So I am caught up as today is really today, Sunday for me, Saturday for you all as you sleep into Sunday morning. Okay, the time change is hard… 14 hours… no actually 15 hours now as we had Daylight Savings last night so we are at a 15 hour difference as Australia has “sprung ahead” into Spring and we will shortly “fall back” into well, the abyss of Winter. It will then be a 16 hour time difference with the Eastern US timezone and it will be even more difficult to SKYPE with Ian and Jen. It is truly strange being in the Southern Hemisphere at times. John and I have had 3 calls so far and it seems we spend more time coordinating what time we will next speak more than discussing anything else. It is a logistical challenge for sure… but we’ll figure it out eventually.

So today started out as any vacation would… until a certain mother needed the power converter for her curling iron. And you can probably guess what happened next… the 220v step down here to our 110v power needs somehow fried Mum’s curling iron which blew out my power converter. Even better, no power for the laptop or the iPhone. I am dead in the water. And tomorrow is Labor Day here and NOTHING is open. Fortunately I am able to use Ian’s laptop (which I am currently on) to check the occasional work email and work on this travel blog. That is also why you haven’t seen any pictures (mostly in the rain) so far as well (sorry for that) as my camera only hooks up to my laptop. So first order of business will be to get a new converter (if at all possible) and number two will be to get Mum a new curling iron now that she has fried it.

Dodging the rain we took the ferry from Mosman harbor to downtown Sydney. The residents and visitors use the ferries as daily commuting to avoid the crazy traffic over the bridges and tunnels. And at $3.20 per person Australian (that would be less than 3 dollars US) per journey, it is incredibly affordable. So we walked down the hill to the ferry and missed the Sunday hourly ferry by about a minute. Bummer… but in the end we sat at the cafe and had a cup of coffee before taking the next ferry.

Can I just say that the coffee is incredibly good and the Aussie’s take their coffee VERY seriously. Ian tells me that there are only 3 Starbucks in Sydney as the local population pretty much pushed them out in favor of the local mom and pop’s. The coffee is really, really good and I savored the smooth richness of the coffee until the next ferry arrived.

One of the things that I love about Sydney is how they commute to work — very much like Seattle. The ferries are half the size of those in Seattle, but they run all over the area ducking into the small harbors and pick up all walks of life. The best part is that a single fare (one trip, one direction) is only $3.20 AUS. That is a real bargain… and it all comes with a spectacular view as you drive around to the main terminal harbor taking you right in front of the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. It was a rainy, overcast day (again), but the surreal view of Sydney from this position that you’ve only ever seen in postcards and on TV is quite impressive.

So after disembarking, we walked about 10 minutes to the Opera House. As we got closer we took our traditional tourist photos along with all of the other tourists in the area — looking for that key photo that sums up the entire vacation. Mine will be the one of myself, Ian and Jenny in front of the Opera House laughing our heads off as Mum works the camera. Classic family photo and one I’ll cherish.

As for the Opera House, the exterior is made up of flat, white tiles, so it looks like scales all layered together. The interior is a combination of the cement supports with wood panels. I have to say that minus the wood decorative panels, it reminds me (dare I say) of the RenCen in Detroit. Actually, I think that the structures were built about the same time, so it may not be all that crazy. Ian stayed outside and Mum, Jenny and I took a quick look around and picked up a few souviners at the gift shop and that concluded our visit to The Opera House.

Back again past the Harbor Terminal, we popped up our umbrellas again as another storm approached. We walked up and around the other side of the harbor to the area called The Rocks. The Rocks was named as it is a rocky outcrop, but over the years it has been built up with shops and cafes. We popped into a little cafe for a quick lunch and then came across a weekend market — perfect — shopping! Needless to say my cousin was a good sport, but shopping is the last thing on his daily list of things to do. With three women about, he had little choice 😉

The market is just like any weekend market lined on one side with cafes and bars. It is a popular place with the locals and tourists and the bargains are pretty good. I picked up a few gifts that will travel home well. Throughout the day we saw a number of  Aboriginal works of art — some traditional (beautiful paintings and carvings) and some not so traditional (handbags and pillows). There were also a number of street performers in traditional Aboriginal garb and makeup making music from their long, wooden instruments that make different sounds depending on how you blow through the pipe. The music is very, very different and one that resonates with you after you’ve left the area.

So we headded back to Mosman central via ferry and then by bus. Ian and Jenny live just off the bus route and within a minute’s walk of the village area — it is a great location. Jenny made dinner as Ian watched rugby… she had planned for a traditional English dinner, but didn’t realize that she had bought corned beef insteat of roast beef! I am not a big lover of corned beef and cabbage, but I honestly will tell you that I quite liked it roasted. We now are calling it Beouf Suprise! Ian remarked that it is so revolutionary that it will be a new culinary trend for the future! Calling Julia Child!

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