Day 31- Sydney, on repeat

Today is our last day in Sydney, and in Australia in general…in commemoration of the event, we had planned to do the Harbor Bridge Climb…and thankfully the weather cooperated too! It was cold again when we woke up, but seemed clear- and turned out to be an amazing day…the weather was so clear and gorgeous it couldn’t have been better planned.

We had no idea what time we should leave to cope with rush hour issues and stuff, so we were at the bus stop before 7am. We did our morning “routine”, as I joke that now we know Sydney basically in and out 😉 it has definitely grown on me a bit. I am not sure why Auckland didn’t stress me out in the same way, but maybe it was because of the whole not getting to see Auckland thing that kind of made the whole ‘city’ idea not quite the same…but anyway, I wouldn’t want to live here- just as NYC or LA are not for me either…but I don’t feel it is stressful or annoying as I initially did- and I hope that we feel this way after trying to find the campervan office tomorrow too, haha…but anyway it is kind of fun to “play” resident for a few days- and see what life is like for the people who do this everyday…

We got to the ferry area, where we’d walk to the bridge climb more than an hour early…so we got our last “pies”- which were so steaming hot, I burnt my mouth numerous times…it wasn’t quite what I pictured either- I expected creamy, cheesy, and it ended up being saucy, spicy, almost like a burrito or something. It was from a place called “pie face” and each pie had a smile baked in- like literally, a smiley face poked in it…and she had asked if we wanted mash and gravy on top- we refused, so she continued on with ‘tomato sauce” ie ketchup, to which we again refused…and I am so glad. As most know, I am not one for condiments in general- I like my food unadulterated, except maybe with some salt…but this thing was so tomato saucy as it was already- it would seriously have been gross with more!

We finished up and could see at the Museum of Contemporary Art next door to the park we were munching in- there was a really cool metal sculpture of a neuron, and they were setting up for some kind of event…turns out it is Sydney fashion week- as later we saw the models and make up tents…oh the familiar world of fashion, that I have since abandoned…Seattle’s fashion Week is actually coming up next weekend- and I guess Vera Wang is showcasing, and Apolo Ohno is modeling…fancy things happening since I showed last year…I also missed the Project Runway auditions- or rather, maybe the audition is coming up shortly, but with the trip would have had no time to prepare…and I am done with that idea now anyway- I think after 3 times of being really super close, but no cigar, I can gather that it’d be much the same yet again, even had I been ready…I would not mind attending the event- but I know with an all day Motley Zoo event next Saturday also, I will not be in the going to fashion shows/ parties mood. I guess I traded fashion for mutts, for good! J

So we began the walk up towards the bridge and finally found the building we were to meet at…we went in and sat down for a bit- while they showed a video of what we’d be doing…they give you a ‘flight suit’ type get up, and you cannot bring cameras, which I was devastated to find out! They have a mock set up of what the ladders are like on the climb so you can try it out, while rigged in and connected to the safety line. The gadget that you use to run along this cable is so cool: it is like the size of a baseball and has 2 toothed gears that wind together. Once you clasp it onto the cable it just goes seamlessly over each junction and interchange of cable and angle- so unlike rock climbing where you remove a carbineer to move past each safety connection point- this just rolls on through. It occasionally catches and you must give it a tug, but otherwise it is genius…anyway one thing I thought a bit odd was that they gave a breathalyzer test before going too- which I can understand, but really, if someone was drunk enough not to attend, I think it’d be pretty noticeable! Anyway, a metal detector too…but everything from jackets to gloves and hats are provided- radio headsets also- and everything is attached to some kind of strap and clipped to you, so nothing flies off and gets away into traffic or the water.

