As soon as reception opened this morning, Ron was there to check on the vouchers for the cruise. Nothing still. I am thinking about $1,000 Australian dollars on my Mastercard and I have nothing to show for it. This gave me a headache and two aspirin did not touch it.
We took our laundry to a place where they will wash, dry, and fold for a reasonable amount. Ironing is extra and if we wanted to iron, we could do it at the hotel.
Ron wanted to do the hop on-hop off bus. I was not keen on the idea, but we went anyway to the bus station to get it at the first stop. It is advertised as having 31 stops with two routes one going to Bondi Beach good for 24 hours for $30.00. Getting on was not a problem when we started out. There is a taped narrative in English. Here is where the fun started. Each stop, the narration advises that all passengers must remain seated at all times. Once the bus started, we heard “We are now approaching…as you can see on the left…and to your right we are now approaching…” All of the … parts are where the narration cut out. About a third of what we were supposed to hear was missing in the atmosphere. Due to construction, the bus had to drive on the wrong side of the street. He kept warning us that we would have to duck for low branches since they were not trimmed on this side for the bus.
At the Opera House, we gave up the ghost and hopped off. Seeing the Opera House up close was terrific, though I had no desire to attend a performance, even if there were one during our stay. Inside there are five major performance spaces, the largest of which is the 2,690 seating place. The money for the construction was allocated by having a lottery. Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, who never saw the completed project leaving after major disagreements. The cost went from a projected $7 million Australian to the final cost of $102 million Australian. Locals either love it or hate it; this has not changed over time.
The parks and green spaces throughout the city are treasured by tourists as well as locals. With all of the high rises, blotting out the sky, these oases give some breathing room. Frustrated with the hop on bus, we walked the city. All of this time, I had been carrying my computer around thinking that I would have some time to write, but it never happened. A coffee break was just that and nothing more.
One of the unexpected treats were the occasional Aboriginals playing the traditional didgeridoo. I really love the music, so we stood around for some time listening.
We ventured to the Queen Victoria Building, a gorgeous red sandstone building that has been converted to a high class mall with expensive high end shops. By this point, my anxiety level had reached a peak, so we returned to the hotel to check on the elusive fax. It still was not there. I was beside myself, but we called the cruise lines, but with no answer this time. Panic! We went to reception to tell them our concerns and she was great. She went to check to see if anyone else had taken a fax when she was away from the desk. Reception is upstairs where the hotel rooms are, with the bar below. The fax had actually been sent to the bar area. Finally, my headache disappeared.
With that weight over my shoulders, we went to get the hop-on bus again to go to Bondi Beach. When we arrived there were five people waiting for the bus that went this route. After waiting for thirty minutes, I asked one of the others how long they had been waiting and she responded an hour. She said they could not get on the first bus because of overcrowding. When it finally came, a German woman pushed ahead of me; she had only been waiting five minutes, so I blocked her husband.. The guide caught and said something, but I corrected him and he told the husband to keep his wife on a shorter leash.
Bondi pronounced Bond-eye, is one of the most famous beaches in Australia. The beach is roughly a kilometers long, patrolled by those famous Australian lifeguards that we see in all of the movies and on calendars. Being a beautiful beach, I really expected to see tons of beautiful people in their little speedos lazing around sunbathing. The beach was not nearly as crowded as I would have thought, there was rarely a speedo in sight, but those that were had the overhang problem. Their bellies hid the speedo. The men who could easily have worn a speedo, wore those long and boring to look at long shorts type bathing suits. How many beaches have their own web site? http://www.bondivillage.com/
The area is full of restaurants, bars, and souvenir stores. They had a little crafts market in the center, which we perused and bought a couple of trinkets. We figured it may be too expensive to eat in this area, so we took the public bus back to the city. By now, the hop-on bus had stopped for the night. Though our tickets are good for 24 hours, we do not plan on attempting it again tomorrow.
We found an Indian restaurant that appealed to us on Oxford Street. You can order 2 or 3 main dishes with rice for a fixed price. I had one type of chicken, one beef, and one vegetable. The servicing are for the famished, because it was all I could do to finish it. We are not sure how they can do it, since the prices are so reasonable, but it was a great deal for us. This restaurant is a repeater.