I’ve been a bit busy with work for these last two days (it’s Wed, April 6 at 7am right now) but I figured before I head off to the Canadian Consulate (apparently we have an election going on so I have to register!), I’d post a quick post about my visit on Saturday and Sunday in Sydney and surrounding areas. So I arrived in Sydney at 730am on the Saturday April 1. I had lost a day and apparently, my butt pulled a muscle in the process. I get into the queue for Customs, answer all their questions, realize I said yes to everything on the Customs Declaration form (e.g., bringing in wild critters, vegetation, etc.), redid the form and got through to get the luggage. I then got into a second queue where they would go through your luggage to ensure you aren’t violating any laws or such. As I waited in the queue a woman came along and asked me if I had any of the offending plant-life or other items. I said no and got a pass to leave the airport.
I headed off in search of a taxi and found one. Apparently the most well-known hotel chain isn’t that well known. I had to give my taxi driver directions to a hotel I had never been too.
Thank god for Google Maps!
I got to the hotel and checked in. It was interesting that my boss had told me that if I had Gold or higher status with Hilton that I’d definitely need to check out the Executive Lounge. I thought I had silver since I got a new card in the mail recently from Hilton that indicated as such.
I have Gold Status. Although my room wasn’t ready, they did give me a card for access to the Executive Lounge if I wanted to hang out there later in the afternoon. I left my luggage with them and went wondering through Sydney. I walked down to Circular Quay and found a place to have breakfast. Once refreshed, I then headed out to find the infamous Sydney Opera House. It was packed with tourists (big surprise, I know) and once I had seen it (and the bridge, although I never did get a chance to walk it), I decided to head through the Botanical Gardens. One reason was so I could see what was unique in Australia but also I was in a hunt for a cigar. What I didn’t know at the time was that Sydney has enacted even stricter anti-smoking laws than Ontario or California. I can certainly understand some of the reasoning for it but.. well, that’s more for another blog.
Anyways, I decided to head through the Gardens. And oh, what sites (see below):
Once I had walked around enough in aimless searching, I decided to head back to the hotel. When I got there, the room was nearly done and so I headed up to the Executive Lounge to check it out. Free snacks, water, soda and juice with a view of the city that was incredible. I got into my room and was treated to a small but well designed room. And once my luggage arrived, my first thing to do was take a nice, long hot shower. Never had that felt so good.
I did a quick email check and then headed out to wander some more, this time in search of dinner. I nearly ended up in Sydney’s Chinatown but found a nice little place called the Pepper Lunch for a cheap but good dinner. I was intrigue by the things that looked familiar (e.g., Hungry Jack’s logo is actually the same as Burger King but a copyright name conflict prevented them from using “Burger King” as the name) and yet, were so different. The one thing that is apparent is that Sydney is truly a melange of Asia with accents and dialects of various languages from all over.
I managed to arrange to meet up with a colleague the following day so I figured time for bed…
More later (I’m seriously going to have to catch up soon or I’ll miss stuff!)