Happy New Year From Sydney, Australia

Today was supposed to be a kick back day and for the most part, it was. We stayed up reading until 3:00 am, so 10:30 was a reasonable wake-up time. We hunted for some place new and different for our coffee, but so many places were closed, or those that were open did not have outdoor seating. Outdoor seating is imperative since all of this state and the last state were were in is no smoking. There is no smoking inside any building, thus, many smokers are swarming the outdoor seating. We eventually had to take a bus to find a place open, finally landing at a different Starbucks than the one we usually go to. It was great to read a real newspaper in English. I read the financial section from cover to cover. Starbucks and many other eating establishments obviously are not legally obligated to have bathrooms for customers even if they serve food. We were sent from Starbucks to the Victorian Mall to use the men’s room. Since we were there already, there were so many sales going on, I had to look around. We came out buying a couple of polo shirts for $15.00 Aus making it a good buy. According to the paper, the Australian economy has not been in such bad shape since the 1930s. Even then, they recovered faster than they expect they will be able to do this time around. As we wandered, a souvenir shop caught my eye. We bought four t-shirts. After debating what we were going to do the rest of the day, we had decided on the aquarium. What was missed in translation was whether or not to go immediately or after we went back the hotel to drop off the big buys of the day. I distinctly remember stating we should go back to the hotel, while Ron heard we should go immediately. Since I depend on him for directions, I was amazed to see that we had to go right past the aquarium to get to the hotel. Hmmmm…. The entrance to the aquarium was $29.50 for me, but Ron asked for and received a senior discount. We have been to a number of aquariums in different countries. I cannot say I was impressed with this one. Ron concurred later when we left. One thing that was on my must see list here was a platypus. Even since early childhood, I have been fascinated with them. There was a huge display, but no animal to be found. A number of the tanks in front were only half filled with water and looked void of life of any type. Otherwise, there was only one surprise in the whole place and this was the dugong. It is a cousin to the manatee, and both are relatives of the elephant. It is as big as a manatee, but with a very flat almost pig like snout. We spent a good three hours inside, but about forty minutes of that was resting from the night before. The next agenda item was to head back to the hotel. We were out three minutes after setting the clock for an hour later. We went to dinner on Oxford Street and now back to the hotel. Tomorrow is an early morning. We have a tour booked. On a side note, this city or state has really strict driving laws. From December 23rd until January 4th, if you are caught driving without your seat belt on, they give you enough half of the demerits needed to lose your driver’s license. If any of your passengers are without they seat belt, they get fined and the driver does lose the license.