We arrived in Sydney and were met at the airport by the primary reason for our down under trip: our nephew, Brett. Brett has been on a work assignment for his Dallas-based software implementation company to establish a new office and train staff. He is three quarters into his two-year stay, so we wanted to see him before the window closed. We are the latest, but not last, of a stream of friends, family, and relatives that have used him as an excuse to travel here. So he had time to hone his hosting and guide skills, from which we benefitted.
After settling in at this Potts Point apartment, which is one of three in a historic “terrace” house, we watched Brett’s club basketball team win with only five players. Then we tucked into a good meal at the Potts Point Hotel pub. Most pubs are on the ground floor of hotels and offer a pretty solid lineup of dishes and, more importantly, a variety of beers, mostly local and regional.
With Brett off to work the next day, Janelle and I were left to our own devices on a rainy Thursday. We walked to the Big Bus stop at El Alamein Park, bought a couple of tickets, and figured this would be a good way to orient ourselves to the city. We hopped off at the iconic Sydney Opera House (SOH) and signed up for a tour. To fill the time, we strolled over to the Botanical Gardens, then back to SOH as the rain started again. Of course, it was time to eat again, so we ordered a couple of appetizers at the Opera Bar. The lamb kabobs and “sticky” chicken were tasty and plentiful, so we had leftovers for the next day.
The SOH tour was well worth the time and expense (about AUD$40 each). Not only were we out of the rain, but we actually learned some interesting facts. The SOH contains six performing venues that host over 1,000 performances annually. All the building materials are Australian except for the tiles (custom made in Sweden) and something else that I cannot remember. The tiles are actually two toned: white, which is the common perception and a tan, which reduces the reflective glare (fun fact to know and tell). A public lottery funded the entire structure, and nobody was killed during the construction, even though workmen were crawling all over the structure without safety harnesses. In contrast, 16 workers were killed during the Harbor Bridge construction.
We sat in and watched the construction of one of several simultaneous opera sets in the Joan Sutherland Opera and Ballet Theatre. The workers were adjusting the lighting, constructing the set, and checking pyrotechnics for the upcoming opera, “Attila.” The theatre’s acoustics are such that the actors and singers do not wear amplification devices.
Getting back on the Big Bus we rode to the Australian Maritime Museum. We spent two dry hours going through the immigration, discovery, and maritime operations for naval and rescue operations. We also saw the sailboat that the first woman used to circumnavigate, nonstop, and ALONE(!), and some cool artwork. Potts Point is a hotbed of restaurants, and we finished out the evening with a yummy dinner at Thai Rock.