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The Ooh Tour

Australia

April 24-25, 2011: Sydney, Anzac Day

Our evil plan began as we boarded the flight from Honolulu to Sydney. The flight time is only 10 hours from Hawaii to Australia, instead of 16 hours from San Francisco; this makes the trip much more bearable. In addition, if you subtract the day in time zone difference, Hawaii is only four hours out of sync with Australia.

What can I say about the flight, other than it was long, cramped, and boring; like all flights. We arrived at the decent hour of 7:30 pm and were soon tucked away in bed at our hotel in downtown Sydney.

On Monday morning, we woke to one of Australia's most celebrated days: Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) day. We were greeted by thousands of people lining Sydney's main street cheering-on marching bands, current military forces marching, and the dwindling remnants of the old Diggers (veterans of WWII).

Video of ANZAC Day

We ate lunch at the Sydney Oyster Bar, my favorite place to eat in Sydney. We walked around the glorious Opera House and picked up tickets for a show there.

Then we walked to the Sydney Botanical Gardens taking in the many plants and animals. We were surprised to find the place filled with Fruit Bats all hanging asleep with their wings wrapped around them. The white Cockatoos were endless fun to watch as they squawked and flew about getting into mischief. This park is a real treasure and so accessible to downtown Sydney.

We ended the day with Sue and John at a superb dinner in a restaurant that has a spectacular view of the Sydney Opera House.

Video of Sydney Town

April 26, 2011: Manly

Today we took the ferry from Circular Quay and weaved our way through the many and beautiful coves and bays of Sydney harbor to land at Manly. Manly is famous for its surf beaches. Today it is a very quaint little village filled with restaurants, bars, friendly people, surfers, lifeguards, and sun worshipers. Perched on the high sandstone cliffs surrounding the town, very classy and expensive designer homes look out over their million dollar views.

Manly is a peninsula with an almost round bulbous end. Julia and I walked from the ferry pier all the way around the end of the Manly peninsula and back to the ferry. It took two and half-hours to complete the walk, but it was well worth our effort. We saw sandy beaches, sheltered coves, towering sandstone cliffs, the raging surf of the blue Pacific, million dollar homes, and the tropical bush land of Manly.

Julia was horrified when she discovered a large orb spider sitting quietly in its web. However, as we progressed on our hike we came to a heavily overgrown part of the trail. Julia happened to look up and was terrified to see a massive network of spider webs, with hundreds of orb spiders dangling dangerously close. Suffice to say that we left the area in some haste.

When we returned to Sydney town, we met up with our friends Mark and Colleen and headed for the Sydney Opera House to see Mr. Shakespeare's "Much Ado about Nothing". It was very good and so odd for me to hear every character deliver the timeless prose in full Ozzy accents.

Video of Manly

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