Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ode to Corn Flakes

Oh, Corn Flakes, how I love thee;
The perfect complement to milky tea.
Capped off with a dessert of PB&J,
You really know how to start my day.

Having already spent half my annual salary just by stepping off the plane, I was going to make it a cheap day. I'd blown a chunk of change on a Sydney Pass, so I figured I'd use it to get to places I wouldn't want to walk to, nor did I want to walk in the rain. So I got on the included hop-on/hop-off bus and decided I should track down the best bargain I'd heard of: The Sydney Fish Market.

Now I'm not one to frequent fish markets. First off, I wouldn't know how to gut and prepare a fish for cooking, and secondly, they smell. BUT, Christie's at the Fish Market is the only place in town where you can get a half dozen top-notch oysters for $8. And damn, they are goooood. I feasted on some oysters and roasted octopus, ready to take on the day. I'd just wolfed down half the seafood output of Sydney Harbor, and the sun decided to come out, so it seemed a better idea to walk the rest of the day.

God bless these Keen sandals. That was a long walk. From the Fish Market to uber-touristy Darling Harbour and King Street Wharf, it's not so bad. The walk to the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and up the Pylon Lookout, on the other hand, wasn't so breezy, but the climb up was worthwhile, just for the views.

Sydney is a truly beautiful city. At first, I felt like it was London with a little more space and a lot more sun. Then I realized, no, I was wrong. There are a hell of a lot more flies. But the view from the Pylon, with its panoramic view of the shimmering blue inlet that Sydney surrounds, reminded me why it's worth coming halfway around the world to see it. It's freakin' beautiful.

Walking from the bridge to Circular Quay and, naturally, the Opera House revealed more of the beauty. Even the throngs of tourists aren't all that annoying. It's just too happy and nice around here. Just east of the Opera House, in the Royal Botannical Gardens, it looks like every other Sydneysider has taken the day off to go sun themselves. Even the seagulls were laying about in the grass catching some rays. I may have been on my feet all day, but it was blissful.

By evening, I made it back to the Pink House at Kings Cross in time for some traditional Aussie tucker: A barbecue. For $5, our hosteliers fed us to the gills with sausages, steak, salads. I guess there are bargains to be found in Sydney.

I rallied up with some Brits in the house - Becky, Jen and Tom - and we went out to the World Bar for a few "Long Island Iced Teas" that we had free coupons for. I use the quotations because there was about as much alcohol in these as you'd find in a Mormon temple. The pissed-on drinks called for a change of venue.

To O'Malley's Irish Pub it was, where we saw this former Navy Seal-turned-bar-act singing Barry White tunes to a T. Scary. The Walrus of Love lives. In Sydney.

The bar hop continued to the backpacker-oriented Empire, although I can hardly see how $5 glasses of beer are anything remotely backpackerlike. A fat, old wannabe pimp with a grey ponytail and a 96" waistline started ripping into Becky and Jen ("Go home, Poms!") but they wouldn't take it. They called it like they saw it, calling the guy a fat bastard, old sleaze who hangs out in backpacker bars, you get the picture. Security came to break it up and there was no incident, other than tears of ironic laughter when Mr. Rotundo called Becky a "fat bitch" as he left.

Overall, Kings Cross nightlife has been less than impressive. Hence why we ended back up at the lounge at the Pink House, polishing off a 4L box of wine. And, having not been to bed for 2 days, it's at that point I became intimately acquainted with my bean bag chair.

And that's why I'm singing the praises of Corn Flakes this morning. They re-nourished me, re-vitalized me, and now it's off to meet Damon, my 4D counterpart from Sydney. Gotta mix business with pleasure, sometimes.

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