Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sydney Road Trip Day 4 + 5: Around Sydney

Our actual time out and about in Sydney was very minimal this time around.

Half of Day 4 was spent at the Sydney Aquarium, with a lot of waiting both inside and outside.

Compared to our first visit here, I would say this time was a huge disappointment. It was crowded with people and the lines and wait times were long. Also, the Lego pieces (which were a huge hit with my Lego fanatic son and myself) were no longer on display.

The upside was that Caleb could now enjoy the experience more - he loves watching animals move around.

As well, it was cool for Nathan to see some of the predators he's been reading about, like the Japanese Spider Crab.

After the aquarium, we had a late lunch at The Snag Stand in a swanky-looking food court with all sorts of yummy-looking restaurants.

Good food with awesome packaging. Why don't they have those here in Brisbane?

We shopped for a bit, then met up with our friend for dinner in Chinatown. Here's our obligatory photo in front of the Chinatown Gate.

We decided to stop by Circular Quay on the way home because there was no way we were going to brave the crowds to see it the night after (aka New Year's Eve).

I think the Opera House looks much more magnificent at night.

On NYE, we thought we could make a quick trip to the CBD before venturing to our chosen vantage point to stake out our spot for the night. But between decreased bus services and long waits, we only made it Daiso before heading back north.

It would have been a hundred times better if we were in Japan in an actual 10yen shop but this was as close as I was going to get.

Anyway, by the time we finally got to Milson's Point, it looked like this:

Andrew waded in through the crowd first and managed to squeeze us a little spot between some people, right smack dab in the middle of the tiny path that was running through the crowd.

Eventually, this stranger asked us to move to open up the path again. He had even made a space for us in front of this other group who had somehow decided they needed to take up as much space as possible (despite not even using half of it).

I won't bore you with every single detail of our 10-hour wait but here are some thoughts.

 I am so glad I brought umbrellas because the sun was beating down on us and it was scorching hot outside. And we definitely didn't look out of place because most people either had an umbrella, or a tent. Those who didn't, wished they had one I'm sure.

It definitely wasn't sunshine and lollipops for the whole 10-hours. Things started off well, the boys loved playing under the umbrella.

Then the heat made us all highly irritable and there were a couple tense moments. It didn't help that I had sent Andrew back to our car with my giant bag of goodies from Daiso and some postcards that I wanted mailed out from the CBD. He was gone for hours. I didn't think I'd survive. But I did.

Eventually, Andrew came back (with food!). Then it was his turn to watch our little ball of energy while I took a break. My head was pounding.

We tried to sneak in a few pictures. Between Nathan playing on his iPod and Caleb bouncing around, this was one of the best we got.

Around 9pm, the family fireworks came and went. Literally. There was barely anything to see and that's when we discovered that from our spot, the fireworks from the barges were completely blocked on our left by a giant tree, and on the right by the Harbour Bridge.

Fortunately, I had already decided that we didn't drive all the way down to Sydney to watch the 9pm fireworks; we were staying until midnight.

I'm so glad we did because though we still couldn't see the fireworks off the barges, the ones coming off the bridge was enough to make up for everything.

It was absolutely spectacular. What a fantastic way to celebrate a fantastic year.

I must add a huge thank you here to Andrew who so valiantly braved the crowds not once, but twice. The second time was a hundred times worse than the first. Even earlier in the day, people would scoff when I apologized (in a truly Canadian manner) for stepping past them. 

After the first set of fireworks, I thought it would be best if Andrew brought our stroller, mat, cooler and other miscellaneous things back to the car so that when the fireworks over, we just had my purse and the boys to worry about. Unfortunately, that meant he had to tiptoe around even more super-territorial people as the crowds had really increased by then; there was barely any space to move. He ignored snide comments and rude glares, fighting his way through the crowds just so our exit at the end of the night could be more pleasant. 

Thank you so much, Andrew! You're my hero.

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