John & Anne Wiley

2017/02/01

A Touch of Oz

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,O U Adventure,People,Random — John @ 00:24

Dreaming of this Adventure, we first imagined adding Australia (aka Oz) to the Maui (HI) trip. As the Dream stage blended into the Plan stage we realized that Oz is still a long flight from HI and December is usually hot there. Then we decided to visit New Zealand instead, but as planning continued we were convinced by Aussie friends to add back at least 3 nights in Sydney. This way we’d add at least a touch of Oz, in case we never get back and to increase the chance we would. It worked. Here then is a hyper-condensed photo memoir, starting with our first glimpse of downtown – the only part of a vast continent this trip touched.

8551 Circling Oz

8551 Circling Oz

By the time we arrived at the wonderful Amora Hotel, another donation from our life savings to this memorable journey, it was dark. Taking in this view from our room, we were in Oz.

8719 Oz Welcome

8719 Oz Welcome

Morning found us out exploring the streets, enjoying the vast spectrum of architecture and humanity (many in seasonal garb).

191705 People & Structures

191705 People & Structures

One big difference between the trip we Plan and the trip we Take, is the Unexpected. We took our two smartphones on this trip, so we could adapt along the way using net access and easy communication. Both phones died, a few days apart. Part of our NZ time and this Sydney wander included seeking ways to repair, and when that didn’t work out, replace phones. At one point we had five phones, with one of them functional. A few days ago, back home and somewhat caught up on sleep and life, I did surgery on those dead phones and found the culprit.

113923 Microscopic Oz

113923 Microscopic Oz

That tiny white thing is the power switch, which had shorted out on these years old phones, within a few days of each other, deducting many hours from our Plan for the trip. Luckily for us, the dazzling scenes and bustling throngs of residents & tourists, combined with the remarkable power of Oz to effortlessly transport us far beyond the tiny distraction of phones.

8795 Bustle

8795 Bustle

Walking along this Darling Harbor promenade we came to that iconic white shell in the first pic of this post, that shouts Oz around the world.

8809 Sydney Opera House

8809 Sydney Opera House

Somehow we’d imagined it as a low smooth white sculpture, but we now saw that it’s up on a pedestal, etched with zig-zag lines, and always thronged with people. On this first encounter we walked all around and inside the public parts of it, and further learned that it’s actually covered in a dragon’s skin mosaic of small tiles.

8877 Dragon Flank

8877 Dragon Flank

Beneath the beast is the din of several crowded cafes, bars and restaurants where the tourist mob descends for refreshment.

8922 Belly of the Beast

8922 Belly of the Beast

Looking back along the promenade, the impressive skyline greeted our return to the throbbing, noisy heart of Oz.

8851 Darling Harbor

8851 Darling Harbor

Like us, you may have noticed the highest point in the city, called the Tower Eye. Since our “Plan” for a low altitude aerial tour of the city fell through, we decided to pay for a table in the rotating bar up there. Lots of pix, as you can imagine, but here’s a single example that includes a look back at a small slice of the Amora all but invisible among the giants.

9138 Amora Dwarfed

9138 Amora Dwarfed

To get out on the water like so many in Oz, we took the ferry over to Manly Island and got this look back at the Harbor Bridge.

8967 Harbor Bridge

8967 Harbor Bridge

Soon we also got another angle on the skyline we’d so recently seen through an airliner window.

9000 Sydney Skyline

9000 Sydney Skyline

Like most on the ferry, we enjoyed the short walk across the island to its famous beach where seasonal garb was even more common.

9245 Holiday Spirits

9245 Holiday Spirits

The easy and joyful buzz so many people had there seemed to arise from the open hearts of Australians, combined with liberal enjoyment of alcohol. Walking back to the ferry along the pedestrian mall, we continued to soak up that playful energy.

9257 Manly Walk

9257 Manly Walk

For our last of three short nights, we walked again to the “clamshell” and saw it transformed to a different sculpture.

9322 Sculpture

9322 Sculpture

Across the water, an amusement park at the base of the bridge also presented a different face in the night.

9317 Night Fun

9317 Night Fun

Our final walk back into town began closure to this journey down under to the land of Oz.

203759 Night Shapes

203759 Night Shapes

Flying out the next day we got one last look at a few landmarks, now familiar, disappearing into a jet engine among the seemingly infinite array of places we’d like to have visited.

105634 Looking Back

105634 Looking Back

Memories were settling within us when the green of New Zealand greeted our return to Auckland.

133719 NZ Green

133719 NZ Green

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