Making the most of my last days in Oz

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I arrived back in Sydney on Sunday morning with the following priorities:

  • See if I could get camera fixed
  • See the Picasso exhibit at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
  • Go to the beach
  • Walk over the Harbour Bridge
  • Get all my stuff squared away for Tuesday's flight to Bangkok
Unfortunately, when I got to my hotel the Wifi was down, and the gal behind the desk didn't have much hope it'd be fixed before the next day.

Putting the internet difficulties to the back of the queue, I walked straight over to the AGNSW to see Picasso. (I'd booked a ticket while in Adelaide.) Tickets for the exhibit were set at certain times, so that the number of people showing up at any one time would be limited. Never mind, it was a zoo anyway.

But very inspiring. There were 10 rooms of paintings and sculptures from the Picasso Museum in Paris, arranged in chronological order. My favourites were "Death of the torero" and "Massacre in Korea." There were lots of studies for "les Demoiselles d'Avignon, but not the real thing, unfortunately.

Afterward, straight over to the PE Dept, the gym right round the corner from my hotel, where I talked the crew into letting me attend as a casual. Once again, though I was willing to pay, they wouldn't take the money. Great gym. I'd join in a minute if I lived in Sydney.

Later I went to the FBI Social (favourite neighbourhood pub, I guess it was my "local" for awhile) for dinner, and discovered the Djokovic/Nadal Australian Open championship match was on the telly. So I stayed longer than I might have otherwise (what a match!), but couldn't stay up for the whole five sets (Djokovic won).

Monday morning early, headed down early to George's Cameras (on George Street) to see if I could get my display replaced—wait for it!—that day, as I was headed to Bangkok the next day. The repair guy said not to worry, I'll be able to get it fixed more cheaply in Bangkok than I would in Sydney. Go figure.

Tough decision. Breakfast, or hop on the ferry to Manly Beach. The beach won, surprisingly enough, even before coffee. Once I got to Manly, I had my usual Australian experience of searching for a place to eat that wasn't already mobbed. Found one, just off the beach, where the lovely Helen (Polish, I think) served me two cappuccinos and Spanish-baked eggs (cherry tomatoes, sausages, mushrooms.

Strolled down the beach taking photos of the sights, until I got to the south end of the beach where the surfers were. Thrilled with the chance at some "action" shots, I spent a half hour taking photos of surfers—successful and not so. The holy grail of surfer shots, in my view, the surfer upside down in the air with the board above her/him, eluded me, unfortunately. I've put them in a special photo gallery all by themselves, just for people who don't mind looking at a bunch of surfers, with very little in the way of captioning.

When I got back to the hotel, the Wifi still wasn't fixed, though there was at least a computer guy there ... using a vacuum cleaner on the inside of a server. That can't be good, I thought. Later I heard him explaining to one of the staffers there about some dodgy pieces of equipment the LAN administrator'd been using, and I thought that couldn't be good either. Anyway, there I was, needing to get on the internet to check in to my flight, so I headed up to Darlinghurst Road, and after a false start—a public internet place where all the USB connections had been pooched—I managed to log on, get my boarding passes through to Bangkok, and Bob's your uncle. When I got back to the hotel, the internet had been fixed, and I got to be the first one to log on to test it. Not that I needed it any more...

So I headed down to the Harbour Bridge, found the stairs to its associated walkway, and did the obligatory walk, netting some pretty good photo shots into the bargain. On the way back, I stopped in at the "Fortune of War," which claims to be the oldest pub in Sydney, but—typically—couldn't find a seat. So back to the FBI Special, some fish and chips and a pint of Resche's, and back to pack for the morrow.

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