Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sweating In Sydney






Sweating in Sydney

In one day we went from New Zealand where it was the coldest spring in 50 years to Sydney where heat records were being made. Our hot adventure started early with a 4:30 am wakeup for a 7:00 am flight. We arrived in Sydney at 8:30 am Australian time (10:30 NZ) with a challenge of what to do with our luggage for the day since we couldn’t get into our place until 5:00pm. Since 9/11 it has been almost impossible to find lockers at train or bus stations to store baggage.
We realized that we were just going to need to schlep our bags all day with us as we boarded the train to town. We got off at Circular Quay (pronounced key) and went for a walk over to and around the Sydney Opera House. I was surprised that it is cream colored rather than white. In photos it has always seemed gleaming white. Large lights and a stage were being set up by the front stairs of it. Australian Idol finals are being held here at the Opera House Sunday evening.
Hungry and hot, we chose a bayside café with umbrellas to dine for lunch. We ordered iced coffees and an antipasta platter to share. Big drinks in milk shake glasses were delivered to several tables around us and we started wishing that we had ordered milkshakes too. To our delight, the waitress brought us 2 of the drinks which were not only iced coffee, but also topped with a scoop of ice cream and whipped cream. So we basically started lunch with dessert. The antipasta platter was very good with lots of tasty marinated vegetables and cheeses and salami.
A harbor cruise sounded like a good idea but we had 2 hours to kill before it left. I changed my clothes because I had sweated through the ones I had on earlier. We headed out into the relentlessly hot sunshine, me dragging my bag and Laurel with her backpack, and headed over to the Rocks- an open air market in an old section of town adjacent to the Quay. I dragged my way through the crowds barely looking at the stalls because it was just too hot and hard. Taking pictures was all I could really manage. One stall had 4 huge paella pans with delicious smelling paellas and curries. In order to get away from the crowds we went back to the dock near the immense cruise ship and went over by the Harbor Bridge. We found shade at a bench under a tree and hung out there drinking cold water for awhile until a seriously disturbed homeless man drove us away with his foul language.
It was great to be out on the bay. It is a wonderful bay and since it was a sunny Saturday everyone was out sailing and boating. There were hundreds of sailboats and other vessels. I have never seen a water space more crowded. One 40 foot sailboat almost ran into our ferry. Besides that, it seemed like people were pretty good at controlling their boats. The ferry captains were amazingly adept at maneuvering their ferries. The cruise took us all around the harbor and gave me a good sense of where things were located.
It was finally time for us to catch the ferry to Balmain district where we were staying at the home of the McPauls. They aren’t here because they are visiting Berkeley but they let us stay there along with Evan and Angie from First Pres. The heat seemed to keep increasing and our bags kept getting heavier. We slogged our way up a big hill and then down the other side and over a few streets to their place. We rang their neighbors (Al and Margaret) per instructed and they came out to meet us. It is a bit embarrassing to meet someone new when you are drenched in sweat and red in the face, but they didn’t seem to mind. We were invited to join them for a drink after we got settled. I took a wonderful cold shower to wash the long day’s grime off and went over for a drink. There is nothing like a good shower when you really really need one. Their deck looks out onto the harbor and Sydney skyline. They were so nice and welcoming and gave us advice and helpful hints for getting around. The breeze picked up and it felt lovely to sit out on the deck.
After drinks, we walked over to Darling Street and up the hill 10 minutes to a fabulous district with lots of restaurants and shops. A Vietnamese restaurant looked good so we dined there at an outside table. The food was fresh and delicious- shrimp and vegetable rolls with peanut dipping sauce, BBQ duck and green papaya salad and “shaking” beef cubes. It was fun to be in a neighborhood that was so happening. All of the restaurants with outdoor seating were packed. We went to the grocery to get some supplies for breakfast and lunch and then headed home.
I didn’t sleep well for the 2nd night in a row. We are on NZ time and is was really bright and warm in the morning so we both got up early, had breakfast and then headed out in different directions. I took the ferry to Circular Quay and got on the bus towards Bondi beach. I enjoyed the bus ride through town and took note of place to go back to on the return trip. I LOVED the beach. At one end was IceBreakers- a swim club that has a saltwater pool next to the ocean and waves come up and crash over into the 50 meter pool. I thought about going for a swim but didn’t have my goggles with me. Instead, I walked along the great costal walk which winded up and down along the shore cliffs. The shore was comprised of extremely eroded rocks that were beautiful. Tons of people were out jogging, walking their dogs and strolling along. It was hot but there was an ocean breeze.
I returned to the beach and walked onto the fine white sand to the surf. The water was the perfect temperature and I enjoyed wading in while I watched the surfers and boogie boarders hoping for some waves. There must have been hundreds of people, both kids and adults, in groups being trained to life guard and do other types of water safety. They were easily distinguished by their water-polo style caps in various colors. Lots of people were swimming and the beach continued to fill up. I hopped on a bus to return back to the city and got off at Hyde Park to walk through the gardens. Flowers were in bloom and huge trees provided shade as the temperature soared. I wandered through a shopping area to the Palace gardens and back to Circular Quay. I bought a cold liter of water and drank it in just a few swallows before the ferry arrived. I still had to walk back to the McPauls from the ferry landing afterwards so that I could be there to let Evan and Angie in.
The heat really was intense and it was humid as well. It was 42.5 degrees centigrade which is about 105 or more farenheit. Luckily we figure out how to use the air conditioner. I decided to hang out inside for the rest of the day. Evan and Angie wanted to go get groceries and I cooked up some tasty sausages, pepper, onion and broccoli for dinner which we ate inside. Australian Idol finale began around 9:00 so we went outside to watch the fireworks from the Opera House. A few minutes of the hot air drove us back inside. We cheered when we saw that the forecast for tomorrow is for it to be significantly cooler after a thunderstorm tonight. Yeah.

1 Comments:

Blogger Marianna said...

Amy: I am loving your blog. Can't believe the temperature difference you have put up with. Your pictures are fantastic and we want to see NZ and Australia! The food pictures are especially great. So sorry about the heat and your luggage that first day, I can't even imagine such heat. Keep up the post. Marianna

9:10 AM  

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