Friday, February 24, 2017

earthquake city...

Friday, Feb 24, 2017
typical oldstyle building
We had a bit of a sleep-in, even though we went to bed early and had that 2 hour time change, but no big deal, we are on holiday! I made breakfast - I had bought a bag of old-fashioned oatmeal on the first day in Sydney and still have some left. I also brought from home, little ziplock bags of dates, figs and some almonds - all part of my emergency rations - don't tell the customs people - actually when we were flying into Sydney, the landing card you have to fill out asked if you had any seeds, fruit, nuts, etc and warned of a $400 fine if you were caught lying, so I ticked the box, admitting it, figuring they'd confiscate them. When we were going through the entry customs line-up, the guy told me I had to go over here, in another direction than Jan, who had nothing to declare, was going. When I got to that side, the next guy asked me what I had and I explained that I had some dates and nuts as snacks and he said, 'ah, get out of here, you're ok!
So, anyway, I chopped up a few dates and figs and cooked them in the oatmeal. We also had coffee to make so we were good to head out and explore.

peacock fountain
Sydney streets are very narrow and everything is close and jammed together. Here in Christchurch it's like they knew they had a bit more room, it's still close but not quite so much. The evidence of the earthquakes of five years ago is still all around and where we are staying, right close to downtown seems to be right in the centre of it. Lots of the sidewalks are blocked off where crews are rebuilding and there are many temporary structures, made out of containers, you know, those storage bins or the big metal boxes they load on rail cars. They even put doors and windows in them and made them into temporary stores. There is a tram car system running in a couple of loops through this downtown area - it's a hop on/ hop off all day deal and we get on to get a look-see and establish our bearings. The main square is filled with cute little food trucks. After a full loop, we decide to see the botanic gardens - free, again and very lovely. In the gift shop, Jan finds this beautiful cloche-style hat made by a local business, Agnes Foss, a real one-of-a-kind! The saleslady  tells us about the lady who makes them, apparently inspired by Downton Abbey fashions.
It was a bit pricey but so pretty and it suits her so why not!  I think it is a type of needle felting and is merino wool.
The weather is much cooler, thankfully, more like my Thunder Bay early-fall of 20C, quite nice for walking and exerting a bit of energy. For lunch, back to Francesca's - it was so good, Jan wants to try again. Not so lucky this time, but oh well, you can't win 'em all! Most of the restaurants seem to have gluten-free and vegetarian options and it seems to be quite easy to eat fresh and healthy! We then head for a grocery store several blocks away, dodging construction. The traffic is not exactly pedestrian friendly, you really have to watch out for yourself!
I had a nice conversation on the tram with an older couple from the North Island. The accents are so varied over here, it's almost impossible to tell who's from where.The service industry in Sydney is quite ethnically diverse and we really didn't get to talk to any real Aussies to figure out their speech traits but we've had three different 'kiwi'/local tram drivers giving their spiel as they manoeuvre through and they do something strange with the vowels - to me, they make an 'e' sound like an 'i' so 'seven' comes out 'sivan'. The lady asks where we are from and I say Canada of course and she says oh, I didn't think you were American with that soft-vowelled voice! My head swelled with pride and I thanked her!
Back home for an early night and a homemade salad of greens and roast chicken from the grocery store, a quiet and perfect end to another lovely day!
Fitbit, 11.5 km; MA, disqualified - left gizmo in room...

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