What I Mean When I Say “Sydney”

Our six-month trip began in Sydney, and we’ll be spending about two weeks in each country until we arrive in India, where we’ll stay two months beginning in December. It’s a long trip, but in a way it’s a whirlwind tour of each country.

In each country, I will do some kind of environmental restoration project or seek out businesses that promote recycling, reduce pollution, or improve the environment in some other way.

Sydney’s business district looked like SSE (same stuff everywhere) to me, until I started seeing the juxtaposition of old (1800s) and new.

Pitt Street view Sydney Sept 2015

Darling Harbour was riddled with construction but had a maritime museum, a lighthouse and old ships, and a nice boardwalk. Todd in Darling Harbour, Sydney, Sept 2015

The silver gulls were so aggressive about food that they frightened people, but they were fun to photograph.

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We took a walking tour of the iconic sites of Sydney, such as the Opera House and the bridge. The woman who led the tour was very good, though she really needed a microphone. I recommend these free tours. We gave her a $30Aus tip.

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Todd and I briefly visited the Botanic Gardens, which reminded me of a series of parks instead of the series of habitats created at the Denver Botanic Gardens. In the gift shop, I broke down and bought a field guide to Australian birds. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it when I leave Australia. Leave it? Mail it to someone in the United States?

Woman on lawn at Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Sept 2015

We met our first odd bird at the Botanic Gardens, the masked lapwing. Or maybe it’s a masked plover. The Slater bird guide has both names in different places. Todd thought it quite ugly, but I decided its yellow wattles were somehow enticing.

Masked lapwing, Sydney, Sept 2015

My favorite street in Sydney was Angel Place, where the exhibition “Forgotten Songs” now shows permanently. Forgotten Songs exhibit, Sydney, Sept 2015

Inscribed in the street are the names of extinct birds.

Forgotten Songs exhibit with pavement names, Sydney, Sept 2015

We walked from Bondi Beach to Bronte, another eastern suburb. I wanted to walk all the way to Coogee, but it was getting dark and Todd herded us back to Newtown. The sea was an exquisite aquamarine.

Bondi Beach to Bronte walk, Sydney, Sept 2015

This man was spear-fishing.

Bondi Beach to Bronte walk, spear fisher, Sydney, Sept 2015

Newtown, where we stayed for 5 days after leaving the Central Business District, was horizontally compressed. I have never seen so many shops crammed into a small space. Some of the homes reminded us of New Orleans, but I don’t know if a similar home there would sell for $1 million Aus. Hey, that’s only $700,000 or so US. For the average Sydneysider, a mortgage is a lifetime affair.

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We found a bulk dry goods store! My anti-packaging heart was happy. But Naked had no bulk lotion, so I still had to buy one of those crimped containers of lotion. I hate those things. They don’t fit well into luggage, and they waste a lot of product—unless you are willing to cut off the end and scoop it out with your fingers.

Newtown Naked bulk foods Sydney Sept 2015

My restoration project in Sydney was a project with Conservation Volunteers Australia, in which we worked on an ongoing project to create corridors of bush in Sydney. That will be the subject of my next post.