Monday, February 20, 2017

feeling manly today...

Sunday, February 19, 2017
I woke at 4 am, couldn't get back to sleep so finally got up at 5, figuring I could sit in the dark and type my story with only the light of my iPad. It worked! I got an iPod for Christmas, Derek synced it with my iPad. I can take my photos with the iPod, they automatically show up on the iPad; I select what I want, even figured out how to crop them and email them to Jan. She has her tablet with her. So I write on my iPad, put the story on the blog from it and then use Jan's tablet to add the photos and do a bit of an edit! Oh, I feel so tech-savvy!
They have an Opal pass here which, though rather complicated to figure out what the actual cost per ride is, is the best deal in transit we've ever seen! You can purchase it virtually anywhere and add dollars/value to it anywhere. Sydney has trains, buses and ferries linked that can get you almost anywhere and you use this OpalCard to tap on/tap off as you go from one part of the system to the next and it deducts whatever the cost of each ride is. The fee reduces with your usage in each day and on Sundays, the best day of all, you can use it unlimited times for a mere $2.50 for the entire day!
Today is slightly overcast with the threat of showers and we decided to go to one of the world-class beaches and take a look/see, trying to take it easy and ease into our vacation without overdoing it first day out. The ferry/bus thing is very well synced so as long as you know your start point and where you want to go, it's quite easy to plan, thanks to googlemaps!
The ferries are walk-on only, hold quite a few people (hundreds), have indoor seating and a bit of open-air, mostly two-level. In the harbour they go around, like a bus and pick up here and there and then drop off at a central point, where you transfer to the next one, amazingly efficient and keep to their schedule and the buses are co-ordinated so you are easily walking off the ferry to your bus to get to the next part of your journey. We have decided to go to Manly, a suburb to the north and part of the outer harbour with lots of options for filling the day including a zoo, art gallery and several walks of varying distance, surfing and snorkeling and sun-bathing. The last three are not in the realm of what we would choose.
The Australian dollar (and the New Zealand dollar) are right now virtually on par with our Canadian dollar which makes it nice for comparison in value. They (Lonely Planet) say that Sydney is expensive, but that there is no tipping so that makes it a bit better. The minimum wage here is $20 per hour so people earn well without having to rely on tips survive. At

lunch today, we had a lovely, fresh meal. I had king prawns 'on the barbie' after being assured this meant grilled without being slathered with goopy sauce, along with fresh steamed veg and a salad. Jan ordered the grilled fish, large cut fries and a salad. All very good, but we waited and waited, 'no worries' - they actually say that, and 'g'day, mate'! When the girl brought the bill after we requested it and another bit of a wait, she brought the credit card thing and explained how to add a tip. I said I thought there was no tipping and she replied that yes, it was not necessary, only if we wanted to. I asked her about the $20 minimum wage and she agreed that yes, she did get paid that and tipping was not required. The bill was $48 (no drinks) - I didn't tip.
We had a lovely day, walked a bit more and decided that we would need to come back again to really get the benefit of the area. One thing to remember though, when people-watching in hot weather, you'll see things you can't un-see!
Headed back to the ferry, stopped off at 'Wooly's' for some salad stuff for supper and some coffee to make for the morning - we have a French press and electric kettle in the kitchen, perfect for what we need - there is also a microwave, toaster, fridge and plenty of other amenities. Eating in restaurants seems expensive but stuff in the grocery store is pricey too. A small, 200g pack of ground coffee was $7.50;125g fresh blueberries was $4 - that's pretty tiny! 2 fresh lemons were a whopping $2.44 and they were not even organic! A 100g tube of Banana Boat sunscreen was $9.59 - heck, I'd never win The Price is Right here!
Now, the thing about water draining and swirling the other way in the Southern Hemisphere - that's been worrying me! I mean, how bored was that guy who discovered this anyway? So, I thought I'd put it to the test but we don't have a tub here and the bathroom sink is the size of a big teacup. Seriously you have to be careful trying to wash both hands at once. The kitchen sink is marginally larger, so I gave it a shot. Filled the sink, pulled the plug and tried to dry my hand in order to pick up the iPod to take the photo and all the water was gone. Tried it again with more water, same result. Let it drain and just watched it and I realized I had no idea which direction it was supposed to be going (or not) so gave up! But I am wondering if the sun really rises in the east here...
Walking steps today was 14.5 km.
oh, I added a gadget at the top  so you can sign up to have each post automatically emailed to you if you want instead of having to come and see if there is a new post...

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