Monday, June 2, 2008

Sydney: Home of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House

23/06 - Hungry Jack's, King's Cross, 0757

Usual post-flight hangover: throat feels like sandpaper, and the need for sleep is creeping up on me.

King's Cross is fairly innocuous at this time of day, but I've got a pretty good idea of what it will be like at night (or at least I think I do).

Went to Hungry Jack's in search of a toilet, but no luck - however a sign said the nearest public toilet was apparently in the police station. Somewhat apprehensively I went over to the King's Cross police station, and sure enough they had a toilet in the foyer - and it was nice and clean too. I guess no one would want to shoot up in a police station (although I bet it's been done). The King's Cross police have earned some serious brownie points with me now.

I'm basically killing time at the moment until my hostel opens. A sleep would be nice too. I tried on the plane, but just couldn't stop watching the in-flight movie - "Anti Trust". Not the most technically accurate film, but good enough to give me an excuse not to try and sleep in an uncomfortable aeroplane seat.First impression of Sydney - I haven't seen a city like this since Europe, but that's probably just the size and the skyscrapers. Not spectacularly clean either (except the police station toilet of course). But it's an old, big city, so what should I expect. No doubt my opinions will change when I get to see some of the place.

23/06/01 - Pink House Hostel, King's Cross, 2022

In the past 35 hours I've only gotten about three hours sleep. Foolishly I decided to trek around Sydney after checking my backpack in at the hostel.

Leaving around 9am, I went up past the naval dockyards and then through the beautiful and serene botanical gardens (with amazing spider webs). I soon found myself standing right in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House - a spectacular sight to see for the first time.

After a brief and fairly half-assed exploration of the Rocks I headed over to Darling Harbour on the ferry - mostly in search of the "Space Shuttle Buran" which was marked on an Olympic-era map I got from the hostel.

I found it pretty easily - the entrance flanked by two columns of the old Soviet flags. This is when I started to get a bit worried. Unable to resist seeing a real space shuttle, I paid my overpriced admission fee of $19.50 and then found myself watching a series of badly produced, over-cliched "documentaries" on the shuttle, complete with bad Russian accents. A lot of the time the documentaries seemed to be more like video clips for techno with Eastern-Bloc style samples (grand anthems, speeches, etc.).

The educational posters telling the story of the Buran were a joke - many of the pictures had been taken straight of the Internet and been reprinted with awful quality. One in particular summed up the entire exhibition: a picture of a space shuttle with "USA" on its wing and an American Flag on the tail had been captioned "The Buran docks with the Mir Space Station". Yeah right...

Tackiness aside, the shuttle itself was very impressive. A huge behemoth covered in ceramic tiles - I'm surprised it could actually fly.

By the time I got out of that, Zombiness from lack of sleep was setting in. But I had to pick up my Greyhound ticket for my trip to Canberra for tomorrow. Two taxi rides and 90 minutes later I finally got back to the hostel and finally got some sleep.

About 6pm I set off for the Opera House to try and get some night photos. King's Cross doesn't seem that bad at night actually; one really unusual thing I saw was on one corner there was an expensive restaurant, and on the other corner a double bed and some junkie-looking people loitering around on it. That was probably the weirdest thing I've seen in a while.

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