My Birthday – Sydney

The best thing about my birthdays is that we are always away on vacation when it comes around, so it makes getting older a little less distracting. Today is my day and I am supposed to decide what we do, but it is also our last full day in Sydney, so there are a few things we have not done yet to fit in. Our first agenda item was to go to Bronte Beach. We had heard it is lovely and should not miss it. We found the correct bus to get there, but when the bus pulled into the bus station after a number of stops, we thought it was the end of the line. We also mistook what we though was a pedestrian street for a corso, or street leading to the beach. Being wrong on both counts, after walking a bit, we wandered into a Borders bookstore. So very similar to the States, this gigantic bookseller has shelf after shelf of tomes I would like to own, but the thought of lugging them holds me at bay. One difference here is the selection features a number of Australian writers, as well as American and British. So many books, so little luggage capacity on the airlines. Ripping ourselves away from the store, we went back to the bus station to catch the bus to complete our journey to the beach. It actually was the same bus we were on, we just did not stay on it long enough. Bronte Beach in reality is like a picture postcard that you see and dream about visiting. A small piece of paradise, the water ranges from cloudy sky blue to rich hues of greens married to blues. The swimming area is small, but manageable with it roped off for safety. There are little coves with ocean water for the little ones and further along the rock line is a larger cove for the other children to swim safely without parental worries about sea creatures dragging their offspring off into the depths. After an hour, we tore ourselves away and took the bus back to a district where we found some used bookstores. The bookstores were really a touch of Bohemia with little restaurants inside. Both sold new and used books. Ron found another book of his latest favorite Australian author. Everything I found was new and in hardcover, so it stayed on the shelf. After returning to the hotel to drop off the books we purchased, we went to the State library, which had an exhibit by George Caddy and his photos of the Jitterbug. What was more incredible were his photos in the same exhibit on Bondi Beach. They were unbelievable what those people did. This was called Beacharobics. We spent a good two hours looking at each photo and then Ron ran into a man who happened to be on our New Years cruise and remembered him. This gentleman was the curator of this exhibit, so gave him more background information. Our hotel is also a micro-brewery. We stopped there for a beer brew, arranged for the airport shuttle $12.00 per person, and then out to dinner. We wanted to return to a restaurant we had eaten at a couple of nights ago, but it was closed. They had 300 gram steaks for $5.00. Delicious! We made it an early evening since we fly to Cairns tomorrow morning on Virgin Blue Airlines, one of the budget airlines in Australia. We were told that until they started up three years ago, Qantas has a monopoly allowing them to charge exorbitant fees. Now they can no longer gouge the public; they have a choice.
Surprisingly, Sydney has a void of free WiFi connections just as the other cities so far. Budapest is so far ahead in this arena when you can find a couple on each block. Each time I went into Gloria Jeans to check my e-mail using the connection I had paid for, I felt a little obligated to buy something since I was sitting there. Disappointing!