We started the climb and it was really cool to be walking behind the scenes. They are doing repairs on the bridge and so we saw the workers all strapped in like us, working and walking around…The guide told us stories and history about the bridge while we climbed the eastern side, from the south side to the middle and then back down the western side…the guide brings a camera and snaps pics every so often along the climb, which they sell later…but it is nice because they also give you a group shot, complimentary- and a certificate of the climb. Our group was a fun one- a couple from long Island, and a family from nearby, who sadly were celebrating the death of their father/ husband 8 years prior. The youngest girl couldn’t have been more than 10, so she probably remembers nothing of here dad- the oldest boy about 15 or so…the mom shed some tears as we all explained who we were and why we were there…there was a kid celebrating his 21st, someone for their 50th, and then the couples mostly for anniversary or mothers/ father’s day…we chatted a lot with the couple from the Blue Mountains (where we were a few days ago), who received the gift from their son…he has apparently planned out all sorts of cool things for them- including a great white shark dive, in a cage J gutsy peeps in their early 60’s!! See, this is why I always say rather than have kids, when we’re about that age we will adopt an independently wealthy 30 something in need of a good family- and then we’ll have someone to take us on fancy exciting trips hehe.

Anyway the climb was truly awesome- at its peak the bridge is 440 feet over the water. There is still nearly 3 feet of steel girder on either side of the walkway, so you cannot see directly down through the path to the water, which I would have liked, but it was darn high. I was amazed that the NY couple told us his son had been bungee jumping at that height in NZ…honestly I cannot imagine choosing to step off a platform that high- I think I would freeze up. It was one thing with skydiving where someone else was technically in control, I had little choice even had I resisted…but in bungee jumping it is up to you to jump, and I don’t know if I could! I am sure I would enjoy it, but it is something we have not done…I don’t know that I will- but probably I will try it someday…though I think it can lead to back issues…maybe it would straighten out all my kinks! One good SNAP and I’d be better? Ha- I can imagine my chiropractors wanting to kill me at this thought!!

They let us stay up there for quite a while, which was nice- especially sans camera. The day was just right- perfect weather, great visibility and just a gorgeous sight…we learned that only 16 people died while building the bridge- and this is when they didn’t use safety lines and ropes either!! One guy fell from the road deck height onto the water- and though the force of the fall, exploded his boots, soles embedded in his feet (taking 2 weeks to remove by tweezers), and boots gone all the way up his thighs, to his groin- that they had to cut off with knives- ouch! But he lived…and went back to work on the bridge shortly after. Now that, I think is nuts…but I guess a job is a job if you really need it! We continued on back down and suddenly it was done. We were really done with all the exciting parts of the trip and the reality of leaving was setting in. We got our pics of the climb and they made me crack up…but by then we were starving and thirsty and had to find food.

We went down the street and found a little chocolate shop that served lunch- good Panini/ bruschetta and we got a delicious chocolate shake- which was something I had craved a while back, but not really seen on the trip. Much of the ice cream goodies, other than convenient store freezer popsicles etc, is fruit- they go for the fruity, gelato more often than the creamy stuff…so I was really excited about some dark chocolate ice cream shake! It was indeed the best shake I have ever had, and we sucked it down so fast, it was ridiculous! I had told the server to give us lots of water, and she gave us this tiny glass which I drank down before she even finished putting Bryan’s on the table- but did she come back with more? Of course not! And wait for our bill? Nope- we just asked this time for them to bring it, which seemed to surprise them…and then again we were off to wander a bit. We were not in a hurry- but we did want to get going 😉

We were really tired right now so our options were to walk the Botanical Gardens or go home- We wanted to see the gardens and get closer to or go in the opera house but we were so tired…and really at some point, a park, is a park, is a park…we chose home, to pack (in daylight)- but with a stop at the flea market before. Although we had purchased a round trip ticket with transfer from the station, the machine sucked up our ticket (one transfer early) and we got screwed out of our ride home which was lame. Thankfully we got a little bit more money changed over, as we had been on our last $100 and still needed to catch a cab tomorrow…then we went to find the market. 

We meandered a bit, I finally did decide on a tshirt- and Bryan finally found his hat! It is a nice light gray straw one that looks quite nice on him, so that is good…no more felt hot wool hat for summer time for him! We also finally documented the awful products they make from the animals here- including bottle openers and lighters from kangaroo nuts, and then their paws L also jerky from roos, emus and crocs…as well as wild board pate in a can with native berries sauce. YUM.

and then a cane toad, now functioning as a change purse…

eating lunch…

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