jen yu: australia 2007 - day 9

australia 2007 - day 9

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march 16, 2007
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Sydney appeared to be warming up. It was Friday and Kell took a day off from work. Jerad and Kell wanted to take me to the Taronga Zoo. But first, Jerad started the morning treating us to a lovely breakfast which included his own homemade bacon! One of the biggest complaints I have heard about bacon outside the States is that it isn't the same heart-clogging, sodium-loaded, fatty, crispy, smokey delicious bacon. Since Jerad couldn't find it in Australia, he went about curing his own... and it was brilliant!

We hopped on a bus to the southern end of Hyde Park and dropped by the Barracks Museum to see the foundation of the building which, in its nearly 200-year history, served as lodging for convicts, an immigration depot, a female asylum, and then law courts and government offices.

From the Barracks, we walked to the Art Gallery of New South Wales where Jerad and Kell showed me their favorite exhibits and explained various symbols and their significance to Australian culture. Walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens on our way to Circular Quay, we spotted heaps of fruit bats (flying foxes) roosting in the tree crowns, several enormous spiders and their intricate webs, and the multitudes of gorgeous plants and trees. The grounds were delightful -part botanical garden, part park, but enjoyed by all.

The ferry ride to the zoo afforded great views of prime real estate and signature landmarks. We rode the gondola from the wharf to the heart of the zoo where our first stop was to see the koalas. We spent the bulk of our time looking at the native animals, because they are so different from anything I've grown up with. The reptile houses and the nocturnal houses were my favorites because we had so much fun spotting the animals and then watching them. The most entertaining were the Feathertail Gliders (world's smallest gliding mammal) bouncing, gliding, running all over their enclosures. I was also immensely impressed and daunted by the number of deadly snakes that Australia boasts. After an excellent bird show, the skies had clouded over and begun to sprinkle. It was beginning to cool down.

Back at the flat, we noshed on lychees and chips while Jerad got me hooked on a documentary that chronicled three Sydney restaurants in their struggles with maintaining restaurant ratings. For dinner, Jerad and Kell took me to Fish Face, a favorite with the locals. The restaurant only serves line-caught local fishes and has a reputation for the freshest seafood. We sampled an eclectic mix from the menu: scallop carpaccio, a sashimi plate, and my all time favorite - fish-n-chips! Everything was prepared to perfection and the place was PACKED. After that fabulous meal, we walked around and enjoyed the evening air and the beautiful city. Kell taught me how to distinguish female party-goers from the professionals on the street. I don't recall where it was (near Kings Cross?), but a street post had signs indicating the distance in kilometers from Sydney to major global cities. Jerad said he felt it emphasized how isolated Sydney was, but I thought it showed that Sydney was part of and aware of a larger international scene. No matter how we viewed it, I really liked it.

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