Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Australia Adventures #12... the final adventure..

We left off at us getting back to the Holiday Inn late and me agreeing to meet up at 6am to go to The Rocks and shoot more photos in the daylight.  I went straight to bed.  I was exhausted.  I had an early start and a long flight the next day.  The guys didn't.

They went exploring without the girls.  They learned (and shared with us later) that our hotel (that I had very meticulously chosen) was a block away from the red light district.  One was propositioned by a male prostitute, another was offered the stage at a place so he could dance for the patrons..  I'm not sure how long they stayed.. but I probably wouldn't have stayed too long.

0530 came early.  After doing some schedule debates in my head, I decided to just get up and shower so that way if we got back late, I wouldn't still need a shower before leaving for the airport.  We left the hotel and headed to the train station, which was right down the street.  We quickly arrived at the Circular Quay stop and jumped off.  After asking for directions a few times (we were in the downtown area again, and I can't tell N/S/E/W directions from just standing on the street, I'm not a compass yo), we finally saw a sign that said The Rocks.

By this point, I was starving.  I was getting "hangry."  My travel cohort said something about a place called "Pancakes on the Rocks" and I was like, PANCAKES?!?!  YESSSSS FEED ME PANCAKES.  I LURVE PANCAKES!!!  Why was I so avid?  Pancakes are pretty much an American thing.  Other countries don't recognize "pancakes".  It's strange.  Just like America doesn't recognize sticky toffee pudding, that's stupid, not strange.  She said they were actual America-like pancakes.  We asked Suzy (my phone's GPS that worked with my portable wifi internet connector) where to go, and she was directing us.

Then I got distracted taking photos.  Really distracted.  Distracted in a "OMG I'm doing this thing that I never thought I'd actually be able to do in my life.  I'd dreamed of it, yes, but never actually anticipated the dream coming true" way.
Good morning harbor bridge.

Good morning opera house.

A chandelier from the Vivid Sydney Festival that we'd missed by a week.
They light up Opera House with multicolored lights and have things like this chandelier just chillin in the harbor.

The ferry pulling into Circular Quay.

I'd been on the top viewing area the night before taking pictures!

Yarrr matey.

I was able to photograph the Sydney Opera House at sunrise.  Seriously.  In real life.  And the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  Ahhhhh-maze-inggggggg!!!!

Actually, we almost missed the sunrise.  We got to the pier area before the sun had risen over the horizon and we'd taken pictures for several minutes and I decided it was time to go eat, so we pulled Suzy back out to resume following her directions.  We had walked up the steps to get back to the street and I turned around and saw the sun starting to peep out over the land.  

Immediately, I turned around and ran down the stairs and back to the pier/ledge where we had been.  I was already running when my travel cohort asked me, "Where are you going?"  "SUNRISE!!!!" was my only response.  She realized what was happening quickly.

After another round of photos, we did actually leave and my cohort joked, "are you sure we're done here?"  I told her not to tempt me.  We finally found Pancakes on the Rocks.

I teased some of my FB friends with pictures of probably the most grand dessert I've ever eaten..  Well, here's the details:

The menu at Pancakes at the Rocks

The specific description of the pancakes I was going to partake of.

What was set on the table for us to eat.  I asked for one of the pancakes to be crepes instead of pancakes, and they were ok with the substitution.  


After feeding time, it was time to start heading back to the hotel so we could meet up with the boys and head to the airport via our pre-arranged transportation (vs taking the train/buses again).  The pre-arranged transport actually was about the same cost as the train and much easier, so we were all ok with it.

On the walk back to the train station, there were lots of photos taken.  Morning rush hour was beginning, so there were lots of people out.  No celebrities were spotted.

The original Australian settler family.

Much more awesome than our blue mailboxes.

Apparently, there were lots of animals at the Rocks.
This place sold Ugg boots.

I liked the balcony.

Lub old stuffs.

Motorcycle parking only?

Always thinking of my Canadian peeps.

This dragon was cute.

Guarding the church doors.

This is a real place.  We didn't stop there, but we probably should have.

These street "signs" made me smile since they gave me explicit directions on which way to look for traffic.

Lots o flags.

No outing is complete without a flower shot!

Escalator in the train station

Waiting on the train.

Here it comes!

The morning commuters.  

We made it back to the hotel with enough time for me to take a mini-nap, throw all my stuff back in my suitcase, and get downstairs.  Our driver to the airport was nice.  He was from Turkey, but had come to Australia because his ex-wife wanted to.  Now he was a driver in Australia and was ok with it.

The Sydney airport is probably the scariest place I think I've ever experienced.  We rode a bus across the tarmac.  I'm not actually sure if there was an actual road, but it really just felt like we were riding on the flight line avoiding planes and luggage carriers.  Scariest experience of my life.  We all made it through security (yay red passport and no lines!) and met up at our gate.  Foods were had and hoarded, since our flight was only "20 minutes long."  We took off at 1330 from Sydney and landed at Dallas/Forth Worth, TX at 1350.  Actually, our flight was almost 16 hours long.  In order to ensure no pain for the entire trip, I took a delightful cocktail of drugs (that my travel companion from Perth (and resident medical adviser/corpsman) gave me a stern glare over when I told him what all I'd taken) and slept for probably 15 of the 16 hours.  All of those hours were sitting up, and if you know me, you should know that I don't sleep sitting up unless I'm completely exhausted... or drugged out of my mind.  In good news, I was in practically no pain until we landed.

Once we got to Texas, we were all relieved to have at least made it back to America.  We weren't really pleased about a 4+ hour layover, but we were at least in America.  Our flight to DC was a blink of an eye compared to the flight from Sydney to Dallas.  Our VX-1 duty driver was waiting on us at DCA and despite how much I wanted to sleep the entire ride home, I couldn't because I was so excited to be almost home.

It was well after midnight when I finally got home and crashed into my delightful Cloud.

I'm never more grateful to be home and in my own bed than after travels.  Worldwide travels always make me extra grateful.

And this brings us to the end of the Australian Adventures.  I'm sorry that it took me 2 months to finish this, but in my defense, I've had a lot going on these past few months.  Hopefully, you've enjoyed at least a few photos from my adventures.

**If you really loved a photo, let me know and maybe we can make a business transaction in exchange for a large, potentially framed, print out of your favorite photo?  canIdecideanotherday(at)gmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/canIdecideanotherday

Want to catch up on the Australia Adventures???
1st day off in Australia (summary)
2nd day off in Australia (summary)
San Francisco (photos)
Perth Zoo a, b, c (photos)
The Indian Ocean and downtown Perth at night (photos)
Caversham Wildlife Park a, b, c (photos)
Fremantle Prison (photos)
walking around Fremantle (the city) (photos)
Perth from King's Park (photos)
HMAS Ovens (submarine) (photos)
Sydney at night (photos and a story)
Sydney in the morning (photos and a story)

Grand Finale:
panoramics from the entire Australia trip

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