancer to entertain people (it’s eat in and take away). Highly recommend them – Santoor Indian Restaurant (they don’t have a website, but you can find them & their menu on
After a filling meal like that – we’d definitely had it for the night! So it was back to the hostel to plan the next day.