Huh? Where did October 17 go? We lost it entirely by crossing the International Date Line, though I suppose if you want to be picky, a few hours of the flight were on the 17th. We arrived in Sydney at about 6AM, quickly cleared Customs, and were met by a driver holding up a sign with our names on it. The driver took our luggage and drove us to our first hotel, the Crowne Plaza Parkroyal Darling Harbour. Unfortunately, Brendan had NOT booked us for "early arrival", so no room was waiting, but we were told a room would be prepared for us shortly. We retired to the hotel restaurant for about an hour, and soon afterwards, we were presented with keys to our room.
And what a nice room it was - on the 10th floor, overlooking Darling Harbour (but not right on the water, as you can see in the picture below.) Darling Harbour is on the west side of Sydney and you can take water taxis to other parts of the city waterfront. The Sydney Convention Center (behind the IMAX theater in the photo) is here (featuring an auto show while we were there - see the latest from Holden and Commodore!), as are a couple of shopping centers, an IMAX theater (at left in photo) and, nearby, the Star City casino. (Every city in Australia seems to have at least one big casino.)
View from our hotel room in Sydney
Sydney is a very pedestrian-friendly city, all intersections have walk light button boxes with audio and even tactile (vibration) cues for the visually impaired. While the photo makes it look as if we would have to cross a busy highway to get to the waterfront, in fact there were elevated walkways that could take us in various directions.
So here we are at about 9AM local time, but we had been up for some 38 hours. Knowing that the worst thing to do is to go to sleep right away, we forced ourselves to stay awake until about 7PM. But what to do until then? The Sydney Aquarium was just down the street, so that looked like a good bet. As we walked over, we passed by a sculpture of herons in a pool/fountain.
Heron sculptures at Darling Harbour, Sydney
The aquarium itself was quite well done, and even in our sleep-deprived state, we could appreciate the exotic (to us) aquatic life, a lot of which had spectacular colors. Leslie was especially taken with the Weedy Sea Dragon...
Weedy Sea Dragon, Sydney Aquarium
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