More adventchaEric | August 14th, 2005 | 6:56 am
When last we spoke, we had found an apartment and were starting to settle in. During the time we were looking for a place, and just a few days after getting here, Angela started working. She definitely hit the ground running, and even had to work through the weekends to get ready for presentations to new clients. A few days after we moved into our new digs, she and Tony (her boss) jetted off to Noosa, which is like Naples Florida. They had a presentation at a conference for a regional bank here in Australia. I’ll let her tell you all about that stuff in another post.
Since a lot of the basics had been taken care of, we had some time to start looking around the city. Manuel and David took us out to Sunday brunch at the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf (don’t you just love the names?). Not only that, they took us in style in a 1960 Bel Air.
I believe that Woolloomooloo is the only place left in Sydney that retained it’s original name. My guess is that its meaning has something to do with sheep and an angry wallaby. The wharf has what’s left of a an industrial dock, which was more or less an artist community for a while and is now completely gentrified and pretty much exclusively set up to cater to all the yuppies and rich folk. This a picture of the inside of the warehouse, which now consists of high end apartments, a luxury hotel, and a bunch of chi-chi restaurants (as opposed to a Chi-Chi’s restaurant).
We took a load off and had coffee and pastries. Now, I haven’t really gotten into the whole coffee thing here, so let’s stop for a moment and get a little edjamacation…
Australians love their coffee. Now you may say that USians love their coffee too, but as Angela’s coworker Tim put it so well (and I’m sure he said it better), “Australians enjoy the taste of coffee, Americans use coffee as medication”. So, when you get here you have to quickly learn the difference between a long black, a flat white, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. Sure, they have your latte and cappuccino, but you are for a loss if you want a typical American coffee with cream. You’d think you could get cream in your coffee, but basically, you can’t. It’s milk, frothy milk, or no milk. Don’t get me wrong, the milk is delicious. It’s just that Angela is lactose intolerant and can’t drink milk. A little cream is fine and goes a long way, but you are speaking in tongues if you ask for it here. A now famous example is when Angela asked at a Gelato shop that Tim, Sarah, and I were hanging out at, for cream in her double espresso. What arrived was a big dollop of butter floating in her cup. Now, it wasn’t butter exactly, more like really thick clotted cream that was exactly the consistency and taste of unsalted butter, but you get the gist. What I want to know is what barrister with any self respect would serve a cup of coffee with butter in it? I mean, wouldn’t you assume you heard the order wrong, or didn’t understand? You wouldn’t just put butter in it, would you? If you are an Aussie, you may think “Yeah, mate. I just might”. And so they did. Angela did what anyone in the same position might do. She scooped out the butter and drank her slightly oily coffee without further ado. What a trooper. On a positive note, the banana gelato was very good and, as far as I could tell, butter free.
Back to the story…, we had our coffee and pastries and then took a stroll down the wharf with Jed taking the lead. At the end of the pier sits, quietly in it’s berth, Nicole Kidman’s boat. Quite a little ship, ain’t she. Which reminds me of a joke:
A Pirate walks into a bar with a rudder wheel attached to his crotch.
The bartender says “Hey, you know there is a big wheel attached to your crotch?”
“Arr..,”Says the Pirate. “It’s driving me nuts”.
So, as well as having Nicole’s ship at the end of the pier, we also have (what I believe is the most expensive apartment in Sydney) Russell Crowe’s place. Quite nice. The prevailing sentiment here though, is that most people seem to not like Russell all that much. But, obviously, if you have money and you are an Australian star, you have something sitting here at the end of the wharf in Woolloomooloo (I just like saying Woolloomooloo).
And his view is pretty darn good as well. Here Angela, Manuel, David and Jed enjoy the scenery.
But, we also spent some time within the next few days getting to see more of the city. It really has some great buildings, especially where they have saved the old market buildings and turned them into modern-victorian malls. You can see some of the fantastic victorian architecture in the Queen Victoria Building. Here is a shot of the inside of the dome on the third floor.
Along Market Street, which is a sections of the city closed to vehicles, there are some awesome facades married against the modern look of the rest of the city.
And further along you can see the old something or other nestled comfortably amidst the towering sky skyscrapers of the 20th century. Quaint, huh?
We also got into the bowels of the city and rode more of the train. This time we had to go out for Angela’s first day at work in Chatswood. Chatswood is north of the city, about 25 minutes away by train, and the train ain’t that speedy, so it isn’t really that far north. So we headed off to the office and were lost the second we hit the station. Now the problem with the trains here is that there is a yellow line, a red line, a blue line, etc., but they all share the same tracks. This has the effect of making the task of figuring out which train is yours, less than obvious. After some trial and error, and more error, we discovered that you look at the monitors at the station entrance to determine which track you should head to once you are in the station. Then once you are on the right track, you watch the monitor to see that the next train is actually going to stop at the location that you want to get off said train. On a positive note, while you are on the train, the conductor calls out the next station. It sounds like “Next station, Mrodsfkj fsdkfj”. So, at least there’s that.
You’d think that once we made it to the Chatswood station we’d be home clear – or away from home clear, as the case may be. The funny thing about train stations is that they usually have two exits. Figuring out which one you want can be a bit of a ‘drama’, as they say here down under. As you may well have guessed, we picked wrong. Once we got that cleared up, we got lost immediately. The street we wanted wasn’t actually a “street”. It was one of those roads that is completely turned into a walkway with shops on both sides. The interesting thing about this fact is that they don’t seem to name these pedestrian streets. You just have to know you are on the old street name such-and-such.
Ok. So we figure that out and off we go!! The office is about five blocks down, then turn right on Albert Street. And here we are. With no building with the right address. A little investigating a few blocks up, a few blocks down…, nothin’. So another call to the office and it is discovered that they have moved recently and we have been given the old address out of habit. Still, we made it and the space is very nice, if still unfinished. Start of great things and all that.
The most curious thing about Chatswood, ostensibly a (true) suburb of Sydney, is that is like a hugh China Town. The whole place is like visiting part of Shanghai. Very wonderful. We definitely have some great places to go to get food supplies and for a great selection of restaurants. It seems living in Sydney we have the best of both worlds between choosing to live in Australia or living in China. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Tony describes the cuisine of Sydney as “Mediter-Asian” , due to the smattering of Greek and Spanish along with the Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Laotian, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese food choices. We will eat like Kings.
Stay tuned for more…