Good Morning from Sydney!
Yesterday we walked around the Harbor and watched the boats on the Harbor. There are ferries taking passengers to and from the suburbs. There are water taxis taking passengers to private destinations. Then, there is a cruise ship in the Harbor tied up next to our hotel. We sunned at the rooftop swimming pool and lounged around in the hot tub. Dinner was at the Hotel.
After the Harbor, we walked to the Sydney Opera House. A Dane designed it by the name of Jorn Utzon. While construction began in 1957, it was not dedicated until 1973. The building is recognized as one of the most distinctive designs of the 20th century. The “shells” of the building have been described as waves and sails. See our photos and see what you think the shells look like.
After seeing the Sydney Opera House, we walked around the Rocks, which is the oldest section of Sydney. The original “white” settlers established their post on the Rocks. Today we enjoyed street merchants selling food, clothes, jewelry and other arts and crafts.
Next, we took a taxi to Bondi Beach on the Pacific Ocean. It is about a kilometer long beach of beautiful white sand. It may have been the first white sand beach we have seen on this entire trip. The Beach is a surfer’s mecca. Above the Beach is a restaurant, the Iceberg, which has a billion dollar view of the beach so we ate lunch there. We also enjoyed the fresh Australian wine that they produce near Sydney.
BTW, the taxi driver to Bondi Beach was a hoot. He was Lebanese, 72 and had seven sons; the youngest was only 14 years old. His wife left him at 58, after the birth of his last son, because she wanted a girl. She had the last son when she was 57! He called her the “CRAZY, LAZY WOMAN”!!! He said he did all the cooking, cleaning, and worked full time and drove a taxi part time! All she did was have babies and complain about him not giving her a girl! He had an IPOD and played Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tom Jones and Elvis Presley songs, all at ear piercing decibels!
From Bondi Beach, we took a taxi to Watson’s Bay and drank a Margarita at Doyle’s on Watson’s Bay. It is a bar/restaurant that has been used in the past on television in Foster Beer commercials. Beautiful people were everywhere. Some were in summer casuals. Some were dressed fashionably. There was also a wedding going on at Watson’s bay with antique cars and everyone dressed in long tuxedos! From Watson’s Bay we caught a ferry back to Sydney Harbor to end our day.
The homes in Sydney are lovely. Laws and regulations protect most of them so that any architectural changes have to be approved. While in Sydney, they had an auction of homes, which is the way they sell homes here, because the demand is so high. The MEDIAN sales price was $722,718 for the 784 homes sold. Needless to say, the standard of living in Sydney is quite high by American standards. An article we saw on line said that Australian couples living on $150,000 a year were having a tough time making ends meet. The average income in Australia is $72,000, but the median income falls to $57,000.
Tomorrow we leave for Auckland where we are looking forward to meeting up with a work colleague of Rita’s who is a Kiwi, but works for Andretti, and is in Auckland visiting family, now that the 2013 Indy Car Series is over. Hope to get the local view of Auckland from him, although we hear Kiwi’s drink a lot, so we may never get out of the pub with him!
Love and miss you all! We will be home soon! Norm and Rita
Some photos of Sydney!