Dec. 23 – Sydney Adventures

The forecast was not supposed to be too good today, so we got out as soon as we could to try to beat the rain. We walked through the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), The Strand, And Pitt Street, known for their shopping. Even though backpacking can have its downfalls, it’s great (and a money saver) that I don’t even have room in my bag to shop for things.

Within the last week, the Sydney Seige at the Lindt Cafe occurred, in which an extremist took the cafe over and held many hostages. The police eventually made their way in and killed him, but there were two hostages that died in the process. We walked to Martin Place and saw the cafe, all boarded up with crime tape around. Just as we got there, the city was preparing to remove the hundreds of flowers that people laid down in front of the store in memory of the victims. It was eerie thinking how recently this had happened, but it was interesting to see the procession of firefighters and other servicemen there to remove the flowers.

For lunch, we walked through Darling Harbour, across Jones Bay wharf along Pyrmont Bridge, through the quieter parts of the city to the Sydney Fish Market. I’ve never seen so much seafood in one place, let alone the variety and size of some of them! There was a serious smell of all things marine, like crabs, prawns, oysters, and scary looking fish. We bought a half kilo of prawn (shrimp) and a tray of oysters to enjoy at the picnic tables right next to the marina of fishing boats. Prawns are nothing like the shrimp in the USA as they still have the heads and tails attached. This is definitely not for the squeamish as you have to yank off the head, peel off the legs and shell, and pull out the intestines. Yum. After a few I got the hang of it, but I prefer the lazy American style.

After lunch, we walked from the Seafood Market to the Star casino to look around. It looked similar to the US casinos I’ve seen, but the Australian government published all these brochures and signs about the damages of gambling and how the odds are never in your favor and you are destined to lose.

We took the team to Kings Cross, which is one of the seedier neighborhoods of Sydney with plenty of brothels and bottle shops to service the Red Light District. We walked through and took a picture in front of the infamous Coca Cola sign, but it was pretty tame at 3pm so we headed back to the apartment to give our feet a rest.

After Uncle Ben finished from work at the jewelry store, he took us out to a delicious Spanish restaurant with sangria and tapas with prawn, jamon, and chorizo–it was almost just as good as when we had it in Barcelona. We chatted about USA culture vs. Australian, like the “no worries mate” attitude.

Byron and I headed out to see Sydney’s nightlife, after promising Ben “just call your uncle if anything happens, and then I’ll call someone else.”

We wandered past the expensive posh night clubs full of fancy looking people and instead found ourselves at a small low key club called the Scary Canary. Toohey’s New in hand, we danced to the heavily-American influenced music into the wee hours.

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